SEC Basketball - 2010 Recruiting Rankings

Rod Odom is Vanderbilt's highest ranked recruit for 2010 - will he make an immediate impact next year playing behind Jeffery Taylor, Andre Walker, and Lance Goulbourne?

The signing deadline has come and gone for incoming players for the 2010-2011 college basketball season, and with the exception of a few players we have a solid idea of who will be playing in the SEC next year. Today, John Calipari tweeted his intentions to remain at Kentucky next year - which is as good as an indicator as we'll get in the near future to speculate on whether or not his recruits will make it to UK in 2010. With that, it seemed like as good a time as any (in the spring, at least) to review the 2010 recruiting classes. SEC teams are represented across the national recruit rankings, with highly touted players flocking to teams that made up the upper tier of the league standings last season. Kentucky and Tennessee are making headlines, but teams like Vanderbilt, Florida, and Mississippi are keeping the league highly ranked with an eye towards bringing the SEC up to elite standards.

Even teams coming off rough 2009-2010 seasons can turn to some heralded high school seniors to provide an instant boost. LSU, South Carolina, and even Auburn all boast Top 100 recruits this year. While some players - notably Brandon Knight and his missing letter of intent - can still jump ship, here are the 2010 recruit rankings for the Southeastern Conference. For simplicity, only recruits reported as signed across both ESPN and Rivals databases were included in this analysis. Recorded are each player's rankings, as well as a quick analysis as to whether or not they'll be able to have an instant impact on the court with their new teams:

Tier One - Highly rated prospects filling positions of need.
Player ESPN Rank/Grade Rivals Rank/Stars Posi. Rank (ESPN/Rivals) Instant Impact?
1) Kentucky Brandon Knight #4/97 #6/***** PG#2/PG#3 Yes
Enes Kanter #25/95 #3/***** C#3/PF#1 Yes
Doron Lamb #29/95 #21/***** SG#6/SG#3 Yes
Stacey Poole #51/94 #33/**** SG#16/SF#4 Likely
Analysis: Calapari hit another recruiting home run, and brings in three recruits who can step in an immediately fill the voids left by John Wall, Demarcus Cousins/Patrick Patterson, and Eric Bledsoe. Of course, if Coach Cal does leave, then UK may have some decommitments to deal with.
2) Tennessee Tobias Harris #6/97 #7/***** PF#2/PF#2 Yes
Jordan McRae #38/95 #47/**** SG#10/SG#9 Yes
Trae Golden ##/92 #63/**** SG#37/SG#13 Possibly
Analysis: Harris will have a chance to step in after the losses of Wayne Chism and Tyler Smith. McRae also is in line for instant minutes with the graduations of Bobby Maze and J.P. Prince. Both players were big time signings for the Vols.

Tier One represents what will likely be a pair of Top 20 national recruiting classes from the SEC. Kentucky and Tennessee solidified their status as the league's elite with excellent recruiting classes.

Tier Two - Strong classes in concentrated rebuilding/reloading efforts
Player ESPN Rank/Grade Rivals Rank/Stars Pos. Rank (ESPN/Rivals) Instant Impact?
3) Florida Patric Young #13/96 #27/***** PF#6/C#5 Yes
Casey Prather #35/95 #71/**** SF#8/SF#15 Possibly
Cody Larson ##/92 ##/*** PF#29/## Possibly
Will Yeguete ##/84 ##/*** PF#144/## Unlikely
Analysis: Florida only needs to replace Dan Werner, but the addition of some tough frontcourt help in Young and Larson will add strength where Alex Tyus and Vernon Macklin were inconsistent. Whether or not Prather and Yeguete will see significant minutes is up in the air, as the Gators are packed with 3/4 forwards in 2010.
4) South Carolina Damontre Harris #68/94 #64/**** C#6/PF#15 Yes
R.J. Slawson #84/94 #117/*** PF#20/PF#24 Yes
Bruce Ellington ##/93 #96/**** PG#21/PG#24 Yes
Brian Richardson ##/88 ##/*** SG#76/## Possibly
Eric Smith ##/88 ##/*** PG#56/## Possibly
Carlton Geathers ##/86 ##/*** C#61/## Possibly
Analysis: A big scoring void opens with the graduation of Devan Downey, and Bruce Ellington is a lightning-quick 5'10" guard in the same mold who could immediately fill that role. Harris is a lean big man that can give the Gamecocks an inside presence that they've lacked recently. South Carolina's big class has plenty of holes to fill for a team that has lost their best two players and had notably weak depth behind them.
5) LSU Ralston Turner #70/94 #142/*** SG#22/SF#28 Yes
Andre Stringer #72/94 #107/*** PG#13/PG#27 Possibly
Matt Derenbecker #88/94 #77/**** SF#18/SF#16 Yes
K.C. Ross-Miller ##/90 #147/*** PG#38/PG#37 Unlikely
Jalen Courtney ##/90 ##/*** PF#50/## Possibly
Analysis: The cavalry arrives after an awful 2009-2010 season. LSU is so excited about their recruits that they've already added them to their online roster. On a team starved for talent, four Top 150 Recruits will get several opportunities to step up in the Bayou - although the point guards will have to wait out Bo Spencer's senior year first. However, where are the big men?

Florida, South Carolina, and particularly LSU all had difficult 2010 seasons, but addressed positions of need in luring in top recruits this spring. Florida, in particular, looks to be a tough opponent after only losing one player and adding several athletic recruits.

Tier Three - No guarantees, but solid pick-ups that will press for rotation minutes even if they don't fit specific needs.
Player ESPN Rank/Grade Rivals Rank/Stars Posi. Rank (ESPN/Rivals) Instant Impact?
6) Vanderbilt Rod Odom #66/94 #92/**** SF#14/SF#18 Possibly
Kyle Fuller ##/91 #133/*** PG#34/PG#32 Yes
James Siakam ##/88 #150/*** PF#78/PF#30 Possibly
Josh Henderson ##/90 ##/*** C#19/## Yes
Analysis: The 'Dores bring in four solid recruits, but failed to address some of the backcourt depth issues that will affect them in 2010-2011. Henderson brings height in A.J. Ogilvy's absence, but Siakam and Odom fall in at the back of a long line of Vanderbilt combo forwards. Fuller, a bullish point guard from California, should get backup minutes right away and even challenge Brad Tinsley for a starting role.
7) Alabama Trevor Releford #52/94 #90/**** PG#10/PG#23 Yes
Charles Hankerson ##/92 #99/**** SG#39/SG#38 Yes
Jason Carter ##/90 #138/*** PF#54/PF#20 Possibly
Kendall Durant ##/ ##/*** ##/## Possibly
Analysis: Reports on Releford vary, but he'll push Senario Hillman for the starting PG spot right away thanks to his athleticism. Hankerson will also have the opportunity to steal some minutes in 'Bama's rebuilt backcourt, since someone is going to have to score with Mikhail Torrance graduating. Carter will be playing behind JaMychal Green for the next two years.
8) Auburn Luke Cothron #55/94 #45/**** PF#13/PF#11 Yes
Shawn Kemp, Jr. ##/87 ##/**** ##/C#14 Possibly
Allen Payne ##/88 ##/*** SF#58/## Possibly
Josh Langford ##/88 ##/*** SF#59/## Possibly
Heath Houston ##/83 ##/ PF#160/## Unlikely
Adrian Forbes ##/ ##/ ##/## Unlikely
Analysis: Auburn snagged Cothron, their biggest recruit since Korvotney Barber, as well as one of Shawn Kemp's sons in an effort to dig the Tigers out of the bottom half of the SEC in the near future. Auburn lost four starters to graduation this year, and it stands to reason that all four highly ranked recruits could find rotation minutes almost immediately in Alabama. The class is possibly the Tigers' best in a decade.
9) Mississippi Demarco Cox #86/94 #83/**** PF#22/C#9 Possibly
Dundrecous Nelson ##/93 #89/**** PG#23/PG#22 Yes
Analysis: A short and sweet recruit list - two four star players. Cox is widebodied big man with decent speed but limited range, while Nelson is a nice rotation piece to help soften the blow of losing Terrico White and Eniel Polynice. Both should help add some ammunition to a team that returns most of their their players in 2010, including Chris Warren.
10) Arkansas Rickey Scott ##/89 #81/**** SG#61/SG#20 Possibly
Mardracus Wade ##/89 #110/*** SG#65/SG#30 Possibly
Marvell Waithe ##/ ##/*** ##/## Unlikely
Analysis: The Razorbacks needed a point guard to spell the departing and oft-suspended Courtney Fortson, and a true big man to replace Michael Washington, but came away with three swingmen instead. Scott and Wade seem to be nice players, but they'll have to outplay some of Arkansas's returning bench players to stake a claim at a rotation spot. Thanks to his size, Scott seems like the more likely of the two to see immediate minutes.

Vanderbilt heads up the third tier despite three Top 150 recruits, partially in part to their inability to find additional backcourt help. Auburn, despite having one of their best recruiting classes in years, still falls in eighth in the SEC pecking order.

Tier Four - Tough sells, but these could be diamonds in the rough, but they don't address current roster problems.
Player ESPN Rank/Grade Rivals Rank/Stars Pos. Rank (ESPN/Rivals) Instant Impact?
11) Georgia Cady Lalanne ##/90 ##/*** PF#45/## Possibly
Donte Williams ##/88 ##/*** C#43/## Possibly
Sherrard Brantley ##/ ##/ ##/## Unlikely
Analysis: Georgia made strides under Mark Fox, but it may take a while for his recruiting to catch up with the transformations he's made for the Bulldogs on the court. Fortunately, the Bulldogs' two best players are only going to be juniors this year, and they'll have plenty of opportunities to lure their potential successors to Athens in 2010-2011.
12) Mississippi St. Jalen Steele ##/87 ##/*** SG#87/## Yes
Brian Bryant ##/ ##/ ##/## Possibly
Analysis: Not much to crow about for the other Bulldogs, as Dee Bost unexpectedly left for the draft and Jarvis Varnado graduated. MSU looks to be understaffed next season - maybe the recruits have heard about how obnoxious Rick Stansbury's wife is.

Georgia and Mississippi State round out the rankings, and while Georgia still has the returning players to absorb a weak freshman class, Mississippi State will have to deal with the loss of three of their top four scorers and what seems to be little help on the way. It seems unlikely that their 2010 recruits will be able to fill the voids left due to graduation and early entry to the NBA Draft.

The SEC had a solid recruiting period that will bring a new generation of great players into the league. It will be especially interesting to see which team jumps into the league's top tier based on the play of their newcomers. While these rankings will have a limited impact on the pecking order of the Southeastern Conference next year, the addition of a few dynamic players will likely prove to be the difference between the NCAA and NIT Tournaments for a couple teams next March.

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