Related Video - The Top 10 Plays in Rounds 1 and 2
The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament is complete, and only 16 teams remain alive with a chance to win a national title. In that group of 16 there are blue blood programs like North Carolina, Kentucky Kansas and UCLA, traditional overachievers like Butler, and supremely talented squads like Arizona.
As any coach will tell you, recruiting is the lifeblood of any program, and here is a look at the recruiting rankings of the players who make up the rotations of the players in the Sweet 16.
This year there is no school like Oklahoma last year which didn’t feature a single top 100 player. Only Butler has less than 2 four or five-star players on their roster. The only Bulldog who was rated as a four-star prospect is fifth year senior Tyler Lewis.
Overall five of the 16 teams remaining have multiple five-star players in their rotation, they are Arizona, Florida, UCLA, North Carolina, and Kentucky. With that another three, Purdue, South Carolina, and Kansas, have one five-star in the rotation.
In terms of raw numbers, 121 players make up the rotations of the 16 teams alive. Not included are injured players such as Edmond Sumner of Xavier, Chris Boucher of Oregon, and John Egbunu of Florida who were key contributors and in the rotation, but unavailable in the NCAA Tournament.
Also not included is a kid like Kobi Simmons of Arizona who has fallen out of the rotation after having been involved in it for most of the year.
Of those 121 prospects, 22 were rated as five-stars, 39 as four-stars, and 43 as three-stars. 16 prospects were not evaluated and given a star ranking by Scout.com. Those are mostly junior college or European kids who weren’t really seen.
MOST RECRUITED TALENT
It should be of no surprise that Kentucky leads the way with five, five-star prospects on their roster. The Wildcats however aren’t all stars, three-star prospects Derek Willis and Dom Hawkins are key members of the Kentucky rotation.
Following Kentucky is North Carolina and UCLA with four five-star players a piece, while Arizona has a trio of five-star prospects.
Interestingly no rotation is made up entirely of four and five-star talent. North Carolina features three-stars Nate Britt and Luke Maye, while UCLA has Bryce Alford and Gyorgy Goloman. The Wildcats of Arizona have a three-star in Keanu Pinder and a non-evaluated prospect in Kadeem Allen.
Still those four programs, along with Florida who boasts a pair of five-star talents, really lead the way when it comes to recruited talent in the Sweet 16. It is likely also no surprise that those schools are considered among the favorites to cut down the nets in Phoenix.
LEAST RECRUITED TALENT
As noted the only school without multiple prospects viewed as four-star or better is Butler, which is almost made up entirely of upperclassmen who were viewed as three-star players.
Wisconsin has Brevin Pritzl and Bronson Koenig who were top 100 players. Guys such as Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ have exceeded expectations and made the Badgers into a very tough out in the tournament.
West Virginia has Ohio natives Esa Ahmad and Elijah Macon who were each top 100. However guys such as Nathan Adrian, Daxter Miles, and Jevon Carter were viewed as three-stars who have grown over time and made the most of their ability.
Finally there is South Carolina. The Gamecocks have one five-star in Perry Dozier, and then an extremely high four-star Sindarius Thornwell. Beyond that however there are several hidden gems such as Rakym Felder that have led the way for Frank Martin and his Gamecocks.
Last year 115 prospects made up the rotation of the Sweet 16 teams, and 15 of them were five-star prospects and 53 were four-star prospects.
Also last year seven teams featured a five-star prospect while only two had multiple five-star prospects.
Percentage wise this year 18 percent of the prospects are five-stars and 32 percent are four-stars. Last year it was 13 percent and 46 percent respectively.
Overall this year is a more five-star heavy group, but also more of the under the radar junior college and international prospects. As 16 players in rotations didn’t receive a Scout.com ranking this year while that number was only six last season.