Rivals.com Top 25 for 2004
1. Kentucky –Tubby Smith pulled off one of the most impressive late signing periods ever when he inked three prospects ranked as five-star players by Rivals.com. The nation's No. 10 ranked player,
Randolph Morris, highlights the list because the Wildcats won a heated battle with the Georgia Tech and the NBA. Shooting guard
Joe Crawford, No. 9, and point guard
Rajon Rondo, No. 25, were also late signees. Four-star shooting guard
Ramel Bradley and transfer
Patrick Sparks round out the nation's top class.
2. Kansas –Despite missing out on
Malik Hairston in the late signing period, Jayhawk coach Bill Self finished strong when he landed
Alex Galindo and
C.J. Giles. Both are four-star players who were released from earlier commitments due to coaching changes. New York shooting guard
Russell Robinson, rated No. 27 in the Rivals150, is the top player in the Kansas class. Florida center
Alexander Kaun had his choice of schools and was one of the country's top big men. Four-star power forward
Darnell Jackson adds some muscle in the paint.
3. Texas – The decision of center
LaMarcus Aldridge, rated as the nation's 16th best player by Rivals.com, to enter the NBA Draft cost the Longhorns a chance at the nation's top class, but the Longhorns didn't fall far after adding three high-profile recruits and a sleeper big man. Five-star prospects
Daniel Gibson and
Mike Williams will head to Austin to join Rivals.com's No. 48 player,
Dion Dowell, who is one of the nation's top athletes at his position. Center
Connor Atchley rounds out the class.
4. Indiana-Despite the expected departure of
Josh Smith to the NBA, Hoosier head coach Mike Davis managed to land one of the nation's top classes. Five-star power forward
D.J. White leads the list, with four-star guards
A.J. Ratliff and
James Hardy giving the Hoosiers plenty of firepower. Rivals.com No. 99 ranked player
Robert Rothbart entered his name into the draft but is expected to be in Bloomington for next season.
5. UCLA –Two five-star guards highlight Bruin head coach Ben Howland's first class at Westwood.
Jordan Farmar, the nation's No. 22 prospect, and
Arron Afflalo, ranked No. 26 in the final Rivals150 rankings, should solidify the Bruins' backcourt for the next four years. Four-star shooting guard
Josh Shipp will provide a nice outside shooting touch.
Lorenzo Mata will look to make an impact in the frontcourt.
6. Oregon – The Ducks pulled off a major coup when it outlasted Kansas for highly regarded shooting guard
Malik Hairston, ranked as the nation's No.7 prospect by Rivals.com. Coach Ernie Kent also managed to land three four-star prospects in shooting guards
Bryce Taylor and
Chamberlain Oguchi and small forward
Maarty Leunen. Point guard
Kenny Love rounds out Oregon's list of five signees.
7. Louisville –Perhaps no class was hit harder by the NBA than the Cards when early signees
Donta Smith declared for the draft. However, four-star power forward
Brian Johnson and versatile wing man
Lorenzo Wade will still be on campus in the fall. The addition of Rivals.com's No. 30 ranked player,
Juan Palacios, who passed on the temptation of an early entry, proved to be perhaps the best pick-up in the class. The Cardinals could also add combo guard
Churchill Odia, who signed with Xavier in the early period but has since asked for a release.
8. Alabama –Tide head coach Mark Gottfried managed to land three of the nation's top guard prospects in the early period. The group is led by five-star player
Ron Steele, ranked No. 24 on the Rivals150. Four-star prospects
Albert Weber and
Glenn Miles give Alabama depth in the backcourt. Junior college all-American
Jean Felix will play immediately at the small forward position.
9. Memphis – Tiger head coach John Calipari needed quality and quantity in the 2004 class. Two five-star prospects, small forward Shawne Williams and shooting guard Darius Washington, highlight the list of seven signees. Big men Kareem Cooper, Simplice Njoya, Richard Dorsey and Waki Williams give Memphis plenty of options in the frontcourt. Point guards Tangueray Beavers and Andre Allen (walk-on) round out the class.
10. Connecticut –The Huskies recruiting class is led by five-star small forward Rudy Gay, the No. 5 player in the Rivals150. New York point guard A.J. Price is set to run the offense for Coach Jim Calhoun. Late signee Antonio Kellogg is one of the best on-the-ball defenders in his class. Former ACC freshman of the year Ed Nelson transferred from Georgia Tech and gives UConn one of the nation's top classes.
11. Michigan State –Coach Tom Izzo managed to keep one of the nation's top prospects in-state when he convinced Marquise Gray, ranked No. 21, to stay at home and play for the Spartans. Another Michigan prospect, Drew Neitzel, one of the nation's top floor generals, followed suite and highlights the Spartans 2004 recruiting efforts. Big men Goran Suton and late signee Idong Ibok have nice upsides.
12. Florida –The Gators went out of the state to land two of the nation's top prospects. Tennessee small forward Corey Brewer, ranked No. 31, and Michigan big forward Al Horford, who hits the charts at No. 36, are excellent athletes who run the floor well and know how to defend. New York was also kind to Coach Billy Donovan, where he reached out and landed small forward Joakim Noah, one of the top players at the ABCD camp last year. In-state point guard Taurean Green will be a welcomed addition in the backcourt and gives the Gators four players ranked in the Rivals150.
13. Arkansas –Razorback head coach Stan Heath has put recruiting back on the map in Fayetteville since his arrival. While the Hawgs lost their top prospect to the NBA in No. 4 ranked player Al Jefferson, four-star prospects Steven Hill and Charles Thomas are expected to have immediate impacts as freshmen. JUCO standout Dontell Jefferson and former Georgetown signee Darian Townes give Arkansas much needed depth. The addition of walk-on Marcus Monk, who signed a football scholarship, is an added bonus.
14. Missouri – Coach Quinn Synder was looking for a little bit of everything in the 2004 class and managed to land four impact players who hold spots in the Rivals150. Texas small forward Marshall Brown, ranked No. 42, will join fellow four-star big man Kalen Grimes in the paint next season. Point guard Jason Horton has the ability to run the team. Small forward Glen Dandridge is a versatile athlete who can knock down the outside jumper.
15. Arizona – Coach Lute Olsen has enjoyed success recruiting the state of Texas in the past, and this year is no exception as the Wildcats managed to sign Jawann McClellan, one of the nation's top scoring guards. Four-star power forward Mohamed Tangara gives Arizona a physical presence on the defense, while under-publicized Jesus Verdejo from Miami and Australian Daniel Dillon give the Wildcats depth in the backcourt.
16. Florida State –The early signing period was good to Coach Leonard Hamilton when he inked two of the nation's top shooting guard prospects with Jason Rich, ranked No. 33, and Isaiah Swann, ranked No. 35. Washington D.C., power forward Jerome Habel was a big pick-up in the late period and gives the 'Noles another strong post presence. Three-star shooting guard Ralph Mims gives FSU four signees.
17. BYU –Perhaps the most impressive job of recruiting this year goes to Cougar head coach Steve Cleveland, who brought in four highly regarded high school players and added two JUCO guards in the late period. Signing with BYU in the early period were David Burgess, Chris Miles, Lee Cummard (who will serve a two-year Mormon mission before joining the team) and Trent Plaisted, all of whom own spots in the Rivals150. In addition, the Cougars added junior college guards Josh Reisman and Keena Young, who should make a contribution early.
18. Mississippi State – Coach Rick Stansbury managed to land one of the top unsigned big men in the late period when Alabama native Walter Sharpe, ranked No. 44 in the nation, signed with the Bulldogs. Power forward Charles Rhodes highlighted the early signing period. Jerrell Houston is an athletic small forward with a nice upside. Point guard Charlie White could still join the class, but there has been speculation that he would end up elsewhere. However, the Bulldogs added another lead guard inJamall Edmonson.
19. N.C. State – Coach Herb Sendek signed four quality athletes who should be able to help the Pack. Four-star big forward Cedric Simmons, currently ranked No. 71 by Rivals.com, is the biggest name in the group. Small forwards Gavin Grant and Andrew Brackman can fill it up. Former Georgetown point guard Tony Bethel is also expected to have an early impact.
20. Vanderbilt – Coach Kevin Stallings led the Commodores to a strong half finish during the 2003-04 season, resulting in a Sweet 16 run. The same could be said for his recruiting efforts in the late period, when he signed big men Davis Nwankwo, ranked No. 81 by Rivals.com, and Alan Metcalfe. Those two, along with early signees Shan Foster, DeMarre Carroll and Alex Gordon, form one of the strongest classes in recent Vanderbilt history.
21. Georgia Tech – Texas has been good to Coach Paul Hewitt, and this year is was no exception as he dipped into the Lone Star state to sign four-star small forward Jeremis Smith. South Carolina power forward ReSean Dickey, ranked No. 55 by Rivals.com, will give the Yellow Jackets some toughness inside. Guards Zam Frederick and Anthony Morrow are outside scoring threats
22. Clemson – Coach Oliver Purnell is looking to infuse talent in the Clemson program to keep up with the ACC powers, and his 2004 effort was a step in the right direction. Point guard Troy Mathis and shooting guard Clifford Hammonds give the Tigers a solid future backcourt. Small forwards Cheyenne Moore and Sam Perry are good athletes who run the floor and can finish. North Carolina product James Mays has a good upside.
23. Virginia Tech – Coach Seth Greenberg brought in one of the top Big East recruiting classes in 2004 with four signees, headlined by shooting guard Marquie Cooke, ranked No. 57 nationally by Rivals.com. Small forward Justin Holt was one of the top scorers in the junior college ranks, and Deron Washington is another big time scorer. The Hokies picked up a nice late signee when Georgia native Wynton Witherspoon came aboard in the late signing period.
24. Dayton -Flyers head coach Brian Gregory went looking for heady, impact players in the 2004 class and reeled in an impressive group of five signees. Point guard Trent Meacham and Brian Roberts are capable floor leaders, while the addition of small forwards Jimmy Binnie, Norman Plummer and Chris Alvarez give Dayton some athletes to fill lanes and knock down the outside shot.
25. Iowa -Head coach Steve Alford in search for big men who could help in the rugged Big Ten, landed three who should be able to help his frontcourt in the coming years in Seth Gorney, Doug Thomas and Alex Thompson. Small forward J.R. Angle has the potential to be an impact player, especially on the offensive end. Carlton Reed will give valuable minutes off the bench.
Other considered: Arizona State, Baylor, California, Cincinnati, Duke, Georgetown, Georgia, Iowa State, Jacksonville State, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Providence, Purdue, USC, Syracuse and Virginia.