Can the Jays Keep Pace?
Late summer on the Great Plains…It’s still hot and with the effects of climate change we may not see the leaves turn ’til November. The doldrums continue and it’s a month away from the start of hoops practices. For those whose fancy is minor sports – football has started…hrumph.
I’ve been keeping an eye on the 2019 recruiting landscape and it appears the Big East is off to a great start. According to adoraz, on the Holyland of Hoops site, the BE has the following early breakdown, in keeping with expectations of a major conference:
Class rankings acording to 247:
#52 Creighton1 Five Star
8 Four Stars
Can’t find the list I made for the previous 6 years, but this already puts us very close (if not at) some of our worst classes. Being this early on in the process, that’s an incredible achievement.
I think this class ends up being our second best, without an outside shot at the best (2014).Johnnies
and an article from Busting Brackets… https://bustingbrackets.com/2018/04/30/analyzing-big-east-recruiting-trends/
Early results have Villanova capitalizing on their national titles to get commits from one 5-star (#12) and two 4-star recruits. Xavier has commits from two 4-star recruits & a 3-star. Butler has commits from a 4-star and a 3-star recruit. DePaul and Providence both have one 4-star commit, while the Jays have a 3-star commit in Shereef Mitchell thus far. This growth in securing commits from 4 and 5 star recruits is a definite trend over the first five years of the new configuration of the Big East. Escalation appears to be the watchword for the conference. All out recruiting wars seem to be just ahead.
To Coach Mac’s credit CU has increased it’s range and drawing power recruiting-wise. Creighton has improved recruiting to where we have landed the improved classes the last three years.
2013 – #163 nationally, in the MVC
2014 – #59 nationally, 6th BE
2015 – #69 nationally, 6th BE (Patton)
2016 – #44 nationally, 4th BE
2017 – # 25 nationally, 3rd BE
2018 – #42 nationally, 4th BE
2019 – #52 thus far.
My concern lies in that Creighton continues to have a significant miss rate on our top recruiting targets. We are aiming high for several top 100 targets, but our commit rate is a meager 10-12% success. I (and others) attribute such a low commit rate to our lack of NCAA successes. The Jays have made the dance 5 of the last 8 years, but have not capitalized by making a sweet 16 or better run. It is widely held that NCAA success is a national barometer of a programs standing, thus better performance in the dance is rewarded by better recruiting results. The Villanova example tends to bear this out, while Gonzaga does not.
It also needs to be pointed out that several programs such as St Johns, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Western Kentucky, among others, continue to recruit at high levels in spite of poor overall performance. This tells me there are other factors involved in the overall recruiting process.
Shoutout to the college transfer aftermarket: Gotta give props to the transfers. Creighton has mined the transfer aftermarket with exceptional skill. We have picked up notable talent on the transfer wire, which augmented and masked our recruiting shortfalls. Noting the adjustments for season-ending injuries, our transfer players have contributed greatly to Creighton’s success in recent years. I shudder to think of our performance these last 5 years without them. It is my hope that our primary HS recruiting improves and the Jays have less need to rely on aftermarket transfer/Juco recruiting.
I am of the opinion that the 2019 class will fall into the top 20-30 range with the presumed commitment from #42 (247) Zach Harvey and a top 100 big in either Nnaji, Koloko, other. This will be consistent with our recent trend of 3rd-4th in the BE and with our current commit rate. The issue is that we have seen that our current level of recruiting translates to a tie for 3rd in the BE race. Unless we see a boost this season from the combined 2017 and 2018 classes, I am saddened to say that we may have palateaued as a mid-tier team in the conference.
Creighton needs to improve our recruiting sales pitch and closure rate and/or make the NCAA run in order to boost recruiting to the next (top 50) level, as continuing our current recruiting status quo will, in all likelihood, continue to give us mid-tier results. Given the conferences seeming current trend in recruiting escalation, the Jays situation could get worse.
Fortunately 2019 looks bright for Creighton to get it’s guys and the outlook for 2020, 2021 is also positive. The Jays need to improve our sales spiel and check the NCAA run box a couple of times to ensure that we can continue to effectively compete on the recruiting trail. It is at the point of being a necessity, not a luxury. The alternative is to consistently slide into the bottom half of the conference standings. It’s no fun down there, hanging out, playing cards with DePaul. Let’s go all-in on the opportunity presented here.
Video: Courtesy Creighton University
Be the Best you can be…be a Bluejay!