Ten players who are better than you think
August, 5, 2011
By Mike LaPlante
I remember reading an interview with Louisville coach Rick Pitino over a decade ago where he said that with all the new recruiting restrictions in place there were no more great recruiters because you can't out work anyone anymore as everyone gets the same amount of phone calls, contacts and evaluations. But where you can separate yourself is by being a great evaluator. That observation still rings true today. For all, except the truly elite players that anyone could pick out, evaluating players for a college program is not an exact science. Evaluating talent is definitely in the eye of the beholder as programs choose players based on varied criteria. In a typical scenario of a four-man recruiting class two players end up being about what you thought they would be, one may be not as good as you hoped and one may be a little better than you had thought. But every once in a while, a college program strikes gold when a player they thought was a decent player turns into an impact player for the program (e.g. a player like No. 72 ranked Derrick Williams that Arizona was excited about, but ends up being a dominant player that led them deep into the NCAA Tournament and was selected No. 2 in the NBA Draft). Programs that excel in the evaluation process seem able to land "surprises" more often than others. Look at the success of teams from non-power conferences like Butler, Gonzaga and VCU and it is evident the impact that evaluating has on a program. Here is a list of 10 players from the 2012 class I think will end up having bigger impacts than most people think.