Rivals.com basketball recruiting analysts Jerry Meyer and Eric Bossi weigh in on four current topics.
How will TCU joining the Big East affect recruiting for the Horned Frogs?
Meyer: It will significantly improve TCU's recruiting. There is no getting around the fact that prospects want to play in the bigger conferences with greater television exposure. There is a lot of talent in Texas and now that TCU will be in the Big East, the Horned Frogs will have a stronger platform to compete against in-state schools in the Big 12.
Bossi: It's really a pretty interesting situation because the football team is entering a conference where it is likely going to start off at the top of the totem pole while the hoops team will have to work its way up. They are in a talent rich state so they have the players near them to help them climb in the Big East, now it's just a matter of getting involved with them and other high level players. I think that facilities will be important as well. Daniel-Meyer Coliseum could surely use some upgrades but the Horned Frogs did build what is a pretty nice practice facility in 2004 so they've got a start.
How will having a Texas team affect recruiting for the rest of the Big East?
Meyer: The state of Texas isn't a complete stranger to the Big East. Schools in the Big East will occasionally try to steal a prospect out of Texas, and Marquette in particular with Buzz Williams' Texas connections has recruited the state. But with a Texas school competing within the conference, Big East schools are likely to keep a closer eye on the Lone Star State.
Bossi: I think that's something that will remain to be seen. Buzz Williams at Marquette has already recruited Texas aggressively and Steve Lavin made a splash there this year by landing Houstonian D'Angelo Harrison at St. John's. I think the bigger key is going to be where the schools from what is currently the Big 12 end up in the grand scheme of things. If they stay together it will be a little tougher, but if the Big 12 blows up (and it's hard to believe it will stay together for too much longer) then having a member institution in the state will be a nice start. As it is, though, all TCU adds is maybe one game per year in the state for everybody but TCU, so I don't know that it will have a major impact.
Which teams have been the biggest surprise for the 2012 class so far?
Meyer: Several teams, Indiana, Michigan State and Villanova in particular are off to a great start in their 2012 recruiting, but it is tough to say that their success is a surprise. Indiana presently has the Indiana Elite travel team program on lockdown which is easily understandable considering geography. Along this theme of geography, Villanova has locked down two top 50 commitments from local prospects. Two of Michigan State's recruits are from Michigan and one from neighboring Ohio.
Bossi: I think you have to look at Indiana. We've talked about what Tom Crean has done plenty already, but it was just a few months ago that people were wondering if the Hoosiers were going to be able to land any of that in-state talent and here they are today with two five-stars from within the state's borders in the class of 2012. Pittsburgh was certainly up there with five-star Khem Birch and four-star Steven Adams but Birch has now moved to the class of 2011. And, it would be tough to classify what Jay Wright is doing at Villanova as a surprise, but he's certainly off to a great start with two top 50 prospects committed.
Which December tournament are you most excited to see?
Meyer: The City of Palms Classic in Ft. Myers is absolutely loaded this year. A total of seven five-star prospects will be playing in the event along with a number of other ranked prospects. Some of the very best high school teams in the country will hit the Sunshine State for what should be a highly entertaining and competitive event.
Bossi: It's tough to single out just one event because I'm taking a bit of a different path. Rather than hitting some of the mega tournaments that bring in teams from all across the country, I'm focusing on local events in places like Nashville, Memphis, Washington, D.C., Kansas City, Louisville, Indianapolis and Atlanta that feature each city's top players. Selfishly, I'm probably most excited for the Metro Sports/Hy-Vee Shootout in Kansas City because I don't have to travel, get to see my wife and daughter during the weekend and sleep in my own bed!