FanPost

Where Talent Lies

Jonathan Daniel

It’s fantastic that Myles Turner chose Texas. A buddy of mine sent me an email reminding me that I’d claimed Myles could be the difference between a Sweet 16 and a Final Four for Texas. I had to back-pedal a bit, because the truth is that A) I hope for Myles to have an impact like LaMarcus (22mpg, 10 points, 6 reb, 1.5 blocks), which isn’t enough to push us into the Final Four, and B) there are a LOT of teams with more talent, per recruiting rankings, than Texas.

For example, looking at the top 10 players each year from 2010-2014 according to 247 Sports, you have 32 already done with college (out of 50). Of the remaining 18, a ridiculous FIVE will be at Kentucky in 2014. Two will be at Arizona, Duke, Florida, and Kansas. So if top talent is key, we’re not a top 5/Final Four team (sorry).

Looking at the top 25 players each year from 2010-2014, you have 62 already done with college (out of 125). Of the remaining 63, an even more ridiculous NINE will be at Kentucky in 2014. Yup--nine out of 13 KY scholarships went to top 25 players. Five will be at Florida, four each at Arizona, Duke, and UNLV, three each at Kansas, UCLA, and UNC. Indiana, Syracuse, Texas (Ridley/Turner), and UConn have two each. So based on that talent snapshot, we’re top 10-12, and looking at a Sweet 16 type season.

Looking at the top 50 players each year from 2010-2014, you have 90 already done with college (out of 250). Of the remaining 160, 10 will be at Kentucky in 2014. Nine more will be at Duke. Seven will be at Florida. Six will be at Kansas, Syracuse, and UNC. Five will be at Arizona and UNLV. Four will be at Memphis, Ohio State, St. John’s, and UCLA. Three each will be at Arkansas, Georgetown, Louisville, Michigan, NC State, Oregon, and UCONN. Two each will be at Alabama, Georgia State, Gonzaga, Indiana, LSU, Marquette, Maryland, Miami, Missouri, Oklahoma State, San Diego State, Seton Hall, SMU, and Texas (Ridley/Turner), and USC. So based on that depth talent snapshot, we’re in the 20-34 range.

Looking at the top 75 players each year from 2010-2014, you have 109 already done with college (out of 375). Of the remaining 266, 10 will be at Duke and Kentucky in 2014. Nine more will be at UNC. Eight will be at Florida, Kansas, Louisville, and Ohio State. Seven will be at Arizona. Six will be at Georgetown, Indiana, Marquette, Maryland, NC State, Syracuse, and UCLA. Five will be at Memphis, Missouri, Oregon, St. John’s, and UNLV. Four will be at Alabama, Gonzaga, Illinois, LSU, St. John’s, Texas (Ridley/Turner/Holmes/Ibeh), and UCONN. Three each will be at Arkansas, Baylor, Florida State, Georgia State, Michigan, San Diego State, Stanford, Villanova, and West Virginia. So based on that depth talent snapshot, we’re in the 20-27 range.

Looking at the top 100 players each year from 2010-2014, you have 125 already done with college (out of 500). Of the remaining 375, 10 will be at Duke, Kentucky, and Louisville in 2014. Nine more will be at Georgetown, Kansas, Maryland, and UNC. Eight will be at Arizona, Florida, Marquette, Memphis, and Ohio State. Seven will be at Alabama, NC State, Syracuse, and Virginia. Six will be at Indiana, Missouri, Oregon, UCLA, and Villanova. Five will be at Gonzaga, Illinois, Pitt, San Diego State, St. John’s, Stanford, Texas (Ridley/Turner/Holmes/Ibeh/Felix), and UNLV. So based on that depth talent snapshot, we’re in the 22-29 range (without including UCONN, Michigan, Michigan State, and other schools with fewer top 100 players).

I did my best to update where players currently are, but there are a group of 14 whose 2014-15 location I couldn’t determine: Devonta Pollard, Danuel House, Jared Terrell, Solomon Poole, Zach Price, John Egbunu, J-Mychal Reese, Stevie Clark, D.J. Gardner, Naadir Tharpe, Ronnie Johnson, Jarion Henry, and Elijah Stewart. I also didn’t count players like Shaquille Cleare, who will not be eligible to play in 2014-15.

So based on recruiting rankings, and giving us a bit of credit for coaching and chemistry and development, we’re looking at a consistently top 25 season with potential for a good weekend in the tournament. Higher expectations are based upon...wishful thinking? We may very well be ranked higher than 20-25 throughout the season, in part because we’re Texas, in part because only Kansas should provide talent-level competition in the Big 12, and in part because Isaiah Taylor was stupid-underrated, particularly if he can improve his perimeter shooting in the offseason.

Top 25 consistency and pre-season hype are great for recruiting, and I’m extremely glad Turner chose Texas, but I’m going to try to enjoy watching the team progress without putting my unreasonable expectations on them. Hope you’ll join me at the Erwin Center while it exists.

Be excellent to each other.

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