Coaches are often gauged on two things—success in March and recruiting ability. Usually, when both are combined, it leads to great success and long term program stability.
Coaches like John Calipari, Roy Williams and Mike Krzyzewski are great examples of this. All three guys bring in top ranked talent year in and year out, ensuring their teams stay on top of the college basketball world.
Having a good coach can dramatically change the direction of a program, just look at what Sean Miller has done in his two years at Arizona.
Read on for the top 12 coaches who you know will get the job done when it comes to recruits and the future of their programs.
In my opinion, John Calipari is currently the best recruiter in college basketball. Hands down. He constantly has a top 10 recruiting class and his teams are always among the best in the nation. Since 2009, Calipari has secured the top ranked recruiting classes every year. That's three straight years with the top class.
The reason he is so skilled at recruiting big name players is simple, he has no problem with players leaving after one year. In today's college basketball landscape, not many high schoolers think college is a necessity. The majority would love for the one-and-done rule to be taken away, that way they could go directly to the NBA and start earning money.
Well Calipari has no problems being a one year stop for these highly touted recruits, his dominating recruiting classes have re-made Kentucky into a national powerhouse once again. When Derrick Rose, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans were all recruited by the same person, you know he's doing a great job.
Roy Williams has been getting top ranked recruits since his days as the Kansas head coach, and that certainly won't change going forward. Recently, Williams has recruited players like Harrison Barnes and really turned around the North Carolina franchise. Williams and the Tar Heels had to replace key members from two national championship teams, and he did a wonderful job doing so.
After his 2006 championship, he lost players such as Sean May, Raymond Felton, Marvin Williams and Rashad McCants, and it seemed to be too much production lost. Williams then secured Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Green, Marcus Ginyard, Brandan Wright, Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson in the next couple years, ensuring UNC stayed dominant.
The culture of North Carolina alone is enough to woo recruits and Williams will continue to thrive as long as he is in Carolina blue.
Mike Kryzewski is about to become the winningest coach in college basketball history, and all the recruits he has secured over the years have made that possible.
Players like Grant Hill, Luol Deng, J.J. Redick, Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley and Kyrie Irving have made Duke the powerhouse it is today, while all these players were recruited by Coach K.
The biggest thing Coach K offers is comfort. Parents are much more willing to entrust their sons to a man who has proven to take good care of them and make them better men, not just players, by the time they leave school. Kryzewski has been the staple for college basketball recruiting consistency for decades, with players eager to play for the amazing coach and even better man.
In his first two years, Sean Miller has completely changed the culture of the Arizona Wildcats and made the cats in to a recruiting powerhouse once again.
He has already recruited players like Derrick Williams, Nick Johnson, Josiah Turner, Lamont "Momo" Jones, Brandon Ashley and Kaleb Tarczewski. That's a heck of a two year recruiting run.
The sky is the limit for Miller and, no doubt, big name recruits will notice the momentum building in Tucson. Next on Miller's plate is trying to woo top-ranked wing Shabazz Muhammad, who would give the Wildcats four top 10 players for next season. Miller has the west coast on lock and look for the east coast to follow rather quickly.
Rick Barnes is one of the most consistent recruiters in the nation, and brings in a bunch of top level talent.
He's recruited players such as Kevin Durant, Myck Kabongo, LaMarcus Aldridge, T.J. Ford, Chris Mihm and Damion James. That's four top 10 draft picks—Durant, Aldridge, Ford and Mihm—another first rounder—James—and a possible future first rounder—Kabongo. That's big time.
Barnes has the ability to recover after losing top players to the NBA and usually does so swiftly. His Longhorns teams have been some of the most consistent in the country and always in the talk for postseason contenders.
Barnes spends several years recruiting very good players, until he makes a huge splash and lands a top ranked players. Once this happens, that's when he has teams make deep tourney runs.
Josh Pastner has only been Memphis's head coach for a couple years, but his recruiting muscle has already begun to show. While at Arizona, Pastner was the recruiting brains behind much of the talented Arizona teams and recruits loved the man. He was young enough to relate to them, but old enough to have the wisdom to coach them properly.
Pastner has already hauled in highly touted big man Adonis Thomas for this season and other top recruits should follow suit. Pastner is truly one of the bright, young coaches who represents the future of college basketball and should be quite successful.
Jim Calhoun has been one of the more successful college basketball coaches for the better part of two decades, and has had some truly dominant players come through his program.
Richard Hamilton, Rudy Gay, Emeka Okafor, Kemba Walker, Ray Allen and Donyell Marshall headline some of the highly talented players who have been recruited by Calhoun.
For 2011, Calhoun once again secured a top recruiting class lead by bruising big man Andre Drummond, who is sure to be a top five draft pick next year. Calhoun is not quite on the level of Calipari and Krzyzewski, but he definitely has the ability to recruit top players and make his team title contenders year in and year out.
Rick Pitino has been one of the more successful college basketball coaches over the years and has settled in to his job as the head coach at Louisville. Pitino has shown his recruiting prowess over the past couple years with solid recruiting classes, but hasn't landed a high profile player since Samardo Samuels in 2008.
Pitino often goes in spurts where he goes for good, not great talent and his team seems to be talented but not enough to win a championship. The years where the incoming talent mixes with the good talent are the special ones where a deep tournament run is made and talent is evident.
Jim Boeheim is another one of those overall solid coaches, and his career mark of 856-301 (.740) definitely proves that. Boeheim has used his recruiting skills to secure top flight talent and ensure his success continues.
Players like Carmelo Anthony, Hakim Warrick, Derrick Coleman, Billy Owens, Jonny Flynn and Wesley Johnson have made Boeheim's teams as consistent as any. It's not often when you see one coach able to stay at the same school for almost four decades and his recruiting is a testament to that.
Boeheim is also quite unique in what he has to offer to incoming recruits, as he is one of the only major college coaches to primarily run a 2-3 defense. Some of the athletes he's recruited like Johnson, Warrick and Anthony are perfect for this defense and Boeheim's teams are better for that.
Thad Matta seems to have been around forever, but the current Ohio State head coach has only been a head coach since 2000. In little more than a decade, Matta has already established himself as a very good head coach and a smart recruiter.
Players like Greg Oden, Michael Conley and Jared Sullinger are some of the big name recruits Matta has secured in his eight seasons as the Buckeye's head coach.
Matta has shown that when he secures good players, the team wins a bunch of games. Going 35-4 in 2006-07 and 34-3 last season point to that correlation. This season, he has a national player of the year candidate in Sullinger and it could be the year he breaks through for the title.
Ben Howland is one of the more under the radar coaches in college basketball. It seems so long ago that he recruited Arron Afflalo, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Darren Collison, Jordan Farmar and Jrue Holiday, yet it was only a couple years ago.
His talents as a recruiter are vastly underrated and his 2012 recruiting class will remind everyone he can get the job done. Having secured the No. 5 and No. 50 players in the nation, UCLA is off to a good start. Also, they are finalists for No.1 player Shabazz Muhammad, who would cap off a dynamic class for Howland if signed.
UCLA is back on the map and ready to contend for years to come, all thanks to Ben Howland.
Scott Drew has really burst on to the scene in the last couple years, and is leading the new era of college basketball coaches. Drew has been a good recruiter since he days as a Valparaiso assistant coach, but never had the talent to succeed at Baylor, until recently.
Recent recruits like Perry Jones, LaceDarius Dunn, Quincy Miller, Deuce Bello and Isiah Austin, have given Drew the talent he needs to succeed.
Don't be shocked if Baylor makes a deep tournament run this and next season. Drew has all the talent he needs and definitely knows how to use it.