Harrison Barnes was one of the prized recruits in this year's college season.
Picked as an All-American as a true freshman, Barnes has not lived up to the pre-season hype. Pending NBA lockout notwithstanding, he is a one-and-done type player and it is easy to see that the expectations were far too great. He is a very good player who will continue to get better and will earn big as a pro.
It just points out that not everything turns to gold, at least not immediately.
McDonald's All-Americans are at least a place to start for looking at the top level talent but this year's version, and every year since 2007, is not spectacular.
That's why it is easy to project whose recruiting is top class, but the proof is often not discovered until these young men have been battle-tested.
The 2011-2012 top recruiting classes contain some familiar names, as well as a couple that are in the midst of change within the program. Some teams have landed a couple of top talents while others have, and needed to, recruit in volume.
Here is a look at 20 top recruiting classes for 2011-12. Kansas has been excluded for now because they have yet to lock up either Ben McLemore or DeAndre Daniels, both of whom have not committed yet.
Mark Fox has added size to his Bulldogs roster, and a big-time talent as well.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, one of the top five shooting guards in the country and a native of Greenville, Georgia, immediately gives Fox a good three-point shooter and determined scorer. He is also a McDonald's All-American.
C Tim Dixon (6'8") and F John Florveus (7'0"), a junior college transfer, add some size up front for the 'Dawgs.
The 2011-12 season will essentially be Dana Altman's first true recruiting class and he has hit a home run with five-star SG Jabari Brown, beating out several big-time schools in the west for his services.
Altman also landed local big man, C Austin Kuemper, who will add some size and toughness to the Ducks. PG's Brett Kingma, an outside threat, and Bruce Barron, more of a playmaker, add some depth to a very solid class.
Anthony Grant has shown he can recruit both at VCU and now at Alabama.
The class of 2011-12 is a good one too. Levi Randolph, a top-10 shooting guard, joins the Tide, bringing with him exceptional offensive skills. C Nik Jacobs is a 6'8", 250 pound center who will carve out space in the low block.
SG Rodney Cooper is a good outside shooter and C Moussa Gueye is touted as one of the premier low-post players in junior college (Lake Land College) this season.
Like a couple of other coaches here, Weber needs to produce more than he has in the past few seasons. The team this year was particularly disappointing.
SF Mychael Henry, PG Tracy Abrams, PF Mike Shaw and C Nnanna Egwu are all from the Chicago area and are top 100 ranked players.
Shaw is a scoring wing player, while Abrams is considered to be top true point guard. Shaw is a physical forward with a decent face-up game while Egwu is an athletic project who is a big body that can block shots.
The Hokies have done well for next year’s class, needing to fill the void that will be left by departing seniors Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen.
SF Dorian Finney-Smith is a versatile prospect who will be good defensively to start, but needs to develop his scoring.
PG Marquis Rankin, PF C.J. Barksdale and SG Robert Brown are all Top 100 recruits who came from Hargrave Military Academy. Brown is an excellent outside shooter, while Rankin and Barksdale will vie for time in Seth Greenberg’s rotation.
Branden Dawson is the prized recruit for the Spartans.
The 6’6” small forward from Gary, Indiana is joined by PG Travis Trice and SG’s Dwaun Anderson and Brandan Kearney to give Tom Izzo depth at the guard spot. Replacing Kalin Lucas will still be an issue.
Dawson immediately improves the Spartans’ athleticism and is a solid rebounder.
Rick Stansbury deserves a break as much as anyone this year, after the nightmarish season that could be sold as a mini-series simply titled "Renardo".
He has mined the state of Mississippi to sign SF Rodney Hood, SG D.J. Gardner and PG Deville Smith, all top 75 talents who will immediately upgrade the speed and perimeter production for the Bulldogs.
Hood is the top recruit for Stansbury, and is a very versatile wing player.
In small forward LeBryan Nash, Travis Ford has secured one of the highest-ranked players in the entire country.
He is versatile, can score in a variety of ways and is an elite athlete.
PF Karron Johnson, one of the top JC players this season, is also on his way to Stillwater. A powerful, physical presence, Johnson has had some difficulty staying on the court this year at Midland CC after being suspended from the team.
Like fellow Big East newcomer Steve Lavin, Mike Rice had his work cut out for him when he signed on with the Scarlet Knights. And Rice has done well.
PF Kadeem Jack will get a head start on the others, as he joined Rutgers in late December but will redshirt this year.
He is joined by four-star prospects PG’s Jerome Seagears and Myles Mack, who despite his size (5’10”), can score from anywhere.
The depth of the class is evident too, as C Greg Lewis, SG Michael Taylor and PF Derrick Randall will be brought into the fold as well.
Quincy Miller and Deuce Bello are the two signees for the Bears and Scott Drew, and they are two good ones.
PF Miller is reportedly one of the most skilled players in the entire class while Bello has crazy athleticism that reminds people of Travis Leslie, and then some.
They are teammates this season at Westchester Country Day and will be teammates again next season for the Bears.
With John Pelphrey's job in jeopardy, PG's B.J. Young and Ky Madden and PF Hunter Mickelson may be arriving just in time.
Young is a McDonald's All-American while Madden appears to be more of a combo guard. Mickelson is a big man who can run and, like fellow PF recruit Aaron Ross, is a local player.
Devonta Abron is yet another PF, ranked in the top 25 at his position, who completes a deep and talented class for the under-the-gun Pelphrey.
The Buckeyes boast two McDonald’s All-Americans in C Amir Williams and PG Shannon Scott.
Williams is sound defensively and continues to develop scoring moves in the block. Scott, a Georgia native who had offers from a host of schools, is a top 10 point guard in this class.
SF Sam Thompson and SF LaQuinton Ross are both top prospects as well who provide different things at the same position. Thompson attacks the basket while Ross has a good stroke from beyond the arc.
Overall, the Buckeyes have brought in a very complementary group.
McDonald’s All-American PG Myck Kabongo, one of the top five point guards in this class, heads another fine recruiting class for Rick Barnes and the Texas Longhorns.
PF Jonathan Holmes, SF Julien Lewis and SG Sheldon McClellan complete the Longhorns haul for the 2011-12 season.
Kabongo is a true point guard and will likely start next season, moving Cory Joseph over to the two-guard. Holmes is a strong face-up scorer, good rebounder and should replace Gary Johnson effectively in time.
Very quietly, Sean Miller has signed an outstanding class for next season.
PF Angelo Chol and PG Josiah Turner are both five-star recruits. Chol was recruited by both North Carolina and Kansas. Turner was projected as one of the top five point men in high school.
Nick Johnson (SG) and Sidiki Johnson (PF) add toughness and rebounding on the defensive end, with the former Johnson likely to see action sooner rather than later.
When you inherit 10 seniors, recruiting will be the key to rebuilding your program.
Steve Lavin understood this and used his savvy and his contacts to recruit not only a giant class but a talented one as well.
Amir Garrett, Norvel Pelle, Sir’Dominic Pointer (gotta love that handle), D’Angelo Harrison, Maurice Harkness and Jakarr Sampson are all top-15 type talents at their respective positions.
Pelle and Sampson might be the players with the highest ceiling because of their athleticism and ability to run the floor.
Phillip Greene, Dwight Meikle and JC transfer Nurideen Lindsey round out the group for the Red Storm.
Not all of these prospects will work out, but it will be an interesting transition for coach Lavin and the Johnnies.
SG Wayne Blackshear and PF Chane Behanan are the centerpieces to a fine class for the Cards.
Both are McDonald’s All-Americans and Blackshear, in addition to being an elite shooter, is an outstanding defender. Behanan will give the Cards the inside presence they have missed at times this season with the departure of Samardo Samuels.
Zach Price, a top 10 center, and Angel Nunez, a 6’7” small forward, round out an exceptional group for Louisville.
What the Tar Heels may lack in quantity they made up for in quality. PF James McAdoo and SG P.J. Hariston are both five-star recruits and McDonald’s All-Americans.
McAdoo is one of the top-ranked recruits in the country and is a face-up shooter with a good mid-range game. Hairston could fill a void that the current squad has - namely consistent outside shooting - as he has excellent 3-point range.
The Orange have a knack for getting top big men to commit and 2011-12 is no different. Rakeem Christmas is projected as one of the top two centers in the class and is a McDonald’s All-American.
He is already an elite defender (something coach Jim Boeheim will like) and has a college-ready frame at 6’9”, 230 pounds.
Fellow McDonald’s pick Michael Carter-Williams (SG) is not the same type of defensive presence, but can score from anywhere on the floor. Another SG, Trevor Cooney, is ranked in the top 20 at his position.
The Blue Devils have another stellar class which features SG Austin Rivers and fellow McDonald’s All-Americans PG Quinn Cook and C Marshall Plumlee.
Add SF Michael Gbinije into the mix and Duke is armed and ready to prepare for the losses of Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler and possibly Kyrie Irving.
They have created depth at all positions and won’t likely step back too sharply.
Love him or hate him, the man can recruit.
Next season's group features four McDonald's All-Americans, three of whom - PF Anthony Davis, PG Marquis Teague and SF Michael Gilchrist are ranked in the top three at their positions by all scouting services.
PF/C Kyle Wiltjer is the fourth five-star prospect heading for the Wildcats, and that may not be it. Another top-10 prospect, DeAndre Daniels, has yet to commit but has expressed interest in only a few schools, one of which is Kentucky.