Analyzing How Top-Ranked Recruits Will Change CBB Landscape in 2013-14
The upcoming recruiting class is loaded at the top with indecisive superstar talents. Three of the top four recruits have yet to decide which campuses they will patrol next season.
With three flicks of a pen, Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon will send a seismic wave through the college basketball world.
Here is a breakdown of where the three phenoms are looking to go and just how big of an impact each might have on their respective programs whenever they make their decisions.
The Favorite: Florida State
Taking his talents to Tallahassee would be in Wiggins' best interest. He is very familiar with the program since his father played there. His current teammate, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, is also heading there next season.
Wiggins recently won the Naismith Award as the best high school player in the country. To be realistic, there is very little chance Wiggins will stay in college longer than one season. The best thing for him to do would be to go somewhere he feels comfortable and could also be featured as the unquestioned star of the team.
Florida State is nearing the end of a very mediocre season in the ACC. At 15-14, they are not going anywhere. Senior guard Michael Snaer leads the team in scoring and assists. Upon his graduation, Wiggins will have no one standing in his way on the Seminoles. He will have full reign to take on the ACC and destroy the entire conference.
The Underdog: Kansas
Not many programs can replace talent the way Bill Self does with the Jayhawks. Year in and year out they lose top players to the NBA and seem to not miss a beat.
When guard Ben McLemore leaves to become a top pick after this season, there will be an Andrew Wiggins-sized hole at Kansas.
The Jayhawks already have five recruits coming in next year with only one scholarship remaining, (unless McLemore leaves in which case they'll have two). Wiggins is set to visit Kansas on Sunday, and an unlikely commitment could solidify yet another Big 12 title for the Jayhawks. Kansas is not typically known for being a "one-and-done" program, so that could impact Wiggins' decision in the long run.
The Dark Horse: Kentucky
As a lifelong fan, one can only hope that the basketball gods will not allow this matchup to happen.
With Andrew and Aaron Harrison, James Young, Dakari Johnson and Marcus Lee coming in, there will only be so much scoring to go around. Wiggins coming in would result in six 5-star freshmen on the roster. While Kentucky would most assuredly stomp through the SEC and start the season ranked No. 1, Wiggins would not have ample opportunities to showcase his supreme talent.
The 2013-14 season might as well not even be played if Wiggins falls into John Calipari's lap. The balance of power would all shift to Lexington and anyone else winning the title would be a travesty.
The Favorite: Kansas
Kansas is wooing Randle quite hard, as well as his mother. With five spots in their starting lineup opening next year, there will be room for the 6'9" Dallas native along the front line.
Although they have the aforementioned big recruiting class coming in next year, Randle is better suited to adapt to a system like Ben McLemore and Thomas Robinson have done for Bill Self. Randle will still have his opportunity to shine.
Randle would solidify Kansas atop the rankings next year. While they don't need the help, he would make an already scary team a devastating bunch.
The Underdog: Kentucky
Randle is just another Christmas present that the Scrooge John Calipari is trying to steal from under the recruiting tree.
With his plethora of freshmen every year, Calipari has shown that he can catapult his prospects into being NBA stars. Kentucky has been a springboard of NBA talent during his tenure.
The question mark lies in the fact that there could be a logjam in the front court with Young and Lee coming in. Sophomore Kyle Wiltjer will likely be back and eating some of Randle's minutes as well.
If Randle truly intends to be a one-and-done player, it could ultimately decide which program he picks between Kentucky and Kansas.
The Dark Horse: N.C. State
Randle said that N.C. State was his best visit so far, as of a month ago. While in town, he saw the Wolf Pack take down Duke and got to catch up with his friend, N.C. State guard Rodney Purvis.
The Pack has come on strong in recent years as they have begun to make noise in the ACC. They have drastically underwhelmed this year and failed to live up to their preseason No. 6 ranking. That does not bode well for their recruiting as they have the talent to win but have not done so.
State could provide Randle the opportunity to really showcase his abilities more than he would be able to at Kansas or Kentucky. N.C. State would be back in business among the elites of the ACC with one quick signing of the nation's No. 3 recruit.
The Favorite: Arizona
Sean Miller prides himself on running a player's program down in Tucson. He prides himself on defense and does not tolerate a player who thinks he is bigger than the team, as shown by kicking highly touted recruits Josiah Turner and Sidiki Johnson from the 2011 class to the curb before the end of their freshman seasons.
The Blake Griffin clone has expressed his desire to stay on the West Coast. Despite also flirting with Kentucky, Arizona has emerged as the favorite to land his jaw-dropping athletic services.
With top 10 recruits in freshmen Kaleb Tarczewski, Brandon Ashley and Grant Jerrett all likely returning for their sophomore seasons, Gordon will likely have to log minutes at the 3. Miller is known for developing players very well and could turn Gordon into a knockdown shooter.
Arizona has a leg up on the competition because Gordon has expressed interest in winning a championship. They have the glory and the reputation that could entice Gordon to head south.
The Underdog: Washington
Gordon's familiarity with coach Lorenzo Romar, coupled with the Huskies' subpar season, make Washington a legitimate contender for his services.
His decision will likely come down to whether he wants to be the main star on an above-average team, or a big part of a national championship contender. Romar has been close with Gordon's family for years, making Washington an obvious fit.
Gordon heading north would shift the balance of power in the Pac-12. Washington would instantly be able to ride their new stud to a possible conference title if Gordon lives up to his hype, and if his hype lives up to his vertical, Washington could be in for a real treat.
The Dark Horse: Oregon
The Ducks are late to the party. They are the guests that showed up fashionably late but quickly became the life of the party by bringing all of the beverages.
Frat party comparisons aside, Oregon has had a big rebound season in the Pac-12. They are currently in first place at 23-6. Oregon's ties to Nike and recent success should turn some heads on the Gordon front.
At Oregon, Gordon will have free reign to do as he pleases. The team will live and die with him and go only as far as they can ride him. They will still remain a force if Gordon makes the surprising decision to stay close to home.
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