Even though they will be moving into the Big East, the Memphis Tigers are currently in Conference USA so they fit in this category, and they clearly brought in an elite class. Josh Pastner and his coaching staff hit the recruiting trail hard and now a top five class is coming their way.
Leading the way for Memphis is a hometown kid in Nick King. King is a five-star prospect and one of the better forwards in the country. He is an excellent athlete, can score going to the rim, and has really improved on his jump shot over the past year. His commitment was an enormous pickup for the Tigers, and instantly he should be a major contributor.
While King leads the way in the class Austin Nichols, Kuran Iverson, and Rashawn Powell give the Tigers three four-star commitments to help round out a very impressive class along with three-star Markel Crawford.
Iverson is an elite athlete with uber potential, and he has shown signs recently of putting it all together at the forward spot. Powell is a scoring point guard who can really get going from deep, Nichols is a skilled post player who can score down low or from the mid-range, and then Crawford is the type of lockdown defender every team needs.
Overall this is one of the best classes in the country because it has star power and depth. Pastner and company are recruiting at an elite level, and this class could pace the Tigers to several long runs in March.
Look no further than BYU, SMU, and San Diego State for some other winners in non power conferences. All three did an excellent job on the recruiting trail this year and will bring in some impact players for the upcoming year.
BYU specifically did a great job. Their duo of Eric Mika and Nick Emery can match nearly any one-two punch outside of the SEC. Mika is a tough as nails interior dude who can score and is not afraid to mix it up and rebound. Emery is a scrappy guard who is one of the elite shooters in the country. When Emery has it going he is as tough to stop as any guard around. Despite not being an elite athlete he just knows how to get things done.
Like with Memphis, SMU is on the move to the Big East, and they will do it with a four-star recruit in Sterling Brown. Brown is one of the more well rounded prospects in the country. He is very smart, rebounds, makes shots, and just impacts the game in a ton of ways. Also power forward Ben Moore oozes potential and junior college post Yanick Moreira is supposed to be one of the elite talents at the level.
Finally maybe no school brought in a tougher and more impressive defender than San Diego State with Dakarai Allen. Allen has locked down the best wings the West Coast has to offer for years, and is beginning to develop some offensive game. Also D’Erryl Williams is a good athlete who can really run a team, and should have the Aztecs as one of the best offenses in the West.
How the Non BCS school stack up?
After a very good recruiting year for non power conference schools last year, this one was a little bit down. A few schools did a very good job, but it doesn’t quite have the same star power coming outside of Memphis.
|Top Non-BCS Prospects|
|Top Prospect:||Nick King, Memphis|
|Best Scorer:||RaShawn Powell, Memphis|
|Best Passer:||Dayshon Smith, Dayton|
|Best Shot Blocker:|| Christian Wood, UNLV |
|Best Floor General:|| Dayshon Smith, Dayton|
|Best Post Player:|| Austin Nichols, Memphis|
|Best Shooter:||Nick Emery, BYU|
|Best Rebounder:|| Eric Mika, BYU|
|Best Athlete:||Dakarai Allen, San Diego State|
Still even with Memphis and SMU moving into a BCS conference in the near future, look for the basketball outside of the power six to remain strong. The Atlantic 10 has brought in a lot of talent and then the Mountain West and West Coast Conference schools are also following suit. March Madness isn't the same without these schools and it looks like they will be around for a long time to come.