CBB Recruiting 2014: Ranking 25 Best Classes After McDonald's All-American Game

Kerry MillerCollege Basketball National AnalystApril 3, 2014

CBB Recruiting 2014: Ranking 25 Best Classes After McDonald's All-American Game

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    With the 2014 NCAA tournament nearing its conclusion and the 2014 McDonald's All-American game taking place Wednesday night, this felt like a great time to re-rank the 25 best incoming recruiting classes.

    There was a lot of great talent on display in Chicago, and (at least) 11 of those 24 players are headed to either Duke, Kentucky or North Carolina next season. Kansas and UCLA will each be adding a pair of McDonald's All-Americans, resulting in a lot of blue-blood schools at the top of the rankings.

    Justin Jackson (North Carolina), Jahlil Okafor (Duke), Emmanuel Mudiay (Southern Methodist), Rashad Vaughn (UNLV) and James Blackmon Jr. (Indiana) were the leading scorers Wednesday night, showcasing the skills that they'll be bringing to their respective schools in a few months.

    Myles Turner was the only player in the game who has yet to declare where he will be playing in November, but we'll have more on him in a bit.

    On the following slides, we utilized team rankings and individual scouting reports from 247Sports.com and ESPN.com. Teams are primarily ordered based on their composite rankings from those two sources. Each team's listed 5-star and 4-star recruits are according to 247Sports.

Last Man Standing

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    There are a few guys on the fringe between 3-star and 4-star recruits who haven't yet declared where they will be playing this fall, but Myles Turner is a unanimous top-five recruit and is the only one in the top 75 who has yet to make a decision.

    Turner said in an interview during ESPN's broadcast of the McDonald's All-American game that he's going to wait until after the Jordan Brand Classic (April 18) to make a decision.

    Whoever gets him will have won the recruiting lottery.

    The 7'0" center is a great shot-blocker who can score, rebound and defend in the paint. And just for good measure, he can shoot it out to the three-point line.

    Turner wasn't particularly assertive in Wednesday night's game, attempting just three shots in 21 minutes of playing time, but he did finish with seven points and seven rebounds after scoring the first bucket just seconds into the game.

    The odds-on favorite to land Turner's services is Texas, but Kansas, Ohio State, Southern Methodist and even Duke (could you imagine?) are still in play.

25. USC Trojans

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    Rankings: No. 28 in 247Sports, No. 25 in ESPN

    Rank on 12/31: NR

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: Jordan McLaughlin (5'11" PG)

     

    What they'll do well: Score in the post

    That might seem like a weird strength with only one highly rated recruit—one who happens to also be less than 6' tall—but McLaughlin is a fantastic finisher at the rim.

    USC has a pair of 3-star centers (Malik Price-Martin and Jabari Craig) as well who could benefit greatly from McLaughlin's occasionally ridiculous vision to find open teammates while weaving through defenders.

     

    Where they'll need work: Strength

    McLaughlin only weighs 165 pounds on a good day, and he could get battered and bruised if he continues driving to the rim in college as much as he has in high school. Both incoming centers are quite slim. USC's other primary recruit, Malik Marquetti, is a bit undersized as well, but he sure can fly.

24. Brigham Young Cougars

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    Rankings: No. 26 in 247Sports, No. 20 in ESPN

    Rank on 12/31: NR

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: T.J. Haws (6'3" SG), Payton Dastrup (6'9" PF)

     

    What they'll do well: Mid-range game

    With Matt Carlino transferring, there may very well be room for T.J. Haws to earn a spot in the starting lineup alongside his brother Tyler. Between the two, expect an awful lot of whistles, as they both refuse to shy away from contact on offense.

    Dastrup is also a physical player with an above-average mid-range game for a guy his size. He may have difficulty finding playing time, though, as there's not a single departing senior on BYU's roster.

     

    Where they'll need work: Athleticism

    Haws and Dastrup are both tough guys who can play through contact, but neither is a particularly great athlete. Haws is quick but not very strong. Dastrup is strong, but he's not much of a leaper or speedster.

23. Providence Friars

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    Rankings: No. 21 in 247Sports, No. 27 in ESPN

    Rank on 12/31: No. 21

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: Paschal Chukwu (7'2" C), Jalen Lindsey (6'6" SF), Ben Bentil (6'8" PF)

     

    What they'll do well: Rebound and defend the interior

    Chukwu is an absolute giant, and Bentil is no small fry in the paint either. Both are exceptional rebounders and shot-blockers and should eventually help the Friars develop into a very difficult team to score against.

     

    Where they'll need work: Assertiveness on offense

    Bryce Cotton did everything for Providence during the 2013-14 season, and these guys won't be the ones to pick up the scoring slack from the departing senior. Of the bunch, Lindsey seems most likely to develop into a reliable scorer, but all three need to become more aggressive to put the ball in the hoop.

22. Syracuse Orange

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    Rankings: No. 23 in 247Sports, No. 22 in ESPN

    Rank on 12/31: No. 20

    5-star recruits: Chris McCullough (6'8" PF)

    4-star recruits: Kaleb Joseph (6'2" PG)

     

    What they'll do well: Be flexible

    Both McCullough and Joseph have been described by scouts as long, lanky and athletic. McCullough can function as either a power forward or a center depending on the team needs. Same goes for Joseph at point guard and shooting guard. They both have a ton of potential and haven't yet been pigeon-holed into a specific position or style.

     

    Where they'll need work: Developing consistency

    With flexibility comes inconsistency. McCullough and Joseph are each described as raw talents who occasionally struggle to know when to be assertive and when to defer to teammates. However, you can't ask for a much better place to develop basketball IQ than with Jim Boeheim.

21. Oklahoma State Cowboys

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    Rankings: No. 19 in 247Sports, No. 26 in ESPN

    Rank on 12/31: No. 22

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: Jared Terrell (6'3" SG), Joe Burton (6'5" SF), Mitch Solomon (6'9" PF)

     

    What they'll do well: Getting to the rim

    Both Burton and Terrell are a bit on the small side, but they have a nose for the rim. Burton has a great baseline jumper that opens up lanes to the hoop, and Terrell can just bowl over anyone in his path.

     

    Where they'll need work: Getting in proper shape for their positions

    Terrell is both undersized and oversized for a shooting guard. He's built like a fullback and can drive to the hoop with the best of them, but his shot is inconsistent and he will struggle against taller guards.

    Burton has played as a combo forward in high school, but he'll barely even be big enough to pass as a small forward without a growth spurt. He does have three-point range, but he isn't very consistent in that department.

    Tough to say what position either of those guys will ultimately end up playing.

20. Virginia Commonwealth Rams

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    Rankings: No. 25 in 247Sports, No. 15 in ESPN

    Rank on 12/31: No. 23

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: Terry Larrier (6'7" SF)

     

    What they'll do well: Running the floor

    VCU only has one 4-star recruit on 247Sports, but Mike Gilmore and Justin Tillman are a pair of lanky power forwards regarded as 4-star guys by ESPN. Between the three of them, Shaka Smart is getting a bunch of explosive big men who can run for days.

     

    Where they'll need work: Tapping into their potential

    All three guys are described as having tremendous upside, but not one of them appears to be quite ready to make an immediate impact. We'll see if it takes a few months or a few years for them to develop into consistent ball-handlers and shooters.

19. Marquette Golden Eagles

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    Rankings: No. 20 in 247Sports, No. 19 in ESPN

    Rank on 12/31: No. 18

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: Ahmed Hill (6'5" SG), Sandy Cohen (6'5" SG/SF), Malik Harris (6'7" SF)

     

    What they'll do well: Make decisions

    Both Harris and Hill have a high basketball IQ and should serve as great, moldable freshmen in Steve Wojciechowski's first year as a head coach. Each 4-star recruit also has range out to the three-point line.

     

    Where they'll need work: Interior play

    Marquette did land a 6'11" transfer from Indiana in the form of Luke Fischer, but 6'7" Steve Taylor Jr. is the Golden Eagles' tallest returning playerand he barely played 10 minutes per game. 

    With Davante Gardner, Chris Otule and Jamil Wilson graduating, Wojo may need to count on some of these incoming guys to play in the post.

18. North Carolina State Wolfpack

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    Rankings: No. 15 in 247Sports, No. 24 in ESPN

    Rank on 12/31: No. 16

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: Abdul Malik Abu (6'8" PF), Caleb Martin (6'7" SF), Cody Martin (6'7" SF)

     

    What they'll do well: Attacking the rim

    For the second straight year, Mark Gottfried is losing a ton of scoring. T.J. Warren is leaving for the NBA, Tyler Lewis recently announced that he will be transferring and Jordan Vandenberg is graduating.

    There's an awful lot of openings in that Wolfpack rotation, and the incoming freshmen have a nose for scoring. Both Martin twins are great slashers, and Abu is a solid rebounder with the footwork you love to see from a big man.

     

    Where they'll need work: Everywhere else on the court

    Abu is a dunk machine, but force him to actually shoot the ball and there's no telling where it'll end up. Neither Martin brother has much of a mid- or long-range game, either.

17. Xavier Musketeers

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    Rankings: No. 16 in 247Sports, No. 18 in ESPN

    Rank on 12/31: No. 13

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruitsTrevon Bluiett (6'6" SF), Makinde London (6'10" PF), J.P. Macura (6'4" SG), Edmond Sumner (6'4" PG)

     

    What they'll do well: Mid-range game

    Bluiett, Macura, Sumner and even London each has a solid mid-range shot with the ability to stretch out to beyond the three-point line. With the exception of Bluiett, they're all on the slender side, so it's nice that they won't need to battle in the paint to get bucketsthough their offensive rebounding percentages could be dreadful. 

     

    Where they'll need work: On-ball defense

    London is a solid shot-blocker, but the rest of the group gets beat pretty regularly on the defensive end of the court. They're all good scorers, but they're not good enough to get away with minimal defense.

16. Indiana Hoosiers

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    Rankings: No. 18 in 247Sports, No. 17 in ESPN

    Rank on 12/31: No. 17

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: James Blackmon Jr. (6'3" SG), Robert Johnson (6'3" SG)

     

    What they'll do well: Three-point shooting

    We wrote in December that Blackmon Jr. might be the deadliest three-point shooter in this year's class, and he proved it by winning the McDonald's All-American three-point contest. He added 13 points in the actual game too.

    Johnson has a very nice three-point stroke as well.

     

    Where they'll need work: Secondary strength

    While both are silky smooth long-range jump shooters, neither Blackmon Jr. nor Johnson is overwhelmingly athletic. Sometimes, exceptional shooters can get away with not doing much else on the courtsee: Bader, Travis. Other times, though, they struggle to even find consistent playing timesee: Dawkins, Andre.

    If either Blackmon Jr. or Johnson can just develop a complement to his jump shotbe it driving, passing, defending or something elseit would lead to more playing time and a more immediate impact at the college level.

     

15. San Diego State Aztecs

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    Rankings: No. 13 in 247Sports, No. 16 in ESPN

    Rank on 12/31: No. 15

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: Malik Pope (6'8" SF), Zylan Cheatham (6'7" PF), Trey Kell (6'4" SG)

     

    What they'll do well: Positional flexibility

    Kell is a prolific long-range shooter and can score from anywhere on the court. Cheatham has the skill to be a point-forward (watch the no-look, left-handed pass that the right-handed Cheatham makes at the 35-second mark of the above video). And Pope has the size, strength and stroke to play anywhere between shooting guard and power forward.

    This will be a fun team to watch over the next couple of seasons.

     

    Where they'll need work: Fundamentals

    Pope doesn't grab rebounds with both hands. Kell doesn't slide his feet well on defense. Cheatham doesn't have much of a jump shot.

    These three guys definitely have the athleticism to excel. They'll just need to work on some of the basics.

14. Stanford Cardinal

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    Rankings: No. 14 in 247Sports, No. 13 in ESPN

    Rank on 12/31: No. 14

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: Reid Travis (6'7" PF), Michael Humphrey (6'9" PF), Robert Cartwright (6'2" PG)

     

    What they'll do well: Post play

    With the exception of Jahlil Okafor and Myles Turner, Travis simply looked like the biggest man in the McDonald's All-American game. As Jay Williams commented during ESPN's broadcast of the game, "Reid Travis looks like he has been outside chopping wood since the age of four."

    He's a little smaller than Julius Randle, but he could definitely develop into a less dominant version of him. Not only is he not afraid of contact, but he seems to crave it. Depending on his ability to hit free throws, he could immediately fill one of the voids in Stanford's starting rotation caused by the graduation of Dwight Powell and Josh Huestis.

    The Cardinal will also be getting Humphrey, who is very tall but also still very raw, having not grown up playing basketball.

     

    Where they'll need work: Quickness

    Travis is a big dude, but he is hardly fleet of foot. Cartwright isn't particularly speedy, either. Humphrey runs the floor well, but he's still learning the game.

13. Maryland Terrapins

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    Rankings: No. 10 in 247Sports, No. 14 in ESPN

    Rank on 12/31: No. 9

    5-star recruits: None

    4-star recruits: Melo Trimble (6'2" PG), Dion Wiley (6'3" SG), Jared Nickens (6'6" SF), Trayvon Reed (7'1" C)

     

    What they'll do well: Three-point shooting

    Nickens, Trimble and Wiley are regarded as prolific catch-and-shoot players on the perimeter. Along with Jake Layman and Evan Smotrycz, Maryland will just about always have a trio of three-point shooters on the court.

    Trimble played in the McDonald's All-American game, but he failed to connect on any of his four field-goal attempts. Nowhere to go but up? He'll be in the mix with Seth Allen and Roddy Peters for minutes at point guard.

     

    Where they'll need work: Ball-handling

    All three of the perimeter guys will need to work on being able to create his own shot off the dribble. They could also benefit from some coaching as on-ball defenders.

12. Seton Hall Pirates

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    Rankings: No. 12 in 247Sports, No. 10 in ESPN

    Rank on 12/31: No. 11

    5-star recruits: Isaiah Whitehead (6'4" SG)

    4-star recruits: Angel Delgado (6'9" PF)

     

    What they'll do well: Finishing at the rim

    Delgado isn't a very good shooter, but he'll get a lot of offensive rebounds and put-back dunks. He has a nose for the ball and great athleticism.

    Whitehead is really going to be something special. There aren't very many one-and-done type of guys in this year's class, but he could be one of them. He is an outstanding scorer from all parts of the court and is an excellent passer.

    He didn't get much playing time in the McDonald's All-American game, but he still finished the night with six points and one impressed scout.

     

    Where they'll need work: Finishing elsewhere

    Whitehead's jumper has improved drastically, but he still prefers to do his damage at the rim when he can. Delgado has developed a bit of a hook shot, but he really shouldn't be shooting from anywhere outside the semicircle in which you're not allowed to draw a charge.

11. Florida Gators

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    Rankings: No. 8 in 247Sports, No. 12 in ESPN

    Rank on 12/31: No. 10

    5-star recruits: Devin Robinson (6'8" SF/PF)

    4-star recruits: Brandone Francis (6'5" SG), Chris Chiozza (5'10" PG)

     

    What they'll do well: Ball-handling

    Chiozza is an exceptional point guard. (Watch the two sequences in the above video starting at the 36-second mark.) He isn't rated super highly because of his height and his reliance on finishing in the paint, but that hasn't stopped Jahii Carson from developing into a fantastic player for Arizona State.

    Francis and Robinson are also plenty capable of putting the ball on the floor and scoring in the pull-up game.

     

    Where they'll need work: Defense

    All three guys could be critical components on offense, but you won't get far in Billy Donovan's system without learning how to play solid defense.

10. Kansas Jayhawks

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    Rankings: No. 17 in 247Sports, No. 8 in ESPN

    Rank on 12/31: No. 8

    5-star recruits: Cliff Alexander (6'9" PF), Kelly Oubre (6'7" SG/SF)

    4-star recruits: None

     

    What they'll do well: Commanding the paint

    Both of Kansas' top recruits competed in the McDonald's All-American game, and both were impressive.

    Alexander was playing with a heavily bandaged right hand, which he injured in the dunk contest. It unquestionably caused him to miss a few could-have-been-highlight-reel-alley-oop dunks, but he still finished the night with nine points, 11 rebounds and a block.

    As Cameron Schott w