Drew Cannon has spent the past couple of days breaking down the Class of 2011.
And what did he find?
Well, pretty much what you would have expected. The guys ranked at the top of the class heading into the year generally finished at the top of the class at the end of the year. Four of the nation’s top five recruits according to Telep — Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers, Brad Beal and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist — finished in the top six of freshmen performers, with No. 2 recruit Andre Drummond finishing 14th.
After that, however, things become more jumbled. LeBryan Nash (10th) was the 26th-rated freshman, James Michael-McAdoo (6th) finished 38th and Adonis Thomas (9th) finished 55th. Trey Burke (84th), D’Angelo Harrison (64th) and Moe Harkess (39th) all were top ten freshmen. Kevin Pangos, who went unranked by Telep, was probably a top 15-20 freshmen.
What’s more interesting to me, however, is the number of ranked recruits that had a minimal impact. Whether it was due to academics or redshirting, 14 ranked recruits didn’t play Division I basketball this past season. Another 18 were listed as unimpressive by Cannon. Only 48 of the 100 were, according to Cannon, starters or “strong rotation players”. Rakeem Christmas, who started but played very limited minutes for Syracuse, was ranked in the top 50. Josiah Turner, who was suspended a few times before getting kicked off of the Arizona team, was 52nd. Villanova’s Ty Johnson — who shot 34% from two, 23% from three and had a turnover rate of 36% — was 68th.
That should be fair warning to fans pinning next season’s hope on the fact their team brought in a pair of top 100 recruits. Those newcomers have potential and will very likely end up being talented and productive contributors in the program down the road. But expecting them to be the savior of this year’s team is asking too much.
But there is also reason to be hopeful.
Michigan won a share of the 2012 Big Ten regular season title because Trey Burke, who as ranked 84th by Telep but went unranked by other recruiting gurus, produced the fifth-best season of all freshmen. Indiana’s return to prominence isn’t solely the result of Cody Zeller’s emergence as a potential Player of the Year next season, but it didn’t hurt that he had the second best freshmen campaign last year. Harkless was ranked lower in the 2011 recruiting class than he is in the 2012 draft class by a wide margin.
Anything’d possible. But miracles aren’t likely.