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Rival Views: Which programs are off to surprisingly slow starts?

Which teams are off to a surprisingly slow start to the 2017-18 season? How could those starts impact the direction taken this winter and beyond in recruiting efforts? As usual, national analysts Eric Bossi and Corey Evans offer Rival Views.

MORE RIVAL VIEWS: Which program is off to the most surprisingly hot start?


It's only his first year as head coach after spending the last two years as an assistant to Cuonzo Martin in Berkeley, but a 3-6 start to the season can't be how Wyking Jones envisioned starting things off at Cal.

Surely it was fair to expect some growing pains for the Bears, who went 21-13 and made the first round of the NIT in 2017. However, being controlled from tip to final buzzer by the likes of UC-Riverside, Chaminade and now Central Arkansas is moving beyond growing pains. On the bright side, with only four games to go until Pac-12 play, the Golden Bears only have room to improve and their roster will look much different next year as they inject more young talent thanks to a top 30 recruiting class.

Leading scorer Don Coleman will be back, current freshmen Justice Sueing, Darius McNeill and Juhwan Harris-Dyson have all shown flashes of being really good. Adding a four-star scoring machine such as Matt Bradley on the perimeter along with athletic four-star combo forward Jacobi Gordon and solid three-star big man Andre Kelly should help move the rebuild process along. There is still a chance to add more high-level talent too, as four-star forward J'Raan Brooks recently took an official visit and five-star big man Jordan Brown has Cal among his finalists.


Bryce Drew
Bryce Drew (AP Images)

Vanderbilt needs to pick it up. The Commodores, who were thought to have had a very potent perimeter scoring group, have struggled mightily from beyond the arc. They currently are making just 31 percent of their 3-point attempts, good for 289th in America, but also settle in near the 50th percentile in rebounding.

Thankfully for Bryce Drew and his staff, the program has assembled the best class in school history. Darius Garland and Aaron Nesmith, two highly-coveted guard prospects, will bring their potent perimeter stroke to Nashville, as will productive power forward Simi Shittu. Vanderbilt's top-10 class could be bolstered even further as it is a finalist for elite scoring wing Romeo Langford.

While the Commodores are rather cold on the hardwood, things are far from it on the recruiting front.