Let’s get one thing clear before we delve into the best 2013 recruiting classes among mid-major programs.
The vast majority of schools on this list have advanced past the “mid-major” label that is so often bestowed upon them (and officially will once conference realignment finally settles), but for the collective purposes of this article we are listing these schools based on their conference position in the 2012-13 season.
That being said, read on to see the five best 2013 recruiting class among mid-majors.
Prospect ratings and scouting reports are courtesy of Scout.com.
Brad Stevens’ 2013 class brings both quantity and quality to Butler after a heartbreaking NCAA tournament loss to Marquette finished the season. The Bulldogs are adding a 3-star center (Nolan Berry), a 3-star power forward (Andrew Chrabascz) and two 3-star shooting guards (Elijah Brown and Rene Castro) to the fold.
Chrabascz (6’7”) is an inch shorter than Berry and plays the power forward position, but he is actually the bulkier of the two frontcourt additions. He can play facing the rim or bang around down low and will pair well with Berry, who brings more of a finesse game to the table.
As for the backcourt, Castro gives the Bulldogs an elite athletic presence who can play either guard spot and defend at a high level. Butler will look to combine Castro’s ability to get in the lane with Brown’s perimeter jumper and slashing tendencies.
Any time a “mid-major” program can shore up both the backcourt and frontcourt in one recruiting class, it was a productive offseason.
That is exactly what Stevens did.
Butler’s old Atlantic 10 running mates at Dayton also crack the list of the top five mid-major recruiting classes of 2013.
The Flyers will add three newcomers next season, including 4-star prospect Kyle Davis.
The Chicago-native can play either the point or shooting guard spot and will have no issues getting out in transition for the Flyers. He is the type of blue-chip commit that can pay dividends for a program like Dayton.
Davis will be joined by fellow Chicagoan Kendall Pollard, who will play the small forward spot for Dayton. Pollard is incredibly athletic and will utilize his length and quickness to finish at the rim and bother opponents on defense.
Throw in point guard Dayshon Smith, and the Flyers will be ready to run for the foreseeable future.
The scoring abilities and athleticism of each of the three incoming freshmen should have Dayton fans ready for tip off already.
UTEP is not a basketball program that often lands on the top of recruiting lists, but that is not the case for 2013.
The Miners are bringing in two 4-star building blocks and two additional pieces to help with depth. Isaac Hamilton is one of those building blocks at the shooting guard position. He will have one primary responsibility from the start of his collegiate career—score.
He can attack the rim, hit from mid-range and will also be able to set up teammates off the dribble.
The other 4-star piece is Vince Hunter, who will play the role of stretch-forward who can put the ball in the basket from the inside or mid-range. He will also be a high-scorer that will help UTEP return to legitimacy quicker than expected.
Guards Josh Brown and Andre Spight round out a class as additional pieces that will give the Miners more depth.
Each may see the floor some next year, but this class is all about Hunter and Hamilton.
BYU made it a priority this offseason to build up its frontcourt, and that is exactly what the Cougars did.
BYU brought in two centers and two power forwards, each of which stands 6’7” or 6’8”.
Eric Mika is the 4-star center that headlines that group. He will score on the blocks and clean up the glass, all while aggressively mixing it up in the paint.
Nick Emery is the other crowned jewel in BYU’s recruiting class, although he is much shorter in stature than the other four. The 6’2” shooting guard isn’t the best athlete in the country, but he is nearly automatic with the jumper when he has it going.
Luke Worthington, Jakob Hartsock and Braiden Shaw round out this impressive group for the Cougars. It is certainly a formidable bunch that should help BYU compete with Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s in the WCC.
In fact, there is only one mid-major program that brings in a better recruiting class.
While the other mid-major classes on this list are impressive in their own right, Memphis’ is the crowned jewel.
In fact, the Tigers’ class stacks up with anyone else in the country not named Kentucky.
Memphis is adding five prospects next season, one of which is 5-star stud Nick King.
King is the prototypical small forward in today’s versatility-driven basketball world. He is incredibly strong, stands at 6’6” and weighs 210 pounds, is athletic enough to get to the basket or out in transition and has a reliable perimeter jumper.
King will be joined by four 4-star players. Rashawn Powell and Markel Crawford shore up the backcourt, while Austin Nichols and Kuran Iverson add size and length to the frontcourt.
Powell is the type of floor general that can score or set up teammates—something that all coaches covet. Throw him in with the high-scoring Crawford, and Memphis is set at guard.
Nichols is the Tigers’ prize for a hard-fought recruiting battle. He is a local kid that is versatile on the court and can score and defend. Frontcourt mate Iverson is the type of stretch-forward that can score from the outside or post.
Memphis will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come in the new American Athletic Conference thanks to this class (assuming King stays for a while).