TOP 10 COLLEGE RECRUITING CLASSES

Top 10 College Recruiting Classes

TOP 10 COLLEGE RECRUITING CLASSES

 

October 15 is the day every year that college basketball fans have marked on their calendars. It is the day that practice is allowed to begin for the hundreds of teams of all divisions around the country. Recruiting is the life-line of any good college basketball program. In order to have success, coaches must be able to recruit at a very high level. This article is going to examine the top 10 recruiting classes in college basketball for 2016.

Head Coaches and their assistants are on the road during the off-season searching for players who fit their system. Recruiting can be a fierce battle among coaches. Recruiting has become so popular among fans that many incoming players are known before they step foot onto their respective campuses. We are going to give you an in-depth view of 10 Division 1 colleges who we believe did the best recruiting jobs this year. We present to you the top 10 college recruiting classes. 

 


 

NORTH CAROLINA

#10 RECRUITING CLASS FOR 2016

COMMITTED PLAYERS: (#’s next to players name indicates national ranking)

#30: TONY BRADLEY PF

#35: SEVENTH WOODS PG

#76: BRANDON ROBINSON SG

_Roy_Williams,_head_coach_of_the_University_of_North_Carolina_basketball_team,

Roy Williams

SUMMARY OF CLASS: The Tar Heels came within seconds of winning another National Championship this past season. While the heartbreak of the title game loss to Villanova will linger for a long time, Roy Williams and company must get on to continue building the program. As stars Brice Johnson and Marcus Paige are off to the NBA, Williams was on his way to the recruiting trail.

For all of the success Roy Williams has had at North Carolina, he has hit a recruiting wall in the last few seasons. They were in the running for the number 1 overall recruit in the class of 2016, Josh Jackson. However, Jackson ended up committing to the Kansas Jayhawks, much to the dismay of the UNC community.

However, even though it is only a 3-man recruiting class, each player should contribute as a freshmen. All 3 players are ranked among the top 80 prospects in the class of 2016. Bradley is a talented big-man who should help replace minutes that will be vacated by senior star PF Brice Johnson, who was the 25th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft by the LA Clippers.

 Woods was a needed get for the Tar Heels. He will have a chance to step tight in the starting line-up, possibly replacing PG Marcus Paige from the first game of next season. He is a 6’2″, highly athletic PG, something UNC hasn’t had in a while and can play SG as well. Robinson is a 6’5″ SG who should receive playing time coming off the bench. He is very good when attacking the basket and can get hot from outside.

While Johnson and Paige were 4-year contributors for Roy Williams, the Tar Heels return a lot of talent. Adding these 3 players will only give the Hall of Fame coach more options during games. The Tar Heels look to be back on the right track on the recruiting trail


CONN HUSKIES

#9 RECRUITING CLASS FOR 2016

COMMITTED PLAYERS: (#’s next to players name indicates national ranking)

#31: JUWAN DURHAM  PF

#36: ALTERIQUE GILBERT  PG

#72: VANCE JACKSON  SF

#142: MAMADOU DIARRA  PF

NR: 3-STAR CHRISTIAN VITAL  SG

Kevin_Ollie_140507-D-HU462-369_(cropped)

Kevin Ollie

CLASS SUMMARY: UCONN Head Coach Kevin Ollie has reeled in a strong 5 player class, highlighted by Durham and Gilbert. Durham is one of the more talented PF’s in the country, however he has been hampered by knee injuries. If healthy he will provide the Huskies with a solid inside presence.

Jackson will provide depth on the wing and Diarra is a 6’7″ PF who plays with high energy, although he is probably more of a project then instant contributor. Vital is an undersized 6’2″ SG from New York, who will provide the Huskies with good 3-point shooting ability.

In my opinion the key to the class is Alterique Gilbert. The Huskies won the 2014 national championship led by PG Shabazz Napier, who was outstanding the whole season, especially in March. He is a perfect example of how crucial good PG play is in college basketball. Look for Ollie to hand the keys to the offense over to Gilbert and let him learn on the fly.

Ollie has proven to be a top-notch coach in his few seasons in Storrs. Taking over for a Hall of Fame coach in Jim Calhoun was not an easy thing to do. However, with 1 national championship under his belt, Ollie has the program in a very good position. His hopes are that this recruiting class gets UCONN back into regular top 25 consideration. We believe that this class has the potential to put UCONN back at the top of the AAC Conference as well as the top 25 rankings.


VIRGINIA C LOGO

#8 RECRUITING CLASS FOR 2016

COMMITTED PLAYERS: (#’s next to players name indicates national ranking)

#43: KYLE GUY  SG

#53: TY JEROME  PG

#60: DeANDRE HUNTER  SF

#50: JAY HUFF  PF

TONY BENNETT VIRGINIA PIC

Tony Bennett

CLASS SUMMARY: Tony Bennett just keeps building the Cavaliers and this recruiting class is proof of what winning consistently can do for a program. Bennett has done what I consider one of the best rebuilding jobs in recent memory while at UVA. The first couple of recruiting classes consisted of lower ranked players who played great team basketball. Now, he is getting more talented players, which is the lifeline of any college basketball program.

Kyle Guy is regarded as one of the best high school shooters in the country, while Ty Jerome has size and physicality for the position, which is what Bennett likes (i.e. London Perrantes). DeAndre Hunter will provide versatility on the and Huff is a player who in a couple of years provide Virginia with productive minutes off the bench.

Tony Bennett just keeps getting it done on the court as well as in recruiting. This class is a perfect example of the sum being greater than the parts. These 4 players will make up the future of the Cavaliers and we look for each of them to have very good success in Bennett’s system. Look for the Cavaliers to stay among the ACC elite as long as Tony Bennett is the head coach of the Virginia Cavaliers.


 KAN JHAWKS

#7 RECRUITING CLASS FOR 2016

COMMITTED PLAYERS: (#’s next to players name indicates national ranking)

#1: JOSH JACKSON  SF

#31: UDOKA AZUBUIKE  C

#107: MITCH LIGHTFOOT  PF

CLASS SUMMARY: Head Coach Bill Self is only bringing in a 3-player class for next season and all 3 will contribute. One of the incoming recruits also happens to be the best high school prospect in the country. 

josh jackson pic

Josh Jackson

Josh Jackson solidified himself as the number 1 player in the class of 2016 during the beginning of his senior year in high school and hasn’t relinquished the top spot. He will remind many Jayhawk fans of former Kansas star Andrew Wiggins. Jackson can do everything on the basketball court and is an athletic marvel. Like Wiggins, the 6’7″ small forward is the early choice by many to be the top pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He is a special talent.

Azubuike is a tough, physical center. The mammoth 6’11 big-man is athletic for his size and has all the attributes that you want in a center. His game is a little raw, however with the excellent coaching he will be receiving, we expect him to have a major impact on what is already a very talented Kansas front-court.

The 6’8″ Lightfoot is in the mold of the “stretch-4” power forward. He can step away from the basket and hit the mid-range and 3-point shot. He will need to get stronger to have a major role as a freshmen. He will get playing time, however he looks to be a player who will contribute more as a sophomore and beyond. 

Bill Self has proven to be among the top coaches and recruiters in college basketball. He does a fantastic job every season and we expect the same in 2016-17. Jackson is the type of player who can make a good team, great. He might be the best player in college basketball next season. If he lives up to the enormous expectations, Kansas should win another Big-12 title and go far in the NCAA tournament.

 


ARIZONA WILDCATS

#6 RECRUITING CLASS FOR 2016

COMMITTED PLAYERS: (#’s next to players name indicates national ranking)

#9: RAWLE ALKINS  SG

#19: KOBI SIMMONS  PG

NR 4-STAR: LAURI MARKKANEN  PF

NR: KEANU PINDER  SF

CLASS SUMMARY: We absolutely love the job that Head Coach Sean Miller has done while he has been at Arizona. While top 15 prospect Terrance Ferguson decided to start his professional career overseas, Arizona has landed 3 players who will make an immediate difference.

Landing 2 of the top 19 players in the class of 2016 certainly helps make him a better coach than he already is. Recruiting is the name of the game in college basketball and Miller has proven to do that job almost as well as any other coach in the country.

KOBI SIMMONS

Kobe Simmons

The headliner of the class is SG Rawle Alkins. A native of New York City, Alkins headed to Word of God High School in North Carolina for his senior year, which is the same school NBA All-Star John Wall attended. Alkins is a very physical and gritty player, who reminds us of fellow New Yorker and NBA veteran Lance Stephenson. There are a lot of similarities in their games. Kobi Simmons is a 6’5″ PG who also shows the ability to play the SG position if necessary. Simmons is a 6’6″ point guard who will be handed the keys to run the Wildcats high octane offense.

Markkanen isn’t as highly recruited as the 3 previous players we mentioned but is still a 4-star recruit. If he attended high school in the U.S., he would stand a good chance to be a top 20 recruit and a McDonald’s All-American. He is multi-talented. He will provide front-court depth for the Wildcats who lost some talent from the front-court. The Australian-born Pinder is making his way to Tucson via Hutchinson JC in Kansas, which is an excellent JC program. He is a 6’8″ SF who will vie for time on the wing

Arizona received great news when talented freshmen guard Allonzo Trier announced he was returning to Tucson for his sophomore season. Trier was projected as a possible first round pick. Trier will be the leader for the Wildcats and with this incoming class look for Arizona to be among the best teams in not only the PAC-12 but the entire country.


MISSISSIPPI STATE LOGO

#5 RANKED RECRUITING CLASS (2016)

COMMITTED PLAYERS: (#’s next to players name indicates national ranking)

#29: MARIO KEGLER  SF

#34: SCHNIDER HERARD  C

#62: TYSON CARTER  PG

#73: ABDULHAKIM ADO  C

#78: LAMAR PETERS  PG

#94: ELI WRIGHT  SG

NR: E.J. DATCHER  C


 
Ben_Howland_(cropped)

Ben Howland

 

CLASS SUMMARY: Ben Howland’s first season in Starkville was a learning experience. Having had previous success at UCLA, which included two Final 4 appearances, Howland was asked to rebuild and change the culture at a college which is predominantly a football school. During last season’s recruiting cycle he managed to land a top 10 recruit in the country in guard Malik Newman. Newman had an uneven freshmen year, showing glimpses of why he was such a highly touted recruit but also struggled. Newman was unsure about his future plans and ended up transferring to the Kansas Jayhawks.

Howland has reeled in an excellent 7 player class, which should give the roster very much needed depth. 6 of the 7 recruits are ranked in the top 100 player rankings. Leading the way is SF Mario Kegler. He will be a starter from Day 1. Herard also has a chance for immediate playing time. The 6’10” center chose the Bulldogs over national power Kansas. Carter has very nice size for a PG and will see time at both the PG and SG positions.

Ado, the #73 recruit in the class of 2016 is a very good shot-blocker while Peters will add more depth to the back-court. Eli Wright is a very athletic SG who can score in bunches, while 3-star center E.J. Datcher will provide front-court depth. We really like this class. All 7 of these players will get immediate playing time next year. Howland has already made a difference in his short time at the SEC school. This class added an influx of much needed talent. While there might not be any sure fire superstars, it is a class where the sum is better than the individual parts. Look for these 7 players to grow together and in a year or 2 make Mississippi State a team that nobody in the SEC will want to play.


UCLA BRUINS

#4 RANKED RECRUITING CLASS (2016)

COMMITTED PLAYERS: (#’s next to players name indicates national ranking)

#8: LONZO BALL  PG

#15: T.J. LEAF PF

#37: IKE ANIGBOGU  C

steve alford pic for ucla

UCLA HEAD COACH STEVE ALFORD

CLASS SUMMARY: UCLA had a down season and Head Coach Steve Alford nailed this class. Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf are 2 of the top 15 players in the country and should come right in and start. Both are supremely talented and possible future NBA players. Ball will remind some Bruin fans of Russell Westbrook, while Leaf will conjure up Kevin Love comparisons.

Anigbogu was a top 40 recruit in his own right and will provide significant height and skill to the UCLA front-court. Alford had a commitment from SG and 3-star prospect Kobe Paras. There were rumors of a serious falling out with Paras and the UCLA coaching staff. He de-committed and ended up signing with Creighton.

Even with the loss of Paras, we love the potential star power that the 3-man class provides. Ball is an amazing talent and a possible 2017 lottery pick. He can do everything on the basketball court as the 6’5″ PG might be the best passer entering college basketball. The inside-outside duo of Leaf and Ball will be among the best in the country.

This was a class Alford had to have after a losing season and he got it. With the star power that this class provides, look for the Bruins to once again become a contender in the tough PAC-12 Conference.


F4MSU

#3 RECRUITING CLASS FOR 2016

COMMITTED PLAYERS: (#’s next to players name indicates national ranking)

#11: MILES BRIDGES  SF

#18: JOSHUA LANGFORD  SG

#28: CASSIUS WINSTON  PG

#45: NICK WARD  PF

CLASS SUMMARY: All 4 players in this class should play immediately. Bridges was a McDonald’s All-American and will start from Day 1. He is an athletic and extremely talented lefty who Tom Izzo will love. Langford is one of the better SG’s in the country and reminds us of former Spartans star Mo Peterson.

Winston will compete for playing time and is an excellent floor general. Ward is another top 50 recruit who should provide valuable minutes as a back-up PF/C. He has an offensive game similar to NBA veteran Zach Randolph when he was at MSU.

We really like this class. All 4 players are very tough, which Izzo loves. The Spartans were many people’s favorites to advance to the Final 4 last season. Instead, they were stunned in the first round by Middle Tennessee State. Langford and Bridges will have to replace All-American Denzel Valentine, who was a first round pick by the Chicago Bulls in the 2016 NBA Draft. They have the talent to replace him, however, Valentine was a 4-year player. It will be fascinating to see how their inexperience factors into their overall performance.

We firmly believe that this is one of Izzo’s better recruiting classes in quite some time. The 4 incoming high school stars should keep Michigan State among the class of the Big-10 conference.


DUKE BLUE DEVILS

#2 RECRUITING CLASS FOR 2016

COMMITTED PLAYERS: (#’s next to players name indicates national ranking)

#2: HARRY GILES  PF

#3: JAYSON TATUM  SF

#10: FRANK JACKSON  PG

#16: MARQUES BOLDEN  PF/C

#41: JAVIN DeLAURIER  PF

NR: JACK WHITE  SF

grayson allen

Grayson Allen

CLASS SUMMARY: Legendary Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski has a loaded class full of talent coming in. Despite losing star Brandon Ingram to the NBA Draft, Coach K has reeled in 4 of the top 16 players in America. Giles missed this past season with a torn ACL but has super-stardom written all over him. The same can be said for Jayson Tatum. The #3 ranked prospect is a candidate to be a one and done college player just like Giles and was the Gatorade National Player of the Year for 2016.

Frank Jackson is another 5-star prospect who most likely will be handed the keys to the Duke offense as Tatum, Giles, and Jackson should all be in the starting line-up from day 1. DeLaurier is an energetic 6’8″ PF with a non-stop motor. Marques Bolden signed in mid-may and is one of the top center in the class of 2016. He will remind many Duke fans of Jahlil Okafor. SF Jack White is making his way to Durham via Australia. He is more of a project, although he has solid potential.

This class is one of the most talented that Krzyzewski has ever had, which is saying a lot. With star SG Grayson Allen returning for his junior season, expectations are through the roof at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Duke will be a lot of people’s choices to cut down the nets next April. You can expect an abundance of NBA scouts at every game that Duke plays next year because these youngsters as well as Allen are that good. Mike Krzyzewski is getting up there in age, however he still has what it take to win on the recruiting trail. This class is a perfect example of that.


KENT WILDCATS LOGO

#1 RECRUITING CLASS FOR 2016

COMMITTED PLAYERS: (#’s next to players name indicates national ranking)

#5: De’AaRON FOX  PG

#6: MALIK MONK  SG

#7: BAM ADEBAYO  PF

#17: WENYEN GABRIEL  PF

#26: SACHA KILLEYA-JONES  PF

NR: TAI WYNYARD  C

John-Calipari

John Calipari

CLASS SUMMARY: There are analysts and fans who have questioned Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari’s coaching during the years. However, there is nothing that can be questioned about his ability to recruit top level players into his program. It is astonishing that year in and year out the level of talent that he brings to Lexington. This is year is no different as he once again has landed the top ranked recruiting class in college basketball. 5 of his 6 recruits are universally ranked among the top 30 high school players for the class of 2016.

Calipari has made it no secret that he recruits players who are expected to be one and done college players. High school players who have the desire to play in the NBA know that he will get them ready. Leading this years class are a pair of electrifying guards. De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk will be starting from day 1. They will help replace lottery pick Jamal Murray.

The 6’3″ Fox will remind some UK fans of John Wall. He is a dynamic PG and will run the UK offense. Malik Monk is a 6’4″ SG from Arkansas and of all the players we have done scouting reports on he is possibly the most athletic. He is a human highlight reel. Monk, Fox, and sophomore to be Isaiah Briscoe will form perhaps the best back-court in college basketball next season.

Bam Adebayo already has the look of a college upperclassman and will immediately help the Wildcats front-court. Calipari couldn’t have been pleased by the performance of his front-court last season and hit the recruiting trail hard and landed impact players, which includes Adebayo. Highly touted but disappointing PF/C Skal Labissiere entered the draft and was a first round pick.

PF’s Wenyen Gabriel and Sacha Killeya-Jones will also play significant minutes this upcoming year. Gabriel plays with extremely high energy and Killeya-Jones has the ability to play inside as well as on the perimeter, which is impressive considering he is 6’10”. Junior College C Tai Wynyard has size at 6’10 but will have trouble getting playing time with all the talent coming to Lexington.

As we previously mentioned, Calipari is a master recruiter. What he doesn’t get enough credit for is his ability to get all these high school All-Americans to buy into his system and play together. Very rarely do you see unselfish players on a John Calipari coached team. This class has a chance to rival the 2011 Kentucky recruiting class that provided Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, among others. These players are that talented. Only time will tell if they can win the National Championship like that class did.


You can find this article as well as many previous articles under our “College Weekly Live” page. CLICK HERE to view our previous articles and posts on college basketball.


 

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