The class of 2006 is the first class to bypass the preps to pros epidemic that has hit college basketball over the last ten years. The riches of the NBA drew the nation's top talent to the professional ranks, leaving some of the top programs in the country to change its recruiting scheme and made for a ton of incoming talent to rank in Rivals.com's 2006 Team Recruiting Rankings.
The class of 2006 is loaded with prospects that could have very well made a splash in the upcoming NBA Draft.
Ohio State is the biggest beneficiary of them all. Greg Oden, the long time No. 1 prospect in the class, is a sure-fire top pick whenever he enters the draft. Some have even speculated that Oden would have been the first pick in the 2005 draft. Now the Big Ten has to figure out how to stop the soon-to-be freshman 7-footer.
North Carolina, the top class in 2006, could have very well been without its three top prospects in this year's class. While Brandan Wright, Tywon Lawson and Wayne Ellington never announced they would have bypassed college for the NBA, their names were high on the professional radar prior to the rule.
The level of play will certainly be raised with the level of top-notch talent playing in the NCAA. Texas's class would have been stellar without Kevin Durant, another possible preps-to-pros candidate, but instead the feathery shooter is headed to Austin. With the depth around him, Durant can focus on doing what he does best and that is score on the wing.
Kansas scored a huge coup when Darrell Arthur picked the Jayhawks. Had the NBA rule not existed, Arthur would probably not be headed to Lawrence. Now Bill Self's three man class is the 12th ranked group in 2006.
Georgia Tech is in the same boat. Thaddeus Young gives Paul Hewitt an instant star in the starting lineup. Young could very well be one and done like a lot of other Georgia Tech players like Chris Bosh and Stephon Marbury before him. The ACC school checks in with the eighth best class in 2006.
A case can be made for almost every school in the top 15. Instead, the prospects will fine tune their skills in a controlled situation at the college level. The class of 2006 is the pioneer group. Now it's time to see how they respond to an extra year away from the NBA.