College Basketball Top 20 Recruiting Classes8 min read
Now that the dust has finally settled on the 2017 recruiting season and the NBA Draft has come and gone, let’s take a look at the top classes in College Basketball.
#1 Kentucky Wildcats
Insert a Jon Rothstein tweet about death, taxes and John Calipari landing crazy talented recruits and that pretty well sums up the Wildcats haul for 2017. UK loses a bunch of talent with Fox, Monk, Adebayo, and others heading to the NBA, but they look to be a much more balanced squad coming into next season. The class is highlighted by SIX 5* recruits according to 247 Sports, with Hamidou Diallo as their top-rated recruit at #9 overall.
#2 Duke Blue Devils
The #2 spot was a tough decision between Duke and Arizona, but the late additions of Trevon Duval and Jordan Tucker helped put the Blue Devils over the top. Duke is another team that will see a mass exodus with Kennard, Tatum, Giles, and Frank Jackson entering the draft. HOWEVA, Duke brings back, preseason POTY candidate Grayson Allen to go along with a glut of talented Frosh headlined by Marvin Bagley.
#3 Arizona Wildcats
The Cats had a very nice end to the season and start of the offseason landing versatile 5* wing Emmanuel Akot and bringing back both Rawle Alkins and Alonzo Trier. Gone are Lauri Markkanen and Kobi Simmons, but Sean Miller adds a nice group of talent as well as Chase Jeter the Duke transfer who will need to sit a season per NCAA rules. This group is led by 7-footer DeAndre Ayton the #3 player in the class and will be primed for a run at the Pac-12 title.
#4 Louisville Cardinals
Louisville was poised to be the top team in the country preseason and then Donovan Mitchell decided to stay in the draft. Just last week the Cardinals were handed sanctions from the NCAA including a massive 5-game suspension (sense the sarcasm) during the ACC schedule for Rick Pitino. There was some good news for Louisville this offseason, as they added 5* wing Brian Bowen the #18 ranked player in the class.
#5 Texas Longhorns
Shaka Smart brings in his best recruiting class since taking over in Austin and lands his best recruit in the process. Despite losing Freshman phenom Jarrett Allen to the draft, things are looking promising at Texas. Smart was able to land the #2 recruit in the country, Mohamed Bamba, late in the recruiting cycle to help vault the Longhorns into the top 5. Bamba joins four other 4* star recruits including one of the top guards Matt Coleman.
#6 Missouri Tigers
It has been a program-changing offseason for the Tigers as they landed former Cal head coach Cuonzo Martin. Martin quickly added Michael Porter Sr to his staff and along with him, came his son, top 2017 recruit Michael Porter Jr. a former Washington commit. Martin also beefed up his class with the additions of Illinois decommit and East St. Louis native — much like Cuonzo Martin — Jeremiah Tilmon and 4* guard Blake Harris. This class will have high expectations, especially given the lack of depth in terms of quality teams in the SEC.
#7 Alabama Crimson Tide
Avery Johnson made a big splash for the Tide in the early signing period last fall with 5* commit Collin Sexton who is regarded as the top point guard in the class with Trevon Duval. Bama is on the upturn and should be competitive in the SEC next season. Johnson’s class will be relied upon heavily to win and we will tell early if they are up to the challenge.
#8 UCLA Bruins
The Bruins landed another big class, that will have big shoes to fill with Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf in the NBA now. Alford brought in a pair of top 25 recruits in Jaylen Hands and Kris Wilkes who will be responsible for filling the void left by the aforementioned Ball and Leaf. Then there is the middle Ball brother, LiAngelo, the lowest rated recruit in the class. According to scouting reports, he has neither the playmaking ability of Lonzo nor does he have the long-range scoring ability of LaMelo.
#9 Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
I remember looking back at this recruiting class early last season and seeing that Western Kentucky of all teams had landed not one, but TWO top 50 recruits. It was actually one of the first few college basketball blogs I wrote, wild times. Rick Stansbury has assembled a very nice class in Bowling Green, headlined by 5* Center Mitchell Robinson. Stansbury was in til the end for Georgetown decommit Tremont Waters, however, Waters chose Will Wade and the LSU Tigers instead. This is another team that will rely heavily on its Freshman class next season, but given the quality of the C-USA, the Hilltoppers are expected to be the favorites.
#10 Miami Hurricanes
Larranga’s squad is fresh off back-to-back NCAA Tourney appearances and will bring in another stellar class. They do lose Davon Reed and Kamari Murphy, but this team was filled with underclassmen next season who look primed to make another run to the Tourney. Joining them are a talented trio of recruits with Lonnie Walker, Chris Lykes and Deng Gak. Gak and Walker are expected to contribute immediately, while Lykes will be excellent depth for the Canes.
#11 Oregon Ducks
How about the job Dana Altman has done in Eugene? He led the Ducks to the Final Four last season, where a missed box-out on a free throw late in the game ended their run at the National Title. That team will lose a lot with Dillon Brooks, Jordan Bell, and Dylan Ennis all gone. The prize of the class is 5* wing Troy Brown from Las Vegas, 4*’s Victor Bailey, and Kenny Wooten look to contribute in the rotation for Altman’s squad. The Ducks have earned 5 consecutive berths to the NCAA Tournament, all 5 have resulted in Third Round or better runs, this class will have to be good to continue to that run.
#12 Florida State Seminoles
Leonard Hamilton had a tough, tough job looking to replace the talent void that Dwayne Bacon and Jonathon Isaac have left in Tallahassee. The late commitment from M.J. Walker vaulted the Noles into the top 15 in terms of overall class. He joins 7-footer Ikechukwu Obiagu and RalQuan Gray in an important class for Hamilton to keep the momentum going.
#13 Xavier Musketeers
The hottest commodity on the coaching carousel stayed home and delivered another great class at Xavier. Chris Mack received great news when Trevon Blueitt decided to come back for his senior season after losing star guard Edmond Sumner. Mack quickly filled the gap left by Sumner with 4* PG Paul Scruggs who should step in and contribute immediately. There’s plenty of talent coming back this year and a solid class coming in for X, I expect them to compete for the Big East Title this season.
#14 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels
I’ve said it many, many times on The B-Fox and B-Frank Show, but I do not understand why UNLV isn’t a bigger destination for basketball, especially given their interesting history. Marvin Menzies was given the keys after the strange and short Chris Beard tenure that lasted all of 19 days. Menzies brings in a great class that should make them much more competitive than a year ago. The class is headlined by almost-Fenwick Friar, Brandon McCoy the 5*, McDonald’s All-American from San Diego. There is a lot of size in this class, expect the Rebels to be tough on the glass.
#15 LSU Tigers
The Tigers’ class was made when the aforementioned Tremont Waters gave his commitment to Will Wade. Waters is a top 50 player and one of the top PGs in the class. He joins combo guard Brandon Rachal who both should come in and start immediately for LSU. Wade now has to do what Johnny Jones never could — produce with the solid talent he recruited to Baton Rouge.
#16 Virginia Tech Hokies
Buzz Williams has done a lot in a short amount of time in Blacksburg. He has revitalized the program and really made them competitive in a tough ACC. This is a solid 3-man class that can help add depth and that he can build on moving forward. Nickell Alexander-Walker (one of the coolest names in the class), Wabissa Bede, PJ Horne might not play a large role immediately, but they will be a solid 2nd unit for the Hokies.
#17 Kansas Jayhawks
Most services have the Jayhawks in the low to mid-30s because the size of their class is just two. Well, both of those guys are very good. Bill Self’s class is made up of Billy Preston and Marcus Garrett, both are top 60 players in the class and will look to compete for time right away. Kansas will be primed to win yet another Big 12 Title, their 1,000,000th in a row.
#18 North Carolina Tar Heels
The reigning National Champions do not have a flashy class coming in to replace some really talented guys, but they will bring in some nice players for the future. Williams has done well of late developing players and building teams reliant on upperclassmen. The 5-man class for Roy Williams has three 3* recruits, his two notable 4*’s are Jalek Felton and Garrison Brooks.
#19 Providence Friars
Providence was a very nice surprise last season after the departure of Kris Dunn and Ben Bentil, the Friars made a run to the NCAA Tournament for the 4th straight season. The will return their key contributors from that team and add a good recruiting class, which has been typical, if not, expected in the Ed Cooley era. Makal Ashton-Langford is the jewel of the class and will be inserted into the rotation right away.
#20 Texas A&M Aggies
Billy Kennedy’s squad did not have the year I expected last year — I picked them as my SEC sleeper team — but received a massive boost to their 2017-18 campaign when star forward Robert Williams elected to return for his Sophomore season. The Aggies add Savion Flagg and Jay Jay Chandler to the mix, both will contribute in the rotation next season.