It may only be temporary, but for the first time in a long time the Kentucky Wildcats aren’t leading the way on the recruiting trail in the SEC. That honor goes to Mississippi State and new Head Coach Ben Howland.
Howland has brought a loaded class with him to Starkville. Four four-star prospects have already committed to the program led by big center Schnider Herard. Along with Herard, Howland has local star Tyson Carter, point guard Lamar Peters, and big time athlete Eli Wright coming.
All of those players could find their way into the starting lineup before too long, and they could have another reinforcement or two coming along with them.
The sky is the limit right now for Mississippi State with their recruiting, and while it will be hard to hold off the Wildcats, but for now Howland has the top class in the league.
As you would expect the Kentucky Wildcats and John Calipari aren’t exactly struggling. Kentucky has top 10 prospect Wenyen Gabriel already in the fold as well as top 50 power forward Sacha Killeya-Jones.
Those two are versatile forwards who have major upside. Gabriel especially has an elite ceiling with his size, athleticism, motor, and skill level. He was one of the fastest risers this spring, and could play his way firmly onto NBA radars before it is all said and done.
Along with Kentucky the Alabama Crimson Tide have made an impact on the recruiting trail.
New coach Avery Johnson has an impressive class headed by Terrance Ferguson. Ferguson is an elite shooter and an elite athlete with very good size on the wing. With so much focus on being able to make threes and play defense, Ferguson has major long term NBA potential.
Along with Ferguson is four-star do it all forward Braxton Key. Key can handle the ball like a guard and has the ability to play either small forward or power forward. His basketball IQ and skill level make him an intriguing player long term.
Who Will Help the Most as a Freshman
There are a lot of names to choose from here, but I think Mustapha Heron makes the biggest impact. Heron is a physically developed wing who will have no problem adjusting to the physicality of college basketball.
On top of that Heron will be headed to Auburn where there is a lot of playing time available on the wing. When you combine physical readiness with immediate playing time, there is a recipe for a big freshman season.
Also keep an eye on junior college prospect Jaylen Barford at Arkansas. The Razorbacks love physical and athletic guards, and Barford is just that. With playing time available, Barford should be a starter from day one.
Top to Bottom
Here is how the SEC stacks up from top to bottom
1). Mississippi State
5). Texas A&M
9). Ole Miss
14). South Carolina
How the league stacks up
This has been a banner year for the Southeastern Conference. Also known as a powerhouse in football recruiting, the league has picked things up in a big way this cycle on the recruiting trail.
Howland has brought in players as have the Alabama schools, and they combined with the annual top class coming to Lexington have things rolling in the league, and that doesn’t even count the excellent recruiting effort going on in College Station for Texas A&M.
Already the SEC has 11 top 100 commitments including three of them being five-stars. When Kentucky adds another stud or two, things are going to look extremely good for a conference that is definitely on the rise.