Ten Takeaways: 2014 Edition

When the clock strikes Midnight tonight, we’ll all say goodbye to the 2014 calendar year and welcome 2015.

Thus, now seems an opportune occasion to send out the year with 10 brief thoughts to sum up the most salient hoops recruiting events. Here we go:

1. Jahlil Okafor is who we thought he was. Our No. 1 prospect from the Class of 2014 has lived up to billing at Duke and arguably is the most dominant force in college basketball. Enough said.

2. No clarity in, no clarity out. As the cycle turned over last spring and we shifted to the 2015 class, it was apparent to everyone that the senior crop lacked a dominant top dog. Here, on December 31, that remains the case. The ultimate order atop the class remains in play heading into the new year.

3. Kentucky remains the recruiting ringleader. Top classes come and go, but at present the Wildcats still wield the biggest stick on the grassroots trail. No change in 2014.

4. The junior class is loaded at the top. This also appeared true when we entered into 2014, but over the past 12 months opinions have congealed. Between the exploits of a now-healthy Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum (pictured above), Josh Jackson and others, it’s going to be a fun year as those guys all go head to head to shape the ultimate pecking order.

5. The Big 12 is hurting in recruiting while the SEC has designs on a turnaround. The SEC has been the nation’s whipping boy this season, but at least schools in that league have altered perception on the recruiting trail. In addition to Kentucky, Texas A&M, LSU, Auburn, Florida and others also have reeled in strong hauls. The Big 12, however, has struggled big-time, as even Kansas has yet to make an impact.

6. DeAndre Ayton is the most superior sophomore. While clarity may be lacking at the top among seniors and juniors, such is not the case in the Class of 2017.

Will 2015 present Ayton with a genuine rival?

Excellent prospects like Troy Brown and Michael Porter reside in that class, too, but at least for the moment Ayton enjoys clear No. 1 status.

7. Having only one spring live weekend was a bad thing. Unpublicized in the mainstream college basketball world, having just one open April weekend for college coaches handcuffed them immensely this year. Fewer evaluations then led to more scrambling in the summer, never a positive outcome for anyone. Thankfully, we return to two live April weekends in 2015.

8. Choice-us Interruptus. Though the overwhelming majority of seniors have signed, six of the top 10 are exiting 2014 still undecided. That means next spring will be wild, at least for a few weeks, as big names such as Jaylen Brown, Diamond Stone, Malik Newman and Ivan Rabb announce their winners.

9. Is Emmanuel Mudiay a fluke or a trailblazer? Our No. 2 senior from the 2014 class bypassed college in favor of China for big money, and presumably he will proceed into the NBA draft in the summer. Now, everyone awaits whether his move will produce a trend or simply become a one-off as with Brandon Jennings several years prior.

10. The dawn of a new age at Scout. We modernized our look this year and overhauled the forums, adapting to the various media readers use to absorb content. The new year will produce further creature comforts and redesigns, all in the name of a superior product.

Thanks for your continued support, and Happy New Year!

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