For the past 12 months college coaches have been scouring the country looking for a quality big man to add in the 2011 class. The problem for them has simply been that very few are available. In the entire 2011 class only Rakeem Christmas rates as a five-star prospect, and he isn't even among the top 15 players overall.
In the class of 2012 that changes in a big way. There are already seven centers who rank as five-star prospects. Then add in the fact that there are six players listed at the power forward spot who rank as five-stars, and that means there is a lot of interior help available.
What makes 2012 special in regard to its number of big guys, is just how talented they are. Five centers are in the top nine overall. That is something that is just not seen very often, and then as you keep looking down the line, there are more and more quality prospects who will play on the block.
The numbers are truly astounding. Currently Scout.com only has ranked 75 prospects and given out a handful of four star ratings to others. Of those roughly 80 four star or higher rated prospects, 20 of them play the center position.
When comparing that number with the ones in the recent past it is amazing. In 2011 only 12 centers were viewed as four-star or better, and that includes one junior college prospect. In 2010 only 17 centers were rated four-star or better, and also that included one junior college signee. In 2009 22 centers received that ranking and 21 in 2008, but both of those figures include a large number of post graduate prospects.
Also consider that those numbers were from the final rankings, which include between 100-115 four-star players. The 2012 class could see the number of centers to finish with a four-star or higher rating at roughly 25 or 26 very easily.
What this all means is the coaches who have been doing their long term homework will know that they have an opportunity to fortify their frontcourt with this group. Granted it might be a year later than coaches and fans would like, but still with scholarships being so valuable, rushing and offering a kid who won't be good enough to contribute from the remaining 2011 prospects probably isn't a sound strategy considering what is coming through the pike in 2012.
Nationally we haven't seen a class of big guys like this in quite some time, and might not see it again for a while. This summer instead of coaches waiting for the bigs to emerge, they will be hoping to find some point guards who will be able to feed the post and let this talented group show their stuff.