Friday, April 20, 2012

A Whirlwind of Recruiting

My first post on HoopVision was going to be an analysis on the impact of a top-15 recruiting class (according to in both college basketball and football. In a year when Kentucky wins the national championship after its third consecutive #1 ranked recruiting class, the impact of the one-and-done rule seemed to have manifested itself into one of the best college basketball teams in the last two decades. In the analysis versus football, we should have seen that a top recruiting class in basketball has a bigger impact in the first year than it does in football, where players stay in school much longer.

However, the correlation between winning percentage and X number of years after a top-15 recruiting class was low. Very little change from year one down the road. So, we decided to keep the analysis to basketball only and look at what a top recruiting class does to a team.

It seems that the relation between a strong recruiting class and the recruiting ranks of the following years was much stronger than versus the ability to win games.

So, what do we learn when we visualize this information?

We don't learn much. In the last six years, Arizona has had a top-15 signing class five times (!), but a win percentage of just 63% during the same span. If we look at the performance versus recruiting rankings, should we say that those folks who grade recruiting over-value teams that are considered "good recruiters?"


Then let's look at the performance based on how high a program was ranked in the top 15 recruiting class. In the chart below, the winning percentages in the first year match up beautifully (in correct order).

But the programs ranked in the bottom tier of the top 15 actually improve at a much better rate than the higher tiers. The logic would be that the higher ranked programs would have more players that leave school early, decreasing team performance.

My takeaway will be that recruiting is a complicated whirlwind of coaches, runners, agents, AAU coaches, clothing companies and text messages.

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