The road to stardom: Recruiting origin stories of the top players in men's college basketball

Of the 20 players on this year's Wooden Award late-season watch list, only 11 were ranked in the ESPN 100 coming out of high school. To take it a step further, only four were considered five-star prospects -- and three of those are freshmen and probable top-5 NBA picks Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero and Jabari Smith.

This year's final 20 players include breakout sophomores, mid-major superstars, late-blooming high-major performers and known quantities that have just been consistently productive throughout their college career.

But how did they all get here?

Why did it take so long for Villanova to take a chance on Collin Gillespie?

When did Kansas find out about Ochai Agbaji?

What made Oscar Tshiebwe pick Kentucky after eschewing the Wildcats as a high school senior?

What was Fran McCaffrey's connection to Keegan Murray?

I reached out to sources at all levels of basketball to find out answers to those questions and more.