After a couple weeks off for the holidays, the Basketball Recruiting Roundup returns this week as we continue our 10-part series breaking down the nation's Top 10 hoop recruiting classes.
In the previous weeks, we tackled No. 1 Kansas, No. 2 Duke and No. 3 North Carolina. Now it's time to move on to No. 4:
4. Oklahoma State
In recent years, the rising level of high school hoop talent in the state of Texas has led to some stellar recruiting classes for the University of Texas.
But this year, fueled by the momentum from last season's Final Four run, Oklahoma State crossed the border and stole some of the Lone Star State's best talent for itself.
The Cowboys signed four Top 100 recruits this fall, all of whom hail from Texas: Gulf Shores Academy (Texas) small forward Gerald Green, Lincoln (Texas) point guard Byron Eaton, South Garland (Texas) shooting guard Terrel Harris and DeSoto (Texas) small forward Roderick Flemings.
And the result is that Oklahoma State — not Texas — landed a top-five recruiting class this year.
The key to the Cowboys' class is without a doubt Green, a 6-foot-8, 200-pound swingman who is rated the No. 11 recruit in the Class of 2005 by SchoolSports.com.
Green, who averaged 29 points and 13 rebounds per game last season, blew up this summer on the AAU and camp circuit, proving he is most definitely among the nation's elite ballers. Exceptionally quick and athletic, Green is also an excellent shooter who can create his own shot and finish in traffic.
He has the talent to be an instant impact player at Oklahoma State, but the fear for the Cowboys is that his stock has risen so high in the past year that NBA scouts now have him firmly on their radar. There are some who even believe he's the best straight-to-NBA prospect in this year's senior class.
"Right now, I'm leaning toward going to OSU," Green recently told SchoolSports magazine. "I really want to develop. I think I could contribute right away there, but we'll have to see how much more hard work helps me."
Eaton, a 5-foot-10, 200-pound floor leader, may not be tall, but he's strong as a bull. Also a quarterback on the gridiron, he's rated the nation's No. 30 hoop recruit by SchoolSports.com.
Because of his combination of quickness and strength, he can not only get into the lane, but also finish better than most point guards. He averaged 22 points and seven assists per game as a junior and is equally adept as a scorer or passer.
Eaton is also the type of playmaker who makes everyone around him better. And his competitiveness should allow him to not be overwhelmed at the collegiate level as a freshman.
Harris, a 6-foot-4, 175-pound shooting guard, is a phenomenal athlete who is rated the No. 57 recruit in the Class of 2005 by SchoolSports.com.
Much like former Oklahoma State star and current Boston Celtics rookie Tony Allen, Harris is a prototypical slasher with a quick first step who explodes to the hoop and scores many of his points in traffic.
Strong for his size, he exploits defenders with his strength and athleticism but needs to work on his outside shot. Harris, who can also play the point in a pinch but is a natural two-guard, averaged 15 points and eight rebounds per game as a junior.
The final Top 100 recruit for the Cowboys is Flemings, a 6-foot-6, 210-pound swingman who is rated the nation's No. 74 recruit by SchoolSports.com.
Flemings, who averaged 14 points and 10 rebounds per game as a junior, is an offensive powerhouse who uses his athleticism to score. Also a good defender, he's consistent from beyond the arc and quick enough to beat defenders off the dribble and finish above the rim.
In addition to those four perimeter players, Oklahoma State also signed one of the nation's top big men in Richwood (La.) center Kenneth Cooper. A 6-foot-10, 230-pounder, Cooper is rated the No. 22 center in the Class of 2005 by SchoolSports.com.
Of course, the key will be Green. If he decides to head to college instead of the NBA, Oklahoma State will have a phenomenal recruiting class that should keep the Cowboys among the nation's elite for the foreseeable future.
Check back next week for our breakdown of the No. 5 recruiting class from Washington.