College Basketball Recruiting 2012: Power Ranking the Top 15 Classes Thus Far
It's never too early to look ahead to the future, right?
Sure, the 2011-12 season is still quite far away, and teams have pretty much locked up the new players for it and their roster.
However, a few organizations have gotten a jump start at 2012-13.
And a few surprising names have found themselves into the Top 15 for the recruiting class of 2012. Let's take a look, shall we?
15. Auburn Tigers
The Auburn Tigers have locked up two prospects for the class of 2012, including ESPN Top 100's Jordan Price.
Price is an explosive athlete that is able to overpower a lot of defenders when attacking the basket. He is excellent when it comes to knocking down mid-range jumpers and finishing through contact with the posts.
The 6'4", 220-pound shooting guard has great shooting range can go on some tremendous scoring runs when heating up. His ball-handling skills are continuing to improve, and he is an option to be a secondary point.
Price's size and strength will allow him to be very good at crashing the boards and be a solid defender at his position.
14. Notre Dame
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish have found their replacement for the high-scoring Ben Hansbrough.
ESPN Top 100's Cameron Beidscheid looks to be the man for the job.
Beidschied has the size needed to play wing (6'6", 190 pounds). He has hold onto the ball well and can play either small forward or shooting guard.
The St. Louis native's shooting range is around 20 feet, and he's able to shoot off the dribble well. He's very athletic and excels in transition.
Beidschied is a big-time scorer. He averaged 29.2 points per game during his junior season in high school. Notre Dame believes (and hopes) this translates to the college-level.
13. Mississippi State Bulldogs
The Mississippi State Bulldogs have nailed three athletes so far for the class of '12.
This consists of Craig Sword, 4-star Fred Thomas and ESPN Top 100's Gavin Ware.
Ware is a 6'9", 245-pound center from Starkville, Missouri. He has soft hands that allow him to catch just about whatever is thrown his way. Ware has added stability to his mid-range positioning and high post shots off the catch from a good distance—he knows how to post in the block, and his footwork is exceptionally active for a bigman.
He does an excellent job of pressuring his opponents and does well with the offensive boards. Ware just has basketball swag and the fundamentals to play at a high level.
12. Butler Bulldogs
Like Mississippi State, Butler has also reeled in a trio of recruits for 2012.
And yet another ESPN Top 100 athlete—Kellen Dunham.
The 6'5" two-guard out of Indiana is a pure shooter. Dunham is always moving and keeps the defender on their toes, always fighting for position to score.
And he usually scores.
He has great size for his position will be able to use this as an advantage as he uses his stroke from different areas on the floor.
Dunham doesn't take frequent trips inside, but he doesn't mind them either. He's a hard worker and does hold up while on the court.
11. Wake Forest Demon Deacons
According to ESPN.com, the Demon Deacons have received verbal commitments from three players with the overall scout grade of at least 92.
Center Andre Washington, small forward Aaron Rountree and ESPN Top 100 athlete Codi Miller-McIntyre (PG) round out Wake Forest's 2012 recruiting class so far.
Miller-McIntyre will be an immediate impact player and is a powerful point guard possesses outstanding finishing ability. He distributes the ball very well and is a born leader.
10. Florida Gators
Florida is the first school on our list to secure two ESPN Top 100 prospects to its roster.
Michael Frazier is an impressive shooting guard with excellent range. He is a very good three-point shooter and rarely misses when his feet are set right.
And with a nice quick release, that's usually the outcome with nice rotation on his shot.
Frazier is physical when driving to the basket and enjoys attacking defenders to reach the charity stripe. He has been adding strength to help score through contact more consistently.
Frazier loves to play the game and has tremendous work ethic.
Braxton Ogbueze has the potential to become one of the best point guards in his class.
He can routinely knock down shots from behind the arc and the quickness required to get to the paint at any given moment.
Ogbueze has a nice build for his position and his strength allows him to take hits and still finish at the rim—perfect for and-one chances.
He does a great job with ball movement and is just as much of a threat on defense as he is on offense.
9. Purdue Boilermakers
Purdue has reached agreements with four recruits for the class of 2012.
Two of these are ESPN Top 100 athletes—including Rapheal Davis.
Davis is a physical point guard that can scores in bunches with plenty of three's and mid-range jumpers. He can finish through contact when driving inside.
The 6'5" Fort Wayne, Indiana native handles the ball well and is an efficient passer. He is also an above-average rebounder (for his position) at both ends of the glass—he's great for a timely tip-in or two.
Defensively, Davis is tough on the ball and has good hand pressure.
8. Texas Longhorns
The Longhorns have signed just one player so far.
But that one player is Cameron Ridley, and that's enough to put Texas in the Top 10.
Ridley is a 6'10", 230-pound center that has continued to improve and played extremely well at the Adidas Nations in August.
He is surprisingly explosive and mobile due to his ability to stay in great shape and utilizes this when rebounding the ball with his huge hands.
Ridley scores mostly with his left shoulder hook shot but loves to roll to the rim and battle to take the ball to the hoop. He plays with high energy and is extremely accurate when it comes to scoring.
7. Baylor Bears
The Baylor Bears have a verbal agreement from the No. 2 overall rated player in the country: Isaiah Austin.
Austin's overwhelming size (7-foot) makes him special, but his skill makes him unique.
He runs the floor very well for his build and has unbelievable range for a bigman. Austin is a nightmare for opponents in the perimeter because of his guard-like ball-handeling skills that allow him to ease his way to the basket.
The Texas native can play on the wing, making him a dual-threat athlete and extremely hard to stop. He crashes the boards well but still has room to improve in this area, but his shot-blocking abilities are near-flawless.
This guy will undoubtedly be an immediate force in the Big 12.
6. North Carolina State Wolfpack
North Carolina State has added a duo of young studly guards to its Wolfpack.
Point guard Tyler Lewis and shooting guard Torian Graham will look to bring back what has been a struggling club.
However, Graham may be more of an immediate factor.
He's a prime-time scorer that is continually expanding his game. He's capable of pretty much anything on the offensive end and is always in attack mode. Graham's ridiculous athleticism gives him the privilege to use both hands and finish at the rim while even drawing contact.
Both are flashy players that will improve N.C. State in 2012-13.
5. Virginia Cavaliers
The Cavaliers have signed a trio of ESPN Top 100 prospects and are much in need of these three playmakers to continue succeeding at the college level.
And the high-flying Justin Anderson is one of them.
Anderson has an astonishing amount of athleticism as he excels on the break and can make plays from anywhere on the court. He is left-handed and contributes in the lane, especially with the game-changing dunk.
He is an expert at the mid-range jumper and is a good rebounder.
If Anderson isn't boxed out, be prepared to see him on the highlight reel.
4. North Carolina Tarheels
Marcus Paige is the No. 1 ranked point guard in the nation for the 2012 class.
And he's headed to Chapel Hill.
Paige is lefty that can score off the catch, dribble and outside the arc. He creates his own shot by making on-the-swivel decisions when working off on ball screens.
The versatile guard runs the team and rarely fails to get everyone involved. He has a tight hold on the ball with an abundance of creative dribble moves, including change of speed and direction on the spot.
Along with his speed and quickness, Paige has a high basketball IQ. He always competes at a high level and is consistent in every aspect of the game.
Paige can make a play at at any given moment and hits free throws in pivotal situations. He is a good shooter with great range and has a fabulous mid-range pull-up jumper.
The 6'1", 160-pounder passes the ball with velocity and accuracy, setting up everyone on his team for easy baskets. He can push the ball in transition and is a scary threat to defend on the break.
3. Michigan State Spartans
Denzel Valentine, Kenny Kaminski and Matt Costello will be putting on their armor and playing for the Michigan State Spartans in 2012. All three are ESPN Top 100 prospects.
However, Costello stands out the most.
Costello (6'9") is a talented high-post player that can play either power forward or center. He has good size and will continue to gain muscle mass and weight.
Costello scores a lot better with his back to the rim, especially with size advantage. He displays his versatility with both hands and is ambidextrous. Costello has a nice baseline spin move from the left low block and is a solid defender—very capable of blocking shots.
His overall skill and athleticism are what make him a high level player.
2. Villanova Wildcats
The Wildcats are on the prowl.
Villanova has locked up three ESPN Top 100 recruits for the class of 2012, and according to ESPN.com, scouts have given them all a grade of at least 94.
Daniel Ochefu was graded with a 96.
He is multi-skilled post player and is a versatile athlete on the court. Offensively, he is a solid shooter with range up to about 15 feet (great for his position). He can score on the block but desires to face the basket.
Ochefu is a good ball-handler and is comfortable with it in his hands. He crashes the boards well and is capable of grabbing a rebound to lead the break, given the opportunity.
He is a monster shot blocker and will continue to give opposing coaches headaches in the NCAA.
1. Indiana Hoosiers
You're probably wondering if this is a joke.
Well, it's not.
Indiana has a combined record of 28 wins and 66 losses during the past three years and hasn't had a winning record since the 2007-08 season.
But the light is still shining at the end of the tunnel.
The Hoosiers already have five commitments from the class of 2012, including four ESPN Top 100 prospects—it's safe to say that Indiana is miles ahead of any other school in this aspect.
With players like Peter Jurken, Ron Patterson, Hanner Perea, Jeremy Hollowell and Yogi Ferrell all deciding to take their talents to Bloomington, hope for the resurrection of Indiana's basketball program begins to rise.
And wait, there's more.
The intruiging part is that these five athletes produce a starting lineup. Each player represents himself at a different position and are very suitable for the next level.
Will we see another Fab Five in the Big Ten?
Only time will tell, but this is a very interesting thing to keep our eye on.
The Hoosiers may be back.