Nov. 11 was a great day for the Texas A&M basketball program. As I mention in my 2009-2010 preview of the team, the depth of their front line will not be there like it has been in recent years.
What is coach Mark Turgeon's response? Sign four power forwards, three of which are ranked nationally by recruiting magazines and ESPN.
According to ESPN college basketball analyst Bob Gibbons:
"The four players that the Aggies signed have positioned them to have a surefire top-15 recruiting class," Gibbons said. "When all the dust settles, it could be ranked even higher. No school in America has assembled a class with this much size, length, versatility, and athleticism. Mark Turgeon and his staff are known for doing things the right way and continue to bring top talent to Texas A&M."
Each of the four recruits is 6'8" or taller, and with three of them still in high school and one who graduated in 2009, they are still growing.
Turgeon is very proud of this recruiting class, as he should be.
"I'm very excited about our 2010 signing class," Turgeon said. "These guys are great kids and come from great families. This class has a great balance of length, skill and athleticism. It's great to be able to keep Texas kids home and in the Big 12. This class is made up of high character kids who will mesh greatly with the current players in our Aggie basketball family."
Tobi Oyedeji headlines the class and is the top-rated senior in Houston coming into this season, after averaging 15 points and 12 rebounds as a junior. Tobi is very excited about coming to play for A&M:
"Coach Turgeon knows how to develop big men. He did a great job of developing Chinemelu Elonu last season. The basketball program has become one of the best in the country and has become a program that wins every year. A&M's facilities are big time. It has everything that you need to be successful. I'm really close with Coach Turgeon and I know the future is bright at A&M. Some of the guys talk about being the first A&M squad to get to the Final Four. That's exciting and I want to be a part of what is going on there."
Probably the most encouraging thing I read is people comparing him to Dikembe Mutumbo, mainly because he is an exceptional defender and rebounder, and impacts the game on more than just one end of the floor. This type of player will flourish at A&M, known for their tough defensive play.
Daniel Alexander is another recruit who made just about every top 100 list in the country. His role will be similar to Antanas Kavaliauskas' was, and not just because he is tall and white. Much like AK, Alexander can step outside and hit the three one play, then kill you in the post the next.
"I love their playing style. It's more of a motion and more of a fluent game. All the players are genuine guys and they're not worried about themselves. It's like a family and it's an `all for one, one for all' attitude with them," said Alexander.
Keith Davis was the only one who was not in the ESPN top 100 list for the 2010 High School class, but some feel like he could have the greatest impact.
"Keith Davis, who is a little under the radar but is one of the steals of the class," ESPN recruiting analyst Mike LaPlante said. "Davis could potentially be the best of the group. There were not a lot of quality bigs out there this year and A&M managed to get four of them."
Keith is very excited to play for A&M, and there were several factors that played into his decision:
"I like how the team gets after the other team on defense and the way they run. It's great to see a team that actually wants to play defense and wants to run up and down the floor. It came down to which staff I was more comfortable with, the depth chart and being close to home and my mother. We all agreed that on these points, A&M was the best fit."
Davis is the total package of offense, defense, and athleticism. He will dominate the game on the inside then force you to play him deep my knocking down the 15-foot jumpers.
Kourtney Roberson is not in the ESPNU top 100 for this class, but he was in 2009. He graduated high school from Louisiana then did a year of school at the Christian Life Academy in Houston.
He was considered the top prospect in Louisiana this past year, but wanted to wait a year. Roberson has some history with A&M, as he is the half-brother of Bernard King. King is A&M's all time leading scorer and three-point shooter.
Roberson knows what it means to be an Aggie, and it will show up on the basketball court.
"A&M is a great school academically, and I really like the closeness of the coaches and players. I felt comfortable there and my brother said it was a great place to go to school. I like how A&M treated me and it's a good school. It's a good fit for me," said Roberson.
I think it is safe to say A&M's relevance as a major basketball program is not going anywhere anytime soon.
Information gathered from AggieAthletics.com.