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.
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. He should prove to be an immediate impact player for the Longhorns. Hamilton, one of the elite scorers in the nation, picked the Big 12 school at the start of October. He came through on his promise to play alongside Bradley. 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.
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 Jayhawks continue to recruit well and recruit nationally. Robinson, a five-star prospect from Baltimore via Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, is one of the elite rebounders in the class. His presence should be felt the minute he arrives in Lawrence next fall. Johnson, a Las Vegas native, is one of the most athletic point guards in the country and when he's at the top of his game, he is one of the best at his position nationally.
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.
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 Wildcats won the race for Orton, a five-star center and one of the most physically intimidating prospects in the class of 2009. Kentucky fought long and hard for Orton's commitment for a reason. He has star potential. Hood, a local star, is a versatile and crafty player that could potentially play three positions for the Wildcats during his college career. Vilarino, a steady point guard, committed to Billy Gillispie last spring.
One of the best match-ups of the spring grassroots period was Kelly versus Plumlee, ironically, at North Carolina during the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions. The two traded buckets in the match-up. Now the two will get a chance to help the other improve their talented skill set. Kelly is more talented in the post while Plumlee is a big option at the high block.
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.
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. Stover gives the team a long defender that can man the post.
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.
The Tigers aimed for versatility and experience in 2009 and got it. Dennis, a top 50 prospect from Dallas, will likely play a role similar to Chris Douglas-Roberts. Coleman, a 6-foot-9 post, is one of the most explosive power forwards in the junior college ranks. Dodson, a former Pittsburgh signee, has great size for a wing prospect and is one of the most intriguing players at the junior college level.
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. Fitzgerald, a Baltimore native, is a big body that will have no trouble making the transition to Big 12 competition.
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. Dowell, like Franklin, will fine tune his craft at national powerhouse Duncanville (Texas) High School before making his way to Stillwater. Three-star prospects Fred Gully and Torin Walker will provide depth for Ford's up-tempo attack.
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 Coleman and Fields are both wired to score and will shine in the up-tempo game.
The Aggies have four players coming to College Station to build around as well as win right away. Each of the players brings good size, good upside and good raw ability to the program. Hibbert, a powerful scoring guard, is the prize of the class so far while Roberson, Middleton and Turner could all be starters down the road.