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The non-power conference schools got off to a very impressive start with their
2014 fall recruiting classes, including seeing three schools ranked among the
and SMU all made the list while VCU was just edged out at the end of
the signing period. The Aztecs and Runnin' Rebels each cracked the top-15
RANKING THE OTHERS
1. San Diego State (12)
2. UNLV (14)
3. SMU (24)
9. Wichita State
With conference alignments, the
ballooning of budgets and highly paid/regarded coaches, the line between mid and
high major has continued to blur. The newly formed American Athletic Conference
could emerge as a power conference while the A-10, Mountain West, West Coast and
Missouri Valley are just some of the conferences that feature programs with
legitimate high major budgets, facilities and recruiting reach. Because of that,
the gap should continue to close and it should only become more and more evident
come tournament time.
Here's a look at some of the best recruiting classes that might fly under the
By the numbers
Four five-star prospects in the 2014 class ended up choosing schools from
outside of the power conferences, while an additional nine four-star players did
the same. Top nation's No. 2 ranked player Emmanuel Mudiay. The 6-foot-4
point guard out of Dallas (Texas) Prime Prep chose to stay home to play for
Larry Brown at SMU and should be an impact freshman capable of putting
up huge numbers. Baltimore small forward Dwayne Morgan who is ticketed
for UNLV has some of the same traits a young Rudy Gay did while
Malik Pope of SDSU could emerge as a major coup as he gets healthy. In
Daniel Hamilton, UConn has landed one of the top pure scorers of the class.
Additionally, San Diego State, UNLV and BYU all did something that schools in
their conference's rarely do, as each of the three signed multiple players who
are ranked as four-stars or better. The Aztecs and Runnin' Rebels each signed a
four-star to go along with their elite prospects, while BYU managed two solid
four-star pickups thanks to big man Payton Dastrup's signing day
decision to flip over to the Cougars from Ohio State
Things to keep an eye on
the trend of top players choosing the nation's elite programs, when he elected
to stay home and attend SMU to play for Brown. This makes two years in a row
that Brown and his staff have talked an elite local talent (Keith Frazier in
2013) into staying home and the Mustangs are quickly being built into a program
loaded with high octane athletes.
should bring athleticism, scoring and a strong motor to the desert at UNLV, but
he's not the only potential difference maker headed to Sin City. UNLV also got a
commitment from four-star shotblocker Goodluck Okonoboh, arguably the
top defensive interior player in the class. Morgan is the No. 15 prospect in the
class, while Okonoboh checks in at No. 32, proving that the Runnin' Rebels have
the allure and resources to recruit against the top programs in the nation.
State has really built their brand and turned into a force to be reckoned with
on the West Coast. Over the past few years the Aztecs have helped turned some
players who got under recruited out of high school into NBA players. Their
success and a hard working staff have allowed them to get in on high end talent
out West. Though he's suffered two broken legs in the last year, Pope has big
time size and offensive tools.
Zylan Cheatham is as good an athlete as
there is in the country while shooter Trey Kell is likely a bit under
ranked at this point.
Shaka Smart is set to help his program climb up the Atlantic Ten ladder in their
second year in the conference. Leading the way in a class that features two
Rivals150 players is four-star small forward Terry Larrier. A skilled
6-foot-8 slasher who was one of the pleasant surprises of last summer, Larrier's
length and good athleticism make him a promising player in Smart's uptempo
style. The athleticism that three-star Detroit power forward
Justin Tillman will bring to that pressure should also be impactful.
Kevin Ollie tapped into his left coast roots to lure Hamilton to
Storrs. Hamilton didn't sign a letter of intent but did sign a scholarship
agreement that essentially binds UConn to Hamilton but gives Hamilton the
freedom to go elsewhere should something come up. He is still solid on UConn,
but after watching his older brother Isaac go through difficulties when he tried
doesn't want to chance experiencing anything similar. A long and lean offensive
weapon, Hamilton is a pure scorer who gets buckets off the dribble and via deep
signing class grew unexpectedly last week when Dastrup de-committed from Ohio
State and decided to sign with the Cougars. Flashy four-star point guard
T.J. Haws is the younger brother of current Cougar scoring machine
Tyler Haws and plays with an edge. Both Dastrup and Haws are expected to take
their Mormon missions before arriving in Provo.
is coming off a final four and they didn't sign any Rivals150 prospects. Make no
mistake about it, though, the Shockers have a really good class. Rivals.com
really likes the end of signing period addition of Eric Hamilton. The
6-foot-8 Georgian is a long and lanky athlete who cleans the glass, runs the
floor and has some combo forward ability. Gregg Marshall and his staff
have made a living turning guys like him into matchup problems.
mentioned earlier, the non-power conference teams signed a total of nine five-
Gonzaga landing the final four. The Miners are getting a solid shooting
guard prospect in four-star wing
getting a big man who eats space and makes jumpers in New Jersey four-star db]Quadri
It is a
different type of class headed to Memphis as the Tigers signed three junior
college players. Four-star point guard Dominic Magee, though is a high
level athlete with size for the position. Finally, Gonzaga is getting one of the
best passers in the nation in Huntington (W.V.) Prep point guard
Josh Perkins, a highlight reel distributor who is originally from Denver.
Eric Bossi is a the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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