Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Top 10: Signing ESPN 100 players
By Dave Telep
Sometimes you have to see it to believe it. Since John Calipari took over at Kentucky we’ve steadily sung the praises of the Wildcats and their recruits. Well, it turns out there was a good reason for the high praise. Kentucky exports prospects to the NBA and imports elite high school players at a rate higher than any of its peers.
The following is a list of programs that signed the most ESPN 100 players from 2009-2013. I know, it’s Telep’s Top 10, but we had some ties. Here’s a snapshot of where the talent goes in our country:
Kentucky (23 ESPN 100 recruits): What did you expect? When there’s a revolving door of lottery picks it’s only natural to replace talent with talent. Because of its ability to put elite talent in the NBA, UK has plenty of openings each year. UK has had four of the last five No. 1 recruiting classes and that's not an accident.
Arizona (16): If you’re like me, you may not have seen Arizona checking in at No. 2 on the list. It’s a credit to Sean Miller that he has been able to reconstruct the program as quickly as he has done and this number confirms the talent code being re-written in Tucson. What’s impressive is that not only is it a big number but Arizona’s now a factor for more of the Top 25 players than it was in 2009.
North Carolina (16): Don’t act surprised.
Duke (14): See above comment.
Texas (14): This is where the list gets a little interesting. Texas has the most Top 100 players over the last five years but it’s Kansas with the most league titles in the Big 12. Regardless, Rick Barnes and his staff enjoyed quite the run.
Kansas (13): With Bill Self coming off a masterpiece recruiting class the Jayhawks are in no danger of losing their edge anytime soon.
Syracuse (12): The Orangemen don’t leave their comfort zone much but have managed to mine pockets on the East Coast with great regularity.
Baylor (11): The newbie to a list of this magnitude. While Robert Griffin III is the face of Baylor athletics, its men’s basketball team is certainly pulling its weight these days.
Indiana (11): Like Arizona, Indiana’s steadily climbed up this list with its best work in terms of number of Top 100 players coming halfway through the five-year period.
Memphis (11): The man had to replace John Calipari and there’s no denying the fact that Josh Pastner continues to pump prospects through the pipeline.
UCLA (11): This is the only program other than Kentucky that claimed a No. 1 recruiting class in the past five years.
Villanova (11): Villanova lives in the 50-100 range of the ESPN 100 prospect rankings. Recently, the Wildcats scrapped the notion of chasing the talent and began going with the best fit for the program so we’ll see if they can keep up the momentum of the last five years.