Earlier today, the folks over at ESPN Insider put together a list of the college basketball futures.
Essentially, they ranked who they believed would be the Top 25 programs in the country over the course of the next three seasons based on five categories: Coaching, Current Talent, Recruiting, Program Power and Stability.
And, not surprisingly, the top three teams on that list were Duke, Kentucky and Kansas, with Louisville checking in at fourth.
The ranking that surprised me, however, was Florida, who checked in at fifth, over the likes of Michigan State, Arizona, Syracuse, Ohio State, Indiana and North Carolina.
I know Billy Donovan won two national titles, and I know that he’s had as much success in the NCAA tournament, relative to his team’s seeding, as just about anyone. His three straight Elite Eights speak for themselves. He wins when it matters.
But I think it’s also fair to say that Donovan has had some disappointments on the recruiting trail while also failing to maximize some of the talent that he’s landed. Kenny Boynton and Patric Young were both five-star recruits, and neither of them became much more than a good college player. The same could be said for Chandler Parsons, who is going to end up being in the NBA than he ever was in college.
It’s also fair to say that of the three- and four-star recruits he’s landed, Donovan has had more flameouts than he has had homeruns.
Donovan is a tremendous coach, considering he’s made three Elite Eights and won two SEC titles in the last three years as his program was built around Erving Walker, Kenny Boynton and Patric Young.
But he also missed two of the last six NCAA tournaments, with his win-loss record and overall conference finish being bolstered by the fact that Florida plays in the SEC. Having the safety cushion of all-but being guaranteed to be a top two team in a power conference year-in and year-out is a luxury few have.
Florida is a fine basketball program with a coach that will one day be in the hall of fame. But that doesn’t mean they should be ranked ahead of some of the teams that I mentioned above.