College Basketball Recruiting: Top Classes in 2012 After Tony Parker Picks UCLA

Josh Schoch@JoshSchochAnalyst IIIApril 24, 2012

College Basketball Recruiting: Top Classes in 2012 After Tony Parker Picks UCLA

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    On Monday, Tony Parker decided to commit to Ben Howland's UCLA Bruins as reported by ESPN. This decision changed the 2012 college basketball class rankings yet again, in my third update during the month of April alone.

    A lot has changed since Shabazz Muhammad and Nerlens Noel made decisions less than two weeks ago, and it's time for a new set of rankings.

    Duke, Ohio State, Memphis, Georgetown, Kansas, Georgia and UCLA were all hoping for Parker to sign with them, but in the end he chose the Bruins.

    These are the 15 best recruiting classes for the 2012-13 season after Tony Parker's commitment to UCLA.

15. Pittsburgh Panthers

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    Recruits: 3

    ESPNU Top 100 Recruits: 2

    Best Recruit: C Steven Adams

    Notable Recruits Still Considering: SF Savon Goodman (No. 100)


    Jamie Dixon did a great job to secure his Pittsburgh Panthers some talent from overseas, as he landed C Steven Adams. At No. 6, he is the best player from outside of the U.S. in this class, according to ESPNU.

    Adams is one of the best big men in the Class of 2012, and he will be playing for the Panthers next year. Adams will play well inside, and PG James Robinson (ESPNU No. 43) will do a great job of feeding him the ball, as he is a top-five point guard in the class.

    While these two make for a good combination, I am quickly losing faith in Adams. He may be ranked highly and has the potential to be dominant, but the fact remains that most international players are unsuccessful in their first years in America.

    Adams is going to be thrown into a whole new system in a different style of play, and I see him struggling at first. He is still standing up straight when he should be getting low, and his defense is suffering because of it.

    While adding Savon Goodman would definitely help this class, the Panthers are still barely hanging on ahead of Xavier for the last spot on this list.

14. Purdue Boilermakers

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    Recruits: 4

    ESPNU Top 100 Recruits: 3

    Best Recruit: SG Rapheal Davis

    Notable Recruits Still Considering: None

    Robbie Hummel has played his last game in a Purdue uniform, and the Boilermakers no longer have any members of the recruiting class that brought them to the top.

    The 2012 class resembles the one that brought Hummel, JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore to Purdue, as it boasts three players in the top 100.

    The Boilermakers are looking to get back on top again, with C A.J. Hammons (No. 81), SG Rapheal Davis (No. 87) and PG Ronnie Johnson (No. 92) leading the way.

    A new backcourt and a talented big man help make this class a great one. Sheer numbers have Purdue on this list, but once the recruiting period is over, it could potentially fall off. It doesn't have any more major recruits considering them.

13. Syracuse Orange

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    Recruits: 2

    ESPNU Top 100 Recruits: 2

    Best Recruit: C DaJuan Coleman

    Notable Recruits Still Considering: None

    Syracuse only has two recruits, but they both fit well into Jim Boeheim's strategy. He's implementing a new strategy called a 2-3 defense. This is only the hundredth time he's used it, but it works.

    Jim Boeheim is losing seven-footer Fab Melo to the NBA, but he is looking to replace him with C DaJuan Coleman (No. 14).

    Boeheim has seen just how much he relies on his center to anchor his 2-3 zone, and he will need to train Coleman well, since the team lost the Nerlens Noel sweepstakes.

    However, Boeheim could not focus solely on his center, as he also had seniors Scoop Jardine and Kris Joseph leaving. He brought in SF Jerami Grant (No. 37), who gives this class an athletic side.

    These two players are both going to make a big impact, and even without Noel, the Orange will be good.

12. Kansas Jayhawks

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    Recruits: 5

    ESPNU Top 100 Recruits: 2

    Best Recruit: PF Perry Ellis

    Notable Recruits Still Considering: SF Savon Goodman (No. 100)

    Bill Self just led this team to the national championship game, and that pitch is music to a recruit's ears. Unfortunately, the last recruit he will use it on this year is Savon Goodman.

    However, the Jayhawks already have five recruits, so that pitch will be more effective when recruiting the Class of 2013.

    Self's Kansas recruiting class takes the approach that it is better to have a lot of recruits, some of whom could be great, instead of having a few sure-fire players.

    While Kansas has had a lot of good recruits turn out to be great (Thomas Robinson, the Morris twins, etc.), we can't bank on the same thing happening again this year.

    Kansas has five good players, but only No. 35 Perry Ellis and No. 48 Andrew White are great. After these two, this class is not exactly going to blow anyone away.

    This is still a good class because of its size and the fact that Ellis and White are both excellent players who will make an immediate impact for the Jayhawks. However, the team probably won't be landing any more recruits.

11. Michigan Wolverines

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    Recruits: 4

    ESPNU Top 100 Recruits: 3

    Best Recruit: C Mitch McGary

    Notable Recruits Still Considering: None

    Michigan may not have as many recruits as some other schools, but three of its recruits are great players and this class will help Michigan be a Top 10 team next season.

    C Mitch McGary is No. 27 in the country, and he could be ranked much higher. Entering the season, he was ranked No. 2 and still seems to be the same dominant center that broke a backboard over the summer at Elite 24.

    The Wolverines are also bringing in No. 18 SF Glenn Robinson and No. 76 SF Nik Stauskas. Robinson is a dynamic player who is highly athletic, while Stauskas has the range to play shooting guard and possesses great size for the position at 6'6", 200 pounds.

    Michigan's recruiting class is very talented, and it will help this team be a title contender, along with the returns of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Trey Burke.

10. Providence Friars

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    Recruits: 4

    ESPNU Top 100 Recruits: 2

    Best Recruit: SG Ricardo Ledo

    Notable Recruits Still Considering: C Christopher Obekpa (No. 77)

    Providence may not be as prestigious as, say, Duke or Kentucky, but the Friars are bringing in a great class thanks to coach Ed Cooley.

    Cooley knows that Providence is arguably the least-distinguished team in the Big East, and Rhode Island isn't exactly a great recruiting pipeline. However, when Cooley saw a few kids who were close to home start to shine, he jumped all over them, recruiting them hard and getting a couple of early commitments.

    Providence has a great recruiting class with a brand new backcourt. PG Kris Dunn (Providence, R.I.) and SG Ricardo Ledo (New London, Conn.) are both in the top 25 in the country, and they will give Providence a foundation to build on.

    Cooley is capitalizing on every opportunity he can, and that is what makes him a great recruiter.

9. Indiana Hoosiers

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    Recruits: 5

    ESPNU Top 100 Recruits: 3

    Best Recruit: PG Yogi Ferrell

    Notable Recruits Still Considering: None

    Tom Crean's Indiana Hoosiers haven't had a 2012 recruit commit to them in well over a year, and they won't be getting any more. They had a very early start, however, landing five recruits—including three in the top 100. This class was once ranked No. 1 in the country, but it has slowly dropped.

    The class is led by PG Yogi Ferrell, who is ranked No. 24 in the nation. It also includes SF Jeremy Hollowell (No. 42) and PF Hanner Mosquera-Perea (No. 71), not to mention SG Ron Patterson and C Peter Jurkin.

    With Cody Zeller and Christian Watford both returning, Indiana will be one of the best teams in the country. All five starters return, and the Hoosiers bring in five more players to add to their depth.

    Look out for Indiana next year, as they are the preseason No. 1.

8. North Carolina State Wolfpack

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    Recruits: 3

    ESPNU Top 100 Recruits: 3

    Best Recruit: SG Rodney Purvis

    Notable Recruits Still Considering: PF Amile Jefferson (No. 25), SG Torian Graham (No. 90)

    Mark Gottfried has been absolutely outstanding for North Carolina State. Apart from leading this team to the Sweet 16, he has put together a stellar recruiting class at NC State.

    No. 20 Rodney Purvis is arguably the best shooting guard in the 2012 class, while No. 29 T.J. Warren is an elite small forward. No. 44 Tyler Lewis is a good point guard who will play for a few years, and these guys will be the foundation upon which Gottfried builds the Wolfpack back up.

    Gottfried is also still recruiting, and North Carolina State is the clear favorite for SG Torian Graham. If he can land Graham, the Wolfpack will be elite, but if he can also land PF Amile Jefferson, the class will become one of the best in the country.

    According to's Evan Daniels, Jefferson recently cut his list to four schools, including North Carolina State. I'd be shocked if Graham went anywhere else.

7. Michigan State Spartans

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    Recruits: 4

    ESPNU Top 100 Recruits: 4

    Best Recruit: SG Gary Harris

    Notable Recruits Still Considering: None

    Tom Izzo is bringing in even more elite recruits than usual this year, and his Michigan State Spartans will have success for years to come with these guys on the team.

    SG Gary Harris is the No. 11 player in the nation and the No. 2 shooting guard. Harris heads the class and will be an instant-impact player, as he will be a starter next season. Harris also has ice in his veins, and he will be the one taking shots at the end of games.

    The class also features PF Kenny Kaminski, C Matt Costello and SF Denzel Valentine, all of whom are in the top 100 in the Class of 2012.

    It's a good thing that this class has big men, too. Losing senior power forward Draymond Green hurts, and center Derrick Nix may miss games after his arrest for drug possession (per the Detroit Free Press' Shawn Windsor). 

    With Keith Appling playing point guard and Branden Dawson playing small forward, this team is going to be elite again next year.

6. North Carolina Tar Heels

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    Recruits: 4

    ESPNU Top 100 Recruits: 4

    Best Recruit: PG Marcus Paige

    Notable Recruits Still Considering: None

    North Carolina got off to a slow start on the recruiting trail, but as the year progressed, it put together an incredible class. Coach Roy Williams is bringing in more than a few great recruits.

    Williams lost four of his five starters from last year, with the only returning member being SG Dexter Strickland. Because of that, his 2012 recruiting class relies on four players (from every position except shooting guard, oddly enough) who will help this team maintain its national prestige.

    No. 22 PG Marcus Paige, No. 34 PF Brice Johnson, No. 60 C Joel James and No. 70 SF J.P. Tokoto are all great players who will help replenish this team. They will have to make an immediate impact, with Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller, John Henson and Kendall Marshall all leaving next season.

    Look for these guys to receive a good amount of playing time next year, alongside Dexter Strickland, P.J. Hairston and James Michael McAdoo. The Tar Heels are still going to be a dangerous team next year, even with four starters leaving.

5. Baylor Bears

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    Recruits: 4

    ESPNU Top 100 Recruits: 3

    Top Recruit: C Isaiah Austin

    Notable Recruits Still Considering: SG Torian Graham (No. 90)

    Scott Drew did a great job of replenishing his soon-to-be depleted frontline with this recruiting class.

    With senior Quincy Acy graduating and Perry Jones III and Quincy Miller both declaring for the 2012 NBA draft (reported by Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears), Baylor does not have a single returning starter on the frontline.

    However, Baylor will still have one of the best frontcourts in the country, thanks to Drew's 2012 recruiting class.

    C Isaiah Austin is an elite big. The seven-footer is ranked No. 3 in the country among all recruits and is the No. 2 center behind Nerlens Noel. He has size and the skill of a point guard, and his highlights will blow you away.

    Ricardo Gathers is a powerful forward who has the body of a defensive lineman. He can use his strength to bully smaller defenders, and height means next to nothing when going against him. He ranks No. 36 in the country and gives Baylor two elite big men in this class.

    Baylor is going to have one of the best frontcourts in the nation again next year, but it  will also have No. 63 PG L.J. Rose and C Chad Rykhoek joining them.

    Look for the Bears to build on last year's success next season.

4. Texas Longhorns

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    Recruits: 6

    ESPNU Top 100 Recruits: 4

    Best Recruit: C Cameron Ridley

    Notable Recruits Still Considering: SF Devonta Pollard (No. 28), SG Torian Graham (No. 90)

    Rick Barnes is bringing in six new recruits this year, and what is more surprising is that all of them are from the United States.

    Known for recruiting international players, he missed out on the best international recruit in C Steven Adams, who ranks No. 6 in the class and is headed to Pittsburgh. He is not recruiting No. 7 Anthony Bennett, who is from Canada.

    Barnes' top recruit in 2012 is No. 8 C Cameron Ridley, who I've compared to Tristan Thompson. He is an elite big man who will be an instant star in Texas. While he isn't as dominant inside, he is much better facing the basket than Thompson.

    C Prince Ibeh, PF Connor Lammert, PG Javan Felix and SF Ioannis Papapetrou round out the class, with Papapetrou being the only one who is not a top-100 recruit.

    Barnes was certainly busy, and his hard work paid off, as his class is now No. 4 in the country.

3. Kentucky Wildcats

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    Recruits: 4

    ESPNU Top 100 Recruits: 4

    Best Recruit: C Nerlens Noel

    Notable Recruits Still Considering: PF Anthony Bennett (No. 7), PF Amile Jefferson (No. 25), SF Devonta Pollard (No. 28)

    I know what you're thinking: "What?! John Calipari is only No. 3!?"

    Yes, the best recruiter in the history of the game does not have the No. 1-ranked class in the nation for the first time since he came to Lexington, despite landing No. 1 recruit Nerlens Noel. However, he still has a few more elite prospects considering UK.

    Calipari was at it again this year, bringing in four recruits in the top 40. No. 13 Alex Poythress is very athletic, while No. 15 Archie Goodwin is a prolific scorer and may be just as good. No. 40 Willie Cauley brings height to this team as a 6'10" center. He always seems to be overlooked, but he, too, will have a huge impact on the team.

    Calipari is nowhere near done recruiting, and he is still trying to land a power forward to replace Terrence Jones. If he can secure any of the three power forwards that are still considering Kentucky and have four players in the top 40 in the class, he could take No. 1 on this list.

    This next school needs to watch out, as he is half a step behind it for the lead.

2. Arizona Wildcats

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    Recruits: 5

    ESPNU Top 100 Recruits: 4

    Best Recruit: C Kaleb Tarczewski

    Notable Recruits Still Considering: PF Anthony Bennett (No. 7), SG Torian Graham (No. 90)

    Despite Kentucky adding the best player in the country, Arizona is still ahead of the it because of its underrated stars.

    Sean Miller's 2012 recruiting class is one of the best in history, but it's not even the best this year. He recently added a fifth recruit in Matt Korcheck, who will sit out a year before coming into the system and playing well.

    Three players ranked in the top 10 lead Miller's excellent class.

    No. 4 C Kaleb Tarczewski is the best player in the class, but not by much. No. 9 Grant Jerrett and No. 16 Brandon Ashley are right behind Tarc, and No. 65 Gabe York, a highly skilled point guard, is probably the most underrated player in the class.

    To give you an idea of just how good this class is, the highlight reel above is that of York. He is considered the worst member of the class by far, but he is an amazing player. Listed at 6'1" by ESPN, York exhibits incredible hops to throw it down, and he has Jimmer Fredette-like shooting ability.

    York's prowess, along with three players in the top 10, makes this class better than that of Kentucky, although not by much.

1. UCLA Bruins

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    Recruits: 4

    ESPNU Top 100 Recruits: 4

    Best Recruit: SF Shabazz Muhammad

    Notable Recruits Still Considering: C Christopher Obekpa (No. 77), SF Savon Goodman (No. 100)

    Tony Parker's commitment to UCLA pushes the Bruins from No. 3 to No. 1 in the country. As an elite big man, Parker was exactly what Ben Howland's squad needed, and Parker will probably start from day one.

    With No. 2 Shabazz Muhammad committing less than two weeks ago, the Bruins shot from No. 12 to No. 3. I consider Muhammad to be the best player in the class because of his athleticism, and he has drawn comparisons to Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

    No. 5 Kyle Anderson may be 6'7", but he will be playing point guard for the Bruins. Anderson is a crazy mismatch for any opponent, as he is too big for point guards and too quick for big men. Anderson will be a great leader for this team, and he is an incredible addition.

    No. 41 Jordan Adams gives this team four players in the top 40, which is the same as Kentucky and better than Arizona. Two of the top five players make this class No. 1, and they couldn't have done it without Parker.