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College Basketball's 15 Best Coaches Who Stink at Recruiting

Kyle StanzelCorrespondent IIIJanuary 12, 2017

College Basketball's 15 Best Coaches Who Stink at Recruiting

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    Every college basketball coach would love to have their selection of the best recruits that the high school ranks has to offer, but the reality is some coaches just can't attract the nation's best talent to their schools.

    Those coaches have to make up for their lack of recruiting by making sure they get the most out of the players they have and being more prepared than their counterparts on the court.

    Having great recruits doesn't necessarily mean you will have a successful team and some of the best coaches in the nation produce great teams without top recruits.

    Here is a look at the 15 best coaches in college basketball who stink at recruiting the nation's best high school players.

15. Johnny Dawkins, Stanford

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    After an illustrious career as a player and coach for Duke, Johnny Dawkins has had an up and down four seasons as the Stanford Cardinal head coach.

    While he led his team to a 26-11 record and a NIT Championship last season, he has yet to make the NCAA Tournament out of a weak Pac-12 Conference.

    Some of Dawkins' struggles can be attributed to the lack of impact recruits that he has brought in. Chasson Randle made the conference All-Freshman team last season, but he has been the only recruit that has really made a substantial impact for the Cardinal.

    There is no doubting that Johnny Dawkins is one of the brighter minds in the game of college basketball after his work with Duke and the USA National Team.

    His recruiting however, leaves a lot to be desired and he won't reach his full coaching potential until he can bring in top players.

14. Mick Cronin, Cincinnati

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    After an excellent run as the head coach at Murray State, Mick Cronin is quietly building an impressive program at Cincinnati.

    The Bearcats reached new highs last season by getting to the Big East Championship game and then getting all the way to the Sweet Sixteen before losing a hard fought game to Ohio State.

    With the exception of one-and-done guard Lance Stephenson, Cronin hasn't been able to bring in the high profile recruits that some of the other Big East schools have attracted.

    Don't expect that to slow the feisty Cronin down however, as he looks to make Cincinnati a fixture at the top of the Big East.

13. Bob Huggins, West Virginia

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    Bob Huggins is one of the best coaches in the history of college basketball and he has continued his legacy since his return to his alma mater.

    Huggins is one of the best recruiters on this list, however he doesn't draw in some of the elite recruits that some of the other Big East powerhouses get.

    Huggins makes the best with the players he does have though, compiling a 120-56 record in his five seasons at West Virginia with hard-working four-year players like Kevin Jones and Darryl "Truck" Bryant.

    With 710 wins all-time as a Division I college basketball coach, Bob Huggins doesn't need elite recruits to win basketball games.

12. Tubby Smith, Minnesota

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    Tubby Smith is another coach who doesn't need high profile recruits to win basketball games for Minnesota, and it has resulted in him earning a three-year extension with the school.

    Last season Smith took the Golden Gophers to the NIT Championship game and he has won 103 games in his first five years with the team.

    However, since he took over in 2007 Smith has not had a recruit ranked higher than No. 73 by ESPN that stayed at the school. Royce White was Smith's highest ranked recruit until he transferred to Iowa State.

    If Tubby Smith can ever get a few elite recruits to come play for Minnesota, the Big Ten conference will be in some big trouble.

10. Kevin Stallings, Vanderbilt

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    After 13 seasons with Vanderbilt, Kevin Stallings has taken the Commodores to the top of the SEC from the mediocre team they once were.

    One of only two teams to beat the National Champion Kentucky Wildcats, Vanderbilt won the SEC Tournament title before losing a tough game to Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament.

    If the games were decided solely on recruiting Stallings and Vanderbilt would never be able to match up with the likes of Kentucky and Florida.

    Only recently has Stallings been able to draw some of the nation's best talent to the school and even then he can't be compared to the likes of John Calipari and Billy Donovan on the recruiting trail.

    Thankfully for Stallings they will continue to decide games on the court, where his Vanderbilt team will continue to stand tall against the rest of the SEC.

10. Steve Alford, New Mexico

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    While Steve Alford is one of the more well known coaches in college basketball, it hasn't helped him recruit the nation's top talent to New Mexico.

    In fact, only once in his six years as coach has a recruit been ranked in the top 50 by ESPN and Phillip McDonald never quite lived up to his potential for the Lobos.

    Regardless, Alford has put together some outstanding teams in the Mountain West Conference, winning three regular season titles and a pair of NCAA Tournament games.

    In 2012 Alford's New Mexico squad won the the Mountain West Conference tournament and went on to beat Long Beach State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

    Despite the lack of top flight recruits, Steve Alford has his New Mexico team at the top of one of the toughest conferences in college basketball.

9. Buzz Williams, Marquette

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    Buzz Williams has been one of the brightest young coaches in the Big East since he came to Marquette and he's been doing it without high profile recruits.

    Marquette reached the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year and the Golden Eagles won 27 games last season, the second-most in school history.

    While Williams has had some ESPN Top 100 recruits during his tenure, top players like Jae Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom were unranked coming into college and Jimmy Butler was a junior college transfer before making it to the NBA.

    Marquette has always been one of the most dangerous teams in the Big East and they will stay that way even if Buzz Williams isn't bringing in the nation's elite.

8. Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh

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    One of the most heralded coaches in all of college basketball, Jamie Dixon has coached Pittsburgh into one of the top programs in the nation.

    Dixon set the all-time Division I record for most wins after eight seasons as a head coach with 216 and he's been doing it without the nation's elite recruits.

    When Dante Taylor came to Pitt in 2009, he became the first McDonald's All-American to play for the school since 1987.

    While Dixon does have the nation's No. 6 recruit coming next year in Steven Adams, he has been a much better coach on the court than he has on the recruiting trail.

7. Fran Dunphy, Temple

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    In his six seasons with Temple, Fran Dunphy has never once had a recruit crack the Top 100 on ESPN's rankings.

    Yet Dunphy has put Temple at the top of the Atlantic 10 Conference year-in and year-out by getting the most out of the players he has.

    Dunphy has won three A-10 Conference Tournament titles and two conference regular season titles and Temple has a bright future with him at the helm.

6. Mike Brey, Notre Dame

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    Notre Dame is consistently one of the most underrated teams in the Big East and it seems like they surprise everyone each year.

    That is in large part due to the fact that Mike Brey is an outstanding coach who knows how to win with the players he has.

    Notre Dame often has one of the worst recruiting classes in the Big East and they are lucky if they get one ESPN Top 100 recruit a year.

    Despite their lack of recruiting success, Notre Dame just keeps on winning and they finished last season third in the Big East with a 13-5 conference record in the regular season.

    Mike Brey is one of the best college basketball coaches that people don't talk about enough and he continues to put Notre Dame at the top of the Big East without elite recruits.

5. Greg McDermott, Creighton

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    In his two seasons with Creighton Greg McDermott has been nothing short of spectacular, leading the Jays to a 52-21 record in that time.

    Creighton is expected to be one of the best mid-majors in the country once again this season and McDermott has the team poised to make an impact in the NCAA Tournament.

    He has done this all without a single ESPN Top 100 recruit and the best recruit he has had so far was his son, Doug McDermott.

    Despite not having elite recruits to boast, the McDermotts are ready to take Creighton to new heights in the 2012-2013 basketball season.

4. Randy Bennett, St. Mary's

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    St. Mary's has teamed with Gonzaga and BYU to dominate the West Coast Conference in recent years and coach Randy Bennett is a huge reason for it.

    Bennett has led the Gaels to five straight 25-win seasons and he took the team to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament in 2010.

    While Bennett has never attracted an ESPN Top 100 recruit, he is one of the best international recruiters in the country and is especially good at bringing in the best Australia has to offer.

    Despite not being able to recruit the nation's best high school athletes, Randy Bennett still finds a way to make St. Mary's one of the toughest teams in college basketball.

3. Bo Ryan, Wisconsin

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    A seasoned coach at Wisconsin, Bo Ryan holds his Badger team to a standard of excellence that few other coaches do across the country.

    It is a big reason why Wisconsin is consistently one of the best teams in college basketball despite lacking the big name recruits that fellow Big Ten teams like Ohio State and Michigan State have.

    Ryan is second only to North Carolina's Roy Williams in winning percentage among coaches with 500 or more wins.

    Wisconsin isn't exactly a hotbed of talent for basketball and it is a great year if Ryan can snag just one ESPN Top 100 recruit.

    It doesn't seem to matter who is playing for Wisconsin however, Bo Ryan will have the team at the top of the Big Ten regardless.

2. Shaka Smart, Virginia Commenwealth

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    VCU's Cinderella run to the Final Four in 2011 as an 11 seed opened the country's eyes to one of the best young coaches in basketball in Shaka Smart.

    VCU will never be able to recruit the nation's top high school players against the big conference schools and as a result Smart will need to get the most out of the players he does bring in.

    He has done just that in leading the Rams to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and their first Final Four appearance ever.

    After signing a huge contract extension with VCU, Smart will be looking to keep the Rams in the spotlight despite the recruiting disadvantage.

1. Brad Stevens, Butler

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    The coach that beat Shaka Smart's VCU team in the 2011 Final Four, Brad Stevens has done an incredible job in leading Butler to the National Championship game in consecutive years from 2010-2011.

    He led Butler to a 30-win season in his first year there and he is one of the most highly regarded young coaches in college basketball.

    Butler is another school that doesn't attract the nation's top talent as a small conference team and not until 2012 had the school ever had an ESPN Top 100 recruit.

    If Stevens can start to get some top recruits to come to Butler, the rest of the nation better watch out as the sky would be the limit for the 35-year-old coach then.

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