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Dan Guerrero Makes Another Sucker Bet For UCLA's Basketball Future

Alford Should Have Been Fired Yesterday, But Apparently UCLA's Athletic Director Thinks "Next Year's Recruits" Are The Magic Elixir That Will Fix Everything.


UCLA basketball is holding a 2, a 4 and a 6. I'm thinking that there was a conversation that went something like this.

The guy currently in charge says "So Dan, my man, listen. I know things didn't go all that well last season. In basketball. Dan, are you listening? Pay attention. Don't fire me, dude. I've got NEXT. YEAR'S. RECRUITS." And of course Dan says to himself, "Yeah, it's almost a certainty that he'll draw a 3 and a 5, so we're golden. Maybe it's time for another contract extension."

Let's examine whether a bet on "Next Year's Recruits" is a sure thing, like Guerrero and some others think, or whether it is a primo sucker bet. I looked up where last year's "Next Year's Results" were for UCLA, and I chose Rivals, because it was the first one that came up in my search. I had no idea where UCLA was on this list, but I didn't realize I would have to get all the way to number 24 to find out where our "Next Year's Recruits" were ranked. Next to these "Next Year's Recruits" ranking, I listed the current AP ranking as of March 12.

1 Kentucky 16 23-8
2 Duke 19 22-9
3 Arizona 15 24-7
4 LSU NR 19-15
5 Ohio State NR 20-13
6 Kansas 1 27-4
7 California 24 22-9
8 Texas A&M 17 24-7
9 Louisville 14 23-8
10 Washington NR 18-14
11 UNLV NR 18-15
12 Syracuse NR 19-13
13 Florida State NR 19-13
14 Marquette NR 20-13
15 Oregon 8 25-6
16 Mississippi State NR 14-17
17 Memphis NR 18-14
18 Texas A&M 23 20-11
19 Illinois NR 15-19
20 Auburn NR 11-20
21 Connecticut NR 23-10
22 Villanova 3 27-4
23 Oregon State NR 19-12

Fourteen of the top 24 recruiting classes did not end up on teams which were ranked in the AP top 25.

Some teams without "Next Year's Recruits" managed to have reasonable records. None of these teams had Top 24 recruiting classes, according to Rivals.

2 Michigan State 26-5
4 Virginia 24-6
5 Xavier 26-4
6 Oklahoma 24-6
7 North Carolina 25-6
9 West Virginia 24-7
10 Indiana 25-6
11 Miami 24-6
12 Utah 24-7
13 Purdue 24-7
18 Maryland 24-7
20 Iowa 21-9
21 Iowa State 21-10
22 Baylor 21-10
25 SMU 25-5

So we've seen how last year's "next year's recruits" worked out. But what about next year's "Next Year's Recruits" you ask. Well, here's how Rivals ranks them.

1 Kentucky
2 Duke
3 Michigan State
4 Mississippi State
6 Connecticut
7 Virginia
8 Florida State
9 North Carolina
10 Miami
11 Syracuse
12 Oregon
13 Auburn
14 Alabama
15 Gonzaga
17 Indiana
18 Penn State
19 NC State
20 Maryland
21 Washington
22 Butler
23 Oklahoma
24 Minnesota

So we should expect a big turn-around, I guess. From what I read about Lonzo Ball, he's the next coming of, well, I guess of Ben Simmons, who has guided LSU to, oh. Wait. Never mind. Lonzo Ball is the next coming of somebody whose team is actually going to make the tournament.

I'm not rocket surgeon, but it doesn't appear to me that there is a guaranteed, sure-thing correlation between recruiting class ranking and team success, as measured by the AP poll.  But then I don't think it's a good bet that I'll fill that inside straight. That's one of the differences between Director Guerrero and me - he thinks that inside straight draw is a certainty.   He not only will call the bet of UCLA's basketball fortunes for next year, he will raise -- he's going to up the bet to include UCLA's basketball legacy.