Ever since John Calipari took over the Kentucky basketball program in the spring of 2009, the Wildcats have finished with the top recruiting class in the country. With Kentucky coming off of a national title and four-straight top-ranked recruiting classes, the casual recruiting observer might be surprised to see Billy Donovan and the Florida Gators topping Rivals.com's early list of the top class of 2013 recruiting classes.
Kentucky and other traditional powers such as Duke, UCLA and Ohio State are entirely absent from the top 20.
But there's a long way to go - eight more months - before the 2013 is signed and complete.
Currently, only two of the top 10 players in the recently updated Rivals150 for the class of 2013 have made verbal commitments. As it turns out, both five-star power forward Chris Walker (No. 6 nationally) and five-star point guard Kasey Hill (No. 7 nationally) have committed to play for Donovan in their home state. In addition to the two highly rated players, the Gators also landed another solid Florida native in three-star big man Schuyler Rimmer. Give a two-time national champion and ace recruiter such as Donovan a chance at local talent like that and it should be no surprise to see him lapping the field early.
With 82 of the nation's top 150 prospects - including 23 of the top 30 and every member of the national top five - still open in their recruitments, much is going to change. Florida isn't going away - it is still in the running for more elite prospects. And while Calipari and the Wildcats are off the radar right now, they still could land a fifth No. 1 class in a row. They are heavily in the mix for No. 1 prospect Julius Randle, twins Aaron Harrison (No. 3) and Andrew Harrison (No. 4), James Young (No.8) and considered the favorite to land the class of 2014's top player Andrew Wiggins, who is expected to move into the class of 2013.
Coach Billy Donovan and his staff are off to one heck of a start in the class of 2013. The Gators shut down the state's borders to lock up a five-star point guard in Hill and a five-star big man in Walker. While Walker and Hill provide the athleticism and have plenty of experience playing together in the summer, Rimmer gives Florida a solid big man who will be bulked up and worked into the rotation.
The Jayhawks are looking to get a big haul in the class of 2013 and Bill Self and his staff are of to a terrific start. While they still want to find another ballhandler and an impact big man, the Jayhawks have landed two of the top shooters in the land in Greene and Frankamp. Greene gives Kansas more size and length to go with his shooting while Frankamp can play either the one or the two.
The city of Milwaukee has been producing more and more talent of late and Buzz Williams and his staff look to be building a fence around the city. Wilson is an attacking guard who is built to score while Burton is a big-time athlete with strength who rebounds and competes. In McKay, Marquette has a high volume rebounder and one of the premier junior college players in the country.
The Wolverines continue to load up their roster with high-level talent. Irvin's game has taken a huge leap over the last year and he's a versatile wing with terrific size. Walton is one of the toughest playmakers in the country and Donnal gives them a big man with skill and a body on which to build.
Few have done as good a job in making sure kids don't escape their backyard as the folks at Memphis. Josh Pastner and his staff continue to land locals and talented ones at that. King is a strong wing who can play some on the interior if the Tigers want to play small. Crawford is a big-time athlete and defender who was just starting to blossom as a scorer before a knee injury took him down.
As usual, Roy Williams and his staff are doing well on the recruiting trail. Hicks is a long and athletic local with huge upside who is really just starting to gain experience and will benefit greatly from college coaching. Since busting onto the scene, Britt has been in a funk but if the point guard gets his mojo back this class get much stronger.
On the heels of 2012's monster class, Tom Crean and his staff have already put together a pretty good group. Robinson is a playmaker off the dribble who can defend while Fischer is a big body that will be bulked up into a Big Ten banger. Davis is a high-energy combo forward who rebounds and defends while Hartman is an excellent spot-up jump shooter.
Initially, Rick Pitino and the Cardinals had expected Rozier to be on campus this year. However, academics have sent the point guard to Chatham (Va.) Hargrave where he will team up with fellow four-star commitment Gill. While Rozier is a playmaker off the bounce, Gill is a slashing wing with good athleticism and a nice mid-range game.
The son of former Boilkermaker Everette Stephens, shooting guard Kendall Stephens can really rip the nets from deep and is blessed with size and length. Scott is a hard-nosed kid who can score, defends and can play some at the one or two. Smotherman has matured physically and is coming on as an athlete that can board and play a little inside and out.
When it comes to shooters, Thomas just may be the best in the entire country. The Wisconsin native's jumper is a thing of beauty. A tough kid from Michigan, Morris is a combo guard with leadership ability. Fred Hoiberg and company are making some early noise on the recruiting trail.
Anthony Grant and the Crimson Tide have gone big with their first two commitments in 2013. With more focus and some physical maturity, Taylor has the tools to climb much further up the rankings. Hale is a four-man who can face the basket a bit and he's become a more dedicated rebounder.
A rugged big man, Mika really burst onto the scene during the summer after sitting out his junior season due to transfer rules. His high school teammate, Emery, is a highly confident gunslinger from deep who plays with swagger. Hartsock and Shaw add quality depth to the post rotation.
Those who saw Portis a few years ago can't have expected he would blossom like this. The high energy big man has made a steady climb up the rankings since committing to Mike Anderson and his combination of size, skill and relentless pursuit of the ball should allow him to be an impact player.
Similar to that of Louisville, the Mountaineers' class gets a boost from a guy not qualifying in 2012. A native of Ohio, Macon is a big man who has a Big 12 body and plays with a great deal of physicality. Watkins is a thin big man who can block shots and has a little scoring pop while Adrian is a local product who should develop into a solid contributor during his time in Morgantown.
With six scholarships to give out to the class of 2013, the Trojans have a lot of flexibility. They've started by locking up perimeter help. Prince is a physically tough scorer who will rebound, defend and has good athleticism. Harris is a big guard who can play either the one or the two while Dukes is a high-scoring guard that plays with confidence.
Chris Mack's class is only made up of one player to this point, but if juco product Chris Thomas (formerly a top 10 player in the high school class of 2013) does what he is capable of, then the shooting guard is capable of making a big and immediate impact.
During the 2011-12 season, Frank Haith and the Tigers benefited greatly from being able to play two talented point guards. They look to be following that blueprint with their early 2013 efforts. Clark is more of a scorer who can attack the rim while Jorgenson is a clever setup man.
John Groce and his staff are off to a good start during their first year in Champaign. Hill is an in-state product with good size for a two-guard and a nicely developed mid-range game and jump shot. Morgan is a good athlete with a strong frame and will be capable of playing either the four or the five in the Big Ten.
In Ennis, Jim Boeheim has found an ideal trigger man for his offense and defense. Ennis makes good decisions, is a very dangerous jump shooter and is a leader on the floor. This is a nice start to 2013 for Boeheim and the Orange.
Randy Bennett and the Gaels have done a tremendous job with their class. Hermanson is a tough-as-nails wing scorer and dangerous jump shooter while Neal is a crafty playmaker, reads the pick and roll, shoots with range and makes good decisions. Pineau is relatively unknown in the States but plays for the 19-and-under national team at home in Australia.