Drake Basketball

ESPN Ranks Drake Bulldogs' Recruiting Class First in MVC

TAMPA, FL - MARCH 21:  The Drake Bulldogs bench celebrates a play during their game against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament West Regional at the St. Pete Times Forum on March 21, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images
Tim WeidemanAnalyst IDecember 2, 2009

For the second year in a row, ESPN.com ranked the Drake Bulldog's basketball recruiting class of 2010 the best in the Missouri Valley Conference.

According to Scouts Inc., which compiled a list of the best recruiting classes for each NCAA Division I conference in conjunction with ESPN, the future appears bright for Bulldog basketball.

According to ESPN's article, Drake's three recruits of the early fall signing period—PG Karl Madison, SF Jeremy Jeffers and SF Rayvonte Rice—give the Bulldogs a combination of perimeter size, strength and skill. The class can "hit the three or score through contact on physical drives."

ESPN named Madison the Bulldogs' top incoming player stating: "Madison is a true point guard and a leader on the floor. He can play fast or slow, and takes great care of the ball. He can knock down the open three and find the open man when he draws a crowd."

Drake Head Coach Mark Phelps said in a press release that the ranking and attention for Drake "bodes well for the future of the program."

"This is great news that people are recognizing the fact that we're bringing in good players," Phelps said.

In the meantime, the Bulldogs need to focus on the present rather than the future as they open a very sweepable four-game home stretch. Drake will host Southern Illinois University Edwardsville December 4th in the first round of the Drake Hy-Vee Classic.

The MVC's top recruiting class of 2009 has thus far provided glimpses of its potential.

Leading the way for the freshmen is F Ben Simmons—second on the team with 12 points per game—and C Seth Van Deest—second on the team with 4.7 rebounds per game.

Nevertheless, more was expected of Drake and its new talent than a 2-4 record in November, but an upcoming easier schedule could help.

Games against SIU-Edwardsville, North Dakota or Texas-Arlington (depending on outcome), South Dakota and Binghamton could realistically amount to four wins and put Drake at 6-4, kick-starting them into a Big Four contest at Iowa—also a very winnable game that would give the Bulldogs a needed confidence boost.

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