Counting down the 10 biggest developments of spring recruiting
The final bit of news from college basketball's late signing period came out of Portland, Ore., on Wednesday night, when five-star forward
The absurd conclusion of Jones' saga left Washington fans irate, Kentucky fans rejoicing, and me wondering: Am I supposed to feel sympathy for the kid because he
However you feel, it's undeniable that Jones' decision was among the most important developments of spring recruiting. On SI.com's countdown of the most meaningful events that happened between April 14 and May 19, Jones makes multiple appearances:
Five-star prospects feel compelled to make a production out of their commitments. In the Class of 2010 alone,
There was a slight problem: Jones hadn't actually made up his mind. So he winged it, bought some time by talking about each team, and then picked up a Washington hat after nearly grabbing one with Kansas' logo (which he said he mistook for a Kentucky hat). Huskies fans celebrated -- only to find out that, after speaking to Kentucky coach
The Pac-10 is in the midst of a talent drought. The best player committed to one of the conference's teams is UCLA-bound
Both Big East teams were national powers in '08-09 and had players taken in the first round of the last NBA draft (the Huskies'
Louisville, meanwhile, lacks a marquee player in its 2010 class and missed on its top 2011 target, Indianapolis point guard
Lowe doesn't have much to show for his four seasons in Raleigh: zero trips to the NCAA tournament, two trips to the NIT and a 20-44 record in the ACC, with his best finish a tie for ninth place. That's a recipe for getting fired ... unless you're bringing in elite recruits to join stellar forward
The Longhorns weren't lacking in guards last year (
Prior to this spring,
My guess is that this won't become a high-impact change to the recruiting world. It's neither a way for a prospect to increase his stock (the opposite route, prep school, is how most do it) nor, in most cases, gain earlier entry into the NBA draft (the rule requires players to be 19 and a year removed from high school graduation). Hackett is still the best player to have taken the early route, and he went undrafted after leaving USC. Wilbekin, Carlino and Siakam are three-star prospects who were called on to fill personnel needs, in part because they had the smarts to make the leap. The majority of college hoopsters, I suspect, don't have the academic standing necessary to make this happen.
Selby, a 6-foot-2 combo guard from Baltimore whom Rivals rates as the No. 1 overall player in the Class of 2010, is the kind of tough-minded backcourt star the Jayhawks needed to replace
When Mundelein, Ill., shooting guard
The ACC is far more stringent with its signees. The league has never allowed a player to make an in-conference switch like Brust did. The penalty for such a move in the ACC would be an entire lost year of eligibility. So when
A star like Knight, who's one of the top three guards in the Class of 2010, doesn't need to worry about a school giving away his scholarship to someone else. So why should he lock himself in to the Wildcats when he can't be 100 percent sure that Calipari won't jump to the NBA? That uncertainty is precisely why Jones was unwilling to sign a Letter of Intent with UK, too. Jones told the
For the second straight year, Kentucky was a focal point of nearly every recruiting conversation. It emerged from the spring with the Nos. 3 (Turkish forward
Calipari's three-year recruiting haul -- from 2009-11 -- is unprecedented and, for non-Kentucky fans, infuriating. He's suddenly Washington's No. 1 enemy, after robbing the Huskies of two five-star players (Kanter and Jones) that had once been committed to the Huskies. Villanova fans dislike Coach Cal for beating them on Gilchrist, and before that,
This empire, of course, could all come crumbling down if Calipari leaves. Knight and Jones have the freedom to bail, and Gilchrist and Teague would decommit. Cal has said he's sticking with UK, though, and I don't think any of the LeBron Sweepstakes teams actually wants to hire Cal, anyway. The people whom a Calipari-to-the-NBA jump would please most are rival college coaches, who'd rejoice if he were no longer on the recruiting trail.