Evan Daniels, Josh Gershon, Brian Snow and Rob Harrington each chime on six questions:
1. Based only on freshman season, is there anyone who might outpace his ranking based on a very favorable situation at his chosen school?
ED: Trey Kell certainly is a guy who could fit into the category. He's currently No. 71 overall and is one of the better shooters in the 2014 class. He'll get plenty of opportunity and heading to San Diego State he should be one of the better players in the league. Chris Egi, who is ranked No. 64 overall, also has a favorable playing situation. He's headed to Harvard and there won't be many players in the Ivy League that can handle his size, strength and athleticism.
BS: For me that player is probably Quentin Snider. Snider is someone who isn't a five-star, but he picked a system that is extremely point guard friendly and he should get the ball from day one. Illinois is in desperate need of a floor general who can use ball screens and either distribute or shoot off of that screen and make plays, while keeping constant pressure on the defense. Snider clearly isn't the most physically gifted point guard, but he has great feel and just knows how to make plays. In a free flowing offense that will set him screens and not make him blow by defenders off the bounce, Snider is going to be one of the more productive freshmen in the country and should put up five-star production despite not being a five-star prospect.
RH: You wouldn't expect a freshman point guard outside the top 25 to step right in and command the show at an elite program, but Tyler Ulis may be that guy for Kentucky. The Wildcats inevitably will suffer a substantial talent drain next spring, and of course they'll bring in another elite group of reinforcements. What's different this time, though, is that big men Trey Lyles and Karl Towns lack creative shot-creation ability. Enter Ulis. He'll not only play big minutes and have an opportunity to call his own number, he'll be responsible for feeding the frontcourt. He could post solid scoring numbers and excel immediately as an assists-man.
JG: I'm scared of anyone that John Beilein signs outpacing their ranking because there are few coaches who maximize their talent the way he does. I have long been a big fan of D.J. Wilson as a prospect, although I was never positive he was a top 100 guy. Now that I know he's going to Michigan and is going to be coached so well, it puts even more pressure on us to make sure we got that eval right. It's hard to argue that any head coach in the country is doing a better job than evaluating right now than Beilein.
2. Are there any coaches on the hot seat who signed such a strong class that they may have strengthened their position?
BS: The easy answer here has to be Johnny Dawkins at Stanford. There has been talk that he is in an NCAA Tournament or bust situation this year, but with a top-15 class coming in it is tough to see how the Cardinal wouldn't keep Dawkins around for another year. With this class coming in, Stanford will have as much talent on their roster as any team in the Pac-12, and you would think that the higher ups at Stanford would consider that even if Dawkins falls short of the tournament this season.
RH: Johnny Dawkins, definitely. The Cardinal boss has faced intense media scrutiny during the past year, but the incoming class will bring so much power that he should receive an opportunity to coach them. This is a great class for Stanford and one that features enough talent and balance to pay off immediately on the court. Michael Humphrey and Reid Travis are ready to go out of the box, and Robert Cartwright ranks among the smartest and toughest floor generals in the class.
JG: What Johnny Dawkins is doing at Stanford is really impressive, given the fact that pressure is on him to make the NCAA tournament this season. Landing three top-100 prospects in Reid Travis, Robert Cartwright and Michael Humphrey was huge, while the Cardinal are also still involved with Thomas Welsh and Justise Winslow. Now, recruiting classes rarely play a role in an athletic director's decision on a coach, but you can't deny the talent that Dawkins has brought to Palo Alto and he's continued that at a high level in the 2014 class.
ED: I think the clear one is Johnny Dawkins. Heading into the season a lot of the college basketball pundits had him on the hot seat, but he's done a great job with his 2014 recruiting class. They currently have the No. 11 overall class with three top-100 prospects headed their way. All three of their commits — Robert Cartwright, Reid Travis & Michael Humphrey — will be able to help them immediately. Cartwright gives them poise, shot making ability and defense at the point guard position. Travis and Humphrey will give them an impressive post duo.
3. What was the most shocking decision of the recruiting cycle?
RH: I can't imagine anyone other than Kevon Looney being the answer to this question. No one claimed to know where he was going, but UCLA entered announcement day was a functional non-factor. The Looney recruitment also serves as a representative one for the senior class. These guys have exhibited a media awareness and public relations acumen previously unknown to high school athletes. His decision may have been the most shocking — James Blackmon choosing Indiana over Kentucky might win second place — but numerous prospects had everyone guessing up to the moment they announced.
JG: When Kevon Looney chose UCLA, I was flat-out shocked. The Bruins had a bumpy road to begin their 2014 class and going to Milwaukee to beat out some of the powers of college basketball — let alone local Wisconsin and his dad's alma mater, Tennessee — was a huge surprise. Looney is a guy who is going to come in and make a huge impact right away in Westwood and was a huge pickup for the UCLA staff.
ED: I think this one is clear. Kevon Looney's decision to go to UCLA was pretty unexpected. While it was clear UCLA was on his list and they were in the mix, I don't think heading into decision day that anyone gave them much of a shot. Give credit to UCLA, they stayed below the radar and were able to reel in a five-star prospect. Looney's recruitment was tough to figure out throughout, but most thought Tennessee and Florida had the momentum late. In hindsight, it was UCLA that had all the momentum.
BS: For me, this one is easy. There is no doubt in my mind it was Kevon Looney choosing UCLA. Now, Looney did find a way to keep things very close to the vest the entire time, but literally no one saw the Bruins landing Looney. Coming down the stretch most were pointing towards Tennessee and Florida, after Duke had seemed to be the leader in the spring. A late visit to UCLA was seen as nothing more than a courtesy vacation, and most figured the Bruins were running fifth or sixth in the race. However, we were all wrong, and the bottom line is Looney chose the Bruins and left me fairly speechless in the process.
Evan Daniels, Josh Gershon, Brian Snow and Rob Harrington contributed to this report