A prototypical point guard for the NBA, Mudiay should shine as one of the country's best freshmen next season in what's likely to be his only year in college. He'll bring a needed dose of stardom to a conference that flagged this year overall on the recruiting trail.
7. East Carolina
9. Tulane State
11. South Florida
Rarely will a one-player class propel a program to the top spot in its conference recruiting rankings, but that's exactly what transpired at SMU. The gap between Mudiay and everyone else is so wide that Brown's troops could compete with league powerhouses from day one.
Connecticut also reeled in a solid haul. The Huskies' signature recruit is slinky, confident wing scorer — and No. 18 senior — Daniel Hamilton. Between the retirement of legendary coach Jim Calhoun and the demise of the Big East, Kevin Ollie certainly hasn't had it easy in Storrs.
And that's why Hamilton looms so critically. The California product will bring immediate offensive gravitas to the lineup and could emerge as a key scorer as early as next season.
Meanwhile, we also like Cincinnati's class despite the absence of a ranked player. The Bearcats landed two guys who just missed — strong big man Quadri Moore and versatile forward Gary Clark — along with talented juco Coreontae DeBerry.
Mudiay, all the way. Hamilton will play a key role for UConn as well, but within and outside the conference, Mudiay will attract numerous eyeballs. SMU also enjoys the presence of a Hall of Fame coach on the sidelines, and the Mustangs will receive significantly more exposure than most of their AAC peers.
How did the AAC stack up?
|Top AAC Prospects|
|Top Prospect:||Emmanuel Mudiay, SMU|
|Best Scorer:||Emmanuel Mudiay, SMU|
|Best Passer:||Emmanuel Mudiay, SMU|
|Best Shot Blocker:||Obi Enechionyia, Temple|
|Best Floor General:||Keith Pinckney, Tulane|
|Best Post Player:||Quadri Moore, Cincinnati|
|Best Athlete:||Emmanuel Mudiay, SMU|
|Best Rebounder:||Obi Enechionyia, Temple|
|Best Shooter:||Troy Holston, South Florida|
Honestly, not too well. The new conference simply didn't attract enough top talent, and conceivably — depending upon Mudiay and Hamilton's NBA timelines — the conference could be devoid of any top-100 players from this class by 2015-16.
Examining the big picture, the AAC's upper echelon will need to carry the less heralded programs until they cement themselves at the major conference level. Schools such as East Carolina and Tulane aren't accustomed to recruiting to the big leagues, so a bumpy transition period should be expected.