Once upon a time, college basketball recruiting was done with an eye toward the future.
These days, at least for the big boys, rosters are built over one or two years and then turn over quickly. Take a look back at the 2010 class for instance.
The consensus top class was Kentucky. All six players are no longer Wildcats. The teams that Rivals.com and ESPN.com had in the next two spots were Memphis and Ohio State. Only two of the seven players Josh Pastner signed—Joe Jackson and Chris Crawford—figure to make an impact as seniors; the rest or gone and one is a benchwarmer. Only two of Ohio State's six-man class that year—Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr.—are still in Columbus.
If you were to re-rank that 2010 class based on what the teams have left, Florida, No. 19 by Rivals.com that year, would be No. 1, and Michigan State—No. 11 by Rivals and No. 10 according to ESPN—would probably be No. 2 with two impact players, Adreian Payne and Keith Appling, making it to their senior seasons.
Look at the 2011 class, and it's a similar story. UK was the consensus No. 1; all four signees are no longer around. Texas was ranked eighth by both Rivals and ESPN, and Jonathan Holmes is the lone ranger left from that class of six.
Two years ago, no one would have predicted that. So projecting the impact of the current 2013 class in two years is no easy task. In the short term, it's pretty clear: Kentucky is the No. 1 class; Kansas, with Andrew Wiggins, is a clear No. 2.
But if we were to re-rank those classes in two years based on what's left, the rankings would look a lot different.
John Calipari may not care—especially if his current class wins him a title in 2014—but it's still possible to recruit with an eye toward the future. Rick Pitino just won a national title with four juniors and a senior in his rotation. (One of those juniors, Luke Hancock, was a transfer.) Michigan State is a title contender because of the players Tom Izzo has developed and held on to.
With that in mind, let's take a look at the 2013 class and predict who will have the best class of what's left once these players become upperclassmen.