Apr 12, 2012, 8:45 AM EDT
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 Scout.com 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:
- No. 1: 2006 North Carolina (Brandan Wright, Alex Stephenson, Deon Thompson, Wayne Ellington, Ty Lawson and Will Graves).
- No. 2: 2011 Kentucky (Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Marquis Teague and Kyle Wiltjer).
- No. 3: 2009 Kentucky (John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Daniel Orton, Jon Hood, Darnell Dodson).
- No. 4: 2002 Duke (J.J. Redick, Shelden Williams, Sean Dockery, Lee Melchionni, Shavlik Randolph, Mike Thompson).
- No. 5: 2012 Kentucky (Nerlens Noel, Alex Poythress, Archie Goodwin, Willie Cauley)
- No. 6: 2010 Kentucky (Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight, Doron Lamb, Enes Kanter, Stacey Poole, Eloy Vargas).
- No. 7: 2006 Ohio State (Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., Daequan Cook, David Lighty, Othello Hunter).
- No. 8: 2008 UCLA (J’Mison Morgan, Jrue Holiday, Drew Gordon, Malcolm Lee, Jerime Anderson).
- No. 9: 2011 Duke (Austin Rivers, Alex Murphy, Quinn Cook, Marshall Plumlee, Michael Gbinije).
- No. 10: 2005 Kansas (Brandon Rush, Julian Wright, Mario Chalmers, Micah Downs).
- No. 11: 2005 Duke (Greg Paulus, Josh McRoberts, Jamal Boykin, Eric Boeteng, Martynas Pocius).
- No. 12: 2012 Arizona (Kaleb Tarczewski, Brandon Ashley, Gabe York, Grant Jerrett, Matt Korchek).
- No. 13: 2002 North Carolina (Raymond Felton, Rashad McCants, Sean May, Byron Sanders, Damion Grant).
- No. 14: 2006 Texas (Kevin Durant, D.J. Augustin, Damion James, Matt Hill, Dexter Pittman, Harrison Smith, Justin Mason).
- No. 15: 2006 Duke (Lance Thomas, Gerald Henderson, Brian Zoubek, Jon Scheyer).
- No. 16: 2012 UCLA (Shabazz Muhammad, Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams).
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.
Oct 21, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT
Stanford’s back court depth took a hit this week.
Oct 21, 2014, 9:45 PM EDT
Suspensions have been handed down for two James Madison players involved in a fall altercation.
Oct 21, 2014, 8:38 PM EDT
Nebraska has been recruiting the state of Illinois very hard and it paid off with a 2016 commitment.
Oct 21, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT
Kansas State has taken a hit to its front court depth this week.
Oct 21, 2014, 7:15 PM EDT
Florida’s backcourt depth received a big boost this week.
Oct 21, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT
Georgia State loses Kevin Ware with a high ankle sprain.
Oct 21, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT
American went from ninth in the Patriot League preseason polls to a No. 15 seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. Safe to say, the Eagles will be viewed much differently this time around with four returning starters.
Oct 21, 2014, 5:15 PM EDT
Wyoming becomes a contender in the Mountain West Conference with the return of senior forward Larry Nance Jr.
Oct 21, 2014, 4:15 PM EDT
Clemson added a junior college post that could come in and make an immediate impact.
Oct 21, 2014, 3:06 PM EDT
The Aggies now have one of the best recruiting classes in the country.
Oct 21, 2014, 3:00 PM EDT
American was the surprise team in the Patriot League a season ago. Can they repeat as league champs?
Oct 21, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT
No surprise that Murray State and Belmont are expected to be at the top of the league.
Oct 21, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT
L.J. Rose is expected to return around Christmas.
Oct 21, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT
The Gators are good enough to win the SEC. They have enough question marks to finish outside the top 25 as well.
Oct 21, 2014, 10:08 AM EDT
That fan looks like he’s enjoying things.
Oct 21, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT
These are the players to keep an eye on if you like seeing aerial acrobatics.
Oct 20, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT
Kansas State is losing a redshirt freshman to transfer.
Oct 20, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT
Virginia got a very skilled guard in the 2016 class.
Oct 20, 2014, 9:15 PM EDT
Florida landed an in-state Class of 2015 wing to make it a four-man class.
Oct 20, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT
Memphis found a 2016 guard to join center Nick Marshall in the recruiting class.
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