Landing the top recruiting class is a good thing, right? Well, not always.


Kentucky has dominated the recruiting world dating all the way back to 2008. Since then they have been no more than the second best recruiting class year in and year out, claiming that title again for the 2020 class. Over the past 12 years both Kentucky and Duke have similarly gotten the number one spot, excluding 2019 when Penny Hardaway dethroned the blue bloods. But is having this good of a class a good thing? Over a span of the last twelve years, five teams did not make the tournament or did not make it past the 2nd round. Only two teams have went on to win the national title since ’08 as well. Here are some of my most “overrated” #1 recruiting classes since 2008.

2008-09 Kentucky Wildcats recruiting class

Class list

4 star- DeAndre Liggins

4 star- Darius Miller

3 star- Josh Harrellson

3 star- Kevin Galloway

3 star Donald Williams

That was Billy Gillispie’s last season coaching at Kentucky and they finished the season with a record of 22-14 (8-8) and they ended up not making the NCAA Tournament. They played in the NIT and and lost in the quarterfinals against Notre Dame. North Carolina won the tournament and had the 13th ranked recruiting class.

2009-10 Kentucky Wildcats recruiting class

Class list

5 star- John Wall

5 star- DeMarcus Cousins

5 star- Daniel Orton

4 star- Jon Hood

4 star- Eric Bledsoe

3 star- Darnell Dodson

This Kentucky team was pretty stacked, having what is now two starting point guards in the NBA. This was Calipari’s first year as the Kentucky head coach and had a dominant team to go to war with. The Wildcats ended the season with a record of 35-3 (14-2) and was number two in the AP top 25. Their dominant regular season run ended in the NCAA Tournament when they lost in the Elite Eight to the hands of West Virginia. It was a pretty disappointing end to a great year with an elite team. Duke went on to win that years title, which had the 20th ranked recruiting class heading into 2009.

2012-13 Kentucky Wildcats

Class list

5 star- Nerlens Noel

5 star- Alex Poythress

5 star- Archie Goodwin

4 star- Willie Cauley-Stein

John Calipari brought in another good class in 2012, a year after winning the national championship. They finished the year 21-12 (12-6) and not making the tournament. They played in the NIT once again but got booted in the first round. Louisville won the title and had the 79th ranked recruiting class going into the year.

2015-16 Kentucky Wildcats

Class list

5 star- Skal Labissiere

5 star- Jamal Murray

5 star Isaiah Briscoe

4 star- Issac Humphries

4 star- Charles Matthews

3 star- Mychal Mulder

Kentucky ended the year 27-9 (13-5), so it was a good year for them. Heading into the postseason as a two seed in the tournament and got knocked out in the second round by the Hoosiers. Jay Wright and Villanova won the tournament with the 29th ranked recruiting class.

2016-17 Duke Blue Devils

Class list

5 star- Harry Giles

5 star- Jayson Tatum

5 star- Frank Jackson

5 star- Marques Bolden

4 star- Javin DeLaurier

3 star- Jack White

Blue Bloods like Duke tend to get these types of classes seemingly every year, but like what has happened to Kentucky can happen to any other school as well. It ended up being Duke this time. They finished the regular season with an overall record of 28-9 (11-7). Coach K’s squad full of 5 stars went into March madness and lost in the round of 32 against their border state, South Carolina. North Carolina won the championship against Villanova with the 14th ranked recruiting class.

2018-19 Duke Blue Devils

Class list

5 star- Zion Williamson

5 star- RJ Barrett

5 star- Cam Reddish

5 star- Tre Jones

4 star- Joey Baker

Looking at this list, it just screams elite. Zion was making highlight dunks in 8th grade and maybe even before then. The 2018 Duke class was probably one of the best we have seen, but it might have gotten shot down with Zion injuring his knee seconds into the rivalry game against North Carolina inside of Cameron Indoor. The elite squad finished the year 32-6 (14-4) and lost in the elite eight to Michigan St from a dagger three pointer from Kenny Goins. Getting to the elite eight shouldn’t be considered overrated, but they only escaped the second round and the sweet 16 by a combined 3 points. Virginia took down Texas Tech in a defensive battle to win it all. They had the 65th ranked recruiting class.

2019-20 Memphis Tigers

Class list

5 star- James Wiseman

5 star- Precious Achiuwa

4 star- Boogie Ellis

4 star- DJ Jeffries

4 star- Lester Quinones

4 star- Malcolm Dandridge

4 star- Damion Baugh

I was all aboard the hype train for Memphis coming into the season, and then it took a turn for the worst. James Wiseman was in a situation with the NCAA where Penny Hardaway helped the Wiseman family move when James was still in high school therefore it was a slippery slope after Wiseman left. Which caused Memphis to maybe not even to make the tournament with the way the last half of the year went.

I am not hating on one and done players which some may think but I enjoy watching these kids play college basketball. I just think to sum it up so much talent should be able to get better results than some we see here. In college basketball in addition to one and done players you need some upperclassman and experience to be able to win in March and that is why it’s weird for me to get hyped about the number one recruiting class because in some form its overrated.


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