Category: Recruiting Classes



In this post I’m going to give you, the reader, my picks for the SEC this season. You may be wondering, “Does this guy know the division is split?”. Yes, I do. I’m going to format who I believe will win the SEC East and the SEC West. Then, I’ll predict the SEC Championship matchup and overall champion of the SEC in 2011-2012. 

SEC West

1. Alabama Crimson Tide—> The Tide have 3 of their most dangerous players returning and are adding two ESPNU 100 recruits.  Remember, Alabama was royally  screwed last season being one of the tougher bubble teams that was excluded from the NCAA tournament. They’ll have some fire and a chip on their shoulder and will win the SEC West outright!

2. LSU Tigers—> Tigers have 4 of their top scorers returning and are adding a tough power forward (Johnny O’Bryant PF ESPNU 100).  They’re experience will help them beat most teams this year and should give Alabama good, tough competition.

3. Arkansas Razorbacks—> Razorbacks have their second leading scorer returning and are bringing in an outstanding recruiting class that includes three ESPNU top 100’s.

4. Mississipi State Bulldogs—> Once you get passed the first three teams in the SEC West the bottom three are a toss up. When I compare them with who they have returning and who they’re bringing in against Auburn and Ole Miss I see Mississip State being the front runner of the group. 

5. Ole Miss Rebels—> Losing their top two scorers/leaders should show some problems, flaws, and weaknesses in this lineup.  They’re above Auburn simply due to their superior recruiting class. 

6. Auburn Tigers—> Auburn loses their two leading scorers from a season ago. But, they could be the team that upsets and surprises a few teams around the league, however, I don’t see them having too much success this season.

SEC East

The East undoubtedly includes the toughest teams in the SEC this season.  Vandy, Kentucky, and Florida should be fun to watch this year as they battle it out.  Here’s how I believe it’ll play out.

1. Vanderbilt Commodores—> Vanderbilt is not only returning a stunning 7 top scorers but are also bringing in two ESPNU 100 recruits.  The Commodores were a team last season that had a shot to win the SEC.  Their experience and talent should be a great combination to lead them to hold the SEC East crown at the end of conference play.

2. Kentucky Wildcats—> Kentucky is losing Knight, Liggins, and Harrellson. Three main guys from last years team. But, they’re bringing in one of the nations best recruiting classes that consists of 4 ESPNU 100’s.  Terrence Jones and Lamb look to lead this squad to an extremely successful season. However, Calipari’s past shows that he’s unable to lead great teams to championships (Memphis lost the lead in 2008 National Championship).  I see him not leading this team to the SEC Championship game. 

3. Florida Gators—> Florida will be that sleeper team. Good experience coming back and some talented recruits. I don’t see them containing the necessary consistency it takes to win the SEC East this year.

4. South Carolina Gamecocks—> Returning their top scorer and bringing in two extremely talented recruits should allow them to finish in the middle of the pack in the SEC East.

5. Georgia Bulldogs—> Losing very talented and experienced players, including two leading scorers, and are only bringing in 1 extremely valuable recruit. I expect this to be a rebuilding season for the Bulldogs.

6. Tennesse Volunteers—> Losing much of their squad from last year and accomplishing to bring in promising talent will lead to an extremely frustrating year for Volunteer fans.  Rebuilding is one word to describe how this season will be for Tennesse.

SEC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

I see this matchup coming down to Alabama and Vanderbilt.  I think Vanderbilt’s experience, talent, and desire to win to be the victor of this meeting.  Though, I wouldn’t count the Crimson Tide out. They still have that chip on their shoulder from not making the NCAA tournament last season. It’ll be a very fun and interesting game to watch nonetheless!

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I’ve been on a short hiatus.  Sometimes work and life just keep you from doing things you’d rather be doing. But, I’m back again with some more predictions.  This time I’m going to touch on the Big XII.  Later this week, hopefully later tonight or tomorrow I’ll have ACC predictions for this season. These predictions will be similar to the Big East predictions, however, I’ll have a quick explanation for my picks. 

1. Baylor Bears

I think Baylor has a really good chance at winning the Big XII this season. Yes, they’re losing a very key player in LaceDarius Dunn but, They’re bringing back some experienced talent in Perry Jones III and Quincy Acy (Who’s looked upon to fill Dunn’s absence).  Baylor is also bringing in some raw talent in their recruting class.  Quincy Miller could play a vital role for the Bears this season at the Power Forward position and give them an added lift.

2. Kansas Jayhawks

I’m well aware of the fact that Kansas is losing pretty much their entire team from last season (Morris twins, Tyrel Reed, Josh Selby, Brady Morningstar, and Mario Little).  The Jayhawks are bringing in two ESPNU 100 recruits, Ben McClemore and Naadir Tharpe.  They also have some good experienced talent coming back, just not as many players as Baylor has coming back though.  Don’t count Bill Self out either.  Since being at Kansas Self hasn’t won the Big XII only once.  He always has his team ready to perform and kansas may very well jump back on top and assume control over the Big XII. 

3. Oklahoma State Cowboys

This may seem like a surprisingly high pick for the Cowboys, and I’d have to agree. But, I like who they have coming back and they seem to bring a battle with them every game.  Look for them to win many close games and climb towards the top of the Big XII this season.

4. Missouri Tigers—> There’s been much talk about the Tigers leaving the Big XII this year. Who cares? They’r bringing back all 5 of their top 5 scores from a season ago, all of which averaged 10.0+ ppg.   Experience + Talent = promising season.

5. Texas Longhorns—> Some may want the Longhorns finishing higher, as would every fan, but I don’t see them having the success they’ve had in the recent past. They not only lost a ton of talent with all that left but they also lost a ton of experience. Yes, the Longhorns are bringing in some good talent but they’re inexperienced. I put Texas up this high only due to the lack of depth, talent, and experience in the Big XII. 

6. Kansas State Wildcats—> K State lost Jacob Pullen, arguably the best player Kansas State has seen in the past 25 years.  Curtis Kelly also left the Wildcats. Leaving them without two of their top three scorers. The Wildcats are bringing  in a big and talented class but they’ll need more than that in order to be successful in the Big XII this season.

7. Oklahoma Sooners—> The Sooners are only losing their top scorer from last season and Nick Thompson who earned solid minutes last season. Losing Cade Davis could prove to be huge but with Oklahoma relying solely on experience this coming season I think they’ll do alright.

8. Texas A&M Aggies—> The Aggies are bringing back their top two scores from last season and are bringing in an ESPNU 100 Point Guard, Jamal Branch. This combination will allow them to win some games they may have lost a few years ago.

9. Texas Tech Red Raiders—> The Red Raiders are losing 4 of their top 5 scorers from last year. This will prove to be a huge problem. They’re bringing in a good recruiting class but the lack of experience and leadership will prove to be too much to handle for Texas Tech this year in the Big XII.

10. Iowa State Cyclones—> The addition of Korie Lucious, from Michigan State, (if he’s eligible this season) won’t be enough for immediate success this year.  The Cyclones lost a bunch of talent, leadership, and experience and it will take some time to get back to where they once were, which wasn’t all that impressive to begin with.


Now, you all may be wondering why my blog is called koonskollegebball and not koonsonlywritesaboutbigtenbball.  Well to be honest I love college basketball all the same. However, like every other fan I have my loyalties to my favorite team(s) and am simply a huge fan of the Big Ten and while I’m getting back into this I’m focusing my attentions towards something I’m familiar and comfortable with.  In this post I’ll share with you my grades for each Big Ten schools’ 2011 incoming freshman (2011 Recruiting Class).  My grades are based on a 4.0 grading scale just an FYI. 

Number one overall: Ohio State Buckeyes  3.9 A

Name

Position

ESPN Grade

ESPNU 100

Shannon Scott

PG

96

X

Amir Williams

C

95

X

Sam Thompson

SF

95

X

LaQuinton Ross

SF

95

X

Trey McDonald

C

91

 

Ohio State is filling a vital backup role for Aaron Craft with Shannon Scott at the point guard position.  The Buckeyes are also fulfilling awaited departures from Jared Sullinger and other front court players.  Four of their recruits are ESPNU 100 Recruits.  That’s amazing. The reason why they received an A and a 3.9 grade from me, Professor Koons. 

2. Illinois Fighting Illini  3.7 A

Name

Position

ESPN Grade

ESPNU 100

Nnanna Egwu

C

94

X

Tracy Abrams

PG

92

X

Mike Shaw

PF

92

X

Mycheal Henry

SF

92

X

Devin Langford

SF

91

 

Ibrahima Djimde

C

87

 

The Illini put together an extremely solid recruiting class.  At first glance at Illinois’ roster you see many freshman and notice the loss of the Illini’s 3 top scorers from last season.  I’m not saying a solid recruiting class will have all the answers to these losses but Illini faithful should rest a little easier knowing they have some hot talent in Champaigne for a few more years……hopefully.

3. Indiana Hoosiers  3.4 A-

Name

Position

ESPN Grade

ESPNU 100

Cody Zeller

PF

97

X

Austin Etherington

SF

91

 

Remy Abell

PG

87

 

IU brings in Cody Zeller, the #4 ranked Power Forward in this class.  I see Zeller being the only freshman tossed into a starting role, if not he’ll get solid playing time.  As for the other two I believe they’ll get minutes and build experience to increase their value in the years to come.  I give IU such a high grade solely on the signing of Zeller. He’s gotten a ton of hype and if he can live up to that hype in the near future this grade will have been earned and not given. 

4. Wisconsin Badgers 3.25 A-

Name

Position

ESPN Grade

ESPNU 100

Jarrod Utoff

PF

92

 

Frank Kaminsky

C

92

 

George Marshall

PG

88

 

Traevan Jackson

SG

88

 

Jordan Smith

SG

77

 

The Badgers have added a dependable class this season.  They failed to sign an ESPNU 100 recruit but Bo Ryan does a really good job of not only getting good recruits that fit his system but he does and outstanding job developing his players to play in his system.  These five recruits have a lot of talent and I predict in a few years this will be the team everyone will be looking out for and talking about in the Big Ten. 

5. Michigan Wolverines 3.2 A-

Name

Position

ESPN Grade

ESPNU 100

Carlton Brundidge

SG

94

X

Trey Burke

PG

93

 

Max Bielfedt

PF

87

 

The loss of Darius Morris is huge to the Wolverines who would have had one of the top returning groups in the Big Ten.  However, Michigan is bringing in Trey Burke who receieved a 93 grade from ESPN at the point guard position.  It’s always tough starting a freshman…especially at the point guard spot. But, Aaron Craft did it last season for OSU and look how successful they were! Though this recruiting class is small for the Wolverines I like what they’re bringing in and it will be very interesting to see how they do these next couple years. 

6. Michigan State Spartans 3.1 A-

Name

Position

ESPN Grade

ESPNU 100

Branden Dawson

SF

96

X

Brandan Kearney

SG

91

 

Travis Trice

PG

90

 

This is a good class for the Spartans. They lost pretty much the entirety of their back court from last season. As you can see they’re bringing in three 90+ ESPN ranked guards. These three may not have huge impacts instantly but give them at least a year to grow and I see these guys possibly becoming the next Robbie Hummel, E’Twaun Moore, and JuJuan Johnson for the Spartans. 

7. Minnesota Golden Gophers 3.0 A-/B+

Name

Position

ESPN Grade

ESPNU 100

Andre Hollins  

SG

93

X

Joe Coleman

SG

92

X

Julian Welch

SG

40

 

Andre Ingram

PF

40

 

With the Gophers losing both Hoffarber and Al Nolen the two ESPNU 100 Shooting Guards are a huge addition for Minnesota.  I look to the top two Gopher recruits to have exceptional freshman seasons! With the low grades of the other two Gopher recruits Hollins and Coleman really boost the grading curve for this incoming class. 

8. Purdue Boilermakers 2.85 B+

Name

Position

ESPN Grade

ESPNU 100

Jacob Lawson  

PF

91

 

Donnie Hale

PF

91

 

Purdue didn’t land many recruits whatsoever but they landed some prospects in a much needed area.  The Boilers front court is very thin and lacks talent.  If Lawson recovered well from his knee injury he suffered last season he should be a valuable asset to the Boilermakers right from the get go.  I look for Donnie Hale to get solid minutes as a freshman and by his Junior year him and Lawson will be forces to reckon with. Should be an interesting season for Boiler nation to say the least. 

9. Northwestern Wildcats 2.8 B+

Name

Position

ESPN Grade

ESPNU 100

Tre Demps  

PG

90

 

Mike Turner  

PF

88

 

David Sobolewski

PG

85

 

Northwestern brings in a small but rather talented class that’ll fit into their style of play pretty easily.  I don’t believe they’ll have a huge impact early on in their careers with the Wildcats but they should turn out to be solid players in their later years with the Wildcats.

10.  Nebraska Cornhuskers 2.75 B

Name

Position

ESPN Grade

ESPNU 100

David Rivers  

SF

90

 

Corey Hilliard

PG

88

 

Josiah Moore

SG

88

 

Dylan Talley

SG

40

 

I’m not too familiar with Nebraska just yet. I’ll have to watch some of their games when they’re on the tube and do some scouting. But, the Cornhuskers did lose most of their scoring from a year ago and have brought in some solid guards and a shooting forward to help fill the voids. We’ll see how the Cornhuskers do this season and I’ll have more expertise on them as the season goes on. 

11 and 12. Iowa and Penn State tie with a B 2.7 grade. 

Name

Position

ESPN Grade

Team 

Ross Travis

SF

89

Penn State

Pat Ackerman

C

88

Penn State

Trey Lewis

PG

88

Penn State

Peter Alexis

C

87

Penn State

Matt Glover

SG

40

Penn State

Josh Ogelsby

SG

91

Iowa

Aaron White

SF

89

Iowa

Gabe Olaseni

C

40

Iowa

There’s really not much hope for these recruits with the schools they’ve chosen to attend…immediately that is. I feel that all but two of these recruits will have a valuable impact on their respected squads in the years to come. Only time will tell though!

I can’t wait for this season to get under way!