UCLA and Arizona With Top Recruiting Classes


The Huskies are on the outside looking in as they watch both UCLA and Arizona bring in monster classes for the 2012 recruiting year. UCLA rounded out their class yesterday with the commitment of Tony Parker, one of the best players and centers in the country.

Dave Telep of ESPN says that UCLA has the top recruiting class in the country.

Evan Daniels of Scout.com calls it the number two class.

Eric Bossi of Rivals is undecided between UCLA and Kentucky as the top class of 2012.

Kentucky or UCLA has the top recruiting class in the country. The team that is third on all of their (ESPN, Scout, Rivals) lists is Arizona.

In a year that Washington didn’t land anyone in the actual 2012 high school recruiting class, they are watching Pac-12 foes in UCLA and Arizona bring in the top talent in the country. Colorado isn’t doing too bad in this year’s class as they have brought in a top 20 recruiting class. Washington State, California, and Stanford all would be considered to have impressive classes this season too. There may be some issues with WSU getting a couple of their recruits eligible but as it stands now, it is a pretty good recruiting class.

Where does this leave Washington? Is it time for the fans to freak out?

I don’t think so, and here is why:

  • Recruiting doesn’t mean as much as it used to. The perfect example is last year, Arizona landed one of the top recruiting classes in 2011. They had heralded Sidiki Johnson, Nick Johnson, and Josiah Turner amongst a few others. That season only one of those three ended up working out. Both Sidiki Johnson and Turner are off the team, and Arizona’s season didn’t go as expected. Nowadays, when it comes to recruiting it often matters more who gets the recruit second than it does first. We see many of the top recruits transfer after one or two seasons with the team they first commit to; Alex Oriakhi, Jabari Brown, Josiah Turner, etc. There were over 300 transfers this season.
  • Big time high school talent often means good college talent but not always. Sometimes these heralded high school recruits turn into head cases in college and can’t get it together on the court. The potential ends up being wasted.
  • Talent from high school doesn’t always turn over right away. There are a few in every class that can make the jump to the NBA immediately, but often just because they were rated high doesn’t mean they are going to be amazing right away. Basketball is the biggest game of potential that there is. Many high school players, college players, and even NBA players are rated based on potential almost as much as actual/current talent.
  • Basketball is a team game. Getting big time players can equal big time success but only if the team buys into the team together. Kentucky is a great example. John Calipari has been raking in top recruiting classes year after year but it wasn’t until he found a team that was not only talented but wanted to play as a team could he hold the national title.
  • Both UCLA and Arizona were billed as going to be amazing last season but both ended in the middle of the pack. This means that even though a team looks good on paper, it doesn’t always mean they will be good on the floor.

The bottom line is that recruiting is important but it isn’t the end all, be all. A top recruiting class doesn’t always equate to a top team. Don’t write off next season simply because UCLA and Arizona landed big time talent, see how it shakes out.

Washington hasn’t missed completely. They did what they wanted to do in 2012, landed talent that could help as soon as they can hit the floor. Mark McLaughlin was the top JUCO scorer in the country and can immediately help the Huskies. Perris Blackwell may have to sit out a year but as soon as he can play, he will be a very effective post player.

Washington isn’t out of the mix, it really just depends on how things shake out next season. Top teams on paper doesn’t mean anything until they live up to the potential. This goes for UCLA, Arizona, Washington, and all teams.

The bright side, is as a whole, the Pac-12 should be a lot better next season.