Sunday, August 1, 2010

2011 Consensus Recruiting Rankings

July is an important month for college basketball. The season may still be over three months away, but for two-thirds of July, coaches are allowed to be out on the road evaluating prospects. The people that run the summer basketball tournaments and camps know this, and thus schedule some of the biggest AAU Tournaments and most recognizable camps during those two 10 day live periods.

With the coaches allowed to watch, the country's best players will be traveling the country to try and get noticed. Along those same lines, the country's best talent evaluators and recruiting services are also out on the road, watching as many games and seeing as many elite prospects as possible. With that many people watching, a great July could earn a kid a scholarship, or bump a kid up from a mid-major recruit to a high-major recruit.

A good July can also make a huge difference in where that player gets ranked.

No surprises here: Gilchrist is No. 1.
(photo credit: SLAM)

Now, recruiting rankings can be a touchy subject. Some believe that the players value their ranking too much. Some believe that the ranking of player is one of the big reasons that summer basketball has devolved into me-first, pseudo-streetball that values individual performance and raw athleticism over team play and fundamentals. Others see recruiting rankings no different than Chad Ford's big board or NBA mock drafts.

One thing that everyone can agree on, however, is that the rankings are a huge draw on recruiting websites. The problem? Each site has their own rankings. Scout's Evan Daniels may think one player is on the brink of cracking the top 50, while Rivals' Eric Bossi may think that player isn't even deserving of a mention in the top 100.

So, in an effort to combat this problem, we at BIAH have compiled a Consensus Top 100. Its simple, really. We took the latest top 100 rankings from Rivals, Scout, and ESPN, threw them into a spreadsheet, and Voila! We have a consensus:

A couple of disclaimers and explanations:
  • The biggest issue that we ran into was with the kids that made one outlet's top 100, but didn't make the others. The goal is to manipulate the exact numbers, but with the variations between the three outlets, there were quite a few players that had at least one missing value. There are 127 players that got at least one top 100 ranking, so if we assume that these are the consensus top 127 recruits nationwide, then we can assume that anyone with a missing value is ranked somewhere between 101st and 127th. Since we don't have exact numbers, we said each missing value was 114, the average of 101 and 127.

  • There are going to be a couple of inaccuracies on these lists. For instance, Rivals has not updated their top 100 since July 1st, and it may have been longer for Scout (its not listed on the site). What this means is that the performances that guys like Anthony Davis or Chane Behanan had this month are not yet reflected in the rankings. It also means that Nino Williams, who is ranked 89th by Rivals but not in either ESPN's or Scout's top 100, is still on this list. Williams announced that he would be enrolling at Kansas State a year early with Dominique Sutton transferring out.

  • We realize that there are many, many recruiting sources out there, but we felt that these three were the most reliable. Apologies to all those we left out.
In addition to the mean ranking, we also determined the average deviation from the mean for each player. Not to be confused with standard deviation -- which really doesn't make all that much sense here considering how small the sample size is -- all we did was determine the difference between the three individual rankings and the mean rankings, taking an average of those three values.

What it show us is the difficulty is evaluating players. In general, we would expect the average deviation to get higher the lower a player is ranked. Everyone knows Mike Gilchrist is the No. 1 player in this class. Its not hard to determine who the top ten guys are. It gets more difficult to trim a list to the top 20, or the top 50, or the top 100. As the difference in skill level becomes smaller, the variance in the rankings will be higher. (Ed. Note: Near the bottom, the variance gets smaller again, but that is simply because of our decision to assign a value of 114 to any player not ranked on a given top 100 list.)

Take, for example, Duke-bound Marshall Plumlee. Plumlee has the highest deviation of anyone in the database. He barely cracks the Rivals rankings, checking in at 99th, but is in the top 40 for both Scout and ESPN. Based on our math, Plumlee is the 56th best prospect in the country, which probably means he won't be as good as Mason, but will be better than Miles.

Marshall Plumlee barely cracks Rivals top 100, but he is top 40 everywhere else and headed to Duke.
(photo credit: ESPN)

While Plumlee has the highest deviation, he is far from the strangest prospect in the rankings. Take Kevin Johnson, for example. Johnson, a 6'8" big man from California, is ranked 58th by ESPN, but he doesn't crack the top 100 for Rivals or Scout. Part of the reason is that Johnson has lost a lot of weight, according to ESPN who saw him as recently as April, but despite ranking Johnson as high as they do -- above kids like Tyler Harris, Deuce Bello, and Chane Behanan -- ESPN stil predicts he will end up in the Big West or WCC.

Johnson has the highest ranking for any player only on one list. Some other interesting results:
  • Jabarie Hinds -- 51st on ESPN, 56th on Scout -- isn't ranked in the top 100 by Rivals.
  • Tracy Abrams -- 46th on Rivals, 84th on Scout -- is the only player to crack a top 50 list while also being left off a top 100 list. He's also the lowest rated player on our list (76th) of anyone with a top 50 rankings.
  • At the other end of the spectrum we have Joseph Uchebo. The 71st rated recruit in our database, Uchebo has an incredibly low deviation. He's rated 73rd by Rivals, 77th by Scout, and 76th by ESPN. Right up there with him is Desmond Hubert, the 72nd rated recruit based on our findings. Hubert was ranked 75th by Rivals, 80th by Scout, and 78th by ESPN.
  • LaQuinton Ross -- 22nd on ESPN, 65th on Scout, 60th on Rivals -- is our lowest rated player with a top 25 ranking, checking in at 48th.
  • Chane Behanan -- 24th on Rivals, 29th on Scout, 73rd on ESPN -- has the lowest individual ranking of anyone that made a top 25 list.
  • DeAndre Daniels -- 10th on Rivals, 35th on Scout, 28th on ESPN -- is out lowest rated player (21st) with a top 10 ranking.
  • Ben McLemore -- 21st on Rivals, 38th on Scout, 9th on ESPN -- has the lowest individual ranking of anyone that made a top ten.
  • Rakeem Christmas -- 9th on Rivals, 9th on Scout, 8th on ESPN -- is the lowest rated consensus top ten player, coming in 8th in our database.
  • Brandan Dawsen -- 25th on Rivals, 24th on Scout, 14th on ESPN -- is our lowest rated consensus top 25 recruit in our database at 15th.
  • Norman Powell -- 48th on Rivals, 50th on Scout, 33rd on ESPN -- is the lowest rated consensus top 50 recruit at 43rd.
That's all I have for now. We will run these numbers again once Scout and Rivals update their rankings. If you run a recruiting website, or know of other reliable rankings, and would like to get them included, post a link in the comments or tweet me a link.


Webmaster Todd said...

I show the three you listed, plus maxprep's ranking on my site ( They are one of the few others that rank multiple sports, although I don't know when they were last updated as they don't list that either.

Anonymous said...

RSCIhoops has been doing this for over a decade, with a lot more than three data points