College Basketball Recruiting: Re-Ranking 2013 Recruiting Classes for October
Look who's back. John Calipari finally found his way onto this list, and he did so in style. We knew it was only a matter of time until Kentucky joined the ranks of college basketball's top recruiting classes, but we didn't expect them to do so this early.
Well, Calipari made early moves instead of waiting until the second signing period like he usually does, and he was rewarded. Now Kentucky is high on this list, and they should stay that way.
It was a crazy month for recruiting, as three top-five players committed within a week of each other, and now the rankings have been completely reshuffled.
Following that flurry of moves, let's see which schools are still killing it on the recruiting trail, and which ones just picked it up.
15. UCLA Bruins
Top Recruit: PG Zach LaVine
Previous Ranking: 7
It's been a rollercoaster ride for Ben Howland and the UCLA Bruins on this list, going from unranked two months ago to No. 7 last month before falling eight spots to No. 15 this month. This is a perfect example of how recruiting is always changing.
The Bruins don't snag any new commits this month, but still have a good backcourt of PG Zach LaVine and SG Allerik Freeman.
These two have the potential to lead the Bruins' backcourt for years to come, and they will keep UCLA on the map after Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson depart for the NBA.
14. BYU Cougars
Top Recruit: SG Nick Emery
Previous Ranking: 8
BYU has a host of players who will be on the team for the 2013-14 season, which is good since the Cougars have four seniors on this year's roster.
Led by Top 100 recruits SG Nick Emery and C Eric Mika, the team will remain talented. The team will also be bolstered by three forwards: Luke Worthington, Braiden Shaw and Jakob Hartsock.
These five guys make up one of the bigger recruiting classes in the Class of 2012 (in terms of both number of players and actual size), and we could soon see a BYU team that centers around the front line.
13. Arizona Wildcats
Top Recruit: SF Rondae Jefferson
Previous Ranking: NR
Sean Miller picked up a huge commitment right after my rankings were posted last month, with SF Rondae Jefferson committing to the Wildcats. This launched Arizona's class from unranked and out of consideration to one of the top 15 in the country.
Jefferson is a very versatile and talented wing. He has great length and athleticism, and he can do just about everything except sink threes. He is easily one of the most talented players in the Class of 2012 and will likely be a starter from day one.
While the Cats only have two recruits, they are both extremely talented, and Jefferson and SG Elliott Pitts put the Wildcats on this list for the first time this year.
12. North Carolina State Wolfpack
Top Recruit: PG Anthony Barber
Previous Ranking: NR
In a few short years, I have come to regard Mark Gottfried as one of the best coaches in the college game today, thanks in part to his success on the recruiting trail.
Gottfried is continuing his success in the Class of 2013, bringing in two highly-touted recruits in PG Anthony Barber and PF Kyle Washington. These two are both supremely talented players who will keep North Carolina State among the ACC's best.
After bringing in three McDonald's All-Americans last year, we could easily see Gottfried do the same this year. Don't be surprised to see the Wolfpack become a regular on this list.
11. Marquette Golden Eagles
Top Recruit: PG Duane Wilson
Previous Ranking: 6
Once upon a happier time Marquette was as high as No. 3 on this list, but now the Golden Eagles continue to slide, all the way down to No. 11.
The team still has a good recruiting class with PG Duane Wilson and SF Deonte Burton, both of whom are great players. However, since my original ranking, the team has only received one commitment—mediocre point guard John Dawson, coming last month.
If Marquette is going to remain a Top 25 team for years to come, the team needs more talent than it is getting, and Buzz Williams needs to continue to push in the Class of 2013.
10. Duke Blue Devils
Top Recruit: SG Matt Jones
Previous Ranking: 4
Mike Krzyzewski's Duke Blue Devils tumbled down the rankings this month after not landing a commitment during an action-packed month on the recruiting trail.
Duke stills brings in two athletic scorers in the Class of 2013. SG Matt Jones and SF Semi Ojeleye are both elite-level players on the perimeter, but neither fill Duke's need for a big man. This brings me to the point made by B/R colleague Doug Brodess: The Blue Devils simply cannot recruit good big men anymore.
This is still a talented class, but Duke needs more, especially in the frontcourt.
9. Arkansas Razorbacks
Top Recruit: PF Bobby Portis
Previous Ranking: NR
Arkansas has consistently been hovering around the edge of this list solely from the commitment of PF Bobby Portis, a top-five big man in the Class of 2013. However, this is the highest the team has ranked.
It looks like Portis will have some help inside as C Moses Kingsley, another Top 100 big man, has also committed to the Razorbacks.
This second commitment has pushed Arkansas up the rankings during a hectic month of commits, and if the team can land a talented guard, they will have enough talent to be relevant in the SEC once again.
8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Top Recruit: PG Demetrius Jackson
Previous Ranking: 14
Mike Brey did well this month, landing a huge commitment from PG Demetrius Jackson. The Irish absolutely needed a point guard, and he was the team's top target for a floor general in the Class of 2013.
Jackson is an elite player, and he will be surrounded by perimeter threats SG Steve Vasturia and SF V.J. Beachem. These three are all Top 100 recruits and make up one of the most talented classes in the country.
With a good point guard in the mix, the Irish will be a contender for a Big East crown in 2013-14.
7. North Carolina Tar Heels
Top Recruit: PF Isaiah Hicks
Previous Ranking: 3
After having the top-ranked recruiting class in July, North Carolina has failed to receive any commitments in the Class of 2013 since Nov. 29, 2011. During a span of almost 11 months, the Tar Heels have slowly slipped down the rankings on this list.
PF Isaiah Hicks and PG Nate Britt still make up a fearsome combination, and the two remain among the class' best players, but they are no longer enough to keep UNC near the top of this list.
Roy Williams must try to land a few more commits if the Tar Heels are to remain elite in the 2013-14 season, but for now he has a good tandem of players.
6. Louisville Cardinals
Top Recruit: SG Anton Gill
Previous Ranking: 9
A mere two days after my rankings were published last month, PF Akoy Agau decided to don the red and white of Louisville, buoying up an already-talented class.
With Agau the team has two Top 100 recruits, with the other being SG Anton Gill. The team also has the commitment of PG Terry Rozier, who will be spending the year in prep school before officially balling it up for the Cards.
These three make up an elite recruiting class, but it's worth noting that they are not the only talent that Rick Pitino is bringing in for the 2013-14 season. His Cardinals will also be joined by JUCO transfer PG Chris Jones who, if JUCO players were counted on this list, could spring Louisville into the No. 3 or No. 4 position on this list.
5. Michigan Wolverines
Top Recruit: SG Zak Irvin
Previous Ranking: 2
Michigan is one of the schools that has consistently been near the top of this list, thanks to an early start on the recruiting trail by head coach John Beilein. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, they haven't received a commitment from the Class of 2013 in nearly 15 months and are slowly moving down in the rankings.
What Michigan does have as of now is three talented prospects who will help replace Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. once they depart for the NBA.
SF Zak Irvin, PG Derrick Walton and PF Mark Donnal are Top 100 recruits, talented players and have the ability to be huge contributors in Ann Arbor in a year or two. Watch out for these guys next season.
4. Memphis Tigers
Top Recruit: SF Kuran Iverson
Previous Ranking: NR
Josh Pastner is doing a bit of a John Calipari impersonation at Memphis, bringing in the most talented class the Tigers have had since the departure of the team's former head coach.
Memphis' commitments from SF Kuran Iverson (yes, he's related to Allen Iverson) and PG Rashawn Powell in the month of September has the Tigers vaulting up the rankings, settling in at No. 4 this month. These two are both Top 100 recruits, and will be joined by SF Nick King (another elite recruit) and SG Markel Crawford.
With a talented point guard and three skilled wings, this class has the potential to put up a ton of points for the Tigers.
3. Florida Gators
Top Recruit: PG Kasey Hill
Previous Ranking: 1
To be honest I thought Florida's recruiting class would only be surpassed by whoever landed the Harrison twins, but Billy Donovan's Gators have fallen an incredible two spots since last month, despite owning a pair of top-10 recruits.
PG Kasey Hill and PF Chris Walker make up the most talented inside-outside combination of any recruiting class thus far. The two are both incredibly skilled players who will immediately start in Gainesville and could lead Florida into contention against Kentucky for the SEC crown.
When you consider that the team has a pair of top-10 recruits you can see why I didn't think it would fall very far, but a crazy month ended with two schools surpassing Florida.
2. Kansas Jayhawks
Top Recruit: SF Wayne Selden
Previous Ranking: 5
Man, oh man, is Bill Self putting together a nice recruiting class. Typically the mastermind coach behind Kansas basketball brings in a solid recruiting class, but this one is one of his best already.
Self recently landed another elite recruit in SF Wayne Selden, the high-flying wing who may be the best athlete in the Class of 2013. Selden has an incredibly high ceiling, and he will be joined by a pair of Top 100 recruits in PG Conner Frankamp and SG Brannen Greene.
With three elite prospects joining a coach whose track record of turning mediocre recruits into stars is unmatched, you can expect Kansas to be among the nation's top teams next season.
1. Kentucky Wildcats
Top Recruit: PG Andrew Harrison
Previous Ranking: NR
I have never in my life seen what John Calipari has done this month. Forget about a month; how about a week? During one week this month, Calipari landed commitments from three of the top five players in the country in Andrew and Aaron Harrison and James Young.
How do you follow that up?
A good question, but one that Coach Cal answered. He then received a commitment from big man Marcus Lee on Wednesday, another elite recruit who will fill the paint for Kentucky next season.
To bring in two good recruits in a month is a special thing. To bring in four, including three of the best in the country, is utterly absurd.
Calipari has put together a class that cannot be matched. In fact, I'm calling this the best recruiting class college basketball has ever seen.
And it's not done yet. Calipari is still hounding after big men Julius Randle, Noah Vonleh, Aaron Gordon and a host of others. Randle, Vonleh and Gordon are all in the top 10 in the Class of 2013 as well.
I'm left (almost) speechless at what Calipari has done this month. All we can do is take our hats off to the greatest recruiter in the history of the game; he's done things I'd never have thought possible.