Recruiting is the lifeblood of elite college basketball programs. If coaches and their staffs do not consistently bring in top-level talent, then their program is not going to stay competitive or even relevant for very long.
The programs themselves are a major recruiting factor in pulling in the best of the best high school players. These are "destination programs" that blue-chip players are interested in before they are ever contacted by the coaching staff.
There is no formula for elite programs' recruiting effectiveness. One thing is true: Coaches in these programs are not restricted to local or statewide prospects.
Since John Calipari (pictured) arrived in Lexington, he has signed 25 of his 29 recruits from outside of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Syracuse's Jim Boeheim targets players from the northeast region of the United States and Canada.
Indiana's Tom Crean is a little more balanced in his approach. He successfully draws from his massive in-state talent pool, but he has also inked almost 60 percent of his recruits since arriving in Bloomington from outside the Hoosier state.
Arizona's Sean Miller has maintained his East Coast recruiting roots while quickly establishing in-roads out west.
The best coaches are selective in going after players whose skills match their system. They look for talent that matches their style of play.
There's no reason to go after a bunch of hulking low-post beasts if you want to keep the lane open for your slashers and gashers. Why target combo guards if what you really want is a true PG to run your show?
In his ESPN Insider (subscription required) article “How Much Does Recruiting Matter,” Drew Cannon states that “landing top-100 talent is absolutely paramount to building a national title contender.”
Cannon continues to make his point by stating that from 2002-2011 "the eight best recruiting programs accounted for all nine national championships."
It doesn't get much more simple than that.