College Basketball: Next Year's Top Class
As Michael Beasley is calling a press conference Monday evening to, presumably, announce his jump to the next level, I got to thinking what about next year's class of top freshmen, and who we'll be watching come March.
While the Georgetown Hoyas nabbed scout.com's top player in the upcoming class, 6'10" power forward Greg Monroe, UCLA has signed the top recruiting class for 2008, with two five-star players, according to scout.com, and the top shooting guard and number two point guard. Talk about reloading! So, while they've addressed the point guard question if Darren Collison departs, they will have a huge hole in the paint if Kevin Love enters the draft.
The Ohio State Buckeyes moved up to the number two recruiting class ranking by landing commitments with two five-star players. Led by 6'6" small forward Terrelle Pryor, 7'0" center B.J. Mullens and 6'4" shooting guard William Buford, the NIT champs will look to make it back to the NCAA championship field of 65 with their eyes on the bigger prize.
The Georgetown Hoyas claimed the third spot, with the aforementioned Monroe and 6'10" center Henry Sims and 6'8" power forward Chris Braswell. Of their four recruits, three are from the Baltimore and Virginia areas, so the Hoyas picked up some serious local talent.
In a surprise to many, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons have the fourth best class for 2008. They signed three players, two of which are five-star players, led by 7'0" center Ty Walker out of Wilmington, NC, and 6'8" small forward Al-Farouq Aminu from Norcross, GA. Also on the list is 6'10" center Tony Woods.
Surely, the Demon Deacons will be contenders in the ACC next season.
The Louisville Cardinals move into the top five with five commitments, with one five-star and two four-star players. Rick Pitino will have the top-ranked center in 6'8" Samardo Samuels. This five-tool player was an all-star at the Nike camp as a freshman, and has been compared to Eddy Curry.
The North Carolina Tar Heels have the sixth spot, with three new players and two five-star commitments. With 6'11" Tyler Zeller and 6'8" Ed Davis, the Heels will have some more size in the middle. If Tyler Hansbrough stays for his senior year, UNC will be the front runner again for the national title.
The up-and-down season for the Arizona Wildcats made them go out and look for some new talent. So, they went out and signed the number one point guard in Brandon Jennings, out of Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. With the departure of Jerryd Bayless, Arizona will be looking to rebuild, and they may have accomplished that by signing 6'11" center Jeff Withey and 6'7" power forward Emmanuel Negedu.
The young Florida Gators claim the eighth spot with five players of their own. Their top recruit is 6'10" center Kenny Kadji out of Bradenton, FL. Their class is also rounded out by three four-star players and 5'8" Erving Walker. Good to see the little guys still get some love.
The team with the most needs may be the Kansas Jayhawks, because of all the upperclassmen departing, and they have the ninth best new class. Four of their six new studs are four-star players, led by 6'8" small forward Marcus Morris, 6'9" power forward Markieff Morris, 6'7" power forward Quintrell Thomas and 6'4" shooting guard Travis Releford. Once thing's for sure: they will have some size next season.
Finally, rounding out the top ten is Mississippi State and their two four-star recruits. 6'8" power forward Romero Osby and 6'1" shooting guard Dee Bost will look to improve the Bulldogs for next season.
Other notable classes include Oregon with five new players; one five-star and two four-star. Florida State has six new kids coming in, and four of them are four-star recruits. Washington has four rookies, all of whom are four-star players. Kentucky and Michigan State both signed three guys with one five-star player among them.
The Duke Blue Devils added two kids with one a five-star player. The Connecticut Huskies added three new recruits, with one five-star player, while Nevada and USC each signed four with one five-star player.
Of course, it's too early to project how much impact these new kids will have, but it's always fun to debate each new class.
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