Thursday, May 29, 2008

Poll- My Choice

When asked who the best recruiter is of all current NCAA head coaches, the answer is not easy. There are so many coaches who can make the case for that title. In the poll here at Northstar Basketball, I picked eight of the best for you to choose from: Memphis' John Calipri, Florida's Billy Donovan, UCLA's Ben Howland, Michigan St.'s Tom Izzo, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, Ohio St.'s Thad Matta, North Carolina's Roy Williams, and Villanova's Jay Wright. There are countless other head coaches that you could make a viable argument for, as well. I'll provide you with my top five right here. Number five- Jim Calhoun: The head man at UConn consistently brings in top-notch recruiting classes. This year, for example, Calhoun will be getting two of America's best ballers in Ater Majok and Kemba Walker. His eight-man class from 2006 was fabulous, and included Hasheem Thabeet, Curtis Kelly, Jerome Dyson, Stanley Robinson, and Doug Wiggins. In '04, Calhoun brought--amongst others--AJ Price and Rudy Gay to Storrs, and they were preceeded by players such as Charlie Villanueva, Josh Boone, and Marcus Williams. Coach Calhoun has also found diamonds in the rough, like in 2002 when he brought in Hilton Armstrong and Denham Brown. Other players that Calhoun has gotten include Emeka Okafor and Emeka Okafor. As well, in '05, Calhoun inked Andrew Bynum, but the big man elected to go straight to the NBA. Jim Calhoun has not only gotten quality players to come to UConn, he has gotten a lot of them, and has done so over a long period of time. Number four- John Calipari: To build a national powerhouse in a mid-major conference is quite impressive, and Coach Cal has done just that with Memphis in the C-USA. This year, Angel Garcia, Tyreke Evans, Matt Simpkins, and Wesley Witherspoon will all be taking their game to Memphis. Last year, the Memphis coach brought in Derrick Rose and Jeff Robinson. In addition, he signed Marcus and Markieff Morris, who would eventually choose to go to prep school and then Kansas. In 2005, Calipari got Shawne Williams, Antonio Anderson, Chris Douglas-Roberts, and Robert Dozier, along with a few others. In '04, Cal brought in Darius Washington, Jr. Kendrick Perkins signed with the Tigers in 2003, but jumped straight to the League, and in 2002, underrecruited Rodney Carney chose the Tigers. The recruiting job that John Calipari has done at Memphis is nothing short of fantastic. Number three- Thad Matta: In ranking Ohio St.'s head coach this high, I am basically taking into consideration just the three most recent classes he has brought to Columbus. In 2006, Matta inked what some people have called the best recruiting class ever, in Greg Oden, Daequan Cook, David Lighty, Othello Hunter, and Mike Conley, Jr. Matta did not let up the next year, when he signed Kosta Koufos, Jon Diebler, Evan Turner, and Dallas Lauderdale, and a few more players as well. This year's class for the Buckeyes is also wonderful, as Matta will be getting BJ Mullens, William Buford, Walter Offutt, Anthony Crater, and a couple more for good measure. Assuming Matta keeps this up for an extended period of time, he may well develop into the NCAA's premiere recruiter. Number two- Ben Howland: UCLA's class this year may well be the best in the land, as Ben Howland has signed Jerime Anderson, Drew Gordon, Jrue Holiday, Malcolm Lee, and one-time LSU-signee J'Mison Morgan. Last year wasn't bad for Howland either, as he got Kevin Love and Chase Stanback to come to Westwood. In 2006, underrecruited Russell Westbrook landed at UCLA, as did James Keefe. Howland's signees in 2005 included Alfred Aboya, Darren Collison, and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. In 2004, Coach Howland may have gotten his best class of them all, when he signed Arron Afflalo, Jordan Farmar, Lorenzo Mata, and Josh Shipp. Although, like Matta, Howland has not been bringing in top-notch classes for that long of a time, he has certainly gotten some of America's best high school basketball players to bring their talent to UCLA. Number one- Roy Williams: Dating back to his days at Kansas, Roy Williams has always been one of the NCAA's finest recruiters. In 2003, while still at KU, Williams signed JR Giddens, David Padgett, and Rodrick Stewart. After heading to Chapel Hill to take over the Tar Heels, Williams' recruiting skills were clear to everyone. In '04, Williams got Marvin Williams, Quentin Thomas, and JR Smith, although the last of the three chose to go right to the pros. UNC's class of 2005 was phenomenal: Bobby Frasor, Marcus Ginyard, Tyler Hansbrough, and Danny Green. In 2006, though, Williams went above and beyond, and inked a class that I think was even better than Matta's group at OSU the same season. That year, Roy Williams brought in Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington, Brandan Wright, Alex Stephenson, William Graves, and Deon Thompson. This year, UNC was the only team to sign three McDoanld's All-Americans, in Tyler Zeller, Larry Drew, and Ed Davis. Williams also signed Justin Watts from the class of '08. Roy Williams' recruiting ability is the best of all head coaches right now, and your voting shows that you agree.

Northstar Basketball's Top Five Current NCAA Head Coaches for Recruiting:
1. Roy Williams (North Carolina)
2. Ben Howland (UCLA)
3. Thad Matta (Ohio St.)
4. John Calipari (Memphis)
5. Jim Calhoun (UConn)

Note- recruiting information is from

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