College Basketball: Ranking the ACC Teams' Recruiting Classes

Matt PowersCorrespondent IINovember 18, 2011

College Basketball: Ranking the ACC Teams' Recruiting Classes

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    Now that the early signing period is coming to a close, it appears to be a good time to break down the recruiting classes for each school in the ACC and see how they stack up against each other.

    I stuck with only the current 12 schools in the league instead of adding the new member schools, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, because it's uncertain when those schools will really join the league.

    For that reason, there's a good chance that the top recruit in each of those classes could be long gone if the Big East holds the two programs hostage as long as they can. 

    These rankings could change drastically in the spring depending on where five-star recruits Shabazz Muhammed, Amile Jefferson and Tony Parker end up since each is considering at least one ACC school to some degree. Four-star recruits Savon Goodman, Andrew White, Wanaah Bail and Charles Mitchell could also end up in the league.

12. Boston College

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    Boston College's two man recruiting class ranks dead-last in the league without much competition for that spot. On top of that fact the Eagles class only addresses their need at point guard despite their many needs.

    At 6'2", three star-Canadian point guard Olivier Hanlan is a strong lead guard capable of leading his team. He's spending this year in the United States at a New Hampshire prep school in order to help get him ready for the transition into the ACC.

    The other point guard is two-star recruit Joe Rahon, a 6'1" prospect from California. He is the brother of San Diego State's James Rahon. Like his brother, Rahon is a player whose strength is shooting from beyond the arc.

    While the Eagles are landing a pair of nice players, this class doesn't measure up well against the rest of the ACC and fails to address many of their needs.

11. Miami

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    Miami will be losing All-ACC guard Malcolm Grant to graduation following this season. This makes finding a guard in this class important for the Hurricanes in order to add depth behind Shane Larkin, the DePaul transfer and son of former MLB star Barry Larkin, who is expected to take over the position next season.

    Three-star Melvin Johnson is a New York City guard playing at one of the top prep programs in the country, St. Benedict's of New Jersey. Johnson is a scoring guard who is best shooting from beyond the arc, but can also attack the basket on the drive. He's a solid defender capable of making an impact in the ACC.

    The other member of the class is 6'11" center Tonye Jekiri, a prospect from Miami. Jekiri is the typical long, athletic big man in that he needs to add more bulk. His offensive game is behind his defense at this point in his career. With his rebounding and shot-blocking abilities, expect him to play right away in some role.

    The Hurricnes class is a step above the class Boston College put together, but it is still a major step below the rest of the league. Johnson is an underrated kid who comes from a winning program and will add New York toughness, while Jekiri is a player with pretty high upside.

10. Virginia Tech

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    After signing some strong recruiting classes over the last three years, Virginia Tech's class is a bit down this year because they only need to replace three scholarship seniors. The Hokies two man class features a pair of power forwards, including one who ranks as a Top 75 recruit.

    The headliner is 6'7" Montrezl Harrell, a strong yet undersized player with a great motor. Harrell is an big-time athlete, something that will help him fit into coach Seth Greenberg's system fairly easily. His rebounding ability alone should be enough to get him a spot in the rotation as a freshman. If he was an inch or two taller, he would be ranked higher by recruiting services.

    The other big man being brought in is in-state product Marshall Wood, a skinny 6'8" prospect. Although Wood needs to add some bulk, his skill set could allow him to see some time at small forward as well.

    Greenberg's class isn't his best, but he brought in a very nice player capable of making an early impact in Harrell as well as a solid combo forward in Wood.

9. Clemson

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    Unlike the last few seasons, Clemson failed to land any Top 100 recruits. Still, all five of the Tigers' signees are three-star recruits. The three big men and two point guards they recruited should help with depth.

    The top signee is 6'2" point guard Adonis Filer, a player who turned down Baylor and Tennessee in hopes that he can take over for senior Andre Young next season. The Illinois native brings toughness and quickness to the Tigers. He loves to attack the basket on offense and isn't afraid of drawing contact.

    I really like this kid.

    Undersized at 6'6", power forward Jaron Blossomgame is another talented, athletic player. He's a face-up scorer with a great motor, which helps his ability on the offensive boards. Since he can hit a jumper and make his presence felt on the offensive boards, he's a tough matchup for opposing defenses.

    Landry Nnoko is a 6'10" center who turned down Louisville and Florida scholarship offers to join the Tigers. The best way to describe Nnoko is skinny, raw, long and athletic big man with high upside, but his offensive game is behind his defense right now. Given some time to develop his game and body, Nnoko could potentially become an impact player for Clemson.

    As for the rest of the class, point guard Jordan Roper is another quick scoring guard.and 6'8" 250 pound center Josh Smith will add some bulk in the middle.

    The Tigers accomplished what they wanted with this class—add depth at the point guard and frontcourt positions, and add the type of athletes that fit their system. The trio of Filer, Blossomgame and Nnoko give hope to Clemson fans that this class will eventually prove to be better than their ranking.

8. Florida State

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    It seems like Florida State has become a program that no longer needs to rebuild when they lose talented players to graduation and the NBA, since they have enough talent to simply reload. The Seminoles have been bringing in strong recruiting classes every season for the past five years and this year is no exception.

    The headliner here is a four-star small forward from North Carolina in Montay Brandon. Brandon fits the Seminoles type of player because he's extremely athletic and a high-upside prospect, something that will help him fit in to Leonard Hamilton's system.

    Four-star shooting guard Aaron Thomas brings good size for the position at 6'5" and gives the Seminoles a talented scorer who can shoot it from deep range. He is another prospect that fits into Hamilton's system because of his athleticism, but his defense leaves something to be desired at this point.

    The rest of the class features 6'2" postgraduate point guard Devon Bookert and 6'9" junior college transfer center Robert Gilchrist. Bookert, from Alaska, is a scorer working on transitioning to the point.

    This class adds a pair of potential impact players for the Seminoles, as well as extra depth at key positions. These guys should keep Florida State in the higher portion of the ACC.

7. Duke

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    After taking on a five-man recruiting class last year, the Duke Blue Devils only signed one player in the early signing period. That one player may be the best player to sign with an ACC school in this recruiting class however.

    That player is Houston, Texas shooting guard Rasheed Sulaimon, the top shooting guard in the nation and a five-star recruit. Sulaimon is the best pure scorer in this class and is capable of scoring in bunches by either attacking the rim or shooting from beyond the arc.

    The Blue Devils are in on some top recruits yet to sign, and by the time this class finishes up they could potentially be ranked significantly higher in these rankings.

6. Maryland

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    In his first full recruiting class while at Maryland, coach Mark Turgeon signed a very solid three-man class with a pair of highly ranked players. Turgeon could still use a little bit of help considering his roster is still a bit short, but this is a nice starting point.

    Four-star center Shaquille Cleare is the highest ranked player in the class, and the 6'9" 280 pounder is ready to bang inside with anyone else in the ACC next season. Cleare is a true post player with good size and very strong rebounding ability, something the Maryland program needs immediately. His offensive game is still a work in progress, but he should be able to make the necessary improvements.

    The other impact player is Jake Layman, a four star 6'7" small forward. Layman is one of the better shooters in this class, but is also very smart and athletic. The Massachusetts native is going to be the type of player that makes the little plays to help his team win.

    The final player is 6'1" shooting guard Seth Allen, a pure scorer out of Virginia capable of potentially being an energy player and scorer off the bench.

    The Terps thin roster gets a major boost with this class and immediately gives Turgeon more flexibility. Cleare is expected to start from the first game and Layman and Allen should each get a chance to contribute early as well.

5. Virginia

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    Ever since taking over as the head coach at Virginia, Tony Bennett has been bringing in high-level talent to keep on improving the program. This year, Bennett brought in four recruits, including three four-star prospects.

    The headliner of the class is four-star small forward Justin Anderson, a Maryland commitment until the retirement of their coach Gary Williams. With his defensive and rebounding ability, this top 60 recruit is a great fit for Bennett's system.

    Evan Nolte, a 6'7" combo forward, is one of the better pure shooters in this year's class. The Georgia native picked the Cavaliers instead of the in-state schools and many other offers and should help fill in the hole that will be left when star Mike Scott departs.

    Center Mike Tobey. a 6'11" prospect, is an athletic, raw big man who can become an immediate shot-blocking force in the middle. Tobey, who weighs only 210 pounds, is in need of more bulk, and his offensive game is far behind his defense at this point, but he has the potential to develop in time.

    Point guard Teven Jones is the fourth member of this recruiting class, and even has the potential to help immediately. Jones is a true point guard, a floor general that won't score too many points but leads his team in a smart, effective manner. His ability to lead a team and play tough on-ball defense should get him a spot in the rotation.

    The Cavaliers roster is finally maturing enough to allow them to become dangerous in the ACC. The players they add in this recruiting class should only give coach Bennett more options to because all of them are capable of playing a role as freshmen.

4. Wake Forest

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    Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik has finally signed a talented group of his own to build the program. This six-man recruiting class features three players with four-star ratings. The other three have three-star ratings.

    Arnaud Moto, a 6'6" small forward, is the top signing in the class as the Virginia native is a top 50 talent. Moto can best be described as an athletic, high-energy scorer, whether attacking the basket or shooting it from the beyond the arc. Moto is more than that, though, as he is a quality rebounder and very strong defender.

    Codi Miller-McIntyre is a tough 6'2" point guard that should immediately take over in that role. McIntyre is a leader who makes his teammates better as he makes smart plays and good passes to get them open shots, but he can also hit his own shots to keep the opposing defense honest.

    Aaron Rountree, a 6'7" small forward, is the other four-star recruit in this class. Rountree has high upside.  Roundtree, who has very good athleticism, is capable of making his presence felt on both sides of the court.

    7'0" center Andre Washington adds size, although he needs to add bulk before making a major impact in the ACC. Washington will have  very high upside player once he fills out his body and rounds out his skill set.

    Power forward prospect Tyler Cavanaugh is a New York product who turned down a Syracuse scholarship offer to play in the ACC. He's a Euro-type player in that he plays a face up game as a big man with a well rounded skill set, but none of those skills really stand out and at 6'8" 215 pounds he isn't overly physical.

    Devin Thomas is the big man prospect with the strength to compete immediately at 6'7" 235 pounds. The Harrisburg, Penn., product is a high-energy guy who should provide some help on the boards early on.

    This class should re-stock the depleted Wake Forest roster and give coach Bzdelik at least some hope of competing in the conference next season. Moto and Miller-McIntyre are both potential stars. After helping Alec Burks develop while at Colorado, Bzdelik should help these recruits to maximize their potential at Wake.

3. Georgia Tech

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    When new coach Brian Gregory took the reins, he inherited a roster with many issues. Immediately upon being hired, he started to focus on the recruiting class of 2012. It appears now that he made a smart move.

    Five-star big man Robert Carter has the size to be an impact player in the ACC almost immediately at 6'9" and 245 pounds. The potential McDonald's All American is a true low post scorer and talented rebounder. He will give the Yellow Jackets' talented young frontcourt a player to build around.

    Four-star small forward Marcus Hunt isn't a star, but the 6'6" wing does everything well. Hunt is a winner with great intangibles who should win fans over with his energy and physical play.

    Three-star shooting guard Chris Bolden is a sniper from deep. However in the last year he has started to work on making his offensive game more well-rounded. Bolden should be able to come in and become at least a role player immediately, but he has the potential to be one of the underrated recruits in this class.

    Coach Gregory may not have filled all of the holes on the roster, but he managed to add an elite big man and a pair of wings with different skill sets. This class should turn Georgia Tech into a potential middle-of-the-pack team next season.

2. North Carolina

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    Roy Williams hasn't signed any five-star recruits in this year's recruiting class, but signing four four-star recruits is good enough to rank them second in the league. This class adds guys at four positions, something that will either add depth to a talented roster or fill the holes left behind by early departures to the NBA.

    Iowa point guard Marcus Paige is the headliner, and becomes the second big recruit out of Iowa to sign with North Carolina in recent years, following Harrison Barnes. Paige, who ranks as the No. 2 point guard in the nation according to Scout, is a pure point guard and the type of leader that will eventually replace starter Kendall Marshall.

    At 6'9" Brice Johnson is a long power forward oozing with upside. He's a talented athlete who can run the floor and make an impact in the middle as a shot blocker, but his offensive game is raw, and at only 190 pounds, he desperately needs to add some bulk before his freshman season begins.

    Center Joel James makes up for Johnson's lack of strength, as the 6'10" 280 pounder is a wide-body in the middle. James best attribute is his ability to rebound, something that could help him find an early role in Chapel Hill. James is still developing his game, especially on offense, where he is limited at the moment.

    Small forward J.P. Tokoto, a 6'6" Wisconsin native is one of the more under-rated players in this class. Tokoto is an athletic player with a great motor, something that helps him on the boards. He also excels in transition.

    North Carolina is reloading here and these guys will help keep the Tar Heels at the top of the league. Their roles won't be known until the current North Carolina players make their pro intentions known at the end of the season, but these guys are capable of making an early impact.

1. North Carolina State

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    The biggest surprise in recruiting this season is that North Carolina State landing a top-five recruiting class in the country and the best class in the ACC. New coach Mark Gottfried may not be done either as there are other recruits, including five-star Amile Jefferson, still considering the Wolfpack.

    The most important player in the class is the lowest rated of the trio, as point guard Tyler Lewis is the type of leader that helps his team win big games. The true point guard is an excellent distributor. After spending this year at Oak Hill Academy, he should be ready to make his impact early in Raleigh.

    Five-star small forward TJ Warren has excellent size for the position at 6'8", and will be a talented scorer for the Wolfpack. Warren is a smart player who knows the game and can either shoot it from deep or take it inside the arc to attack the defense.

    Rodney Purvis, a 6'5" five star guard is a big combo guard best known for his ability to score at a very high level. Purvis uses his elite athleticism to attack the hoop, but he can score in multiple ways.

    Mark Gottfried's class will all be able to step in and make an immediate impact for the Wolfpack. The expectations of Wolfpack fans' are very high for next year, so these kids will have some pressure on them.