If it seems like Kentucky has had a stranglehold on the claim to the top recruiting class in the country, well, it's because John Calipari's Wildcats have. For the third year in a row, Coach Cal has put together the nation's top recruiting class.
Headlining the class is power forward Anthony Davis. This time a year ago, the thin and skilled big man was but a blip on the radar but his profile was on the verge of blowing up. Now, the 6-foot-9 Chicagoan almost claimed the top spot in the final Rivals150 for the class of 2011. He's joined by the nation's top small forward, Mike Gilchrist, the nation's top point guard, Marquis Teague, and another five-star big man in Oregon's Kyle Wiltjer.
Who is in and who is out?
Of the thirty teams who made our list of team rankings after the Fall signing period, 27 still remain. Out are Tennessee, Auburn and Xavier, and taking the first two of those open spots are Kansas who checks in at No. 29 and Villanova at No. 30.
The highest ranked entrant into final ranking of the nation's top recruiting classes is Pittsburgh. Jamie Dixon's Panthers enter at No. 18 with a bullet thanks in large part to the addition of power forward Khem Birch. Originally a class of 2012 prospect, Birch moved ahead to the class of 2011 where he attained five-star status and ranked No. 9 nationally helping to lift Pitt's class.
Movement within the top 30
As it turns out, most movement within the top 30 recruiting classes was relatively minimal. However, there were a few notable changes as six teams saw their ranking move five or more spots in one direction or the other.
Making the biggest leap is John Thompson III's Georgetown club who moves all the way up to No. 17 from their previous spot of No. 28. Playing a large part in their climb was the signing of four-star Otto Porter. The thin forward from Missouri moved up nearly 60 spots in the final Rivals150 and also received strong consideration for five-star status. Also, while three-star prospects Jabril Trawick and Greg Whittington remain unranked, both are highly regarded and could end up as sleeper pickups and it's more a matter of not having a chance to get evaluated than not being able to play that has kept them out of the individual rankings.
Sean Miller's Arizona club forced its way into the national top five at No. 4 after ranking ninth in the Fall. Four-star Angelo Chol was a fine addition and helped the overall depth of the Wildcats class. However, it was the elevation of shooting guard Nick Johnson from four-star status at No. 40 nationally to five-star status at No. 18 in the final Rivals150 that had the biggest impact on the Wildcats climb up the charts.
Also making jumps of five spots in the team rankings are Alabama who climbs from No. 17 to No. 12 and Virginia Tech who makes the moves from No. 18 to No. 13.
While Levi Randolph continues to linger just outside of five-star status for Anthony Grant's Crimson Tide, it was wing Rodney Cooper's meteoric rise from three-star status to four-star status and the national top 50 that elevated 'Bama.
For the Hokies, it was a combination of movement around them and some important changes with their signees. Star wing Dorian Finney-Smith flirted with five-star status. Also, wing Robert Brown went from just barely making four-star status at No. 105 nationally to solidly there at No. 82 nationally. Three-star point guard Marquis Rankin was among the final cuts to the Rivals150.
Taking the biggest tumble inside the top 30 recruiting classes is Syracuse who falls all the way to No. 16 from the sixth spot they held during the Fall. The reason for that is that their two signature recruits -- big man Rakeem Christmas and wing Michael Carter-Williams -- both fell from five-star status. While both Christmas and Carter-Williams are still highly regarded four-stars, their slide had a big impact on the Orange's class ranking.
Also taking a notable slide is Rutgers. The biggest reason for that is that four-star big man Kadeem Jack who had ranked No. 33 nationally during the post-summer Rivals150 enrolled early. Since he essentially red-shirted this season, Rivals.com chose to move him back into the class of 2010 which is the primary cause for the Scarlet Knights slide from No. 15 to No. 23 overall in the ranking of 2011 classes.
Looking at the rankings from a conference standpoint the Big East leads the way with eight teams followed closely by the SEC with seven teams in the top 30 rankings. The ACC, the Big 12 and the Big Ten all tied for second by placing four teams each in the final team rankings. Rounding out the rankings is the Pac-12 which has three teams included in the group of 30 teams.
John Calipari is at it again with his third consecutive No. 1 recruiting class at Kentucky. Teague, a dynamic point guard, and Gilchrist, a versatile small forward, are the top prospects at their position. Power forwards Davis and Wiltjer are both multi-talented post players and inside/outside threats.
The top prospect in the country Austin Rivers puts Duke in the No. 2 spot nationally and top spot in the ACC. Steady point guard Cook gives Duke a top-tier backcourt. Gbinije gives the reigning national champions a multidimensional wing player with a complete game. Plumlee, a four-star center, brings length and athleticism to the frontcourt. And the class is further bolstered by Murphy, a four-star prospect who moved from the 2012 class to the 2011 class.
Steve Lavin is making a statement with his 2011 recruiting. He has four four-star forwards headed to St. John's. Pointer, Garrett, Sampson and Harkless are athletic, versatile forwards who can contribute in multiple ways. Four-star combo guard D'Angelo Harrison is a scoring machine. JUCO standout Nurideen Lindsey is also known for his ability to fill it up. Achiuwa, another JUCO prospect joined the class late. The jewel of the class, however, is Pelle, a five-star post man who is bubbling over with athleticism.
Sean Miller is working hard to put Arizona back on top and he has the best class on the West Coast. Five-star prospect Nick Johnson is a NBA caliber athlete and highlight waiting to happen. Sidiki Johnson is a rugged rebounder who can score in the post, Chol is a renowned rebounder and shot blocker. No. 2-ranked point guard Josiah Turner is the top ranked prospect in the class.
McAdoo is one of the top incoming interior players in the country and will be counted upon heavily as a freshman. Wing P.J. Hairston will stretch the defense with his long-range accuracy. Hubert provides depth to the frontcourt and White does the same for the backcourt.
Young blew up over the spring and summer, and is among the nation's most explosive scorers. Madden is a versatile combo guard on the cusp of being a five-star. Mickelson is a swift big man from in-state and Ross is another local product who can score facing the hoop. Abron, another ranked power forward rounds out the class.
Texas lost the commitment of top 10 prospect DeAndre Daniels, but the Longhorns still retain a top 10 recruiting class. Kabongo, a speedy point guard, leads the class. McClellan and Lewis are both athletic wing prospects who know how to score. A four-star prospect, Holmes provides size to the class.
Thompson is an athletic forward and Scott is one of the steadier point guards in the 2011 class. At Ohio State he can deliver the ball to a sharpshooter in Ross. Another four-star prospect, Williams has the length and athleticism to crack the starting lineup as a starting center. McDonald brings more size and a high motor to the class.
Bruce Weber and his staff continue to lock down local four-star talent. Henry is a wing with size and scoring punch, while Abrams is among the top floor generals in the country. Shaw is a physical and versatile forward. Egwu needs work offensively, but has size and blocks shots. Rounding out the class is versatile forward Devin Langford.
Rick Pitino is bringing in his first top 10 class since 2008. Behanan, a five-star prospect, is a tough, physical scorer with offensive skill who will get help on the inside from four-star center Zach Price. Top 40 prospect Wayne Blackshear and potential prospect Angel Nunez will provide support from the wings.
The Bulldogs are taking advantage of the bumper crop of prospects in the state of Mississippi. Hood, a five-star prospect, is a do-everything perimeter player with exceptional length. Gardner is one of the top long-range shooters in the class at 6 feet 6. And Smith is a speedy and athletic four-star point guard. Johnson, a JUCO prospect, is the interior player of the class.
Anthony Grant has been known as a recruiter since his days as an assistant and he's still at it. Randolph is a versatile combo guard who may explode with maturity and four-star Rodney Cooper is a wing whose best basketball is ahead of him. Also a four-star prospect, Jacobs is an athletic, hard-working post player who should be highly productive at the collegiate level. Gueye is considered one of the top post players in the JUCO ranks.
Seth Greenberg and his staff have landed a trio of four-star recruits. Finney-Smith should make an instant impact with his versatile and athletic game. Barksdale is a hard-working, if slightly undersized, big who cleans the glass. Brown is a perimeter scorer with size and bounce. Rankin is a speedy lead guard who showed much promise in the past.
Rarely do so-called package deals work out, but the bond between Miller and Bello did hold up. The duo will continue to be teammates on the college level. Miller is one of the top inside/outside scoring threats in the class.. Bello just might be the most athletic prospect in the class of 2011. JUCO prospect Pierre Jackson joins them in the class.
Christmas is one of the better shot-blockers in the 2011 class. A talented combo guard, Carter-Williams is loaded with upside. Rounding out Syracuse's class is Cooney, who will be expected to knock down shots from the wing.
Known for producing talented big men, Georgetown has three four-star low post players and one three-star post player Coach John Thompson III, will have an opportunity to develop. Scoring guard Trawick rounds out the class.
The reclassification of elite power forward Khem Birch catapults Pittsburgh's class into the top 20. Rivals150 prospects Durand Johnson and Malcolm Gilbert project as productive college players. Point guard John Johnson rounds out the class.
Tom Izzo continues to land high-level prospects who match his tough playing style. Dawson is a physical combo forward while Anderson is a versatile in-state wing. Three-stars Kearney and Trice give the Spartans a wing with size and versatility, and a sharp-shooting point guard.
Dana Altman has hit the ground running at Oregon. Beating Washington and others for five-star shooting guard Jabari Brown was a major recruiting coup. Kingma is a lights-out shooter while Barron is a talented playmaker. Kuemper brings interior toughness to the class.
Thomas and Whisnant are both athletic wings with a penchant for scoring points. A combo forward, Space has intriguing length and a diverse skill set. Joining the three four-star prospects in the class is Turpin, who will provide size on the frontline.
Having put together the sixth-best class in the Big East, new coach Mike Rice has made a statement. Seagears is a solid floor general. Mack and Carter are local guards who specialize in scoring while Randall is a shot-blocker and rebounder. Lewis is a post player with a promising offensive game. Kone is a three-star wing with scoring punch.
Mark Fox and his staff want to prove they can land top local talent and they've done it here. Caldwell is a lengthy jump-shooter with size and also dangerous off the dribble. Dixon is a three-star post player with potential.
It is not a big class, but Tom Crean landed perhaps the most important recruit in his tenure at Indiana when Zeller signed with the Hoosiers. The five-star big man should have an instant impact on the court and help bring other talented in-state prospects into the fold. Etherington is one of the better shooters in the 2011 class and is joined on the wing by late signee Remy Abell.
A four-star forward with length, McCune is a prospect with a high ceiling. Hinds is a reliable floor general with the ability to score. Similar to McCune, Miles is a forward with length and potential. Forsythe is a late blooming big man and is joined by interior player Dominique Rutledge. Brown is a physical and versatile wing player, point guard Gary Browne is a late addition to the class.
Pulling in top 40 prospect Ben McLemore and post player Braeden Anderson during the spring signing period secured Kansas the final spot in the rankings. The class is strengthened by four-star point guard Naadir Tharpe.
Another highly regarded point guard is Villanova's top recruit. Johnson is a physical producer at the point of the attack. Yacoubou and Hilliard are both quality wing scorers. Kennedy will bring both muscle and skill to the Villanova frontline.