The 10 Best Recruiters Among College Basketball Coaches

Doug BrodessCorrespondent IJanuary 10, 2013

The 10 Best Recruiters Among College Basketball Coaches

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    Recruiting is a vital part of the success of college basketball programs.

    Simply put, if you can get talented players to commit, half the job is done.

    In forming the following list of the 10 best recruiters in the nation, recruiting class rankings for the last five years were compiled and compared.

    This list is not based on how these classes eventually performed; it is about who was able to bring in the best of the best in the last half-decade.


    All recruiting class ranking information comes from the various team sites on and ESPN.

10. Scott Drew (Baylor)

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    Recent 5-star Recruits: Isaiah Austin, Quincy Miller, Perry Jones

    When Scott Drew took over as Baylor's head coach in 2003, the Bears program was at rock bottom, reeling from a staggering scandal that left the program devastated.

    But Drew, who began his coaching career with his dad, Homer Drew, arrived in Waco and began to bring in quality people, on and off the court.

    It took four long years for the program to recuperate. Since the start of the 2007-08 season, Drew's crew has won 131 games and counting.  

    In each of the recruiting classes from 2010-12, Drew pulled in a 5-star big (see above list) and a healthy share of 4-star players (seven in the last five years) around them.

9. Jim Boeheim (Syracuse)

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    Recent 5-star Recruits: Michael Carter-Williams, Rakeem Christmas, DaJuan Coleman

    One of the reasons Jim Boeheim has been able to pile up over 900 coaching wins over his career at Syracuse is that he is constantly bringing in talented players who fit well in his system.

    Derrick Coleman, Rony Seikaly, Sherman Douglas and Carmelo Anthony are just a few of the outstanding players who have laced 'em up for the Orange in the past.

    On an annual basis, Boeheim and his staff are on the short lists of most of the elite high school talent from the Northeast.

    Along with the 5-star recruits listed above, Syracuse has pulled in nine 4-star recruits in the last five years. Impressive!

8. Thad Matta (Ohio State)

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    Recent 5-star Recruits: Jared Sullinger

    Ohio State's Thad Matta has won at least 20 games in each of his 12 seasons as head coach at Butler, Xavier and now at Ohio State.

    You don't have that kind of success by just being a good X's and O's guy.

    Since 2007, the Buckeyes have sent seven first-round picks into the NBA draft.

    Matta's recruiting classes usually have quality and quantity. Along with pulling in Sullinger in 2010, Ohio State has signed 10 4-star recruits in the last four years.

7. Ben Howland (UCLA)

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    Recent 5-star Recruits: Shabazz Muhammad, Kyle Anderson, Josh Smith

    As UCLA's head coach, Ben Howland has gone through times of huge success and huge embarrassment.

    But through the three consecutive Final Fours in 2005-08 and the roller-coaster ride of the last three seasons (56-43 in 2009-12), Howland has still brought in talent.

    He hit the recruiting lottery this past year, signing Muhammad and Anderson (as well as 4-stars Jordan Adams and Tony Parker).

    When he landed Josh Smith in 2010, the Bruins were supposed to be moving back into college basketball's penthouse. Didn't happen.

    With all of the program's recent ups and downs, Howland has also inked eight 4-star recruits since 2009.

6. Tom Crean (Indiana)

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    Recent 5-star Recruits: Cody Zeller, Yogi Ferrell, Noah Vonleh

    It didn't happen quickly. It didn't happen easily.

    But Tom Crean has re-established Indiana basketball and reinserted the Hoosiers back into the national championship discussion.

    While he was rebuilding the program from Day 1 through recruiting, he only reeled in one 4-star recruit (Christian Watford in 2009) before he hit the jackpot with Zeller's signing in 2011.

    Since then, he has signed two more 5-stars in Ferrell (Class of 2012) and Vonleh (2013) and five 4-star recruits.

    Even if Zeller leaves for the NBA after this season, the table is set for extended success in Bloomington.

5. Bill Self (Kansas)

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    Recent 5-star Recruits: Xavier Henry, Elijah Johnson, Josh Selby, Perry Ellis, Wayne Selden

    You don't win eight straight Big 12 regular-season titles like Kansas has without being able to consistently bring in some ballers.

    Bill Self has not only brought in a steady flow of elite players (see above list) over the last five years, but he's also scored nine select 4-stars such as Thomas Robinson (pictured) and Ben McLemore.

    If you just roll back one more year, Self's mega recruiting class of 2008 consisted of six more 4-star players.

4. Sean Miller (Arizona)

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    Recent 5-star Recruits: Nick Johnson, Josiah Turner, Kaleb Tarczewski, Brandon Ashley, Grant Jerrett, Rondae Jefferson

    Sean Miller brings the same blue-collar work ethic to the recruiting trail that helped him be an intense point guard for Pitt back in the day.

    In quick order, Miller has restored Arizona basketball to a place of college hoops excellence.

    When he arrived in Tucson, he had no West Coast recruiting connections. And yet, from the get-go, he was reeling in quality players from back East and out West.

    The above list of elite players reflects Arizona's amazing recruiting haul in the last two-plus years, which yielded back-to-back monster recruiting classes.

    Miller has brought in eight 4-stars since taking over at Arizona, and former U of A All-American Derrick Williams was only rated as a 3-star recruit out of high school.

3. Mike Krzyzewski (Duke)

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    Recent 5-star Recruits: Ryan Kelly, Andre Dawkins, Kyrie Irving, Austin Rivers, Rasheed Sulaimon, Jabari Parker

    Mike Krzyzewski is the winningest coach in college basketball history with a 942-291 record. He has won four NCAA championships and made 11 trips to the Final Four.

    Recruiting is his middle name (actually, it's William). The way you win that many games over that many years is by getting a steady stream of elite-level players coming to campus.

    Along with the outstanding group of 5-stars mentioned above, the Blue Devils have pulled in 10 (count 'em, 10) 4-star recruits, including this year's breakout star, Mason Plumlee.

    Most recently, Jabari Parker's decision to go to Duke demonstrates Coach K's effectiveness at securing the best of the best.

2. Roy Williams (North Carolina)

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    Recent 5-star Recruits: John Henson, Harrison Barnes, Reggie Bullock, James Michael McAdoo, P.J. Hairston, Isaiah Hicks, Kennedy Meeks

    Sometimes it's okay to be second.

    Roy Williams is in second place for coaching wins at both Kansas (second to Phog Allen; 418-101) and North Carolina (second to Dean Smith; 267-72).

    You don't win nearly 700 games, two NCAA championships and seven Final Four appearances without having a ton of talent.

    In the past five years, Williams has not only inked the above players, but also 11 4-star players that have helped the Tar Heels win 125 games in the last four-plus seasons.

    It's a little bit funny that in this ranking, Roy and Coach K are listed side by side. They have gone head-to-head on the court and on the recruiting trail.

    Bottom line: Both men deserve huge props for their success.

1. John Calipari (Kentucky)

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    Recent 5-star Recruits: John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Daniel Orton, Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight, Doron Lamb, Enes Kanter, Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marquis Teague, Kyle Wiltjer, Nerlens Noel, Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress, Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison, Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee and James Young

    John Calipari has established a new gold standard for recruiting. No coach has attracted as much talent all at once.

    He is without a doubt the best recruiter in college basketball.

    Rather than focusing on getting a single elite player in every recruiting class, Calipari is prepared to overturn his entire roster on an annual basis, bringing in multiple exceptional players in every class.

    Over the last five years, Calipari and his staff have reeled in what could be the largest recruiting haul ever: 15 5-star players, and that's not even including five 5-stars he has coming in next season. Wow!

    On top of that, Coach Cal has reeled in five 4-stars.

    Do you want to know how he does it?

    Watch and listen as Calipari shares his thoughts on recruiting on