FanPost

Highly rated recruiting classes guarantee nothing

If you’re thinking that grabbing a few highly rated recruits will save Howland’s job, odds are it might have the opposite effect. For the 70 recruiting classes rated #1-5 in the 14 years since 1998 (RSCI consensus rankings), here is a breakdown of the tournament performances in their first year in college:

Didn’t make tournament: 30%
Lost in first round: 19%
Won one game: 20%
Won one tournament game or fewer: 69%
Sweet Sixteen: 10%
Elite Eight: 7%
Final Four (lost in semis): 7%
Final Four (lost in final): 4%
National Champion: 3%

Of the 10 that made the Final Four, seven had more than one top-10 class in the previous three years. The two national champions were UNC (2009), who had a #1, #2 and #3 class in the previous four years and Kentucky (2012), which was the third of back-to-back-to-back #1 classes.

Theories why this happens? Obviously, the freshmen inexperience in tournament play may override their talent. The more cynical approach is that these young highly rated players are more interested in showcasing their talents for the pros and/or there is friction between the older players who have paid their dues and the younger ones who are getting all the attention. Of course some of the players may have been overrated to begin with.

Here's how the #1 classes since 1998 fared in their first year.

1998 - UCLA (#4 Dan Gadzuric #7 Jaron Rush #16 Ray Young #54 Matt Barnes #75 Jerome Moiso)
1999 (22-9) - Finished 3rd in the Pac-10, lost in 1st round of NCAA tournament to an underrated Detroit team playing without injured Gadzuric. (Gadzuric 20 min/game 8.6 ppg Rush 28/11.4 Young 16/5.4 Barnes 13/3.9 Moiso 24/10.8)
1999 - Duke (#3 Jason Williams #9 Carlos Boozer #16 Casey Sanders #25 Michael Dunleavy)
2000 (29-5) - Finished 1st in the ACC, upset in 3rd round of NCAA tournament by Florida. (Williams 34/14.5 Boozer 24/13.0 Sanders 6/1.8 Dunleavy 24/9.1)
2000 - Seton Hall (#2 Eddie Griffin #15 Andre Barrett #26 Marcus Toney-El)
2001 (16-15) - Finished 12th in the Big East. (Griffin 33/17.8 Andre Barrett 32/10.2 Marcus Toney-El 23/6.7)
2001 - North Carolina (#11 Jawad Williams #25 Jackie Manual #37 Melvin Scott)
2002 (8-20) - Finished t-7th in the ACC. Didn't make tournament. (Williams 23/9.8 Manual 21/5.5 Scott 23/6.2)
2002 - Duke (#8 Sheldon Williams #14 Shavlik Randolph #11 J.J. Redick #21 Sean Dockery #30 Michael Thompson)
2003 (26-7) - Finished t-2nd ACC, Lost to Kansas in Sweet Sixteen.
2003 - LSU (#12 Brandon Bass #24 Regis Koundjia #37 Taurean Minor)
2004 (18-11) - Finished t-4th SEC. Didn't make tournament.(Bass 35/12.8 Koundjia 18/3.9 Minor 16/7.2)
2004 - Texas (#12 LeMarcus Aldridge #19 Daniel Gibson #22 Mike Williams #49 Dion Dowell)
2005 (20-11) - Finished t-5th Big-12, lost to Nevada in first round NCAA. (Aldridge 22/9.9 Gibson 33/14.2 Williams 15/3.2 Dowell 10/2.1)
2005 - Kansas (#6 Julian Wright #8 Mario Chalmers #21 Micah Downs #23 Brandon Rush)
2006 (25-8) - Finished t-1st Big-12, upset by Bradley in first round NCAA. (Wright 20/8.5 Chalmers 26/11.5 Downs 12/4.3 Rush 32/13.5)
2006 - North Carolina (#3 Brandan Wright #5 Tywon Lawson #8 Wayne Ellington #39 Alex Stepheson #43 Dion Thompson #79 William Graves)
2007 (31-7) - T-1st ACC, Elite Eight (Wright 27/14.7 Lawson 26/10.2 Ellington 24/11.7 Stepheson 6/2.1 Thompson 12/4.7 Graves dnp)
2007 - Syracuse (#8 Donte Greene #20 Johnny Flynn #48 Antonio Jardine #56 Rick Jackson)
2008 (21-14) - t-8th Big East, didn't make tournament. (Greene 36/17.7 Flynn 36/15.7 Jardine 20/5.5 Jackson 14/3.7)
2008 - UCLA (#2 Jrue Holiday #20 Malcolm Lee #25 J'Mison Morgan #29 Drew Gordon #41 Jerime Anderson)
2009 (26-8) - 2nd Pac-10, lost in 2nd round NCAA tournament. (Holiday 27/8.5 Lee 11/3.2 Morgan 5/2.3 Gordon 11/3.6 Anderson 9/2.3)
2009 - Kentucky (#2 John Wall #3 Demarcus Cousins #19 Daniel Orton #52 Eric Bledsoe #64 John Hood)
2010 (35-3) - 1st SEC, Elite Eight. (Wall 35/16.6 Cousins 24/15.5 Orton 13/3.4 Bledsoe 30/11.3 Hood 5/1.2)
2010 - Kentucky (#4 Brandon Knight #7 Enes Kanter #11 Terence Jones #26 Doron Lamb #50 Stacy Poole)
2011 (29-9) - 3rd SEC, Final Four. (Knight 36/17.3 Kanter dnp Jones 32/15.7 Lamb 28/12.3 Poole 3/0.2)
2011 - Kentucky (#1 Anthony Davis #3 Michael Gilchrist #7 Marquis Teague #19 Kyle Wiltjer)
2012 (39-2) 1st SEC, National Champions. (Davis 32/14.2 Gilchrist 31/11.9 Teague 33/10.0 Wiltjer 11/4.8)

The link below is a table that shows the tournament performance and recruiting class rankings of every school who either had a top-10 recruiting class or made a Final Four since 1998.

NCAA TOURNAMENT RESULTS AND RECRUITING CLASS RANKINGS 1998-2012

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

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