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Analyzing top recruiting classes and the results they produce

As Cat fans await the arrival of a fourth consecutive top-ranked recruiting class in Lexington, Rush the Court decided to take a look at how well recruiting success has translated into tournament success in the last ten years. The folks at RTC took on the fairly simple, but telling, task of analyzing who took in the top classes in a given year and the level of success those classes brought the program over the next few seasons. A little surprisingly considering the run that Kentucky has managed over the last few years, schools with the top recruiting classes don’t necessarily see those classes turn into overall success. A top-three class is apparently just as likely to have a team out before the first weekend as it is to be the driving force behind deep tourney runs.

Kentucky has been the exception to that rule in the last three seasons, as the Big Blue’s recruiting dominance has been mirrored by deep runs in the tournament every year. Other schools, like Texas, have also pulled in multiple top-three classes in the last decade but failed to make any kind of serious run in March. And, while UK has been the model for generating wins based on outstanding recruiting classes in recent years, it wasn’t too long ago that it was in the same boat with other programs that couldn’t match recruiting success with wins on the court. Rajon Rondo’s 2004 class was ranked #1 in the nation, but the class could only manage an Elite Eight appearance as freshmen and none of the players ever made it past the tournament’s first weekend after that. That kind of result is more common for #1 classes than the ones that have come out of Lexington the last three seasons.

It’s not revolutionary to say that big-time recruiting classes don’t necessarily turn into wins, because so much else goes into building winning teams. Seeing it all broken down, though, makes one more aware of a couple of different things. First, that some coaches can bring in talent but can’t manage to get that talent to win games. And second, that Cal is not one of those coaches. Instead, what he’s been able to do in the last three seasons has been as incredible as it has been fun to watch, and it’s something that no one in the last ten years has been able to come close to matching. Here’s hoping it continues with this year’s class.

Article written by Hunter Campbell

I used to write here.

12 Comments for Analyzing top recruiting classes and the results they produce



  1. bosshogg24
    6:06 pm April 16, 2012 Permalink

    This class could very well hang banner #9, especially if they get Bennett!



  2. Zep
    6:10 pm April 16, 2012 Permalink

    Just proves that Cal can coach.



  3. tdogg40330
    6:11 pm April 16, 2012 Permalink

    theres a difference in Cals recruiting, he gets #1 classes that he knows he can coach his way …. not just talent



  4. Blueballn
    6:19 pm April 16, 2012 Permalink

    You wouldn’t know AD is 6’10 in that pic!!



  5. WhatSheOrder?FishFilet?
    6:26 pm April 16, 2012 Permalink

    hahaha he does look about 6’1



  6. crazycatfan
    6:26 pm April 16, 2012 Permalink

    Here’s the difference … We have what no other school will ever have! Ever!

    1. THE BEST COACH
    2. THE BEST PLAYERS
    3. THE BEST FANS

    THE PERFECT STORM!!!



  7. WhatSheOrder?FishFilet?
    6:26 pm April 16, 2012 Permalink

    and that’s how tall he was as a junior in high school if you haven’t heard



  8. Wildcat 8
    6:28 pm April 16, 2012 Permalink

    Man I wished the NBA had put the new age rule in place then we would have the chance of going undefeated season next year. Good lord what a deep team that would be!



  9. DW
    6:56 pm April 16, 2012 Permalink

    Hopefully all of our recruits from here on our are one and done. If not, that means they are not good enough for Cals system.



  10. English Teacher
    7:27 pm April 16, 2012 Permalink

    AWWWWWWWWW!!!! Look how wittle they look! presh



  11. DCS195
    9:05 pm April 16, 2012 Permalink

    This absolutely shoots down the commonly held myth especially among the national media and fan base of other schools that Cal is an outstanding recruiter but a terrible X’s and O’s coach. How many so called good to great coaches have failed to produce results with great recruits and many do it year after year. Cal continues to get great results with outstanding talent. He is simply a great coach, period.



  12. redandyz
    11:55 am April 17, 2012 Permalink

    #9 actually makes a point here, but probably not the one he wanted to make. Kentucky will likely get to the point where they rarely if ever graduate players. They have some bench warmers now, but if they keep hauling in top recruits who have no interest being practice players and clean-up guys for 4 years. And, any perceived star who is on the bench would likely want a transfer to somewhere they’ll have a higher profile. Not saying wrong or right, just an observation. I’m not a UK fan but I check this site because I appreciate the dedication UK fans have. Curious what you all think of this.