Top 10 Best College Basketball Recruiting Classes of 2020

RankSchool5 Star4 Star3 StarGrade
1DukeJalen Johnson, Jeremy Roach, DJ Steward, Mark WilliamsJaemyn Brakefield, Henry ColemanA+
2UNCCaleb Love, Day'Ron Sharpe, Walker KesslerR.J. Davis, Puff Johnson, Kerwin WaltonA+
3KentuckyBJ Boston, Terrence ClarkeIsaiah Jackson, Devin Askew, Lance Ware, Cam'Ron FletcherA
4LSUCameron ThomasMwani Wilkinson, Eric GainesJalen Cook, Bradley Ezewiro, Josh GrayA
5TennesseeJaden Springer, Keon JohnsonCorey WalkerMalachi WidemanA-
6ArizonaDalen Terry, Azuolas Tubelis, Kerr Kriisa, Daniel Batcho, Bennedict MathurinTibet GorenerA-
7MichiganHunter Dickinson, Zeb Jackson, Terrance WilliamsJace HowardB+
8AuburnSharife CooperJT ThorChris Moore, Justin Powell, Dylan CardwellB+
9GonzagaJalen SuggsJulian Strawther, Dominick HarrisB
10IndianaKhristian LanderJordan GeronimoAnthony Leal, Trey GallowayB

After a college basketball season that saw no new champion crowned and conference tournaments canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, top programs around the country have been trying to reload for next season. Whether it be through a recruiting class or the transfer portal, schools need to acquire talent even though the start date of the next season is currently up in the air. As of today, all Top 100 recruits in the nation have committed to play in college or the NBA G League. With that being said, here’s my top ten list of the best-recruiting classes in college basketball for the upcoming season.

1. Duke

duke blue devilsThe Duke Blue Devils being atop this list should come as a surprise to nobody. A program known for bringing in one-and-done recruits, it appears that Duke is once again hoping to win with the top young talent in this year’s class. Headlined by an NCAA best four 5-star recruits accompanied by two 4-stars, Duke undoubtedly has the top freshman class headed into the 2020-21 season. Jalen Johnson, a 5-star recruit and the #2 SF in the country from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is compared to NBA star Paul George in the way that he can score and defend most positions.

Questions have been brought up about his character considering he’s attended 3 different high schools during his HS playing career. However, Johnson shouldn’t have a hard time transitioning to Duke under the leadership of legendary HC Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski. Duke’s 2020 freshman class also includes 4th ranked PG Jeremy Roach from Paul VI Catholic in Virginia and 5th ranked C Mark Williams from IMG Academy in Florida, both of which are considered top HS basketball programs in the country.

2. North Carolina

north carolina tar heelsThe Tarheels, one of the most prestigious programs in college basketball, are coming off one of their worst seasons in recent memory. The Heels went 14-19 last season and inevitably would’ve missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010. With star PG Cole Anthony leaving for the NBA Draft, HC Roy Williams and company need a strong freshman class to revitalize this program, and I believe they are getting just that with their incoming class.

Headlined by two 5-star recruits alongside three 4-stars, UNC is bringing in a large and talented freshman class. Caleb Love, a 5-star PG from St. Louis, Missouri, and 2nd ranked PG in the country, expects to come in and make an immediate impact by replacing Cole Anthony in the starting lineup. The Heels could see first-year production from their incoming big men as well. 5-star C Day’Ron Sharpe ranks as the 2nd best C in the country and attended Montverde Academy in Florida, a school that has produced high-level NBA talents such as Ben Simmons and D’Angelo Russell. Overall, expect this Tarheels team to get back to their winning ways in 2020-21.

3. Kentucky

kentuckyThe University of Kentucky Wildcats are no stranger to strong recruiting classes, and it seems that HC John Calipari has done it again with his 2020 class. Kentucky is bringing in 6 freshmen next season, including two 5-stars and four 4-star recruits. Kentucky’s two 5-stars are both listed as top ten overall players in the country, which is something no other school was able to accomplish this year.

BJ Boston is a 6’6 guard out of Sierra Canyon High School in California, the same high school where rising sophomore Bronny James plays, son of NBA star LeBron James. Boston is ranked as the best SG in his class and is touted as an excellent scorer who can score from anywhere on the court. Terrence Clarke, a 6’7 guard from Boston, MA, is ranked as the 2nd best SG in his class. He is described as a perimeter scorer and slashing guard. In addition to a strong freshman class, Kentucky is also bringing in three transfer students, including Jacob Toppin from Rhode Island, brother of Naismith and Wooden Award winner Obi Toppin from Dayton. Calipari’s Wildcats are a perennial top team in the SEC and NCAA, and adding another strong recruiting class should keep things that way for Kentucky.

4. LSU

lsu tigersThe LSU Tigers are coming off of perhaps one of the best college football seasons of all time in which they went undefeated and won the NCAA championship. However, the LSU basketball program could be making noise down in Baton Rouge as well. In 2019, the Tigers made the Sweet Sixteen and were on their way to another NCAA Tournament appearance after going 21-10 in the 2019-20 season. LSU looks to build on this recent success with the addition of 5 incoming freshmen, including a 5-star, two 4-stars, and two 3-star recruits.

5-star SG Cameron Thomas ranks as the 5th best at his position and is coming in from Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, one of the top HS basketball programs in the country. Thomas will be joined by his high school teammate Bradley Ezewiro, a 3-star center who LSU signed before they signed his 5-star teammate. In addition to Thomas, the other big-name signed to LSU is Mwani Wilkinson, the 15th ranked SF in the nation who led Bishop Gorman HS to their 9th consecutive Nevada state title. The Tigers are also bringing in two transfer players, one of which is Shareef O’Neal, son of NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal who also played at LSU. With all of these new additions, look for LSU to be a serious threat to Kentucky in the SEC next season.

5. Tennessee

125px Tennessee Volunteers logo.svgAnother SEC program, the Tennessee Volunteers are coming off of a down year, only going 17-14 after a 2019 season that saw them reach the Sweet Sixteen. Although the Vols’ recruiting class only consists of 4 players, the quality of the recruits certainly makes up for the quantity. Tennessee’s 2020 class consists of two 5-stars, one 4-star, and one 3-star.

The two 5-stars, 6’5 Jaden Springer from IMG Academy in Florida and 6’5 Keon Johnson from The Webb School in Tennessee, are the 3rd and 4th most highly ranked recruits in school history. Springer is ranked as the 3rd best combo guard in the nation while Johnson is ranked as the 4th best shooting guard in the nation. The combination of Springer and Johnson in the Vols’ backcourt should certainly be one to watch out for next season. Tennessee’s recruiting class is rounded out by 4-star PF Corey Walker from Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia, 3-star SF Malachi Wideman from Venice HS in Florida, and transfer EJ Anosike from Sacred Heart.

6. Arizona

arizona wildcatsThe Arizona Wildcats are the first team on my list without a 5-star recruit, however they do boast one of the more interesting freshman classes in recent history. The Wildcats’ 2020 recruiting class is headlined by five 4-star recruits, four of which are from overseas, a 3-star, and a 2-star. In addition to 8th ranked SF Dalen Terry from Hillcrest Prep in Arizona, the Wildcats signed PG Kerr Kriisa from Estonia, PF Azuolas Tubelis from Lithuania, C Daniel Batcho from France, and SF Bennedict Mathurin from Mexico.

All three international players are ranked within the top 25 of their respective positions for their class. Kriisa was a standout on Lithuanian team Zalgris in the EuroLeague last season, averaging 14.8p and 6a per game. Tubelis played at the professional level in Lithuania and will be accompanied to Arizona by his twin brother, 2-star recruit Tautvilas Tubelis. Batcho and Mathurin both played in developmental leagues in their countries last season. Basketball has grown as a sport across the globe, and Arizona is hoping that their international recruiting will result in success for their program. In addition to their incoming freshman, Arizona is also welcoming 3-star SF Tibet Gorener from Orange Lutheran HS in California and transfer guards Terrell Brown Jr. from Seattle and James Akinjo from Georgetown.

7. Michigan

michigan wolverinesThe Michigan Wolverines have been a top program in the Big Ten over the last decade, although they took a slight step back last season behind new HC Juwan Howard. With star PG Zavier Simpson and C Jon Teske both graduating, the Wolverines need to reload to compete against the top teams in the Big Ten. Their 2020 recruiting class should help them do just that, as Michigan is bringing in three 4-star recruits, one 3-star, and 3 transfers.

The class is headlined by 7’2 C Hunter Dickinson from basketball powerhouse DeMatha Catholic in Maryland. Dickinson was named the Washington Post’s All-Met Player of the Year and should be a perfect replacement for the departing 7’1 Teske. Dickinson is joined by fellow DMV native Terrence Williams, a 4-star PF from Gonzaga College HS in Washington, DC who was also named to the Washington Post’s All-Met 1st Team. Joining the two is 4-star G Zeb Jackson from Montverde Academy in Florida, who is seen as a crafty combo guard that can play either the 1 or the 2. Joining the freshmen are transfer guards Chaundee Brown from Wake Forest and Nojel Eastern from Purdue, who both bring starting experience from teams in Power 5 conferences.

8. Auburn

auburn tigersAn SEC school generally known for its football program, Auburn has become one of the top basketball programs in the country over the last two years. The Tigers made the NCAA Tournament each of the last two years, including a trip to the Final Four in 2019. Auburn was on pace for another deep run in March this year, as they were tied with Kentucky for the best record in the SEC at 25-6 before the postseason was canceled. The Tigers are bringing in one 5-star, one 4-star, and three 3-star recruits to the program.

The class is headlined by PG Sharife Cooper from McEachern HS in Georgia, who is ranked as the 5th best PG in the nation. Cooper is the highest-ranked basketball signee in school history and should fit well in the starting PG position with starter J’Von McCormick graduating. Auburn is also bringing in 4-star JT Thor from Norcross HS in Georgia, who is ranked as the 7th best PF in the nation. With all the recent success this Auburn program has had, adding two highly ranked prospects to the team should keep the Tigers in SEC contention for years to come.

9. Gonzaga

gonzagaThe Gonzaga Bulldogs, also known as the Zags, are a basketball powerhouse in the West Coast Conference, having made the NCAA Tournament every year since 1999 including a National Championship appearance in 2017. Despite playing in a weaker conference, Gonzaga has continually put out rosters that contend with top programs in the country. Although their 2020 recruiting class consists of only 3 players, each of their three recruits are all highly touted prospects. Gonzaga is bringing in 5-star Jalen Suggs from Minnehaha Academy in Minnesota, 4-star Julian Strawther from Liberty HS in Nevada, and 4-star Dominick Harris from Rancho Christian in California.

The three have self-proclaimed themselves as “The Tricky Trio” and make up the highest-ranked recruit class in school history according to 247Sports. Suggs, a 6’5 guard rated the 2nd best combo guard in the nation, was also a 3-star QB prospect with offers from schools like Georgia, Iowa, and Michigan St. He is a great athlete who should be an immediate contributor with the Zags. Strawther, a 6’7 SF, is a forward known for his playmaking abilities while Harris is a 6’4 combo guard who can play either the 1 or the 2. Overall, Gonzaga’s Tricky Trio looks primed to make an impact for the Zags next season.

10. Indiana

indiana hoosiersThe Indiana Hoosiers, once of the most dominant basketball programs in the NCAA, haven’t had the same success that they once had in recent years. However, with standout freshman Trayce Jackson-Davis returning for his sophomore year and a solid recruit class coming in, the future looks bright for HC Archie Miller’s Hoosiers. Indiana was able to land one 5-star, one 4-star, and two 3-star recruits for the upcoming season.

The headliner for this freshman class is 5-star Khristian Lander, a 6’2 PG from Francis Joseph Reitz High School in Indiana. Lander is ranked as the 6th best PG in the nation and the best overall player from the state of Indiana. This is the 2nd time in the past 3 classes that IU has landed the top prospect from Indiana, with Romeo Langford deciding to play there in 2018. Lander is joined by Jordan Geronimo, a 6’6 SF from St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire. Although he averaged 18p and 9r his senior season, Geronimo is known as a defensive stud and prides himself on playing tough defense. The class is rounded out by two more Indiana high school basketball products in 3-star shooting guards Anthony Leal and Trey Galloway.

  
I am a rising junior at Butler University with a Sports Media major and a minor in Strategic Communication. I was born and raised in Bethesda, MD right outside Washington DC, and I’ve been a huge DC sports fan my whole life. I’ve been lucky enough to see both the Nats and Caps win titles in my lifetime, however I have a feeling that my Redskins and Wizards won’t be joining them as champions anytime soon.

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