Grading The New Coaches

Some first year head coaches built classes that will help them win a lot of games at their new jobs.

Every April there is a flurry of coaching moves following the Final Four. The coaching carousel has spun increasingly fast in recent years, and for the coaches who changed jobs this past off season, the 2012 class is the first one that they really have a chance to put their stamp on.

Sure all the stars can align sometimes like they did with John Calipari when he took over at Kentucky or Sean Miller when he was handed the reins at Arizona where they are able to bring in a blockbuster group of recruits immediately after getting the job, but usually it is the following November where coaches have a chance to make their mark and build a foundation for their program.

While ultimately the success of each of these coaches at their new jobs will be judged by wins and losses on the court, here is a look at some of the coaches who fared particularly well in the all important recruiting battles.

Impact Classes

Signing Week Coverage
* Signing Day Blog
* Top 25 Class Rankings
* Best Availables
* Six Impact Performers
* Miller surpasses expectations
* Grading the new head coaches
* Signing Day Superlatives
* No. 1 prospect won't sign early
* Schools that surprised
* Conference Breakdown: No. 1 ACC
* Conference Breakdown: No. 2 PAC-12
* Conference Breakdown: No. 3 Big East
* Conference Breakdown: No. 4 Big Ten
* Conference Breakdown: No. 5 Big 12
* Conference Breakdown: No. 6 SEC
* Non-BCS Breakdown
* Schools that surprised
* Gathers opens it up
* Goodwin goes with Memphis
* 2012 Rankings
* 2013 Rankings
* National Message Board
Mark Gottfried – North Carolina State

After a long coaching search Gottfried was the man chosen to take the reins of the Wolfpack program. At least on the recruiting front he has hit the ground running and has made a major impact on the program landing one of the premier recruiting classes in the country.

Gottfried's first responsibility in the 2012 class was making sure that four-star point guard Tyler Lewis stayed committed to the school. Lewis issued his pledge to former coach Sidney Lowe, and after meeting with Gottfried and his staff, Lewis once again decided to stay committed to the school, and that gave the Wolfpack something good to build on.

From there the local targets became of the utmost importance, specifically T.J. Warren and Rodney Purvis. Both are five-star talents, and both had their choice of a lot of quality programs. However in the end it was Gottfried and his staff that locked them down, as both committed and decided to be close to home giving the Wolfpack the top class in the ACC.

As if that trio isn't enough, NC State continues to be in great shape with another five-star Amile Jefferson, and also has a decent chance with Lewis' AAU teammate Andrew White who is a four-star prospect in his own right.

For a coach who made his name recruiting high level talent at Alabama, it is no surprise that he is getting players to NC State, the only surprise might be how quickly he has done it. Overall this class should be the foundation for years to come in Raleigh.

Ed Cooley – Providence

Cooley won big at Fairfield and now he is bringing in the talent to win in the Big East at Providence. A native of the area, Cooley attacked the recruiting trail this summer and came away with arguably the top backcourt of recruits in the country.

The two prospects that Cooley focused the most on from day one were Kris Dunn and Ricardo Ledo. Dunn is the top point guard in the country while Ledo is one of the best scorers around. Both are from the New England area, and Dunn especially had his choice of big time schools to attend.

Landing both of those five-star talents gives Providence a backcourt that can compete immediately in the Big East, and will keep them in a lot of games.

This was a huge recruiting cycle for Providence, and something that should immediately help them get back on the college basketball map.

Mark Turgeon – Maryland

When Turgeon took over for Gary Williams in the month of May, he knew he would have work to do. Unfortunately for Turgeon he lost a few players from a solid 2011 class, but the coach got to work in 2012, and that meant attacking the frontcourt.

What Turgeon did was immediately turn his sights to Shaquille Cleare out of Texas and Jake Layman from Massachusetts. Cleare was already high on the Terps and on Turgeon when he was being recuited to Texas A&M, and Turgeon used that relationship to snag the four-star center. After that it was Layman who picked the Terrapins over schools such as Louisville, Syracuse, and Florida.

Add in a combo guard in Seth Allen, and Turgeon has put together an excellent three man class that should be a building block for the future in College Park.

Pat Skerry – Towson

No first year coach outside of a BCS conference did a better job than Skerry. The former Pittsburgh assistant made sure to hire a staff with ties to the area, and it proved to be an excellent decision.

Led by assistant coach Kenny Johnson, Towson secured the commitments of Jerome Hairston, a onetime top 100 point guard, Barrington Alston who is an athletic interior player, and Frank Mason a scoring combo guard.

That trio combined with T.J. Parker should give Towson a foundation to compete against the best in the Colonial Athletic Association. Hairston especially could be someone who ends up as an all-league player.

Good Foundations

Billy Kennedy – Texas A&M

So far only two commitments for the Aggies in the 2012 class, but both are very good ones. Led by local products J-Mychal Reese and Alex Caruso, the Aggies have put together two pieces that will help them in the SEC once they join the conference.

Reese is one of the best point guards in the class, and someone who knows how to score, while Caruso is an athletic wing who makes shots and always plays hard. At times during the spring and summer both really impressed with their play against high level competition.

Having the two of them gives Kennedy a foundation with which to work as he goes forward and moves leagues from the Big XII to the SEC.

Dave Rice – UNLV

UNLV is a bit of an under the radar great job right now because of the talent that comes into the area at Findlay Prep as well as the population growth in the city of Las Vegas. Rice and company are hoping to capitalize on that, and he started off strong in this recruiting cycle.

Rice hit the jackpot when one time USC commitment Katin Reinhardt picked UNLV over a host of Pac-12 interest. Along with Reinhardt the Rebels have a strong shot blocking and interior presence in Demetrius Morant. Morant is an Arizona native who now attends Bishop Gorman High School in suburban Las Vegas. Add in a solid guard in Daquan Cook, and the Rebels have a three man class that is one of the best in the Mountain West, and one that should help them compete on the West Coast for years to come.

Archie Miller – Dayton

Miller boosted his recruiting by adding a pair of transfers in former LSU wing Matt Derenbecker as well as former Georgetown guard Vee Sanford. Along with those two additions, Miller has a pair of talented players coming in as true freshmen in 2012.

The most hyped of the two is Jevon Thomas. The point guard from New York City at onetime was committed to St. John's, and is a quick guard who can score and really knows how to pass. His toughness and speed with the ball should provide immediate dividends to the Flyers roster.

Also in-state products Jalen Robinson and Devon Scott are coming into the fold for the Flyers. Robinson scores very well with his back to the basket, and has a nice touch out to the mid-range. At one time he picked West Virginia, but after opening things up Robinson decided to stay closer to his Columbus, Ohio home and gave Miller a nice piece to work with on the inside. Scott was a Cincinnati commitment, and is an excellent rebounder and athlete who can be a productive interior prospect.


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