The Southeastern Conference has seen an influx of basketball talent over the last few seasons and the league’s coaches continue to dominate the recruiting scene.
In the 2020 class, according to 247 Sports, Kentucky brought in the best recruiting class in the country. While it certainly isn’t new to see the Wildcats at the top of the rankings, what is new is seeing four more SEC schools in the Top 10. Tennessee brought in the fourth-best class nationally, while LSU, Arkansas, and Auburn were ranked sixth, eighth, and ninth respectively. Alabama and Texas A&M had Top 20 recruiting classes as well.
There are always a ton of new faces on John Calipari’s roster and Kentucky fans are used to learning an almost entirely new roster year after year. We have, and will continue to, cover the incoming Wildcats right here on KSR, but it is time to get to know some of the other new faces at SEC schools as well.
Last week ESPN College Basketball Insider Jeff Borzello ranked the Top 60 newcomers around the country which inspired me to take a crack at building a similar list for the SEC. Let’s get to it!
#1 Olivier Sarr (Kentucky)
After playing under Danny Manning for three seasons at Wake Forest, Olivier Sarr brought his talents to Lexington for his senior year and was just granted his immediate eligibility this week. Sarr averaged 13.7 points, 9 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game and earned All-ACC honors as a Junior. As Kentucky’s starting 5-man, Sarr will be a legitimate All-American candidate this season.
#2 B.J. Boston (Kentucky)
B.J. Boston and Olivier Sarr are without a doubt the top two new players in the conference and you can make an argument that either one of them should have the top spot. Boston will be a go-to perimeter scorer for the ‘Cats from day one and is my pick to lead the team in scoring this season. His ability to score the ball from all three levels should make him one of the top scorers in the SEC.
#3 Sharife Cooper (Auburn)
Sharife Cooper is a lot of fun to watch. He is listed at just 6’0″ 160 pounds and both measurements seem generous when you see him. Cooper is extremely aggressive and will have the ball in his hands a lot for an Auburn team that will have a lot of scoring to account for from their senior-laden team last season.
#4 Keon Johnson (Tennessee)
A five-star prospect, Keon Johnson decided to stay home and play for Rick Barnes at Tennessee. The 6’5″ dynamic scorer will join a very talented Volunteers team that will compete with Kentucky for the SEC crown. Johnson is an elite level athlete that will have plenty of big games in Knoxville this season.
#5 Terrence Clarke (Kentucky)
If there is anyone on this list that is likely to outperform their ranking it is Terrence Clarke. He has all of the talent in the world and will immediately be one of the best athletes in the league. If Clarke puts it all together on the floor this season alongside Sarr and Boston this Kentucky team will be one of the best in the country.
#6 Cameron Thomas (LSU)
Thomas was a consensus five-star recruit and will be one of the top scores in the SEC this season as a freshman. At 6’4″ 210 pounds, he has the physicality that it takes to excel on both ends of the court from day one in Baton Rouge.
#7 Romello White (Ole Miss)
Ranked as the number four graduate transfer in the country by ESPN, Romello White will be an instant impact player at Ole Miss. At 6’8″ and 235 pounds, White will bring a physical presence down low in Oxford. White started 92 games in his three seasons playing at Arizona State and averaged 10.2 points and 8.8 rebounds last season.
#8 Jahvon Quinerly (Alabama)
A former McDonald’s All-American, Jahvon Quinerly will take the rains of Nate Oats’ high-tempo offense this season. Quinerly is a lightning-quick guard that averaged 3.2 points per game as a freshman at Villanova in the 2018-2019 season.
#9 Tyree Appleby (Florida)
Appleby sat out last season after transferring from Cleveland State where he played as a freshman and sophomore. He averaged 17.2 points and 5.6 assists as a sophomore at Cleveland State earning All-Horizon League honors. Appleby will probably be Mike White’s starting point guard this season.
#10 Jaden Springer (Tennessee)
Rick Barnes has a loaded squad this season. I’m a little higher on Keon Johnson, but fellow five-star recruit Jaden Springer will have a big-time impact for the Vols this season. At 6’4″ and 204 pounds, Springer is a physical scorer who can play either guard spot. Expect to hear a lot about the five-star duo in Knoxville this season.
Josh Primo (Alabama), Justin Smith (Arkansas), D.J. Harvey (Vanderbilt), JD Notae (Arkansas), Devin Askew (Kentucky).