Examining the recruiting classes schools have assembled thus far in 2015, what's one school that stands to boost itself significantly based on these early returns?
In this instance we aren't referring to elite programs remaining elite; this is for those schools that actually will move upward due to their 2015 classes.
Josh Gershon: Normally, I would go with Washington, but Oregon State is the easy choice here. I don't care if two of the Beavers three Top 100 commitments — Tres Tinkle (pictured above) and Stephen Thompson, Jr. — have fathers on the Beavers' staff, the bottom line is that this is a program recruiting at an unprecedented level as far as recent history is concerned.
Tinkle and Thompson are ideal college four-years players; guys who should be key components to a winning team. Drew Eubanks is an athletic post with nothing but upside, which is the one word you would also use to sum up point guard commit Derrick Bruce. I could be the fifth player on the court along with those four and three years from now, Oregon State would still be playing its best basketball in a long time.
[Ed. Note: Not everyone on staff agrees with Gershon's self-assessment as the fifth starter.]
Brian Snow: I am going to go with Texas A&M. The Aggies have struggled to find their footing in recent years, but this class could go a long way to getting them back into the NCAA Tournament on a consistent basis. They have one of the top groups in the country, and are bringing in talent that hasn't been seen in a little while in College Station.
|Davis already possesses a college-ready body|
The biggest piece of the puzzle for A&M is five-star center Tyler Davis. Any time you have a go to scorer on the low post you have a major advantage in college basketball, and that is just what Davis is. Also, Davis is a kid who while ready to be a major factor from day one, will also likely stick around for a while. His presence and ability to score and rebound down low will give the Aggies a unique option not many teams have.
Along with Davis they have D.J. Hogg who can stretch the floor from the power forward spot or get things done on the wing as well. His shooting ability and feel for the game are very impressive, and he should help give Davis room to operate on the low block since teams won't be able to help off of Hogg.
Overall, to me this class is going to bring A&M near the top of the SEC standings, and that is somewhere they haven't been a lot recently.
Rob Harrington: It's been about a month since Auburn launched its commitment barrage and other news has taken the forefront, but I'm going with first-year coach Bruce Pearl's Tigers. This program hasn't just been suffering within the SEC; they finished with a losing overall record last season after compiling a 9-23 mark in 2012-13.
The Tigers have struggled big-time on defense, and thus luring a shotblocking center like Horace Spencer into the fold will be huge for the program's ability to become competitive. Danjel Purifoy is another four star talent and will bolster the forward positions as a position defender. Of course, late 2014 center addition Trayvon Reed — while not exactly pertinent to this question — looms as a factor as well.
Of course, Auburn needs offense, too, and both four star New Williams and touted juco wing T.J. Dunans should provide immediate perimeter burst. The SEC is an improving conference, becoming more competitive as Texas A&M, LSU and Vanderbilt are raising their respective talent levels as well. Along with those programs and others, and the Tigers should quickly make the league even more arduous for frontrunners Kentucky and Florida going forward.
Brian Snow, Josh Gershon and Rob Harrington contributed to this report