If you haven’t read my top five recruiting class rankings for 2012, you can find it here. Other than that, let’s not waste any time and get to the rest of the top ten.
6. North Carolina State
Mark Gotfried may have only been in Raleigh a year, but he’s managed to turn the clock back to the 1980’s- back to when N.C. State was busy winning National Championships instead of sitting in the bottom half of the ACC and missing the tournament like they have for the past five years.
After making the ACC title game and the Sweet Sixteen this past season, Gottfried officially
became the heir apparent to Jim Valvano when he signed five-star, home-grown recruit,
Rodney Purvis over Duke and North Carolina.
Determined to play at the point, Purvis is super athletic and a big-time scoring threat. He’s
an attacker, driving to the rim and scoring in the paint. Extremely competitive and extremely
physical, Purvis is a nightmare to guard.
The Wolfpack also signed small forward T.J Warren (#17 overall in 2012 by Rivals). At 6’8”
Warren is a big time scorer as well and can be deadly from the three point range. At 230 lbs, the kid can create some shots for himself, and has a great touch on his pull-up jumpers. Four-star point guard Tyler Lewis signed with N.C. State as well.
7. Michigan State
It is my personal opinion that Tom Izzo is the best coach in the Big Ten, and top five in the
country, so it is no surprise that some of the nation’s best talent would want to play for him.
The Spartans have not missed an NCAA tournament since 1997, and with the players they have coming in this next season, the Izzone needn’t worry.
The headliner is Gary Harris, 2012’s Indiana Mr. Basketball, and one of the top shooting guards in the nation. Three words describe Harris best: Ice. In. Veins. He’s the one you want taking that buzzer-beating shot.
He’s still improving his mid-range game and ball handling skills, but with Izzo as his coach, Harris is the player of the 2012 class that I’m predicting to be the “break-out star.”A true athlete, Harris has an extra long wingspan that allows him to be a great on-the-ball defender.
Michigan St signed the Michigan Mr. Basketball as well- Matt Costello. This center will probably join Harris as freshmen starters for the team. He can score with his back to the basket as well as from the perimeter, but his specialty will most likely be rebounds at East Lancing.
Izzo signed PF Kenny Kaminski (#26 PF by Rivals) and SG Denzel Valentine (#15 SG by Rivals) as well.
The Spartans were in deep need for these four players too. With Big Ten Player of the Year
Draymond Green having graduated, and center Derrick Nix suspended indefinitely after his
arrest for drug possession, a “breath of fresh air” couldn’t have come at a better time. With
Keith Appling at the point and Brandon Dawson at small forward (and Izzo at the reigns) this
team should be a serious Big Ten contender.
After going 6-25, 10-21, and 12-20 in Tom Crean’s first three years at Indiana, the Hoosiers are already ranked pre-season number one by the start of his fifth year. Following the landmark signing of Cody Zeller, players all across the state are dreaming of wearing the candy stripes once again. This is evident in the loaded 2012 class coming in- four of the five are Indiana residents.
The most likely to start of the group is point guard Yogi Ferrell. The McDonald’s All American
is the #2 point guard in the nation according to Rivals. Though only 5’10,” he’s incredibly quick and fantastic on defense. But what the Hoosiers are most anxious for is his passing ability.
“He’s just so quick, so quick with the ball. He knows when to get in there, when to pass it when the 7-footer comes over on him. When he’s driving the lane and draws two guys, he can kick it to another guy. He’s brilliant.”
-Shabazz Muhammad (McDonald’s All American teammate)
Add that ability to get the ball to the big man inside (Zeller), to the player that can drive to
the bucket (Victor Oladipo), to the open man on the wing (Jordan Hulls), or to the versatile
Christian Watford and Will Sheehey, and the Hoosiers should be the team to beat next year.
Also big for the Hoosiers is Hanner Perea. If you draw a little box around the rim and tell Perea to just stand there all game, he can single-handedly affect whether you win or lose. Blocked shots, tip-ins, and the ability to make a dunk out of almost every play, Perea and Zeller together will be scary.
Another big signing by Crean was that of 6’7” SF Jeremy Hollowell. One of the most naturally talented players at that position in the 2012 class, there are still some issues of “mental toughness.”
But as his high school coach J.R. Shelt put it, “I know there are better players in the country
individually, but, Jeremy is the piece to the puzzle that all these schools need. He’s that missing link. He’s a team player through and through.
Also signed are SG Ron Patterson out of Indianapolis and C Peter Jurkin from North Carolina.
Just like at Indiana, Rick Barnes is bringing in a full, five-man recruiting class to Austin next year. And, get this, for the first time in a long time, he didn’t target international players. All five new Longhorns hail from the U.S.
The top recruit in their 2012 class is the #7 ranked center, Cameron Ridley. He has played as a true center all through his high school and AAU years and thus is more comfortable under the rim than 20 feet out. An exceedingly physical player, Ridley can box out and grab boards like he’s playing against middle schoolers.
Averaging 21.5 points, 15.2 rebounds and 5.3 blocks a game last season, he did most of his work around the basket but also developed some range on his shot.
The Longhorns also signed C Prince Ibeh, PF Connor Lammert, PG Javan Felix, and SF Ioannis Papapetrou (with Papapetrou being the only one not ranked in the top 100 by Rivals).
Last season, Texas only had one player taller than 6’7” (6’10” senior Clint Chapman). But next year Barnes will have Ridley, the 6’11” shot-blocker Ibeh, 6’9” Lammert and 6’8” Papapetrou. And Jonathan Holmes and Jaylen Bond, both 6-7, return to the frontcourt.
With the Big 12’s leading scorer, junior guard J’Covan Brown, leaving school early to enter the NBA draft, the Longhorns could become more of a “pound-the-ball-inside” type team than we’re used to seeing.
I debated for a while whether the #10 spot belonged to Providence or Michigan, but even
finishing 15th in the Big East last year couldn’t diminish how good the Friar’s incoming class is. First year coach Ed Cooley wasted no time signing multiple impact players who will probably start from day one.
Big time scorer Ricardo Ledo (#5 shooting guard in the nation) will bring the flash as soon as he steps on the court. Scout.com lists him as the best pure scorer in the 2012 class. His jump shot is killer (especially when he gets it off the pass), but his ability to finish at the rim is additionally deadly.
But even more important to the team will be the number one point guard in the nation Kris
Dunn. Pure and simple, Dunn is a winner. He’s a talented athlete that’s used to getting to the rim; however, he has some work to do on his passing and ability to see the game before it develops.
Providence also signed PG Ian Baker (not ranked) and SG Josh Fortune (also not ranked). If Cooley can start to bring in some big men over the next couple of years, this team could be seriously good.