2010 Top 10 Recruiting Classes
With high-profile commits every week, SLAM ranks the best classes thus far.
There must be something in the air.
Over the course of the past month or so, we’ve seen the names of several high-profile senior prospects fly off the board. It’s similar to the domino effect with everyone making all-important decisions about where they’ll be playing college ball in the future.
Ironically enough, two weeks ago, we released a detailed list of the nation’s top 2009 recruiting classes. And with all the recent comings and goings, now might be a good time to provide a glimpse of how the best 2010 recruiting classes are shaping up.
Before going any further, however, there’s an issue that must be addressed.
Each of the 2010 recruits we plan on highlighting has given an oral, often times called a verbal commitment, which is non-binding. Essentially, that means the individual can change his mind at any point and pledge to another program.
But for the most part, these kids know where they’ll be playing at the next level. Most have entertained thoughts of attending their respective dream school for years now. And once letters-of-intent are signed on November 11, it’s a done deal.
Without further delay, let’s step into the shoes of coaches from all over the country and attempt to gain a better understanding of how their 2010 recruiting classes are being assembled. Here it is, your top 10 list of college basketball’s best:
1. Ohio State
This one was a no-brainer, given the fact that the Buckeyes landed Jared Sullinger, arguably the nation‘s premiere prospect. The 6-9 and 260-pound post is a man among boys at the high school level and won’t have any trouble transitioning to the Division I game. DeShaun Thomas is a nice addition as well. He’s a bouncy wing, a top 25 athlete. Jordan Sibert, a shooting guard, is the final piece of the puzzle.
When it comes to talented frontcourts, the Orange are without peer. At 7-0 and 270-pounds, Fab Melo is a load underneath the basket. That’s right, there will be a new Melo commanding the attention of the fans inside the Carrier Dome. He’ll work alongside Baye Moussa Kieta, a 6-11 and 230-plus pound presence, down in the low block. Shooting guard Dion Waters and power forward C.J. Fair are in the mix too.
Many thought the Tigers would struggle securing recruits once John Calipari skipped town for Kentucky. No Calipari, no problem. First-year coach Josh Pastner has done an admirable job, convincing a pair of the country’s top 15 players, Will Barton and Joe Jackson, that Memphis is the place to be. With those two in town for what figures to be the next couple of years, Memphis might be the place to be after all.
4. Wake Forest
The Demon Deacons boast the most balanced group around with four players ranked among the country’s top 100 and another recruit that deserves a second look. Travis McKie is as versatile as they come, J.T. Terrell can light it up from the perimeter, Melvin Tabb is a rebounding machine and Carson Desrosiers has a ton of upside. Don’t sleep on Tony Chennault. He makes things happen with the ball in his hands.
5. North Carolina
Year in and year out, coach Roy Williams gets it done on the recruiting front and 2010 is no exception. He lured Reggie Bullock and Kendall Marshall to Chapel Hill and don’t be surprised to see other top-notch prospects follow suit before all is said and done. By most accounts, Bullock is the nation’s best off guard. As for Marshall, he’s considered as one of the top floor generals in the business.
Hook’em Horns. They’ve done it again. For the second time in as many years, Texas has put together a fine bunch of talent and makes an appearance in the top 10. Tristan Thompson is the crowned jewel of the class this time around. The 6-9 forward has a great feel for the game and his left-handed jumper continues to improve. And shooting guard Daniel Bejarano will keep opponents honest from the outside.
Bruce Weber didn’t have to go very far to start rebuilding. The Fighting Illini coach managed to keep three in-state players close to home: Jereme Richmond, Meyers Leonard and Crandall Head. Richmond, in particular, is an intriguing story. The 6-5 wing isn’t on the same level as sensational small forwards such as Harrison Barnes or Stacey Poole, at least not at this stage. Richmond does, however, have a high ceiling.
Not sure where these guys came from, but it sure looks like the Cavaliers are here to stay for a while after locking up four players ranked among the country’s top 150 overall. KT Harrell, Joe Harris and Will Regan have been on the bandwagon for quite sometime, but in all honesty, the recent acquisition of James Johnson put Virginia in the upper echelon of schools that scored on the recruiting front.
No one is talking about the Terps, a puzzling fact considering they made a big-time splash by getting Terrence Ross, Mychal Parker and Terrell Stoglin to believe that big-time basketball is on the verge of coming back in College Park. Ross might be a bit underrated now, but the 6-5 wing won’t be for long, not with coach Gary Williams calling the shots. Parker and Stoglin are capable of contributing right away.
10. Michigan State
Spartan fans will be pleasantly surprised once Keith Appling, a local kid from Detroit, sets foot on campus. The 6-2 point guard is getting better at making good decisions. Perhaps most important, he can score with the best of them, in a variety of ways, mind you. He’s a playmaker, no doubt about it. Small forward Russell Byrd is lights out once he gets his feet set and power forward Alex Gauna gets better each day.