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Top 50 Recruits of the Decade: Cunningham Fits With Simmons, Kyrie, Zion

What are we in for when CC gets to Stillwater, USA?



Sometimes recruiting — not dissimilar to Chuba Hubbard’s rushing prowess — is difficult to properly contextualize. We talk about how guys were ranked a certain number in a certain class or their rating was .992828343 or whatever, and it all gets a little bit confusing as to what any of this actually means.

I think the best way to properly contextualize a player’s ranking coming out of high school is to put him in with other players who were rated similarly. So when we talk about Cade Cunningham, instead of saying he’s the No. 2 guy on the 247 composite rankings with a rating of .9996, let’s look at who’s around him. The type of talent we’re talking about here.

I pulled the top five of every recruiting class dating back to 2010 (the Dana Holgorsen era, for my football readers). Here they are ranked by rating first and then class second. Notes and thoughts at the bottom.

Class Player Rating Choice
2020 Evan Mobley 1.0000 USC
2018 RJ Barrett 1.0000 Duke
2013 Andrew Wiggins 1.0000 Kansas
2019 James Wiseman 0.9999 Memphis
2017 Marvin Bagley 0.9999 Duke
2016 Josh Jackson 0.9999 Kansas
2012 Nerlens Noel 0.9999 Kentucky
2011 Anthony Davis 0.9999 Kentucky
2010 Harrison Barnes 0.9999 UNC
2017 Michael Porter Jr. 0.9998 Mizzou
2015 Ben Simmons 0.9998 LSU
2015 Skal Labissiere 0.9998 Kentucky
2012 Shabazz Muhammad 0.9997 UCLA
2020 Cade Cunningham 0.9996 Oklahoma State
2016 Harry Giles 0.9996 Duke
2013 Julius Randle 0.9996 Kentucky
2014 Jahlil Okafor 0.9995 Duke
2014 Emmanuel Mudiay 0.9995 Pro
2011 Austin Rivers 0.9995 Duke
2019 Anthony Edwards 0.9994 Georgia
2020 Jalen Green 0.9993 ?
2019 Isaiah Stewart 0.9993 Washington
2018 Cam Reddish 0.9993 Duke
2017 Mo Bamba 0.9993 Texas
2020 Terrence Clarke 0.9992 Kentucky
2019 Cole Anthony 0.9992 UNC
2018 Nassir Little 0.9992 UNC
2017 Deandre Ayton 0.9992 Arizona
2015 Brandon Ingram 0.9992 Duke
2010 Kyrie Irving 0.9992 Duke
2013 Aaron Gordon 0.9990 Arizona
2012 Kyle Anderson 0.9990 UCLA
2012 Isaiah Austin 0.9990 Baylor
2011 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 0.9990 Kentucky
2010 Josh Selby 0.9990 Kansas
2010 Jared Sullinger 0.9990 Ohio State
2018 Bol Bol 0.9989 Oregon
2015 Jaylen Brown 0.9989 Cal
2014 Stanley Johnson 0.9989 Arizona
2013 Jabari Parker 0.9989 Duke
2016 Lonzo Ball 0.9988 UCLA
2014 Cliff Alexander 0.9988 Kansas
2016 Jayson Tatum 0.9987 Duke
2013 Andrew Harrison 0.9987 Kentucky
2018 Zion Williamson 0.9986 Duke
2016 Markelle Fultz 0.9986 Washington
2014 Karl-Anthony Towns 0.9986 Kentucky
2012 Steven Adams 0.9985 Pitt
2011 Bradley Beal 0.9985 Florida
2019 RJ Hampton 0.9984 Pro
2020 Ziaire Williams 0.9984 ?
2010 Brandon Knight 0.9983 Kentucky
2011 Quincy Miller 0.9982 Baylor
2017 Collin Sexton 0.9981 Alabama
2015 Cheick Diallo 0.9980 Kansas

• This list is LOL-worthy. Steven Adams, Bradley Beal, KAT, Zion and Jayson Tatum are all at the bottom of it. So when we talk about Cade, we’re talking about a guy who has — at least to this point in his career — surrounded himself with other guys who have gone on to become not just professional basketball players, but successful professional basketball players.

• How about Baylor getting Isaiah Austin and Quincy Miller in consecutive years? Here’s your count by school.

Duke: 11
Kentucky: 9
Kansas: 5
UNC: 3
Arizona: 3
Washington: 2
Baylor: 2
Pro: 2
Alabama, Cal, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Memphis, Mizzou, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Pitt, Texas, USC: 1

• The hit rate on this list is astonishing. It would take me hours to go through and count up all the NBA seasons or all-star appearances, but the percentages here are hilarious. Carson and I went through it a little last night on our pod. I would say a name and he would just say, “lottery pick, lottery pick, lottery pick, pro, lottery pick.” Actually, just going through this list off the top of my head, I think the only guys who didn’t play in the league are the 2018-2020 guys. I might be missing a guy or two, but man.

• Name guy. I’m a name guy. I realize it’s ridiculous, and it’s embarrassing to type on here, but names matter, and this list is full of great, elite names. Cade is near the top of that list. World-class name.

• This can obviously go poorly (Simmons, Ben), but the thing I keep going back to is how Boynton coached the pants off of multiple hall-of-famers with the facsimile of a good team he had in his first season. Last year was always going to be an outlier, but the chatter about, “Well Travis Ford recruited like this, but he couldn’t coach ’em … I’ll wait and see.” First, Travis Ford didn’t recruit like this. Second, Boynton has already coached ’em.

• Yes, the kool-aid tastes good, and yes I have had too much of it.

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