2009 Top 10 Recruiting Classes
You know No. 1, but how do the rest fill-in?
College basketball fans, don’t blink, don’t even think about it because those that do bat an eye might not notice the hoops season rapidly sneaking up on them. That’s right, the 2009-10 campaign is right around the corner, beginning the first week of November, to be exact. Two months and counting.
No better time than the present to take a quick look back at some of the nation’s premier, recently graduated, high school players and where they’re heading. Each, no doubt, hopes to make an impact at the next level, perhaps at some point down the road, take their respective program to the next level.
That said, here’s an overview of how the country’s finest 2009 recruiting classes were assembled. The top 10 list of college basketball’s best follows…
No doubt about it, coach John Calipari outdid himself this time around. With three of the nation’s top 50 kids already onboard, he went out and landed John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, considered by most as can’t miss prospects. Wall figures to be a one-year wonder, staying in Lexington for a season before bolting for the NBA. Cousins could end up doing the same. The Wildcats are without peer when it comes to freshmen talent.
Lone Star State native Shawn Williams was the first to jump on the bandwagon. But the additions of Washington native Avery Bradley and Californian Jordan Hamilton, both among the top 10 players in the country, put the Longhorns in the upper echelon of talent-rich teams. It wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if Bradley and Hamilton each managed to work their way into the starting lineup and remained a fixture out on the floor.
3. North Carolina
John Henson and Dexter Strickland, along with twins David and Travis Wear, pledged to the Tar Heels in January of 2008. Leslie McDonald did the same a mere six months later, giving coach Roy Williams five of the top 75 guys out there to work into his rotation. Not too shabby. There is, however, a problem. North Carolina is a deep team, meaning playing time might be hard to come bye for the youngsters, at least initially.
4. Georgia Tech
Glen Rice is a name everyone is familiar with. He did, after all, enjoy a 15-year stint in the NBA. His son, Glen Jr., signed with the Yellowjackets around this time last year and is hoping to follow in his father’s footsteps. The real story here is Derrick Favors, though. The Ramblin’ Wreck of Georgia Tech scored when the 6-9, 225-pound post committed at the beginning 2009. Favors is legit. Seriously legit.
Many observers think the Wildcats have done the most thorough job of gathering the nations’ best talent. Forward Mouphtaou Yarou is an imposing presence down low in the paint, on both ends of the floor. And point guard Maalik Wayns and shooting guard Dominic Cheek form a dynamic backcourt tandem. And can’t forget to mention Isaiah Armwood. He’s sure to add some much-needed depth in the frontcourt.
Xavier Henry had every intention of attending Memphis. But when John Calipari decided that Kentucky wasn’t the best place for him, Henry, a 6-6 shooting guard, chose to explore his options. Lucky for the Jayhawks, they scored a big-time recruit when he picked Kansas in late April. Henry will be joining heady point guard Elijah Johnson and rebounding machine Thomas Robinson on the Lawrence campus.
At 6-8 and 285-plus pounds, Keith Gallon could play just about any position for the football team in Norman, if given the opportunity. His home, however, is on the hardwood. Besides, Jeff Capel and the rest of his coaching staff would never let their post project see the turf. Sorry Sooner fans. The Oklahoma faithful can take consolation in the fact that Tommy Mason-Griffin is on his way, Steven Pledger too.
Not too long ago, Tyler Honeycutt was nothing more than an afterthought on the recruiting landscape, a long and lanky wing from the West Coast with plenty of question marks. But give the Los Angeles native his props, he worked hard, proved the naysayers wrong and emerged as one of the nations’ top 25 prospects. Brendan Lane, Reeves Nelson, Mike Moser and Anthony Stover are in the mix too.
Never count out coach Mike Krzyzewski. The Blue Devil mastermind convinced Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee to spend the next four years of their lives in Durham. And then Coach K pulled off quite the coup, bringing in Andre Dawkins earlier than expected. In mid-July, news broke that the shooting guard was reclassified from the 2010 class to 2009, so expect Dawkins to be in a Duke uniform sooner rather than later.
The Hoosiers needed help. Plenty of help, at seemingly every position. So what did coach Tom Crean do? Determined, he went out and rounded up several quality players, nearly enough bodies to field an entire starting lineup. Christian Watford, Maurice Creek, Derek Elston, Jordan Hulls and Bawa Muniru all rank among the top 125 in the country. This could be the first step on Indiana’s return to national prominence.