Friday, April 13, 2007

Our School Rules! (Trust Me)

I’m starting to regret stretching this out for two weeks, but for anyone who stumbles across it over the summer, at least it will be something to read.

Today I examine the top recruiters. Unlike style-of-play and player development which should translate between teams, it is not clear that a coaches recruiting success at one school will translate to a different school. Therefore, yesterday’s column may be more valuable when evaluating coaching changes. Nonetheless, talented recruits do help separate the top coaches, as should be obvious from the coaches listed below.

Because players can still change their decisions at this point, I'm not grading the 2007 classes yet. This only looks at players recruited from 1999-2006 and on the 2002-2006 teams. I value players using the recruiting model developed on Monday.

5+ Years Tenure (at last year’s team)
Ultimate Recruiters: Should win multiple NCAA tournament games with this talent.
1 Mike Krzyzewski
2 Billy Donovan

Elite Recruiters: Should win in the tournament with this talent.
3 Tom Izzo
4 Rick Barnes
5 Tubby Smith
6 Lute Olson
7 Jim Calhoun
8 Jim Boeheim
9 Gary Williams
10 Rick Pitino
11 Mark Gottfried
12 Paul Hewitt
13 Leonard Hamilton
14 Mike Brey
15 John Brady

Good Recruiters: Should make the tournament with this talent.
16 Jay Wright
17 Tommy Amaker
18 Skip Prosser
19 John Calipari
20 Ernie Kent
21 Ben Braun
22 Rick Stansbury
23 Lorenzo Romar
24 Bo Ryan
25 Steve Alford
26 Kevin Stallings
27 Stan Heath
28 Tom Crean

Ironically, Donovan's NCAA tournament success and recruiting success are inversely related. He used to get MAA's but his 2005 and 2006 classes fell to Top 200 level talent. Meanwhile, his teams that used to flop in the tournament won the last two championships.

Notable Non-BCS
1 John Calipari
2 Bobby Lutz
3 Steve Fisher
4 Mark Few

Bobby Lutz has recruited 5 Top 100 players since the start of 2001 which is very impressive for a non-BCS school. Unfortunately, the move from CUSA to the A10 has not worked well. While Charlotte was a borderline tournament team in CUSA, they have been lost in the shuffle in the 14 team A10. Steve Fischer actually recruited a MAA to San Diego St. right out of high school. Mark Few has only recruited 2 players in the Top 100, but he does get a lot of Super-level recruits.

After this group, there really aren't any notable recruiters outside the BCS conferences. Even coaches like Karl Hobbs of George Washington and Phil Martelli of St. Joseph's cannot recruit tournament-level talent on a consistent basis. Perhaps because of the lack of geographic competition for talent, the next best recruiters are in the MWC. But many of those same MWC coaches were fired this year.

BCS Bottom 7
1 Jay John
2 Bob Knight
3 Al Skinner
4 Tim Welsh
5 Bill Carmody
6 John Beilein
7 Ricardo Patton

Because of zero Top 100 recruits, Jay John of Oregon St. ranks last among all BCS coaches. Bill Carmody would be lower, but he did recruit one McDonald's All-American in Michael Thompson. Ricardo Patton left Colorado at the end of the season and took the N. Illinois job. Three of these coaches are great at getting the most out of lesser players (Skinner, Beilein, Knight). See yesterday's post.

4 Years Tenure or Less (at last year’s team)
I'm very hesitant to make pronouncements on coaches that have been at a school for 4 years or less. First, almost no one moves laterally so the old recruiting rank should not be the same at the new school. Second, because of the transition, I drop the first year at the new school. That means that for first year coaches like Kelvin Sampson, I'm not even going to create a rating. (One exception is Matt Painter who started a year early to recruit at Purdue so I count both his years as head coach.) For the rest of these coaches remember that there are at most 3 years worth of data, and recruiting is difficult to evaluate with a small sample size. For example, Thad Matta's rating is lower party because there weren't any key players in the 2005 recruiting class and I only evaluate him on 2005 & 2006.

Ultimate Recruiters: Should win multiple NCAA tournament games with this talent.
1 Roy Williams
2 Bill Self

Elite Recruiters: Should win in the tournament with this talent.
3 Thad Matta
4 Ben Howland
5 Bruce Pearl
6 Trent Johnson
7 John Thompson III

Good Recruiters: Should make the tournament with this talent.
8 Dave Leitao
9 Scott Drew
10 Jeff Lebo
11 Billy Gillispie
12 Frank Haith
13 Jamie Dixon
14 Jerry Wainwright
15 Bruce Webber
16 Dennis Felton
17 Oliver Purnell

BCS Bottom 4
1 Ed DeChellis
2 Robert McCullum
3 Seth Greenberg
4 Matt Painter

McCullum was fired after 4 years at South Florida. Greenberg has done a lot with limited talent at Virginia Tech. Painter had not recruited a Top100 player prior to this year. He has four Top100 recruits for next season but they are not reflected in this rating.

Now that I have established a numeric rating for coach ability and a recruiting rank, I can finally discuss the coaching changes on Monday.

Tuesday I will summarize the information by conference.