Tuesday, June 3, 2008

ACC recruiting strong this year

Wednesday’s (June 4) Charlotte Observer highlights the strong basketball recruiting classes the ACC is putting together for 2008 and 2009.

Eight of the 24 McDonald’s All-Americans in 2008 are headed to ACC schools. The ACC also has four top-20 commitments for 2009, according to scout.com, while the rest of the nation has just two.

Some interesting points from respected recruiting analysts Bob Gibbons of All-Star Sports and Dave Telep of scout.com did not get into the print edition.

The ACC is coming off one of its worst stretches of NCAA tournament performance ever with a 19-15 record over the last three years. Telep traces that back to recruiting.

In 2007, the ACC landed just one top-10 recruit – Duke’s Kyle Singler. In 2006, North Carolina dominated recruiting in the ACC, landing the top players at three positions (Ty Lawson, Wayne Ellington and Brandan Wright).

Georgia Tech, with Javaris Crittenton and Thaddeus Young, also signed two elite players in 2006, but both stayed just one year.

In other words, the ACC needs to land more top talent – and looks like it will in the next two classes.

"This thing is very, very cyclical," Telep said. "The ACC has been on top of the cycle in some years. And in other years they are not. It’s just a cyclical, cyclical thing."

Telep cautions that the ACC might not experience the same, immediate surge in 2008 that the Pac-10 did after getting Kevin Love, O.J. Mayo and Jerryd Bayless in 2007. Telep said the 2008 class as a whole just isn’t as strong as others in recent years.

But there’s little doubt that the ACC is helping itself with its current recruiting.

Gibbons is especially impressed with Clemson commitment Milton Jennings in the Class of 2009. Jennings scored 47 points in one AAU game at the recent Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions, and Gibbons is listing him as a small forward because at 6-foot-9 he is a gifted 3-point shooter.
"He is a bona fide candidate to be a McDonald’s All-American," Gibbons said. "He’s the best recruit that Oliver (Purnell) has brought in from a national perspective."

Clemson hasn’t had a McDonald’s All-America recruit since Sharone Wright in 1991.

Gibbons said the balance of the league depends on the ACC getting top recruits at schools besides North Carolina and Duke. To that end, Florida State (Chris Singleton), Georgia Tech (Iman Shumpert), Virginia (Sylvan Landesberg) and Wake Forest (Al-Farouq Aminu) all recruited 2008 McDonald’s All-Americans.

"It’s important," Gibbons said. "It keeps it competitive, and it keeps the North Carolinas and the Dukes from totally being dominant."
- Ken Tysiac