Recruiting Roundup: Ben Howland building another solid class at Mississippi State
Howland has secured commitments from nine top-120 prospects in 18 months since taking over in Starkville
Ben Howland just enrolled a recruiting class at Mississippi State that ranked ninth nationally, according to 247Sports. Now his next class is off to a promising start, too.
It was the biggest recruiting development of the weekend.
The 6-foot-2 point guard from Camden, Miss., is ranked 28th in the 247Sports Class of 2017 Composite Rankings. He picked Mississippi State over schools like Kansas, Indiana, Louisville, North Carolina and Ohio State, all of which reportedly offered. And by doing so he became the ninth prospect ranked in the top 120 to pledge to Mississippi State since Howland was hired just 18 months ago.
The highest-rated of that bunch was Malik Newman.
Obviously, that didn't go too well -- proof being that Newman is no longer in the program. But the top freshman at Mississippi State last season wasn't actually the McDonald's All-American from Jackson. The top freshman at Mississippi State last season was Quinndary Weatherspoon, a 6-4 guard who averaged 12.0 points and 4.7 rebounds and just so happens to be Nick Weatherspoon's older brother. In other words, Mississippi State used a home-state advantage and a big-brother advantage to land its top target. Consequently, before too long, Howland is going to have a program so loaded with talent that NCAA Tournament appearances should be an annual thing for the Bulldogs.
5 OTHER WEEKEND RECRUITING DEVELOPMENTS
1. The only other top-70 prospect from the Class of 2017 to commit this weekend is Isaiah Washington, a 6-0 point guard from New York. He picked Richard Pitino's Minnesota Gophers.
2. Will Wade secured his second top-100 recruit since replacing Shaka Smart at VCU when Lavar Batts committed to the Rams on Saturday. The 6-2 point guard is ranked 98th in the Class of 2017.
3. Colorado had a nice weekend as D'Shwan Schwartz, a 6-5 wing, and Tyler Bey, a 6-8 forward, both committed. Schwartz is ranked 74th in the Class of 2017. Bey is 123rd. Colorado's class is now ranked 19th nationally, according to 247Sports.
4. Providence added a second top-140 prospect to its class Saturday when Nate Watson committed to Ed Cooley's Friars. The 6-8 center from Virginia is ranked 100th in the Class of 2017. He reportedly had other offers from Maryland, Miami, North Carolina State and Wake Forest.
5. Five-star prospect Kevin Knox used a video featuring a track from Kanye West's "The Life of Pablo" album to announce his final five schools on Friday. They are Duke, Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina.
The 6-8 wing from Florida is ranked ninth in the Class of 2017, according to 247 Sports. Most recruiting analysts believe he will eventually enroll at Duke.
FINAL THOUGHT: So I added it up this morning and the number is 48. That's how many prospects ranked in 247Sports' top 100 are now committed to a school. And the 48 are committed to 37 different programs.
Arizona, Florida, Louisville, Michigan, Texas, UCLA, Villanova, Washington and Wisconsin all have two top-100 prospects committed each. Twenty-seven other schools have one each. And the only program in the country that currently has more than two top-100 prospects committed is ... Auburn.
Yep, Bruce Pearl's Tigers are ahead of the pack with the Class of 2017.
They have three top-55 prospects committed -- most notably five-star forward Austin Wiley. That fact serves as evidence that Auburn's investment in basketball is paying off, and it highlights something I've said many times, specifically this: with few exceptions, any Power 5 school can succeed in men's basketball if it commits strongly to the sport financially, builds top-shelf facilities, hires the right coach who hires the right staff, and provides that right coach and his right staff with the resources necessary to compete.
Auburn has done all of those things in recent years.
This elite recruiting class is the result.
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