The Tar Heels have sprinted out of the blocks better than any program in the country. Roy Williams and staff have locked up five players all ranked inside the top 70 national rankings in the class of 2009. Henson, a 6-foot-10 versatile post, is the gem while Strickland and McDonald are the future of the backcourt. The Wear twins give UNC some size inside as well as long term helpmates to the rotation.
Who says the Wildcats are just a guard program? Villanova has a pair of impressive post players in Yarou and Armwood to compliment Wayns, one of the best floor generals in the country. With three players all within the top 65 rankings, the future of Villanova hoops is in good hands.
The Hoosiers added Watford at the beginning of September and he gives the program a big, versatile forward that should see major minutes as a freshman. Creek was high on Marquette when Tom Crean was at the helm and carried over his fondness when the Hoosiers hired the former Golden Eagle head man. Creek should help from day one in the guard oriented style that Crean employs. Indiana fans love the fact that Crean is recruiting the local kids. Hulls, a Bloomington native, embodies the Hoosier spirit with his play. So does Capobianco, an Ohio forward. Elston, a holdover from the Sampson regime, missed the summer due to injury. Muniru, a 6-foot-11 center, gives the team a physical presence inside the paint and will help on the defensive end of the floor.
The Yellow Jackets wanted to lock up the foundation of the class early in 2009 and did so with a quick run of pledges in June and July. Oliver was the first to pick the ACC school and did so in mid-June. Holsey announced at the Nike Peach Jam and a week later Udofia popped in Las Vegas and Rice in Orlando. Staying in state was also a priority.
Arizona doesn't have to worry about the point guard position anymore with Gaddy's commitment. The Tacoma, Wash., native is one of the best in the nation, and Arizona beat out Pac-10 rival UCLA for his services. Hill is a jack-of-all-trades wing that can handle the ball, defend in the backcourt and is athletic enough to play three positions. Moser could be the most intriguing of the bunch. He's long, athletic and full of upside. Dowell, a former Alabama commitment, pledged to the program before Gaddy and should give the team good depth in the backcourt.
If there was any question about the Illini's ability to lock up the in-state talent like year's past, the class of 2009 has proven that the program and still lock up the locals. The future looks bright, particularly in the backcourt. The trio of Paul, Richardson and Bertrand is a major upgrade at the guard positions while Griffey has the tools to be a grinder down low all the while being a great forward to run the pick and roll with.
The Blazers have an answer for Memphis in Cousins. In fact, they may have an answer for just about every program in the nation. Cousins, a Birmingham native who is playing in Mobile now, is one of the true elite talents in the class. His addition alone gives UAB a major shot in the arm. Murray will be a key player in the backcourt. Kreft, a former Florida State signee, has reportedly cleaned up his life after a felony drug charge in high school. The Chipola (Fla.) Junior College transfer pledged to the Blazers early September. Coleman and Fields are both wired to score and will shine in the up-tempo game.
The Longhorns locked up one of the best players in the country regardless of position in Bradley, a 6-foot-3 native of Tacoma, Washington. Now at Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nev., Bradley will have a chance to continue his terrifying combination of offense and defense against some of the top teams in the country. He should prove to be an immediate impact player for the Longhorns. Williams, a 6-foot-7 forward from national powerhouse Duncanville (Texas) High School, is a deadly perimeter threat and a scary prospect if he takes full advantage of Texas's outstanding strength program.
Rick Pitino and staff have already filled several needs in the 2010 class with these three commitments. Buckles is one of the most intriguing players in the class because of his size, raw ability and versatility at the power forward position. Siva is a similar scoring point guard that the Cardinals have relied on in the past. Marra is an athletic wing with great range on his jumper. Van Treese is a bouncy forward that can run the floor.
The Wolfpack love the I-85 pipeline down to Atlanta. After securing J.J. Hickson two years ago, Sidney Lowe and staff have mined Georgia hard for talent. The results have been positive in 2009 with Brown and Howell. Both should help from day one. A mini Indiana connection is also growing. Last year the team landed Julius Mays. This year, Wood is the latest Hoosier State player to head south to Raleigh.
It seems like Oriahki and Coombs have been committed to the Huskies for a decade. Both pledged to Jim Calhoun very early in the recruiting process and over time the duo have improved tremendously. Oriahki could be a McDonald's All-American while Coombs has developed into one of the top wings in the nation. Look for both to make contributions in Storrs.
First year head coach Buzz Williams immediately tapped into his recruiting prowess, securing a strong four-man class. Maymon is a versatile, multi-skilled forward ranked in the top 50. Out of Canada comes a savvy point guard in Cadougan who can both distribute the ball and score it. Williams, a four-star forward, was sidelined with an injury during the travel circuit, but he is loaded with potential. And a regional junior college prospect, Buycks rounds out the class.
Honeycutt shot up the rankings over the summer with his savvy and skilled play and headlines UCLA's three-man recruiting class. Nelson has battled injuries over the past year, but when healthy, he brings a rugged physicality to the court. Lane, on the other hand, is a skilled, face-up four-man who will stretch the defense for the Bruins.
Coach Oliver Purnell continues to bring in recruiting classes with the talent to compete with the traditional heavy weights of the ACC. Leading the way for the three man 2009 recruiting class is Jennings, who is a pure shooting four-man with an impressive skill set. Booker, a bouncy and aggressive in-state forward, will pick up where his brother Trevor, a junior on the team, leaves off when his career is finished at Clemson. Hill is a solid wing player with the capability of contributing early in his career.
Always known for landing under-the-radar prospects who are perfect fits for his system, Coach Jamie Dixon brings five-star prospect Taylor into the Lair. Complimenting Taylor's prowess in the interior is Patterson, who is a skilled and heady wing player. Texan J.J. Richardson is a blue collar competitor in the Pittsburgh mold, and talented junior college prospect Dodson rounds out the class. Zanna, a 6-foot-11 big man, is a sleeper that could emerge as a valuable recruiting coup in time.
First-year coach Travis Ford has reeled in a talented four-man class for the Cowboys. Penn is an electric, undersized scoring point guard who set Vegas on fire in July. He will be accompanied by the high-energy and productive wing Roger Franklin. Three-star prospects Fred Gully and Torin Walker will provide depth for Ford's up-tempo attack.
When Tubby Smith landed the Minnesota job, he immediately targeted White and Williams, two of the top players in the state. The work paid off and the two local products are staying home to play for Smith. The future Gophers will be asked to contribute immediately. White is the No. 2-ranked small forward in the 2009 class. Cobbs gives the program a heady point guard that knows how to put the ball in the basket.
The Wildcats continue to mine the Washington D.C. area, the same place that produced Michael Beasley and a host of other KSU players. Judge and McGruder are both attend Arlington Country Day school in Jacksonville, Fla., and both should help Frank Martin's program right away. Judge, a versatile 6-foot-9 forward, plays a style patterned after Beasley. Henriquez signed in 2008 but is spending a year in prep to tidy up his academics.
The Trojans have done a fine job of staying local and landing the stars in Southern California and going nationally to recruit the blue-chippers. Walker, an aggressive 6-foot-4 guard, could be one of the best defenders in the league under Tim Floyd's tutelage. Johnson, a 6-foot-7 wing from Atlanta, is coming across the country to score big-time points. Don't be surprised to see the Trojans give him the ball and tell him to go to work.
The Sooners won a major recruiting battle to land Mason-Griffin, one of the best point guards in the country. He is the best point guard Jeff Capel has lured to Norman since taking over the program. Pledger, a Virginia native, gives the team a legitimate threat on the perimeter. In-state commitment Hardrick has been committed to the school since 2006.