In the first part of a series that I hope to continue, I'm going to take a look at the recent recruiting classes under Greg McDermott and Wayne Morgan. Recruiting is a big part of winning in the Big 12 these days, so it makes sense to analyze that part of a coach's job as much as what happens on the court. Of course, starting tonight with the class of 2008, conclusions are obviously incomplete. However, we can draw form some preliminary observations.
G Dominique Buckley
Buckley, perhaps the most heralded member of this six-man class, started out slow and has just now been seeing more minutes. It's often been said that Greg McDermott's offense is the toughest on point guards, and that it takes a while to pick up. Buckley has shown flashes, including against Iowa, but a combination of inexperience and a lack of trust from the coaching staff has limited his minutes. His playing time is truly dependent on what Diante Garrett is doing. Minutes will also be a challenge next season, with the highly regarded Chris Colvin coming in.
G Wes Eikmeier
A prodigious scorer in the Nebraska high school ranks, has been slowed by injury most of the year. While he does have a nice shot, he can't yet create it at the college level. Also has the deer in the headlights look whenever he has the ball. Also needs to keep up in the weight room. At the beginning of the season, he looked like he could have a serious impact by draining the longball, but he's been largely MIA up until the Baylor game. A guy that really could have used a redshirt year. I'm not giving up hope on him, but one wonders if he's going to be little more than a John Neal-type with a lot less defense and just a little better shooting.
C Justin Hamilton
Hamilton was a guy that I thought was the biggest reach, but he's also shown the biggest flashes this year. A one year starter in high school, he moved into the starting lineup at midseason, and showed that he has potential to be a serviceable center. The fact that he's the only true center on the team means that his minutes will be there in the future if he continues his progression. McDermott said he doesn't have a lot of bad habits, and that seems true. He just needs to keep working hard. He's a very good shooter for a big man, and he has shown the ability to rebound at times. He's ahead of where I thought he'd be.
F Clint Mann
Mann has functioned as the end of the bench guy this year, and likely could have used a redshirt. One has to think if he was in any way able to contribute, he'd have played, but he's receiving the least minutes out of all the scholarship and walkon players. Maybe he has Cory Johnson syndrome....except Johnson was a pretty decent shooter. Probably got one too many stars from Rivals.
F LA Pomlee
Redshirted. May be in line to see post minutes next year with the departure of Alex Thompson. Was a good rebounder in high school, which is something this team sorely needs.
F Jamie Vanderbeken
If you're going to recruit JUCO, the guy has to produce. Vanderbeken has done so in spurts this year, and will likely be leaned on heavily next year if Craig Brackins does indeed go pro. It may bother some that a 6-11 guy leads our team in three point shooting at just under 40%, but he really is our best shooter. It'd be nice if he could have more of a post impact, but he has contributed. Probably needs to shoot more.
The 2008 class has been a little underwhelming at first glance, with limited impact from Eikmeier, Hamilton and Vanderbeken.....none of which ever really came at the same time. If Craig Brackins ends up going pro, these guys will need to step up in the next year or two in an effort to save their coach's job.