"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Lazar Hayward traded to the Houston Rockets

Lazar Hayward was traded to the Houston Rockets tonight as part of a bigger deal that saw James Harden going to the Rockets for Kevin Martin and Jeremy Lamb.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Marquette drops out of AP, ESPN and Value Add Top 25; opens with #4 Ohio State (Craft 8th best player and Thomas 12th)

I can tell basketball season is back upon us when I post an article and realize one of our other writers was writing simultaneously!  Before looking at this post, please read the great take on the tough job of Athletic Director below by clicking here.

The preseason polls are out, and Marquette is out of both top 25s but getting a chance to make an immediate mark vs. Ohio State on November 9 at 6 p.m. CST on NBC Sports.

The Buckeyes are ranked #4 by both the coaches and writers.  While Value Add ranks them slightly lower at #10, it also indicates that they should have the #2 duo in the country.  Aaron Craft projects as the 8th best player in the country, while Deshaun Thomas ranks as the 12th best player.  Marquette is deeper, as the Buckeyes only have seven top 1000 players while Marquette has ten.

Both the AP and ESPN agreed with Value Add’s appraisal of Indiana as the #1 team in the country this year.  In most cases the coaches and writers poll was pretty close to Value Add.

A few changes in the past couple of months – three players were mistakenly flagged after last season as going to the NBA but stayed and are now being added back to the database.  Jeff Withey still being at Kansas pushed them up to 7th place and temporarily bumped Marquette out of the Top 25.  Sean Kilpatrick of Cincinnati and Michael Snaer at Florida State were not enough to get either team back into the top 25.

While I doubt Kentucky will be able to reload this year for a title run and believe their #3 is too high, I am sure they will be higher than Value Adds 18th, and Value Add projects they are the frontrunner for the 2014 title.  I am sure UNC will likewise outperform their raw Value Add.

My question is whether or not UCLA is actually this year’s Kentucky – a team that could be at the Final Four behind incredible freshmen.  It was UCLA that beat out Kentucky for Shabazz Muhammad and with fellow freshman Kyle Anderson they could be much better than their 13th rank – and Value Add calculates that duo could approach the level of Wall and Cousins for their freshman season.

The following are my notes on all top 25 teams.

And my headline was a teaser.  While Kansas did bump Marquette out of the top 25 temporarily, when the NCAA ruled that Ricardo Ledo must sit out this year it bumped Providence down to 33rd and put Marquette back in the top 25.  The fact that Kris Dunn is supposed to be out for the 1st semester due to surgery drops them to 58th until his return.

TEAMValue AddAPESPNNotes on differences
Indiana 111Said this the day after the title
Louisville 622Marra's injury dropped them from 3rd to 6th
Kentucky 1833Sure they will be closer to 3rd, but believe a year between title chances
Ohio State1044Only UCLA better duo than #8 Craft/#12 Thomas
Michigan2755Only UCLA & Ohio St. have better duo than #22 Burke & #42 McGary, Value Add just doesn't show depth
North Carolina State466 
Kansas777Jeff Withey IS still on roster
Duke1488Perhaps a little reputation?
Syracuse2299See Duke above?
North Carolina311112Like Kentucky, hard to measure but need a year to rebuild
Arizona1212112014 National Contender
UCLA21313FR Muhammad and Anderson make them this year's Kentucky - could be Wall-Cousins level
Michigan State91414 
Memphis31716Probably too high, but 4 juniors rank higher than any MU player
UNLV818194 top 200 players, one from each class
Baylor51918#38 Heslip, #52 Jackson, #74 Austin
San Diego State542020only 2 players in top 400, none in top 100
Notre Dame172223 
Cincinnati4324 Sean Kilpatrick IS still on roster, but still don't have them ranked
Florida State962524Michael Snaer IS still on roster, don't know value of 7-foot-3 Boris Bojanovsky
Texas11 24People don't know how much freshman improve - sophomores McClellon #36, Holmes #99, Kabongo #157, Bond #321
Pittsburgh13  Jump sounds too high, but don't expect 2012 repeat
Arkansas20  Is BJ Young really a top 10 player?
Georgetown24  If Otto Porter really a top 10 player?
Marquette25  dropped out due to Kansas, then back ahead of Providence

Below are the current top 50 players according to Value Add - and as always corrections are welcome - just email jpudner@concentricgrasstops.com or send through www.valueaddbasketball.com.

RnkTop 50 playersTeam
1Zeller, CodyIndiana
2McDermott, DougCreighton
3Muhammad, ShabazzUCLA
4Porter, OttoGeorgetown
5Anderson, KyleUCLA
6McCollum, CJLehigh
7Young, BJArkansas
8Craft, AaronOhio St.
9Perry, KendrickYoungstown St.
10Galloway, LangstonSaint Joseph's
11Roberson, AndreColorado
12Thomas, DeshaunOhio St.
13Medlin, PrestonUtah St.
14Pangos, KevinGonzaga
15Canaan, IsaiahMurray St.
16Noel, NerlensKentucky
17Pressey, PhilMissouri
18Dieng, GorguiLouisville
19Cooley, JackNotre Dame
20Napier, ShabazzConnecticut
21Massenat, FrantzDrexel
22Burke, TreyMichigan
23Tuttle, SethNorthern Iowa
24Mitchell, TonyNorth Texas
25Wolters, NateSouth Dakota St.
26Kilpatrick, SeanCincinnati
27Releford, TrevorAlabama
28Caldwell-Pope, KentaviousGeorgia
29Stoglin, TerrellMaryland
30Boynton, KennyFlorida
31Withey, JeffKansas
32Broekhoff, RyanValparaiso
33McGruder, RodneyKansas St.
34Wyatt, KhalifTemple
35Harrison, D'AngeloSt. John's
36McClellan, SheldonTexas
37Sobolewski, DaveNorthwestern
38Heslip, BradyBaylor
39Patterson, LamarPittsburgh
40Dellavedova, MatthewSt. Mary's
41Williams, ChazMassachusetts
42McGary, MitchMichigan
43Threatt, JarvisDelaware
44Dixon, MichaelMissouri
45O'Neale, RoyceDenver
46Kazemi, ArsalanRice
47Cobbs, JustinCalifornia
48Covington, RobertTennessee St.
49Johnson, KerronBelmont
50Henton, LaDontaeProvidence

The audacity of an Athletic Director

Recently a former NFL player with a law degree who is now an Athletic Director at a high profile school had some public comments about his high profile coach.  Larry Williams you say?  Yes, but not in this instance.  Actually it was Pat Haden at USC this week (he has done this on several occasions as have other Athletic Directors...it is part of their job to answer the media and that can lead to sticky situations dependent on where you stand.)

"Lane has had some missteps," says Haden. "The job of head coach at USC is more than just Xs and O's. You have a bunch of people you represent, from past players and alums, and it's a different place from where he's been before. We're held to a higher standard here, and some of the stuff is petty, in my estimation."

"He's definitely a work in progress.  It can be challenging, but I think we're making progress with Lane," says Haden. "And I agree with you; I think he has a big future in front of him and a long runway."

Important to note that Haden also noted he works with his coach every day to make him "better".  Sound familiar?   "I know he's got a reputation, a target on him, and I talk to him every single day about the best way to act," says Haden

First off, can you imagine the nuclear reaction by some of our fan base if Larry Williams said this about Buzz?  More importantly, are they wrong?  Comments like those of Haden's can appear foreign to someone that hasn't worked in a high profile job that is scrutinized nearly daily by sports radio, newspaper columnists, bloggers, fans, etc.  Let's face it, the manager of commodities broker isn't hitting the newspaper nor are those of someone who is marketing sports television services.  Most people are used to comments in private, or constructive criticism that isn't there for all to see.  That's not the case in the sports or entertainment world and should be the first lens applied when viewing AD and coach comments...or for that matter, coach - player comments.  It's a different world.  It's also called BEING A LEADER!  Kiffin makes more money than Haden and if continues to win, wields tremendous power.   That doesn't mean Haden doesn't have a leadership mandate to build his direct reports, keep them in check and ultimately make sure the university's mission is being followed.  Schools that let the coach have all consuming power usually elicit two things...success on the field and trouble elsewhere. 

I've had many a conversation with AD's over the years at Pac 12, Big East, ACC schools and the tough balancing act they have.  A few weeks ago I met with a Big East AD for a number of hours and we discussed this very thing.  Balancing fans expectations, most of which are straight forward and practical but intermixed with those that believe the coach is sacred and should never be challenged..ever.  On the flip side this AD also has to make sure the school doesn't get in trouble, keeps a clean perception with the rest of the alumni and the surrounding community....most of who don't care about sports, which oh by the way is the majority of people and bears out in survey after survey.  The problem is that you can't tell that to an impassioned sports fan because they don't want to hear it.  As this AD told me, the most difficult folks to deal with are those that are so emotional about it they will do anything to win.  They don't care about the perceptions or the ramifications, just win baby.  If something happens, that mess can be addressed if need be.  

No one said an AD job is easy.  Especially when, God forbid, he comes from Notre Dame and has been instructed by the leadership to make sure the school is recognized for success on the fields and courts of play and not recognized for areas that call the program into question.  He has a tough job, but plenty of schools have been successful in the approach he and the administration are taking. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

What are we, what should we be, how do we get there?

If you haven't had a chance to read the latest article on Marquette hoops in Marquette Magazine, I strongly suggest you do.  The article, entitled "Playing Old School" by MU's own Dan McGrath, focuses attention on new AD Larry Williams and his future view of MU athletics, specifically basketball and the desire to do things with integrity in light of some unflattering occurrences. 

The article has already revealed the ongoing fracture some MU fans have about certain MU officials, and specifically Larry Williams and Father Pilarz.   There is one camp of alumnae and fans that believe the new administration is somehow handcuffing Buzz Williams and his ability to put a successful product on the basketball court.  The program will no be able to compete and the new reality is that the only way to win is the current approach.  Larry Williams has been dubbed program killer, a Notre Dame elitist from a school that no longer can win with that mentality (ahem...Notre Dame is 5th in the nation in football right now).

A recent blurb by Jeff Goodman on his CBS blog only added to the fire when he said "Buzz Williams has done a superb job at Marquette, but he and athletic director Larry Williams aren't exactly bosom buddies and there's no telling how long he'll remain in Milwaukee."  Of course, back in the Tom Crean era some fans would say this would be Crean putting words into the bloggers mouth, but in this case apparently it is Jeff Goodman doing some serious sleuthing.  Considering Goodman's hits and misses this past season, who knows how accurate this is, but we'll assume he is right and address that a bit later.   

The other camp of graduates and fans have asked why are we destined to fail and become second rate simply by having a tighter leash on the program?  Does one path lead to the other?  When viewed through the lens of multiple off the court issues that put MU on the front page of the Chicago Tribune twice and on the evening news several times in the last year for embarrassing indiscretions involving an athletics team from MU can make folks feel a bit....squirmy (note that some fans like to pretend it was the tennis or track team and not members of a more prominent team).  Winning matters, but so does integrity.  Just win baby doesn't sit well with this group of fans, it's a lazy cop out and an excuse.  It is reaching for the ground, not the stars...it is harder to reach for the stars.

So who are we?  What should we be?  Is there only one way to win?  Is it wrong to aspire to do it the right way?  What is the right way in today's day and age?  All questions asked before and asked continually by our university and others around the country. All questions I have asked here on this blog several times. Let's look at the USA Today top 25 poll that came out today.  A number of programs on that list that almost universally fans will say don't do it the right way the majority of the time.  Of course there are also programs on that list that most would say strive to a higher ideal and succeed at it most of the time, even if they screw up on occasion.  It's impossible to be perfect all the time, it simply is.  Every program will have an indiscretion, sometimes a series of them in a short amount of time.  That's the case for MU recently, but fortunately the indiscretions have been rare in the long run and I think all of us would like to keep it that way. It is clear that Pilarz and Larry Williams feel that way, along with many influential alumni.

So is it wrong to aspire to be a quality athletic program AND also do well in the classroom and the community?  No one said it was going to be easy or perfect.  Yes, Notre Dame has student athlete issues, so does Stanford, Indiana, Duke, Wake Forest, BYU and others.  For trying to hold to a higher standard, when they fail they are ridiculed. Blogs, sports columns, fan forums explode about such and such Duke player from 2004 that screwed up or a Notre Dame football player from 2006 and the screams of hypocrisy echo aloud. It's easy to pick on those that try to aspire, but fail.  They are taking a risk to do better, to act in a higher regard and when they fail the critics come out of the woodwork.  It is certainly easier to take the lower path of standards and if you fail, oh well. What is the proper approach?  What should we be doing?

So what do you want to be?  I contend we can be a top notch program with Buzz Williams at the helm and also do it the right way in both reality and perception.  In many respects we are doing it the right way, but the perception has taken a beating (rightfully so) and we all know perception and reality are often confused.  MU, Buzz, and the program need an uneventful season. A nice, quiet, get the job done season would be very nice this year.  Go about your business, respect your coach and your university, perform well on the court, perform better off of it. 

At the end of the day, MU isn't going to have Buzz Williams forever, nor are they going to have Larry Williams and Father Pilarz.  If Buzz goes, there will be another basketball coach.  If Larry Williams goes, there will be another AD just as there will be another president at MU.  People change, but institutions change far less.  It is clear that MU wants to win, but to win in the right way.  For some, they feel this is pushing Buzz out the door or tying his hands. "If Buzz leaves, the end is near.  It's all over, Loyola of Chicago here we come."  Just stop.  Have faith in Buzz.  He's a good man, strong religious conviction, believes in his players, believes in discipline, has a core set of standards that should align well with the university's mission...some have argued it fits squarely into what he is all about. 

Therefore, it is not wrong to aspire to do multiple things well and to keep integrity as the guiding principle, even if at times we fail in that regard.  It is not wrong to hold people (players, coaches, administrators, fans) accountable.  Father Pilarz and Larry Williams are not out to destroy or cut the program down to size.  These are not stupid men. Buzz can work in this environment and succeed.  Or we can continue to read little blurbs in blogs about the AD and the program and wonder who provided that information.  It is clear the university is saying we want to win, but we will win in a specific way.  That bet has been made.  Buzz can make this work.  It is up to him.  He will stay as long as MU will have him...well MU has said they will have him but it will be with conditions.  Those conditions are part of what Buzz tells us he is all about so it's time to put all this crap behind us, get on board together as a fan base, a team, a coach, players, university administration and prove it can be done.  There are schools doing it today.  MU has done it in the recent past with Buzz at the helm and prior...we are not perfect, we never will be, but there is no shame in striving for a higher ideal.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Jake Thomas dunk contest win points again to balanced MU attack; Only Michigan St., Indiana, UCLA & Arizona can match MUs 10 top 1000 players

Thank you to Midwest Ballers for the mix from Friday's Midnight Madness, where Jake Thomas probably shocked many readers by winning the dunk contest. And while some may certainly have judged Jamil Wilson's between the legs dunk as the best on the attached footage, I hope the video will show that Jake could be a lot more than just the best pure 3-point shooter at Marquette since Steve Novak.

Buzz's two transfers are MUs only two players to have been among the national leaders in 3 of the main 8 categories on www.kenpom.com as shown on the table below (last year NBC Sports picked up on my post here noting that Jae Crowder may be the best overall player in the country for ranking so high in 5 of 8).   Trent Lockett is the name that jumps out, as he has been among the best in the nation in three categories (eFG% of best shooters, Stl% as best at steals and FTR as best at getting to the line for free throws).  Jake Thomas is all the way in the top 100 in shooting (98th in eFG%), but also in the top 500 in protecting the ball (Turnover Ratio) and just makes the top 500 on getting to the line (Free Throw Ratio).  Thomas is also the only player besides Davante Gardner to make it into the top 500 in Overall Offensive Rating (ORtg).  Like Jimmy Butler, Gardner has had consecutive years in the top 20 while not yet being appreciated by fans.

8 key statsMU players who've been in top 500
eFG% Thomas 98th in 2010, Lockett 286th and 335th in 2011
OR% Gardner 15th*, 37th in 2011*
DR%No top 500 players on MU roster
AstR Cadougan 63rd, 153rd in 2011, Lockett 452nd in 2011
TOR Thomas 222nd in 2011, Jamil 469th
Blk% Otule 35th*, Jamil 135th
Stl% Derrick 68th*, Blue 323rd in 2011, Lockett 396th and 350th in 2011
FTR Otule 14th*, Gardner 33rd* and 44th in 2011*, Lockett 91st and 350th in 2011, Blue 234th, Cadougan 329th, Thomas 498th in 2010
Ortg Gardner 3rd and 19th in 2011, Thomas 268th in 2010 and 478th in 2011
* - indicates did not play 40% of minutes so not listed as leader at www.kenpom.com, but this is the rank the player would have had with enough minutes (e.g. if neither Gardner or Otule were hurt last year).

Certainly some will be quick to note their initial skepticism over Thomas ability to contribute at the Big East level after piling up his top 100 shooting year against lesser competition.  However, when we then turn to www.valueaddbasketball.com, which adjusts for competition, Jake Thomas is still a top 700 offensive player (top 28% of all D1 players) and a top 1000 overall player even after accounting for South Dakota's weak defense.

I do not know if that means Thomas will be in Buzz's final 7 or 8 man rotation or not - but I am very confident he would be in the 7-man rotation for most BCS schools.  The beauty of Marquette this year is the depth, which really may be the best in the country.  As you can see from the table below, only 28 teams in the country have even seven players among the best 1000 in the country, so just about anyone on Marquette's roster could be in the rotation of any other team.

We do not start the year with a top 100 player, so someone on the team will have to go to the next level to enable us to go up against teams with one or more top 100 players - but noone can go deeper.  Trent Lockett was not a top 1000 player last year mainly because of a very high turnover rate on a terrible team, but assuming our packed roster can actually catch passes, he should shoot way up in light of all the areas in which he is so strong (also Lockett and Thomas are excellent defensive rebounders for guards, even though not in the top 500 since that list is almost all front line players.)

Derrick Wilson is not in the top 1000, but as the 68th best steals man in the country last year, he at very least has a very strong role to play.  Everyone else on the 2013 roster is in the top 1000.  We knew we had the dynamic duo of Crowder and DJO last year.  The fun this year is that while I believe Gardner will be our best player, it really could be anybody.  MU has a roster full of players that are very good, and if a couple step up to be great, then this will be a very good team indeed.  If I had asked before the dunk contest who the three most likely players to win would be, I doubt Jake Thomas would have been one of your choices.  Guessing at who MUs top three players will be this year could be just as tough, in a very good way.

Here is the list of the only 45 teams with at least seven players in the top 1000 - and a column for how many top 100 players each team has as well.  The list is periodically updated at www.valueaddbasketball.com.

TeamTop 100Top 1000
1Michigan St.211
9Nevada Las Vegas19
16North Carolina St.28
23North Carolina08
24Texas A&M08
25Iowa St.08
28Oklahoma St.08
29Ohio St.27
30Notre Dame27
37Kansas St.17
39Texas Tech07
40West Virginia07
42Georgia Tech07

Friday, October 05, 2012

MU prepares for final run at title in old BE in 2013, and possibly an equally competitive new BE in 2014

With Midnight Madness just one week away, Marquette certainly looks like a team that can finish in the top half of the Big East this year.  Based on www.valueaddbasketball.com, Marquette remains the 25th best team heading into the conference.  While six Big East teams rank even higher, they are very bunched together and MU probably has fewer questions than any team in front of them.

2013 Big East StandingsNatl
4Notre Dame17
10St. John's59
11South Florida66
13Seton Hall86
Conference Average47

Sure, MU has to replace an incredible duo, but with so much talent moving up MU looks like a top 25 team.  Louisville is the prohibitive favorite, but just had a tough injury, and despite the lofty projections for Providence and Pitt based on Value Add, even it's author has to question if either of those teams can really skyrocket that far ahead of where they were last year.  With the questions on those three, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Georgetown all project BARELY ahead of MU - all within 8 spots - so it is certainly much easier to see MU passing any and all of the six teams in front of them than falling behind many teams behind them.  On paper, this is a seven team race for the final Big East title in the conference we have grown to know - with the single absence of West Virginia.

Will Memphis and Houston keep the Big East among the Elite in 2014?

However, I have to admit with the national potential for MU in 2014, I will be keeping one eye on Memphis, Houston, Central Florida, Temple and SMU.  No greater a number-cruncher than Luke Winn has calculated that the Big East after this year could drop to the 6th best basketball conference, but I was surprised when running the numbers to see that the Value Add projections for next year - even assuming all planned moves happen in time for the 2014 season - actually shows the conference staying just as strong in 2014 as in 2013 based on the average national rankings of all members in Value Add projections.

I ran the longer post below on the ranking of the top 150 teams in the country, and have just updated it based the new signings for Kentucky, South Florida and others this week.  When you look at the Rnk2 number - the most realistic expectation of what the 2014 roster will look like (your projected NBA players go to the draft, but you get the calculated average of the recruits to fill your remaining spots), the Big East actually stays exactly the same with an average national ranking of 47th.

Of course projections are not precise like measuring past performance, and certainly projections a year out are even less so, but here is where the future Big East teams project to rank nationally in 2014 compared to this year.

2014 Big East Standings2013 Natl2014 NatlHypothetical with all NBA players staying
1Memphisna2(drops to 4th if Thomas stays but top 3 keep theirs too)
2Marquette254drop to 19th
3Providence117drop to 26th
4Georgetown249(up to 8th if Porter stays)
5Louisville616(up to 13th if Dieng and Blackshear stay)
6Connecticut3818(up to 17th if Napier stays)
7Houstonna28drop to 36th
8Villanova6937drop to 43rd
9Rutgers5345drop to 53rd
10South Florida6650drop to 58th
11Seton Hall8651drop to 59th
12DePaul11958drop to 65th
13St. John's5959(up to 34th if Harrison stays)
14Central Floridana86drop to 98th
15Cincinnati9096drop to 105th
16Templena112drop to 121st
17Southern Methodistna115drop to 124th
Conference Average4747

The two big questions on this chart are whether or not Memphis has really collected enough talent to burst into the top 10 this year, and if Houston is really on course to move all the way into the top 30 by next year.  However, by the same token one has to wonder if Temple will really fall as far as projected after being able to tell recruits they are back in the Big East.

For this reason I will have one eye on the Big East standings and another on Memphis, Houston and the rest this year.  If the Big East once again emerges strong in basketball after realignment, as happened after the last ACC raid, then it's possible recruiting could stay right on course throughout the conference.

MU 2014 could drop from 2nd to 5th in BE if UConn, Lville & Gtown keep NBA players

In fairness, one item I do need to note is that the new Big East is only projected to produce five likely NBA draftees after this coming season.  A lot of these teams are in the same boat as Marquette, benefiting from strong classes moving forward to 2014 but without many players who will be so good they will leave.  The great news is that Marquette now projects to finish 2nd to Memphis in the Big East in 2014.  However, as you can see from the notes, if the NBA prospects for UConn, Louisville and Georgetown do not enter the 2013 draft after this season, then all three teams would be projected to pass Marquette to push us back to 5th in the conference in 2014.

Either way, the future is looking bright for Marquette and Big East basketball.

The following are the updates on the post below of all teams.

South Florida breaks into 2014 Top 50 with recruit

While the Harrison twins going to Kentucky was obviously the big recruiting news this week, the nice pick up in the Big East was by South Florida. Picking up Chris Perry moved the Bulls from a projected 61st in 2014 to 50th, so they are getting back in position for another potential surprise NCAA run. I am mainly focusing on Rnk2 - which is your current 2014 roster minus anyone expected to go to the draft plus the average recruits you would expect based on the guys you have a chance to get. The following are the five teams who made changes since the initial post below.
Team2014 rosterRnk1R1R2R3R4R5R6likely recrRnk2Add NBA if stayIf stayRnk3
Kentucky28.33072.52.42.434.7324Noel, Goodwin, Poythress, Harrow71.61
North Carolina St.32.74152.50.900036.1420Brown. Leslie48.9514
South Carolina26.65381.628.254028.2545
South Florida244910.20.20.226502658

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Advanced Ranking of top 150 college basketball teams for 2014 based on; 1, 'solid roster,' 2, spots open for recruits, and 3, if they can keep NBA prospects

(Note: the master table at the bottom was updated October 5 to reflect the biggest family signing ever as Kentucky landed Andrew and Aaron Harrison with a combined projected 16.5 Value Add.  South Florida, South Carolina and Illinois also had signings.  The master table is now ordered based on an average of Rnk 2 (NBA prospects leave in the draft) and Rnk 3 (they stay with their teams).  An average is probably the most accurate, as Kentucky is easily 1st if all four stay, drops to 24th if all 4 leave, and with keeping half the talent they would be 3rd in the country behind Arizona and Memphis in 2014.)

You can check out the 2013 preseason Value Add rankings anytime by going to www.valueaddbasketball.com and putting "2013" in the year field and "team" in the main search field.  However, in light of some very good observations in response to my 2014 rankings, I went through a systematic appraisal of the three main elements that will project how good each team should be in 2014.

The first step is adding up the projected Value Adds of everyone currently expected to be on the 2014 roster for all teams.  Players who have either signed already, or still have eligibility left and are NOT expected to be drafted after the 2013 season.  When we count just those players, Arizona has the best roster going into 2014, Memphis is second and Marquette is third.  Here is the first part of the chart that will grow throughout this piece:

2014 Rankings / players expected on roster 

Team2014 rosterRnk1
Notre Dame39.217
North Carolina St.32.5417
Michigan St.32.1218
Nevada Las Vegas31.8219

Of course this isn't the whole picture.  Kentucky is the 113th best team based just on this part of the equation, because four of their players are expected to leave in the 2013 draft and they have not yet signed most of their class for next year as they can wait until late to take several of the top 20 players.  In order to get a grasp on how much value each team would likely get from the 2013 recruits they are currently chasing (freshman in 2014 Value Add), I first looked at what the expected Value Add was for players based on their ESPN Rating.

Based on the new ESPN Ratings scale for prospects, any recruit with a rating of 64 or higher will actually project to add Value.  This scale does NOT apply to past classes from 2007 to 2012, as ESPN's old scale gave much higher figures.  For example, right now there are only 6 players with a 96 or higher rating, while on the old scale ESPN averaged giving a 96 or higher to 55 players per class.  Likewise there are currently just 283 recruits from the 2014 class with a 70 or higher and on the old scale for past years ESPN averaged giving 1,069 recruits per class a 70 or higher.  So this year's "70" would have very likely been between an 80 and 90 in past years.  However, based on the new system for 2013 recruits only, here is the anticipated Value Add based on ESPN rating:

ESPN 9/30/2012Value add

While I have been using a place holder to measure upcoming freshman classes, a critic pointed out in my last post that I was not accounting for how many open roster spots each team had to fill in recruitment.  To address this hole, I listed out the number of spots each team has to fill for next year.  I then looked up the uncommitted 2013 recruits (would be freshmen in 2014 season in Value Add) showing an interest in each team, and I basically assumed the team would get one in five of the kids at which they had a shot.  So if a team had 4 spots to fill I assumed they would get the 3rd best recruit they were after, the 8th best, the 13th best and the 18th best - though I had to estimate the curve when I got past the players that actually showed up in the ESPN data search.

I will use Duke as the example for this 2nd step.  Duke only ranked 32nd based on the players they already have committed through the 2014 season, with 27.84 in Value Add.  However, assuming they get one of the top 5 recruits currently considering them that should add 6 in Value Add (under R1 below for 1st Recruit), then another 5.0 in Value Add for their 2nd recruit, then 4.0, 3.5, 2.5 and 2.4 since they have six spots to fill.  When you add what they will likely get from recruits, Duke shoots all the way from 27.84 to 51.24 and moves from the 32nd best roster to the 3rd best roster ahead of Marquette - which is "full" with no spots open for a new recruit.  Of course, we know there are roster changes and MU could end up with a big recruit next year, but right now we are just filling empty spots.  Here is our new Top 20 once we divide up the uncommitted recruits among the schools they are considering.

Team2014 rosterRnk1R1R2R3R4R5R6likely recrRnk2
Notre Dame39.2171.
North Carolina28.293063.12.42.342.098
Michigan St.32.12182.
North Carolina St.32.54172.50.900035.9420

Which leads us to the final step, considering whether or not the NBA prospects leave for the pros.  Up until now we assume that Noel, Goodwin, Poythress and Harrow all leave Kentucky for the NBA draft in 2013.  If all of them leave, then even with the expected great recruiting class again next year, Kentucky only has the 24th best team in the country with 35.03.  With UCLA taking the top recruit from them this year and everyone going to the NBA, they are going to have to have some of those four decide to stay for 2014.  If all four were to stay, then Kentucky projects to shoot all the way up to a 63.5 Value Add to pass Arizona.

As you look down the list, in addition to the three teams already ahead of Marquette after step two, another 15 teams would pass Marquette IF all of their NBA prospects decide to skip the draft and stay for the 2014 season - so Marquette could drop as far as 19th in a worse case scenario.  However, it is pretty safe to assume that at least a majority of these prospects will take the paycheck and enter the draft.  The beauty of the 2014 season for Marquette is that even if they do not get another recruit, they are loaded AND do not have anyone on the roster projected to be drafted so they will have a much easier time keeping the team together.  In the end we can assume a few of these 15 teams manage to keep their NBA prospects on campus for another year, but if Marquette is not hit with injuries or transfers, they are likely to end up much closer to 4th than to 19th in the country.  Here are the top 150 teams in the land for the 2014 season (see Rnk3 at the right), and where each of them rank if they lose their NBA prospects (Rnk2) and if they don't get any more recruits with Value Add (Rnk3).

RnkAveTeam2014 rosterRnk1R1R2R3R4R5R6likely recrRnk2Add NBA if stayIf stayRnk3
3Kentucky28.33072.52.42.434.7324Noel, Goodwin, Poythress, Harrow71.61
5North Carolina28.293163.12.42.342.098McAdoo, Hairston, Bullock59.443
6Texas34.82123.52.240.5212McClellan, Kabongo57.385
8Indiana35.691035.6921Zeller. Olapido56.847
9UCLA26.77374.52.233.4726Muhammad, Anderson, Smith57.16
12Louisville29.95243., Blackshear50.7513
13Michigan St.32.12182., Payne50.8512
14Michigan28.91291., Hardaway51.1311
15Notre Dame39.2171.
17North Carolina St.32.74152.50.900036.1420Brown. Leslie48.9514
19Ohio St.24.59434.51.81.632.4930Craft, Thomas51.699
25Maryland33.831333.8325Stoglin, Len44.3520
28Nevada Las Vegas31.82190.70.50.4033.4227Moser40.8128
29Oklahoma St.29.07272.30.70.3032.3731Nash39.331
30Syracuse18.02794., Carter-Williams42.2525
32Baylor22.08603.50025.5852Austin, Heslip42.5823
33Pittsburgh23.015420.225.2155Adams, Patterson42.2824
35Georgia Tech30.19231.61.132.892932.8937
36West Virginia29.43261.530.933230.9339
38St. John's18.26783.
39Texas A&M26.13402.31.129.533429.5340
41New Mexico28.113210.1029.213629.2142
43Texas Tech28.982828.983828.9844
44South Carolina26.65381.628.254028.2545
45Iowa St.27.24350.7027.944127.9446
49Oregon St.25.6421.40027442751
51Louisiana St.23.92511.70.70.326.624626.6254
54South Florida244910.20.20.226502658
55Seton Hall23.89521.60.4025.895125.8959
56Virginia Tech22.18581.
59Virginia Commonwealth23.99500.80.124.895724.8964
62La Salle23.43530.80000024.236124.2367
63South Carolina Upstate24.07460000024.076224.0769
64San Diego St.18.46741.
66Kansas St.19.47671.
67Southern California19.02711.
70Wake Forest20.74630.60.121.446721.4475
71Southern California17.74811.
76Texas El Paso19.15700.70.420.257420.2580
77Mississippi St.18.54731.50.20020.247520.2481
80St. Mary's18.3760.
81Washington St.18.28771.20.20019.687819.6885
82Saint Joseph's10.1913410.20011.39125Galloway, Aiken27.9147
83Fresno St.18800.
84Wichita St.18.41750.90.1019.418019.4187
85Illinois St.18.86720.40.100019.368119.3688
86Brigham Young16.32852.218.528218.5291
88Florida St.12.8111220.
90Cleveland St.17.29830.1017.398417.3995
92Central Florida15.67891.300016.978616.9798
93South Dakota St.16.8384000016.838716.8399
94North Texas9.551410.80.60.411.35126Mitchell21.7674
95Penn St.14.64941.60.116.348816.34100
98Boise St.15.28900.500015.789315.78102
99Texas Christian14.75930.80.100015.659415.65103
103St. Louis14.63950.70000015.339715.33106
109Arizona St.13.721050.700014.4210314.42112
110North Dakota St.14.1499000014.1410414.14113
111Florida Gulf Coast14.021010000014.0210514.02114
112George Mason12.91101.100001410614115
113Loyola Marymount13.82102000013.8210713.82116
114Miami FL10.31331.
115UC Santa Barbara13.7510400000013.7510913.75118
116Rhode Island13.011080.513.5111013.51119
117Robert Morris13.35106000013.3511113.35120
121Southern Methodist12.8311100012.8311512.83124
122Utah St.7.9815600007.98157Medlin17.3197
123Northern Iowa6.831660.407.23163Tuttle17.9492
127Wisconsin Green Bay9.381450000009.38146Brown14.77110
129Boston College11.41180.2011.612211.6130
130San Diego11.3511900000011.3512711.35131
132Arkansas Little Rock11.0612100000011.0612911.06133
134Indiana St.10.87122000010.8713110.87135
136Southern Mississippi10.761250000010.7613310.76137
138Northern Colorado10.5513000010.5513510.55139
139St. Francis NY10.4513100000010.4513610.45140
140Louisiana Tech10.381320000010.3813710.38141
142College of Charleston9.61390.3000009.91399.9143
143Old Dominion9.84136000009.841409.84144
145Georgia Southern8.151541.40.20009.751429.75146
146Long Beach St.9.581400000009.581439.58147
149Cal St. Northridge9.2814600009.281479.28151
150Boston University9.17147000009.171489.17152