The way-too-early Top 25 rankings for next season in college basketball have been updated, and with that, we've decided to look beyond the on-the-court talent to see which recruiters are bringing in the talent. Who is the best recruiter on each Top 25 team?
1. Duke Blue Devils: Jeff Capel
It obviously helps to have Mike Krzyzewski as your boss, but Capel has proven his worth at multiple stops over the last decade-plus. He played a key role in helping Duke land Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum and others in the 2016 class, and was the top guy with the likes of Jabari Parker, Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow.
2. Villanova Wildcats: Kyle Neptune
The truth of the matter is that the Wildcats recruit nearly every player as a staff, with assistants Neptune, Ashley Howard and Baker Dunleavy combining with Jay Wright to consistently land top talent. Neptune gets the nod here for landing five-star forward Omari Spellman from New England in the 2016 class.
3. Kentucky Wildcats: Kenny Payne
Like with Duke and Krzyzewski, the primary reason for Kentucky reeling in top-two recruiting classes year after year goes to head coach John Calipari. But Payne is the Wildcats' top assistant and helped Calipari bring in the nation's No. 1 recruiting class in 2016, led by top-10 prospects Malik Monk, De'Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo.
4. Kansas Jayhawks: Kurtis Townsend
Townsend's résumé speaks for itself. It started with Jamal Crawford back when he was at Michigan and has continued every year with the Jayhawks. Townsend recruited Andrew Wiggins, Ben McLemore and many others -- and also was the point man in getting elite prospect Josh Jackson to commit to Kansas in 2016.
5. Virginia Cavaliers: Ron Sanchez
Tony Bennett's program doesn't necessarily recruit off the usual five-star lists, instead choosing to search for players who fit what the Cavaliers do on a daily basis. And Sanchez goes back with Bennett to his days at Washington State. He helped land Klay Thompson nearly a decade ago and played a key role in getting Kyle Guy in 2016.
6. North Carolina Tar Heels: C.B. McGrath
The North Carolina brand speaks for itself, but the Tar Heels still need to beat out other blue bloods for players, and McGrath has been busy the past few classes. He was the lead recruiter on a long list of players, including Marcus Paige, Brice Johnson, Kennedy Meeks, Joel Berry, Isaiah Hicks and J.P. Tokoto.
7. Oregon Ducks: Mike Mennenga
Fellow assistant Tony Stubblefield has also done a great job at multiple stops, but Mennenga's ability to successfully recruit Canada has his star on the rise. He brought in All-American Dillon Brooks, as well as Villanova transfer Dylan Ennis and breakout performer Chris Boucher -- while also barely missing out on Kentucky star Jamal Murray in the final hours.
8. Wisconsin Badgers: Lamont Paris
This one is essentially by default, given that Greg Gard was promoted to head coach after Bo Ryan stepped down and Howard Moore and Joe Krabbenhoft were added to the staff this spring -- but that doesn't diminish Paris' abilities. He has recruited at different levels during his 20 years of coaching and recruited Nigel Hayes to Madison.
9. Xavier Musketeers: Travis Steele
The Musketeers are continuing to find their way onto the recruiting lists of several top prospects, and Steele's tireless work in the Midwest is a major factor. He helped bring in last year's stars, Trevon Bluiett and Edmond Sumner, as well as Jalen Reynolds. Steele also has Xavier heavily in the mix for multiple ESPN 100 prospects in 2017, namely Kris Wilkes and Paul Scruggs. Steele and Luke Murray, who landed ESPN 100 recruit Tyrique Jones and transfer Malcolm Bernard in 2016, form a potent duo.
10. Michigan State Spartans: Dane Fife and Dwayne Stephens
Tom Izzo is a nice trump card to have, but Fife and Stephens have consistently put in work on the recruiting trail. Fife helped Michigan State land No. 25 senior Jaren Jackson last week and also got West Virginia transfer Eron Harris and five-star Josh Langford in recent years. Stephens reeled in Cassius Winston and was the point man on Denzel Valentine and Deyonta Davis, going all the way back to Draymond Green. Fellow assistant Mike Garland helped get top 10 freshman Miles Bridges, the linchpin to the Spartans' No. 3-ranked 2016 class.
11. Indiana Hoosiers: Chuck Martin
The Hoosiers have been dipping into other parts of the country to build their roster over the past few years, and Martin has been at the forefront of those efforts. He was the main recruiter for Thomas Bryant from New York and also closed the deal for ESPN 100 forward De'Ron Davis. Martin also helped bring in ESPN 100 guard Curtis Jones.
12. Arizona Wildcats: Joe Pasternack
Pasternack cemented his spot on this list in recent weeks by helping land the nation's No. 1 prospect, DeAndre Ayton. But Pasternack has been the point man on plenty of top West coast prospects in recent years, especially in the Oakland Soldiers AAU program, bringing Aaron Gordon, Brandon Ashley and Stanley Johnson to Tucson. He also recruited Allonzo Trier.
13. Louisville Cardinals: Kenny Johnson
Johnson is one of the most well-connected assistant coaches in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia region, given his time with the Team Takeover AAU program and Paul VI (Virginia). He recruited Troy Williams and Noah Vonleh to Indiana under Tom Crean and, more recently, landed ESPN 100 prospect V.J. King for Rick Pitino at Louisville.
14. Purdue Boilermakers: Jack Owens
The Boilermakers' associate head coach has worked under Matt Painter at both Purdue and Southern Illinois. Owens was the main recruiter for five-star center Caleb Swanigan, arguably the most high-profile recruit to go to West Lafayette since Glenn Robinson in 1991. Owens also played a key role in getting A.J. Hammons.
15. West Virginia Mountaineers: Larry Harrison and Ron Everhart
This one is too close to call. Harrison's days with head coach Bob Huggins date back to Cincinnati, where Harrison helped recruit the likes of Nick Van Exel, Danny Fortson and Kenyon Martin. Everhart has been key recently, landing ESPN 100 prospect Esa Ahmad in 2015 and last year's leading scorer, Jaysean Paige, out of junior college.
16. Gonzaga Bulldogs: Tommy Lloyd
There's clearly an international influence on Gonzaga the past several years, and Lloyd is a major reason why. Lloyd is simply the best assistant coach in the country at consistently recruiting players outside the United States. He reeled in Domantas Sabonis and Przemek Karnowski and also brought in Canada natives Kevin Pangos and Kelly Olynyk.
17. UCLA Bruins: David Grace
It's not exactly a coincidence that UCLA has begun to consistently land top West Coast prospects and bring in nationally ranked recruiting classes since Grace made the move from Oregon State. He has great relationships with the Compton Magic AAU program and was the main recruiter on elite freshman Lonzo Ball, as well as Kevon Looney, Thomas Welsh and 2017 guard Jaylen Hands.
18. Maryland Terrapins: Bino Ranson
Mark Turgeon should probably get the nod here, as he did most of the work on Melo Trimble, Dion Wiley and Anthony Cowan -- but Ranson pulling Diamond Stone out of the Midwest and away from Wisconsin was huge for the Terrapins. Dustin Clark has signed a long list of players, and Cliff Warren has them involved for plenty of 2017 prospects.
19. Saint Mary's Gaels: Marty Clarke
There has been a shuffling of assistant coaches in Moraga the past couple years, but Clarke has helped the Gaels due to his connections in Australia. He was an assistant coach for the Australian National Team before coming to Saint Mary's. While Clarke was still in Australia, he coached Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova, two of the best players in Saint Mary's history.
20. Creighton Bluejays: Steve Lutz
The Bluejays have survived the post-Doug McDermott era and should be a tournament team this season. Lutz has brought in several of the key players on this year's roster, led by Kansas State transfer Marcus Foster and Nevada transfer Cole Huff. Lutz also landed Geoffrey Groselle, James Milliken and Austin Chatman, who have graduated. Fellow assistant Preston Murphy has also done a good job since coming over from Rhode Island, where he was the lead man on E.C. Matthews.
21. Rhode Island Rams: David Cox
There has been some staff turnover the past couple of years, including the aforementioned Murray and Murphy, but Cox is well-connected in the Washington area from his days with the D.C. Assault AAU program. One player from Cox's catalog to keep an eye on will be D.C. guard Jeff Dowtin. Jim Carr gets a nod for recruiting Hassan Martin.
22. Cincinnati Bearcats: Larry Davis
While Davis received plenty of credit for filling in during Mick Cronin's leave of absence, he has also been effective on the recruiting trail. He helped sign Troy Caupain, Gary Clark and Jacob Evans, the top three returning scorers from last year's team. Moreover, Davis helped get NC State transfer Kyle Washington, who could be in for a breakout season.
23. Florida State Seminoles: Dennis Gates
Leonard Hamilton deserves plenty of attention for being able to compete with blue bloods for prospects, and Gates has established himself as Hamilton's top lieutenant when it comes to recruiting. He was on five-star Jonathan Isaac before his emergence as a national name and helped recruit Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley in 2015.
24. Connecticut Huskies: Kevin Ollie
It's mostly Ollie who does the heavy lifting for the Huskies, as players continue to say that Ollie is excellent at building relationships with recruits throughout the process. He was the main recruiter on Jalen Adams, Alterique Gilbert and others. Ricky Moore has done a good job on several players, while Glen Miller was the point man on recent ESPN 100 point guard commit Makai Ashton-Langford. New assistant Dwayne Killings will be a nice addition, from Temple.
25. Syracuse Orange: Mike Hopkins
The eventual next head coach of Syracuse, Hopkins has established himself as one of the best recruiters in college basketball. His connections in New England and the Northeast have enabled the Orange to consistently bring in highly touted prospects -- including Dion Waiters, Michael Carter-Williams, DaJuan Coleman and, most recently, Tyus Battle.