It is getting to the point in the year where some high school teams have wound down their seasons and others are gearing up for the playoffs. With so many games played, the question of rankings and an update always comes up.
On the team side of things, some commitments have definitely been made since the last team rankings update took place right around the New Year. Scout.com will be evaluating things here shortly, and look for new team rankings to come out before the end of the high school year, and they will be updated up until the end of the signing period when we have a complete feel for who is ending up where.
In terms of the individual player rankings, the class of 2011 won't be updated until after the all-star games at the end of March going into April. Scout.com will have full coverage of the week long practices from the McDonald's All-American Game, and then of course the game as well.
The week of practices at McDonald's always are some of the most competitive around with kids going right at each other looking to prove that they are the best. It gives a great look at how prospects match up against each other and who has made the improvements since the beginning of the year.
Don't look for huge movement in the final 2011 rankings as it has been a long process to get to this point with a lot of evaluations, but there are always kids who make moves as seniors and raise their stock.
In terms of the younger kids, the 2012 rankings will definitely get a re-examination after the high school season is over. We have been on the road all season and have seen some kids make moves within the 2012 class and deserve consideration for a bump in the rankings, a fall in the rankings, or inclusion in the rankings.
With the 2013 class, it is still up in the air if we will update them before the spring AAU schedule starts, or wait until after once we have had a better chance to evaluate all involved. With the time involved in tracking the upperclassmen, it is just tough to have a great feel for the development curve of the sophomores.
No ranking of the 2014 class is forthcoming. While some kids have already committed and others have proven their worth, there simply hasn't been enough time or evaluations to make a list with any kind of education behind it. We will wait a while before releasing any kind of 2014 list.
Sanctions and the impact
This week two schools made news because of issues with the NCAA. The question then becomes, how do sanctions make an impact on recruiting, and will it cost a school a chance to land high priority kids.
There is of course no right or wrong answer, and it is always a case by case basis depending on a kid and a family structure, but in general sanctions that don't involve NCAA Tournament bans or limiting of television appearances really don't have a major impact on kids and their decisions.
A coach who gets hit with a secondary violation or even a primary violation that doesn't result in a huge penalty and only in probation won't worry a kid very much if at all. Most kids don't care if a school is on probation, as long as that school can play in March and has a chance to win a national title. Heck, Greg Oden, the No. 1 ranked player in the 2006 class committed to Ohio State knowing the Buckeyes would be on probation. His only concern was that there would be no post-season ban.
Kids and parents alike seem to know that people make mistakes, and that it isn't a death sentence if the NCAA just slaps them on the wrist and tells them they have been bad.
What can impact recruiting though is uncertainty. If a parent or advisor as well as a prospect have concerns about a coach being at his current job in the future, that makes it very hard to land high level commitments. Sure a kid who is getting mostly mid-major interest might commit to a high-major school even if a coach is on the hot seat or facing serious allegations, but that is a commitment to a school and a level more so than a coach. Most of the top level kids commit to a coach.
A few years ago, as was the case when Devin Ebanks and Terrell Holloway signed with Indiana, schools were allowed to write provisions in the letter of intents that allowed an out if a coach was fired, but the NCAA no longer allows that. Though to be fair it is now the accepted practice to allow kids out of their letter of intent if there is a coaching change.
When it comes to communication, and a limiting of coaches on the road as well limiting contact with recruits in terms of calling restrictions, those do have an impact, but any creative coach finds a way around it. Whether it is email, facebook, or twitter, coaches are a resourceful breed. They know how to make a kid feel wanted.
In general unless a kid doesn't know who he will be playing for or unless a school can't compete in March, the idea of probation really doesn't have a major impact on a school's recruiting. We live in a forgiving society, and like everyone else, college prospects have no problem forgiving as long as they are certain of a few key factors.
After a busy week last week on the recruiting trail with commitments, things slowed down, though a pair of ACC schools added pledges.
The Boston College Eagles scored a commitment from Jordan Daniels. Daniels is a California native, and the Eagles have had a lot of luck in that state in the past. He became the fourth native of California to pledge to the Eagles, and the sixth commitment overall.
Then on Thursday the Maryland Terrapins got into the act as well. The Terps did their homework and landed a pledge from Martin Breunig. Breunig is a skilled big man who can step out and score, yet still has the size and toughness to grab rebounds.
The Maryland staff had made several evaluations of the under the radar big man since the beginning of the high school season and made him a priority going forward. Breunig joins Nick Faust and Sterling Gibbs as 2011 commitments for the Terps.