SEC basketball is having a pretty tough year, with there being a real possibility that the league could only get two teams into the NCAA tournament.
Luckily for the league, its recruiting has been better than its on-court performance in 2013. Kentucky has once again signed the best class in the country, which is no surprise. Then, teams like Florida, LSU, Tennessee and Arkansas have added some highly-regarded players. Because of the influx of talent, the league should not find itself in the same situation next year.
Here is a report card for every SEC team’s 2013 recruiting class.
Overview: Alabama’s class currently consists of two frontcourt players in Jimmie Taylor and Shannon Hale. They are both promising prospects ranked in the top 100 on Rivals.com who could provide some immediate depth down low. Hale can put the ball in the basket and has a nice face-up game.
Top Recruit: C Jimmie Taylor (6’9”, 220 pounds). Taylor is long and athletic. He should be able to impact the game on the defensive end early on, but Taylor will need to bulk up a bit to fulfill his potential.
Overview: Mike Anderson has two commits for the class of 2013, and both players are highly rated post players. Anderson got an early commitment from in-state prospect Bobby Portis, the No. 17 overall recruit by Rivals.com, who headlines the class, and Moses Kingsley came on board in the fall. Both are long and athletic, making them a perfect fit for Anderson’s defensive pressure.
Top Recruit: C Bobby Portis (6’10", 225 pounds). Portis saw his stock skyrocket late in his high school career, making Anderson happy he got in on Portis early. He is big, athletic and skilled, a fantastic combination for any post player.
Overview: Tony Barbee has a four-man recruiting class on its way to Auburn next year, and the Tigers brought in a nice blend of backcourt and frontcourt help. Tahj Shamsid-Deen and Dion Wade should improve the talent level on the perimeter. Barbee also signed big men Ronald Delph and Benas Griciunas.
Top Recruit: PG Tahj Shamsid-Deen (5’10”, 150 pounds). Shamsid-Deen does not have elite size. However, he is quick, can handle the ball well and put the ball in the basket.
Overview: With just two players, Florida’s class is not big on quantity, but it is huge on quality. Point guard Kasey Hill and power forward Chris Walker are both top 10 recruits according to Rivals.com, and both possess elite athleticism. They should be an excellent addition to what will be an experienced team next year in Gainesville.
Top Recruit: PG Kasey Hill (6’1”, 160 pounds). Hill is incredibly athletic and can finish above the rim. He can make plays off the dribble and is a good passer, but Hill needs to improve his outside shot.
Overview: Currently, Georgia has two players who make up the 2013 class. Both are perimeter players in point guard J.J. Frazier and shooting guard Juwan Parker. The Bulldogs will need some help in the backcourt, especially if Kentavious Caldwell-Pope elects to enter the NBA draft.
Top Recruit: PG J.J. Frazier (5’10”, 155 pounds). Frazier does not have great size, but he can put the ball in the basket. That means he should make an immediate impact for Georgia, which has had its difficulties on offense this season.
Overview: Once again, John Calipari has put together the top recruiting class in the country, and he might not be finished. Brothers Andrew and Aaron Harrison will solidify the backcourt. James Young is one of the best wings in the class, and Dakari Johnson is an elite big man. Kentucky is still in the running for Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon. If the Wildcats get one of those players, this group will be in the discussion for best recruiting class of all time.
Top Recruit: PG Andrew Harrison (6’5”, 205 pounds). Harrison should step in and immediately be the answer at point guard. He has excellent size for the position, and his intangibles make him a natural leader.
Overview: Johnny Jones has put together an excellent 2013 recruiting class that brings in a lot of frontcourt help. Five-star forward Jarell Martin highlights the big-man haul that also includes post player Jordan Mickey. The Tigers have five players in the class who are 6’7” or taller. Tim Quarterman is a 6’5” guard who will provide depth on the perimeter next year.
Top Recruit: PF Jarell Martin (6’9”, 220 pounds). Martin is ranked the No. 12 overall recruit in the class, according to Rivals.com. He is raw because he has not played a lot of organized basketball, Martin he has a ton of upside with great athleticism and a nice touch.
Overview: Andy Kennedy has a three-man recruiting class signed that provides some frontcourt depth, something that is needed with the graduation of Murphy Holloway and Reginald Buckner. Dwight Coleby and Sebastian Saiz are both 6’9”. The class has a little international flavor. Saiz is from Spain while wing Janari Joessar is from Estonia.
Top Recruit: C Dwight Coleby (6’9”, 220 pounds). Coleby is long and athletic with a great motor. He should contribute defensively shortly after arriving in Oxford, but it might take him some time to develop his offensive skills.
Overview: Rick Ray needs as many capable bodies in his program as he can find. Ray went the junior college route for wing Travis Daniels. He also added point guard Imara Ready and center Fallou Ndoye. De’Runnya Wilson is a football signee who plans on walking on to the basketball team.
Top Recruit: PG Imara Ready (5’10”, 160 pounds). Ready is a pass-first point guard who Ray likes. He needs to become more of a scoring threat.
Overview: Frank Haith will lose a lot of seniors this year, and he needed to sign a talented recruiting class to reload the program with talent. Haith did just that with versatile forward Johnathan Williams III headlining the four-man class. Point guard Wesley Clark was also an important get, especially if Phil Pressey enters the NBA draft.
Top Recruit: PF Johnathan Williams III (6’9”, 210 pounds). Haith went down to Memphis to sign Williams, and he was an important pick-up. He has great size and excellent skill. Williams should contribute immediately in a variety of ways.
Overview: Frank Martin needs to inject talent in his program if he wants to turn South Carolina around. The 2013 recruiting class is a nice start. Wing Sindarius Thornwell will play a big role as soon as he steps on campus, and center Desmond Ringer will provide some toughness down low. Martin also signed guard Justin McKie, the son of former South Carolina great B.J. McKie.
Top Recruit: SF Sindarius Thornwell (6’5”, 180 pounds). Thornwell will contribute immediately because he brings something that South Carolina sorely needs: scoring. He is athletic and can finish around the basket.
Overview: Tennessee returns a lot next year, and this class should supplement the talent that is already in place. Robert Hubbs highlights a three-man class that brings a little bit of everything to the table. Point guard Travon Landry should be a capable back-up to Trae Golden next year, and A.J. Davis, the son of former NBA player Antonio Davis, is a versatile forward.
Top Recruit: SG Robert Hubbs (6’5”, 180 pounds). Hubbs is the No. 15 recruit in the country, according to Rivals.com. With his athleticism, he should be physically ready for the college game, and because the Vols return a lot of talent on the perimeter, Hubbs won’t be expected to do too much too early.
Overview: Billy Kennedy has signed four players for his 2013 recruiting class, but he could receive additional help. Ricky Seals-Jones is a football commit who expressed interest to play basketball, too. Wing Davanta Fitzgerald has an impressive offer list, and guard Chad Frazier is a junior college transfer who could provide help sooner than later.
Top Recruit: C Tony Trocha (6’10”, 210 pounds). Trocha is an intriguing prospect who garnered some interest for several big-name schools late in the recruiting process. He is originally from Colombia and is very raw. He has good athleticism but may need some time to develop.
Overview: Vanderbilt does not have a senior on its roster, and Kevin Stallings didn’t have much room for the 2013 class. With that in mind, he could be picky with his available scholarship, and Stallings signed Damian Jones out of Baton Rouge, at top 100 player, according to Rivals.com.
Top Recruit: C Damian Jones (6’9”, 210 pounds). Jones has tremendous upside and will have plenty of time to develop given Vanderbilt’s veteran roster next season.