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Wildcats, Longhorns have top recruiting classes


May 12, 2004

When I look at recruiting classes every year, I get excited at the addition of talented diaper dandies. Every year more and more kids declare for the NBA draft early and more kids skip the opportunity to attend college. But there are still tons of great kids who decide to go to college and make an impact on some lucky institution.

Tubby Smith
Tubby Smith should be excited about his recruiting class.
The influx of the new kids on the block and the impact they will have right away is a thrill. The big question is, which school has the best recruiting class in America? I, like many, analyze and read what all the recruiting gurus say. It's interesting to follow guys like Bob Gibbons, Clark Francis, Dave Telep, Tom Konchalski and others to hear what they have to say in their rankings.

To me, Kentucky and Texas have the top two recruiting classes in the country. But when transfer Patrick Sparks is added to Kentucky's group, the Wildcats get the edge. He sat out last season and will be eligible for 2004-05. Sparks brings a winning mentality and competitiveness, which should be a key factor. Wildcats coach Tubby Smith has a group of newcomers that includes Rajon Rondo, Joe Crawford and Ramel Bradley to go with shot-blocker deluxe Randolph Morris.

Meanwhile, the Longhorns have 6-foot-7 forward Mike Williams, along with Daniel Gibson handling the ball and performing on the perimeter with LaMarcus Aldridge banging down low. That combination of these players has Longhorns coach Rick Barnes jumping for joy.

Of course, Kentucky and Texas aren't the only schools that have done well this offseason. Connecticut added guard A.J. Price and forward Rudy Gay, plus transfer Ed Nelson becomes eligible after transferring from Georgia Tech. North Carolina will add Marvin Williams and guard Quentin Thomas, while Michigan State is excited about point guard Drew Neitzel leading its incoming group. Duke, despite losing recruit Shaun Livingston to the NBA draft, added quality players in David McClure and DeMarcus Nelson.

It's only May, baby! But I already can't wait for the season to start. I'm looking forward to seeing these newcomers!

Dick Vitale coached the Detroit Pistons and the University of Detroit in the 1970s before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979 (he's been an ESPN analyst ever since). Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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