Every year, the NFL draft experts shell out ‘draft grades’ for all the NFL teams directly after the NFL draft takes place, despite none of their picks playing a single game in professional football. It’s an absolutely ridiculous practice that fans, including myself, enjoy.
The same thing happens in recruiting in college basketball. Without having stepped foot on a college campus as a freshman, high schools athletes are ranked by national pundits and scouts by their talent level. Whether the rankings are objective or not is up to you to decide, but the whole process is a little suspect.
I understand why people try to rank things like this, and I am glad websites like Scout.com, Rivals and 247sports rank players and classes in high school basketball recruiting, but the whole concept in undoubtedly a little odd and arbitrary.
To truly evaluate a recruiting class, it is necessary to wait and see how it develops in the college ranks. While a few WCC teams are finishing up their class of 2014 recruiting classes, I will be taking a look the past recruiting classes, ranking them after seeing them pan out in college.
Our first post is on the class of 2013, which might be a little premature since the evaluation period is so minor. I am going to give it a shot anyway.
I now present to you, my class of 2013 WCC recruiting rankings.
10. San Diego
Both of these players were solid options at the point guard, shooting guard and small forward positions this season for Coach Bill Grier. However, more of an impact will need to be made by these two to move up the rankings.
Neither Edwards nor Meikle managed to get a lot of playing time this season, mostly because they were stuck behind the likes of Sam Dower, Przemek Karnowski, Drew Barham and Angel Nunez. Injuries at the start of year forced both of them to suit up this season, even though it was speculated that at least one of them was going to redshirt.
With seven seniors on the team, it was hard for this incoming class to make a big impact at Pacific. Nonetheless, Wallace and Taylor both held significant roles in the backcourt, as did Aguirre in the Tigers frontcourt. Bowles redshirted.
7. Portland Pilots
The Pilots found their point guard of the future this season in Wintering, who lived up to the expectations, averaging 4.5 assists this past season.
Sharp was heralded as a 3-point specialist coming out of Santa Rosta Junior College, and proved that to be the case this season. The future senior shot 40.2 percent from beyond the arc and torched the BYU Cougars for 27 points on Jan 23, 24 of which came on 3’s.
Zubizarreta did not get a lot of action this past season. He can improve this classes ranking by contributing more in the next few seasons.
6. Saint Mary’s Gaels
Down the road, this could be one of the better 2013 recruiting classes in the WCC, but right now six is where it sits.
Pineau had a respectable first season, but was stuck behind a logjam of talent at the power forward position. Carter provided a great deal of energy to the Gaels backcourt, and shot a pretty good percentage from behind the 3-point arc (39.5). Hermanson and Naar redshirted.
5. Santa Clara Broncos
Brownridge’s performance alone in his freshman season justifies Santa Clara being in the top five. Throw in Richard, and it solidifies it.
Brownridge and Richard were both starters by the end of the season, leaving the Broncos backcourt in good hands for years to come. Pugh and Ndumanya redshirted.
With a potential WCC superstar (Brownridge) and some solid parts around him, this class could be one for the ages in Santa Clara lore.
4. Loyola Marymount Lions
This recruiting class was hyped up a considerable amount, with some nationally recognized players included.
Although the class did not live up to all the hype, it came pretty dang close in its debut season at LMU. Gabe Levin and Evan Payne were both big contributors for the Lions, assuming starting positions right away and putting up big numbers. Siame redshirted and Jackson fought injuries for the majority of the season.
This class is now left with two remaining, however. Jackson and Levin – two supposed cornerstones of the program – both have parted ways with LMU, leaving Payne and Siame as the only ones left in the 2013 class.
Based on Worthington and Mika alone, who both had solid years, BYU has the third ranked 2013 recruiting class in the WCC. When the other three players come into the fold after they return from their missions, the Cougars could even leapfrog Pepperdine and San Francisco for the top spot.
It should be noted, Eric Mika has departed for his mission. He will be back in 2016-2017.
There is a reason why the Waves emerged from near the bottom of the WCC standings to fifth place this season: the immediate of the impact of the newcomers.
Three out of the six incoming recruits – Jeremy Major, Amadi Udenyi and Malcolm Brooks – secured starting spots in their first year in Malibu. Murray Jr. oozed potential at a few points this season, and Jesperson showed his reliability at the forward spot. Biyendolo redshirted.
While Brooks will not be back next season, the other five are poised to lead Pepperdine for years to come, considering all of them are only freshman.
Marty Wilson has found his “OKG’s,” and proving that recruiting strategy can indeed work.
1. San Francisco
Head coach Rex Walters and the USF Dons went the Junior College route for their 2013 class, and it paid big dividends in the 2013-2014 season.
Both Pinkins and Glover proved to be a significant players their first season in Division I basketball, showing off their budding talent and elite athleticism. Both of those traits earned them starting positions on the team by the end of the season. Corey Hilliard battled injuries, ultimately ending his season.
All-in-all, this was a solid class for the Dons that provided an immediate impact.
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