College Basketball Teams Recruiting Their Way to Contender Status

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 29, 2013

College Basketball Teams Recruiting Their Way to Contender Status

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    Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

    College basketball programs like Duke, Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina are more than likely going to bring in top-rated recruiting classes every season.

    That being said, there are some programs without that level of historical success that are bringing in impact players in the 2014 class. Read on to see five teams in particular that are recruiting their way to contender status.

    Class rankings and individual star and recruiting ratings courtesy of 247sports.com.

SMU

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    Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

    SMU only has one commit for the 2014 class as of now, but that one commit just so happens to be the No. 1 overall player in the country.

    Emmanuel Mudiay, an elite point guard prospect from Texas, took the road less traveled for 5-star recruits and elected to go to SMU. Undoubtedly head coach Larry Brown was a primary reason why, and the Mustangs are in great position going forward in the American Athletic Conference.

    Mudiay is an incredible athletic guard who can muscle his way to the rim and finish through contact. He also has the burst to get by people off the dribble or get out in transition, and his passing is nearly as effective as his scoring.

    SMU is in on a number of other highly regarded prospects, and with plenty of time to go until national signing day, Brown should have the Mustangs poised to contend in their new conference soon.

Seton Hall

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    Seton Hall made a major splash recently when 5-star shooting guard Isaiah Whitehead from New York pledged to join its 2014 class.

    Whitehead is an elite scorer who has the ball-handling skills necessary to get to the rim or blow past people in transition. His perimeter shot is gradually improving, and he can finish through contact in the lane.

    But Whitehead isn’t the only piece Seton Hall is bringing in. Angel Delgado is a 4-star power forward who will give the Pirates a much-needed post presence to go along with Whitehead. Throw in shooting guard Khadeen Carrington and small forward Ismael Sanogo, and Seton Hall is loaded already with four prospects.

    The rest of the Big East is officially on notice.

Providence

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    There are a handful of Big East teams on this list, meaning the conference may be fine heading into the future even without powerhouse programs such as Syracuse, Louisville, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame.

    Providence currently has the No. 15 class in the country behind two early 4-star commitments.

    Jalen Lindsey is a versatile small forward who uses his athleticism and quickness on both ends of the floor. He beats defenders off the dribble, can post up smaller opponents and will get out in transition for easy opportunities.

    Providence also secured a pledge from Paschal Chukwu, who is a massive center that stands taller than 7’0" and weighs in at more than 200 pounds. He is skinny for his height, but his impressive wingspan and leaping ability will lead to plenty of blocked shots and rebounds.   

Alabama

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    While Alabama’s football team continues to knock off every opponent in its path, the basketball squad is quietly recruiting its way to borderline contender status in the SEC.

    The Crimson Tide currently have the No. 14 class in the country with three 4-star commitments, two of which come from Alabama.

    Justin Coleman is a small but explosive point guard who will set the tone for Alabama with harassing defense and dribble penetration. When the defense collapses on him, he will consistently kick it out to open shooters.

    Devin Mitchell is a shooting guard and Riley Norris is a small forward who round out the class for the time being. Both are capable shooters who will help stretch opposing defenses and open the middle for Coleman to get to the rim.  

Xavier

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    Xavier has a sterling reputation as one of the best “mid-major” schools in the country alongside the likes of Gonzaga and VCU among others (you can’t really call those schools mid-major anymore though, especially Xavier in the Big East), but last year was rough for the Musketeers.

    That being said, Chris Mack will have Xavier competing in the Big East quickly if he continues his recruiting momentum in the 2014 class. The Musketeers currently claim the No. 16 class behind three prospects and could land another one before signing day.

    Makinde London is a talented power forward from Florida and is the headliner of the group. He is lengthy and athletic and can score in a number of different ways, including in transition. Combined with guards J.P. Macura and Edmond Sumner, London and his 2014 running mates will be very effective on the pick-and-roll. 

    Look for Xavier to be back challenging the big boys in March very soon.

     

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