One of college basketball’s youngest head coaches has pulled together the nation’s top recruiting class.
Josh Pastner, just 32 years old, will bring five players in MaxPreps.com’s Class of 2010 Top 100 to the University of Memphis next fall, including elite guards Will Barton and Joe Jackson.
As the late signing period begins, the Tigers’ hold on the top spot could be tenuous as Pastner’s former boss – John Calipari of Kentucky – officially jumpstarted his annual spring recruiting surge Wednesday with the addition of Florida phenom Brandon Knight.
Calipari and the Wildcats are also in the mix for top 25 talents Terrence Jones, Josh Selby and Doron Lamb.
Without anticipating what could occur in the coming weeks, here is a look at college basketball’s top 25 recruiting classes.
Top 100: No. 10 Will Barton, No. 11 Joe Jackson, No. 31 Jelan Kendrick, No. 59 Tarik Black, No. 64 Chris Crawford
Supporting Cast: Antonio Barton, Hippolyte Tsafack
Analysis: Head coach Josh Pastner could make Memphis a bully again in Conference USA after landing an embarrassment of riches in the backcourt. Keeping this many talented guards happy could be a challenge.
2. Ohio State
Top 100: No. 2 Jared Sullinger, No. 12 Deshaun Thomas, No. 51 Jordan Sibert, No. 84 Aaron Craft
Supporting Cast: Lenzelle Smith, J.D. Weatherspoon
Analysis: Even without Naismith Player of the Year Evan Turner, Thad Matta’s recruiting efforts have Ohio State fans thinking Final Four. Sullinger will be a double-double machine.
3. North Carolina
Top 100: No. 1 Harrison Barnes, No. 4 Reggie Bullock, No. 46 Kendall Marshall
Supporting Cast: None
Analysis: Barnes alone should make the Tar Heels a contender again in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Landing two of the top four players in America is helping ease the pain of a disappointing 2009-10 season in Chapel Hill.
Top 100: No. 3 Brandon Knight, No. 73 Stacey Poole Jr..
Supporting Cast: Enes Kanter
Analysis: It’s still early in the game for John Calipari. The Wildcats could land two or three other players ranked among the top 25 players in the country. Turkish import Kanter dazzled in last weekend's Nike Hoop Summit, but based on recent published reports could be a longshot to get cleared by the NCAA.
5. Michigan State
Top 100: No. 22 Keith Appling, No. 27 Adreian Payne, No. 68 Alex Gauna
Supporting Cast: Russell Byrd
Analysis: Tom Izzo has the luxury of bringing this group along slowly as the Spartans don’t need much help next year. Payne, a 6-foot-10 human flyswatter, and Gauna will eventually help Michigan State continue its dominance in the paint.
No. 15 Fabricio de Melo
, No. 25 Dion WaitersSupporting Cast:
C.J. Fair, Baye Moussa KeitaAnalysis:
Brazilian 7-footer de Melo headlines Jim Boeheim’s incoming quartet, but patience will be needed to see the fruits of this recruiting effort. Fair is on the rebound from a serious knee injury that cost him his junior season.
Top 100: No. 8 Kyrie Irving, No. 38 Joshua Hairston
Supporting Cast: Carrick Felix (Southern Idaho College), Tyler Thornton
Analysis: Irving could step in at the point guard position immediately for Mike Krzyzewski’s national champions. Hairston and Thornton teamed up to win an AAU age group national title with DC Assault.
Top 100: No. 5 Tobias Harris, No. 24 Trae Golden
Supporting Cast: Jordan McRae
Analysis: Harris is the star Bruce Pearl needed to go alongside Scotty Hopson. Golden heads to Knoxville fresh off an All-American senior year at Georgia’s McEachern High School.
9. Wake Forest
Top 100: No. 34 Tony Chennault, No. 50 J.T. Terrell, No. 93 Carson Desrosiers
Supporting Cast: Travis McKie, Melvin Tabb
Analysis: It’s up in the air whether Wake Forest holds on to this class as the program transitions from Dino Gaudio to Jeff Bzdelik.
Top 100: No. 17 Tony Mitchell, No. 63 Phil Pressey
Supporting Cast: Kadeem Green, Ricky Kreklow, Matt Pressey (Navarro Junior College), Ricardo Ratliffe (Central Florida Community College)
Analysis: Mitchell and junior college transfer Ratliffe are perfect frontcourt players in Mike Anderson’s system. Pressey will be an all-conference-caliber point guard by the time he leaves Mizzou.
Top 100: No. 39 Terone Johnson, No. 71 Travis Carroll, No. 79 Donnie Hale
Supporting Cast: Anthony Johnson
Analysis: If Matt Painter continues to recruit Indiana like he did this year, big things are ahead for the Boilermakers as the state is loaded with talent in the 2011 and 2012 classes. Terone Johnson is coming off a state championship run at Indianapolis’ North Central High School.
12. Oklahoma State
Top 100: No. 35 Markel Brown, No. 58 Michael Cobbins
Supporting Cast: J.P. Olukemi (Vincennes College), Darrell Williams (Midland College), Brian Williams
Analysis: Brown is coming off a huge senior season in Louisiana and will be part of the replacement plan for James Anderson. Travis Ford scored a major coup in landing Cobbins over Georgia Tech, Memphis and Missouri among others.
13. Florida State
Top 100: No. 41 Okaro White, No. 48 Ian Miller
Supporting Cast: Bernard James (Tallahassee Community College)
Analysis: White and Miller are outstanding high school prospects, but James – a 27-year-old former Air Force sergeant – is the big story and could be an immediate difference-maker.
Top 100: No. 43 Vander Blue, No. 89 Jamail Jones
Supporting Cast: Jae Crowder (Howard College), D.J. Newbill, Reggie Smith
Analysis: Blue and junior college player of the year Crowder have the ability to become standouts in the talent-rich Big East.
Top 100: No. 44 Roscoe Smith, No. 75 Jeremy Lamb
Supporting Cast: Michael Bradley, Tyler Olander
Analysis: Jim Calhoun goes long, lean and skilled on the wings with Lamb and Smith.
Top 100: No. 54 Keylon ( K. T.) Harrell, No. 55 Will Regan
Supporting Cast: Billy Baron, Joe Harris, James Johnson, Akil Mitchell
Analysis: There’s no question about Tony Bennett’s ability to coach, so landing a recruiting class this good has to be encouraging for Cavalier fans in the wake of several player departures. Both Harrell and Regan were dominant in their home states of Alabama and New York, respectively, as seniors.
Top 100: No. 30 Allen Crabbe, No. 86 Gary Franklin
Supporting Cast: Alex Rossi, Richard Solomon
Analysis: With Jamal Boykin, Patrick Christopher, Jerome Randle and Theo Robertson moving on, Mike Montgomery needed an influx of talent and got it. Crabbe blossomed into one of California’s top players as a senior while Franklin was key for a 32-2 Mater Dei team.
18. Arizona State
Top 100: No. 52 Corey Hawkins, No. 62 Keala King
Supporting Cast: Jordan Bachynski, Chanse Creekmur, Brandon Duson (Wabash Valley College)
Analysis: Herb Sendek will continue to contend in the Pac-10 with recruiting efforts like this.
Top 100: No. 36 Bryce Jones, No. 82 Garrett Jackson, No. 98 Maurice Jones
Supporting Cast: Curtis Washington
Analysis: Kevin O’Neill deserves a lot of credit. During a tumultuous time for the Trojan program, the former Marquette, Tennessee, Northwestern and NBA head coach has an intriguing cast of athletes headed to campus.
Top 100: No. 45 Terrell Stoglin, No. 80 Mychal Parker
Supporting Cast: Pe’shon Howard, Haukur Palsson, Ashton Pankey
Analysis: Stoglin is an exciting guard who can puts points on the board. Palsson comes to College Park from Iceland via Florida’s Montverde Academy.
Top 100: No. 21 Jereme Richmond, No. 49 Meyers Leonard
Supporting Cast: Crandall Head
Analysis: Illini head coach Bruce Weber locked up all three in-state prospects early.
22. North Carolina State
Top 100: No. 23 Ryan Harrow
Supporting Cast: Lorenzo Brown (2009 signee spent the year at Hargrave Military Academy)
Analysis: Sidney Lowe has addressed the backcourt and is still in the mix for athletic forward C.J. Leslie.
Top 100: No. 26 Patric Young, No. 72 Casey Prather
Supporting Cast: None
Analysis: Young will be an immediate force in the paint for the Gators.
Top 100: None
Supporting Cast: Jesse Berry, Ralph Hill, Dean Oliver, Brandon Spearman, Juwan Staten
Analysis: No Top 100 selections, but the Flyers still score big coming off NIT championship.
Top 100: No. 33 Joshua Smith, No. 57 Tyler Lamb
Supporting Cast: Lazeric Jones (John Logan Community College)
Analysis: Smith and Lamb are major additions, but Ray McCallum electing to stay home and play for his father at Detroit Mercy really stings the Bruins as they are desperate for guards.
Five more incoming recruiting classes to watch: Baylor, Butler, Oklahoma, St. Joseph's, Villanova