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How do other hauls compare to Kentucky’s recent classes?

Apr 12, 2012, 8:45 AM EDT

spt-120411-unc Getty Images

Some things never change.

Kentucky landed 2012’s top prospect in Nerlens Noel Wednesday night, a move that’ll almost certainly give the Wildcats the top-rated recruiting class in college basketball. Consider coach John Calipari four-for-four while in Lexington.

(He’s not done yet, either. Power forward Anthony Bennett, another 5-star player, is considering Kentucky, as are 5-star forwards Amile Jefferson and Devonta Pollard. Bennett is the best bet for the Wildcats, though.)

That’s a run unlike any other in college hoops history and gives the Wildcats four of the top recruiting classes the game’s seen since 2002.

Per Drew Cannon, who’s done work analyzing prospects for and Basketball Prospectus, only North Carolina’s 2006 class and Duke’s 2002 class can compare to any of the last four groups Kentucky’s gathered. He places all of the ‘Cats classes ahead of 2007 Ohio State – the Greg Oden-led group that reached the title game – and ’06 Texas, which boasted Kevin Durant, D.J. Augustin, Damion James and Dexter Pittman (!).

Here’s his rundown of the top 16 classes since 2002, a combination of highly rated prospects and number of guys in said class:

That makes 2012 the closest hoarding of elite talent at a select group of schools since 2006. And those were some good groups in ’06.

All of the above classes include at least one 5-star guy, most have at least two or three. Some, like ’05 Kansas, feature four 5-star guys. And many were extremely successful. At least four (’11 Kentucky, ’06 UNC, ’05 Kansas, ’06 Duke) provided the backbone for national title teams.

The only question I have: Where will Kentucky’s 2013 class fall on this list?

You also can follow me on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.

  1. glink123 - Apr 12, 2012 at 8:57 AM

    anyone else notice how Duke has 4 of the top 10 classes listed here, with a total of 20 players, and of that group, Ray Felton and Josh McRoberts are considered the best NBA pros? that’s really pathetic.

    • tcclark - Apr 12, 2012 at 9:17 AM

      it’s even more pathetic considering Raymond Felton went to Carolina

    • cjispro - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:16 AM

      McRoberts? C’mon, let’s try JJ Redick ftw.

  2. Louisville Kentucky Mortgage - Apr 12, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    I would put this years class ahead of 2010 for Kentucky

    • kingghidora - Apr 13, 2012 at 11:59 AM

      I would too considering the way the NCAA treated Enes Kanter. If not for that corruption that class would have been fabulous. The NCAA promised UK Kanter would be eligible right up until the last day when they said no. What a coincidence that Emmert was the former president of the U of Washington where Kanter originally intended to play along with Terrence Jones. I’m guessing he would have been eligible at Washington. Kanter claims he asked the NCAA exactly how to proceed and followed their rules to the letter. Anyone who thinks the NCAA isn’t corrupt should really think about a few things like Corey Maggette, UNLV, and Kanter not to mention Cam Newton, Ohio St. football, and UCLA under Wooden.

  3. Aaron Saylor - Apr 12, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    Eloy Vargas was a transfer to Kentucky, not a high school recruit.

  4. astrozac - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:03 AM

    What’s the catch with some guys being in bold and others not?…

    • Mike Miller - Apr 13, 2012 at 1:14 AM

      It’s just a hyperlink thing. Means they’re in the pros and sends you to their pro stats.

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