Observations on Impact Freshman and Recruiting Rankings

I know this topic has been debated to death, so forgive me, but I went through the trouble of compiling some data and I thought I'd go ahead and post it...

There have been a number of assertions that freshman, even highly ranked freshman, are not very likely to make an impact (guilty). And there have been a number of counters that freshman do make an impact, and the key determinant is opportunity for playing time. There was a recent analysis posted that showed players ranked from 10-30 had a pretty decent chance of not making much of an impact. But this seemed counter intuitive to me, given the string of impact freshman that the Terps have had over the last several years, despite Gary being considered by most to be the worst recruiter in the history of national-championship-winning-hall-of-fame coaches (just sayin'...).

So, I thought a better way to explore the topic might be to start with the freshman who have made an impact, and see who they are and how highly they were ranked. I compiled a list of the Freshman All-Conference Teams from all Big 6 conferences for 2011-12, and then looked up their rankings on Scout. There were actually 35 players, rather than 30, because some conferences award more than 5 players. The list is below the jump for your reference, but here are some observations:

Top 30 ranking seems to be a threshold. 19 of the top 30 made the all conference list, so if a player is ranked that highly, it's a good bet that he'll make an immediate impact. I guess that's a bit obvious.

The interesting thing is that after the top 30, it appears to be a crap shoot. 5 of the players who made their all conference teams were ranked between 46 and 94. And a full 11 out of 35 players (31%) were not ranked in scout's top 100. And at least 3 players were only considered 2 star prospects!

So, thinking about our incoming freshman class, since none of the players are top 30, it seems to me that any one of them could end up having the greatest impact - including Dodd! - at least statistically speaking. I'm sure observation would lead one to think otherwise, but then I guess the same would have been said about Anthony Collins, Dave Sobolewski and David Kravish. I mean, who the hell are those guys anyway?

Just some food for thought.

Name Conference Ranking Comment
Anthony Davis SEC 1
Andre Drummond Big East 2
Austin Rivers ACC 3
Quincy Miller Big 12 4
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist SEC 6
Bradley Beal SEC 7
Le'Bryan Nash Big 12 9
Myck Kabongo Big 12 10
Royce White Big 12 10 Sophomore Transfer
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope SEC 12
Cody Zeller Big 10 13
Brandon Dawson Big 10 14
Tony Wroten Pac 10 19
Jarnell Stokes SEC 20
BJ Young SEC 23
Chane Behanan Big East 25
Rodney Hood SEC 26
Dorian Finney-Smith ACC 27
Nick Johnson Pac 10 29
Moe Harkless Big East 46
Nick Faust ACC 50
Chasson Randle Pac 10 61
D' Angelo Harrison Big East 63
Trey Burke Big 10 94
Anthony Collins Big East NR 2 star
Aaron White Big 10 NR 3 star
Anthony Hickey SEC NR 3 star
Dave Sobolewski Big 10 NR 2 star
David Kravish Pac 10 NR 2 star
Jerian Grant Big East NR ??
LaDontae Henton Big East NR 3 star
Pierre Jackson Big 12 NR JC
Ryan Anderson ACC NR 3 star
Shane Larkin ACC NR 3 Star
Spencer Dinwiddie Pac 10 NR 3 star

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