One of the most interesting parts of signing day is taking a look at how coaches do on the recruiting trail before they even coach a regular season game at their new school. Here is a look at how some of the new coaches have fared.
Coaches who have made an impact
Clearly one coach who has done as good a job as reasonably could be expected is Ben Howland. The Mississippi State Bulldogs have brought in arguably their best class ever, and it could even get better.
By any measure this class has been the highest level success for Howland. He reeled in in-state four-star Tyson Carter along with fellow four-stars Eli Wright, Lamar Peters, and Schnider Herard. Those four make up what is now a top five class that is likely to get even better with Mario Kegler coming on board, and possibly De’Ron Davis as well as Abdul Ado.
While he might not fit in the category of a true “new coach”, Butler’s Chris Holtmann is working on his first true recruiting class. Holtmann wasn’t named permanent head coach until the middle of the season, and he has hit the ground running since then.
Butler snagged local four-star center Joey Brunk, and then dipped into Georgia for highly regarded three-star Kamar Baldwin. Beyond that Holtmann and his staff nabbed three-star combo guard Howard Washington and athletic wing Henry Baddley. This four man class is a great start for Holtmann and helps add depth and some star power to the Bulldogs lineup.
Another coach who made an impact was Avery Johnson at Alabama. Using his NBA ties and ties to the state of Texas, Johnson landed five-star wing Terrance Ferguson who was considered a lock to Kansas for a while. As if that wasn’t enough he also swooped in and got four-star Tennessee native Braxton Key. This has the makings of a great class for the Crimson Tide.
Finally there is Bobby Hurley at Arizona State. The Sun Devils have two four-star prospects in the fold with Jethro Tshisumpa and Sam Cunliffe. Cunliffe is a solid athlete who can really shoot, while Tshisumpa is a dominant shot blocking center. Both of them are building blocks for Hurley in Tempe.
Coaches with work left to do
While Shaka Smart has brought in a solid class by any standard at Texas with top 50 prospect James Banks and big time scoring guard Jacob Young, there is one big fish out there for the Longhorns.
After missing on in-state prospects like De’Aaron Fox and Marques Bolden, all the attention turned to local target Jarrett Allen. The Longhorns are right in the mix for Allen, and likely Smart will be judged by if he can land the top 20 big man or not. If he does this class moves into the top 10 range, and he has the dominant shot blocker he craves at the back end of his pressure defense.
With all the new openings and competition within the SEC, people always wondered what Florida would be like post Billy Donovan. So far Mike White is still adjusting to the complex recruiting grounds of the South.
The Gators only have two pledges, neither of which are in the top 100. White and his staff are clearly working hard to find talented players who fit in. At this point though there are still talented players left on the board, but Florida is working to land its first four-star recruit.
Another job that was closely monitored in the off season was Iowa State. Fred Hoiberg built the program through transfers, but that doesn’t appear to be the priority for Steve Prohm.
Prohm and his staff needed to bring in a lot of numbers in this class, and so far they have four prospects committed. Two junior college players as well as three-star wing Jakolby Long and three-star power forward Solomon Young.
Given that the Cyclones are definitely losing Jameel McKay and Georges Niang along with the probable departure of Monte Morris this has been a key class for Iowa State, and there is work left to be done to keep the cupboard stocked.