Mohamed Bamba’s decision to attend Texas rather than Kentucky was viewed largely in terms of the microcosm that it is; one high school athlete’s collegiate decision.
Yet Bamba’s future in Austin also served as the final domino in another somewhat momentous conclusion: For the first time in the history of 247 Sports’ recruiting rankings, none of the top-5 prospects chose to attend Kentucky, Duke or North Carolina.
Yes, Kentucky will still finish with the top overall recruiting class in the Class of 2017. And Duke and North Carolina won’t be too far behind, either. Still, those classes are comprised of players just outside the top-5, which means that the NBA Draft in 2018 may not feature players from those three elite programs atop the list GMs clamor for.
How did the Class of 2017 shake out that way? The factions of elite recruits that have emerged in prior years never quite coalesced at the very top of the board, leading each superstar prospect to go their own way. Michael Porter Jr. followed his father to Missouri after Washington’s class fell apart. Bamba is headed to Texas. Point guard extraordinaire Collin Sexton will play for Avery Johnson at Alabama. DeAndre Ayton, long the top prospect in the class before Porter Jr.’s rise, was one of the first commits among the top five, choosing Arizona.
Then there is Mitchell Robinson, ranked No. 5 by 247 and headed to Western Kentucky, where he’ll be the top-rated recruit in Hilltoppers history.
There they are: 1-5, not a one headed to Duke, North Carolina or Kentucky. Don’t cry for the Blue Devils and Trevon Duval, Kentucky’s Hamidou Diallo and Kevin Knox, or future Tar Heels like Jalek Felton. They’ll all be fine. But for once, Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams and even John Calipari aren’t driving the train.