The Class of 2016 -- i.e., the recruiting class each school just enrolled -- wasn't great for the American Athletic Conference, the proof being that only one school secured a class that ranked in the top 50 nationally.

That one school was Connecticut.

And it's difficult to say whether things will get considerably better because the league did lose two accomplished recruiters this offseason -- first when Josh Pastner left Memphis for Georgia Tech, then when Larry Brown abruptly resigned from SMU. Sure, it's possible their replacements -- Tubby Smith and Tim Jankovich -- will recruit similarly or even at a higher level. But nobody can say for sure. And, either way, it's worth noting the AAC isn't off to a hot start with the Class of 2017 considering only one consensus top-100 prospect is currently committed to an AAC school.

All that said, some of the programs that are now in this still relatively new league that's basically a mashup of old Big East and C-USA schools have recruited well in the past. In the first installment of our Top Recruits Series, the following is a look at the 10 best prospects each AAC school has signed since the year 2000, according to 247Sports' database.

Cincinnati Bearcats

PLAYER YEAR STARS RATING NATIONAL RANK
1. Lance Stephenson 2009 .9963 9
2. Jermaine Lawrence 2013 .9900 24
3. Yancy Gates 2008 .9886 22
4. Devan Downey 2005 .9851 34
5. Jason Henry 2007 .9775 52
6. Jarron Cumberland 2016 .9774 55
7. Anthony McClain 2007 .9730 60
8. Tyree Evans 2005 .9691 62
9. Shaquille Thomas 2011 .9664 81
10. Vincent Banks 2004 .9618 56

-- Source: 247Sports

Lance Stephenson spent only one year in college and averaged 12.3 points for a team that finished 19-16. He then went on to the NBA, where he most famously blew air in LeBron James' ear during the Eastern Conference Playoffs.

Jermaine Lawrence played one season at Cincinnati and then transferred to Manhattan. He averaged 4.8 points for the Jaspers in the 2014-15 season but didn't appear in any of the final six games because of a "violation of team rules." The 6-10 forward was suspended for half of the following season because of a failed drug test. He then withdrew from school.

Devan Downey spent only one year at Cincinnati before transferring to South Carolina. The point guard finished with 2,304 career points and 567 career assists. He was largely responsible for handing John Calipari his first loss at Kentucky.

East Carolina Pirates

PLAYER YEAR STARS RATING NATIONAL RANK
1. Jabari Craig 2016 .8800 12
2. Lance Tejada 2014 .8763 177
3. Chris Turner 2008 .8734 179
4. Paris Roberts-Campbell 2011 .8633 221
5. Raquan Wilkins 2016 .8590 244
T6. Marshall Guilmette 2012 .8556 233
T6. Christian Kabongo 2010 .8556 263
8. Brock Young 2007 .8546 261
9. Darius Morrow 2008 .8512 242
10. Deng Riak 2015 .8510 253

-- Source: 247Sports

Lance Tejada averaged 4.1 points as a freshman, 4.4 points as a sophomore and then transferred out of the ECU program. He's now at Lehigh, where he'll sit this season per normal transfer rules and be eligible for the 2017-18 season.

Christian Kabongo never actually played at East Carolina. But he did spend parts of two seasons at New Mexico State, where he averaged 14.6 points and 3.5 assists as a sophomore before being suspended indefinitely for making a lewd gesture at a UTEP fan. The Canadian point guard then transferred to Morgan State -- though he never actually played a game for Todd Bozeman's Bears.

Darrius Morrow played 123 games for the Pirates and scored 1,506 career points. But ECU only finished with a winning record in one of his four years on campus.

Houston Cougars

PLAYER YEAR STARS RATING NATIONAL RANK
1. Danuel House 2012 .9909 26
2. Danrad Knowles 2012 .9747 70
3. Lanny Smith 2003 .9641 75
4. Joseph Young 2010 .9620 89
5. TaShawn Thomas 2011 .9274 107
6. Torian Graham 2014 .9200 3
7. Rob Gray 2015 .8900 27
8. Fabian White 2017 .8746 230
9. Xavier Dupree 2015 .8700 38
10. Brockeith Pane 2007 .8616 192

-- Source: 247Sports

Danuel House spent two years at Houston but then transferred to Texas A&M. He averaged at least 12.4 points in all four years of college and led the Aggies to a first-place tie with Kentucky in the SEC last season, then to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

Joseph Young spent two seasons at Houston but then transferred to Oregon. The 2015 Pac-12 Player of the Year scored 2,304 points in his four-year college career. He appeared in 41 games for the Indiana Pacers last season.

Tashawn Thomas spent his first three years of college at Houston but closed his career at Oklahoma, where he averaged 11.6 points and 6.5 rebounds for a team that made the Sweet 16 of the 2015 NCAA Tournament. His best season, statistically speaking, was when he averaged 16.9 points and 9.8 rebounds as a sophomore at Houston.

Memphis Tigers

PLAYER YEAR STARS RATING NATIONAL RANK
1. Derrick Rose 2007 .9987 5
2. Tyreke Evans 2008 .9985 5
3. Kendrick Perkins 2003 .9980 6
4. Adonis Thomas 2011 .9961 9
5. Will Barton 2010 .9949 13
6. Shawne Williams 2005 .9924 16
7. Joe Jackson 2010 .9921 20
8. Darius Washington Jr. 2004 .9912 18
9. Austin Nichols 2013 .9907 22
10. Jelan Kendrick 2010 .9898 24

-- Source: 247Sports

Derrick Rose spent one year at Memphis and led the Tigers to the title game of the 2008 NCAA Tournament. But that season was later vacated because of Rose's fraudulent standardized test score. He was the No. 1 overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft and the NBA's Most Valuable Player in 2011.

Joe Jackson spent four seasons at Memphis and led the Tigers to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances. The Memphis native was twice named MVP of the Conference USA Tournament and was voted C-USA's Player of the Year in 2013. He's now playing professionally in Israel.

Darius Washington had two solid years at Memphis but is best remembered for missing two free throws with no time on the clock in the title game of the 2005 C-USA Tournament. The misses occurred on national television and cost Memphis a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Phish wrote a song about it.

SMU Mustangs

PLAYER YEAR STARS RATING NATIONAL RANK
1. Keith Frazier 2013 .9878 27
2. Shake Milton 2015 .9670 79
3. Sterling Brown 2013 .9306 110
4. Harry Froling 2016 .9174 130
5. Tom Wilson 2016 .9100 136
6. Everett Ray 2017 .9080 157
7. Dez Willingham 2005 .9018 100
8. Sedrick Barefield 2015 .9005 153
9. Yanick Moreira 2013 .9000 5
10. Cannen Cunningham 2011 .8972 144

-- Source: 247Sports

Keith Frazier spent parts of three seasons at SMU but will ultimately be remembered as the player whose academic issues got the school banned from the 2016 NCAA Tournament. He averaged 11.9 points in 10 games last season before leaving the program for good.

Shake Milton averaged 10.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists for the Mustangs last season. The sophomore is expected to have a bigger role this season now that Nic Moore has exhausted his eligibility.

Yanick Moreira averaged 11.1 points and 6.4 rebounds in his final year of college while helping the Mustangs advance to the 2015 NCAA Tournament. He was famously called for goaltending in the final seconds of SMU's Round of 64 game with UCLA when he touched a 3-point shot launched by Bryce Alford. The Mustangs lost the game 60-59, after which Moreira said, "It's all my fault."

Temple Owls

PLAYER YEAR STARS RATING NATIONAL RANK
1. Wayne Marshall 2003 .9259 96
2. Obi Enechionyia 2014 .9233 120
3. Levan Alston 2015 .9212 127
4. Daniel Dingle 2012 .9205 146
5. Lavoy Allen 2007 .9131 117
6. Trey Lowe 2015 .9029 147
7. Nate Pierre-Louis 2017 .8998 175
8. Josh Brown 2013 .8935 160
9. Alani Moore 2016 .8915 164
10. Dion Dacons 2003 .8876 126

-- Source: 247Sports

Wayne Marshall only played two seasons at Temple and averaged 6.9 points and 4.6 rebounds for Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame coach John Chaney. He spent much of the subsequent decade playing professionally in Japan.

Obi Enechionyia is now a junior at Temple and the team's leading returning scorer. He averaged 11.0 points and 3.8 rebounds last season.

Lavoy Allen helped Temple make four straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 2008 through 2011. He scored 1,421 career points and has spent the past five seasons in the NBA playing for the Sixers and Pacers.

Tulane Green Wave

PLAYER YEAR STARS RATING NATIONAL RANK
1. Keith Pinckney 2014 .9008 146
2. Kain Harris 2015 .8813 180
3. Melvin Frazier 2015 .8772 184
4. Colin Slater 2016 .8648 233
5. Charvon Julien 2015 .8538 245
6. Kris Richard 2007 .8484 273
T7. Vincent Camper 2003 .8444 215
T7. Aaron Holmes 2009 .8444 19*
T7. Johnny Mayhanne 2006 .8444 275
10. Jon Andersen 2007 .8262 344

-- Source: 247Sports

Keith Pinckney spent one season at Tulane and averaged just 2.4 points in 9.4 minutes per game. He then transferred to Old Dominion and sat out last season per normal NCAA transfer rules. He'll play for the Monarchs this season.

Melvin Frazier averaged 5.2 points in 19.5 minutes per game last season as a freshman. He had a career-high 15 points in a win over USF last January.

Vincent Camper played three years at Tulane. He averaged 6.8 points and 3.0 assists in his final season with the Green Wave.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane

PLAYER YEAR STARS RATING NATIONAL RANK
1. Yusuf Baker 2004 .8778 147
2. Jordan Clarkson 2010 .8755 211
3. Tim Peete 2010 .8692 230
4. Travis Atson 2016 .8661 223
5. Keondre Dew 2014 .8564 225
T6. Oswaldo Gonzalez 2003 .8556 143
T6. Bassel Bawji 2008 .8556 201
T6. Guilherme Teichmann 2003 .8556 29*
9. Blondy Baruti 2010 .8552 273
T10. Roderick Earls 2005 .8444 177
T10. Jamel McLean 2006 .8444 200
T10. Calvin Walls 2006 .8444 7*
T10. Antonio Hanson 2005 .8444 211
T10. Ben Uzoh 2006 .8444 252

-- Source: 247Sports

Jordan Clarkson averaged 11.5 points as a freshman at Tulsa and 16.5 as a sophomore. He then transferred to Missouri, where he averaged 17.5 points before entering the 2014 NBA Draft. The 6-5 guard was a second-round pick. But he's spent the past two seasons with the Lakers. He signed a $50 million contract with the franchise this past July.

Tim Peete played four years at Tulsa and never averaged more than 5.3 points in any season. But he did play 22.3 minutes per game for the Tulsa team that made the 2014 NCAA Tournament under Danny Manning.

Keondre Dew lasted only one season at Tulsa and played just 5.5 minutes per game. He spent last season in junior college. He's now at Oregon State.

UCF Knights

PLAYER YEAR STARS RATING NATIONAL RANK
1. Michael Chandler 2011 .9787 50
2. Tacko Fall 2015 .9070 142
3. Adonys Henriquez 2014 .9013 144
4. Keith Clanton 2009 .8998 132
5. Chad Brown 2015 .8870 171
6. Myles Douglas 2017 .8776 219
T7. Nik Garcia 2009 .8775 164
T7. Isaiah Sykes 2010 .8775 202
9. Steven Haney 2013 .8760 173
10. Danny Lewis 2017 .8742 231

-- Source: 247Sports

Michael Chandler failed to meet minimum standards for freshman eligibility coming out of high school and thus never enrolled at UCF. He subsequently played in junior college and appeared in 19 games for Oregon during the 2014-15 season.

Keith Clanton scored 1,718 points in four seasons at UCF. The 6-9 forward was First Team All Conference USA in 2012. He's now playing professionally in Greece.

Isaiah Sykes scored 1,545 points in four seasons with the Knights. He averaged 17.2 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.7 steals as a senior.

USF Bulls

PLAYER YEAR STARS RATING NATIONAL RANK
1. John Egbunu 2013 .9740 60
2. Konimba Diarra 2003 .9612 80
3. Luis Montero 2015 .9300 4*
4. Javontae Hawkins 2012 .8934 180
5. Eladio Espinosa 2008 .8903 139
6. Dante Curry 2006 .8902 130
7. Shawn Smith 2015 .8900 20*
8. Troy Holston 2014 .8869 159
9. Chris Perry 2013 .8814 169
10. Lavonte Dority 2010 .8796 181

-- Source: 247Sports

John Egbuno averaged 7.4 points and 6.2 rebounds as a freshman at USF, then transferred to Florida. The 6-11 forward averaged 11.5 points and 6.5 rebounds for the Gators last season and will be a redshirt junior this season.

Konimba Diarra never became a relevant college player. The 6-10 center spent two years at USF and two at Charleston. He averaged 1.3 points in 94 career games.

Luis Montero decided to enter the 2015 NBA Draft out of junior college rather than enroll at USF. He was not selected. But he ultimately signed with Portland and appeared in 12 games for the Blazers last season.

UConn Huskies

PLAYER YEAR STARS RATING NATIONAL RANK
1. Rudy Gay 2004 .9986 5
2. Charlie Villanueva 2003 .9980 7
3. Andrew Bynum 2005 .9974 6
4. Kemba Walker 2008 .9950 12
5. Stanley Robinson 2006 .9930 17
6. DeAndre Daniels 2011 .9928 16
T7. Alex Oriakhi 2009 .9922 19
T7. Ater Majok 2008 .9922 17
9. Daniel Hamilton 2014 .9921 17
10. Jalen Adams 2015 .9907 23

-- Source: 247Sports

Rudy Gay averaged 15.2 points and 6.4 rebounds in his second and final season at UConn. He's spent the past 10 seasons in the NBA and has averaged 18.4 points and 5.9 rebounds for his career.

Kemba Walker spent three years at UConn and averaged 23.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists as a junior while leading the Huskies to a national championship. The point guard from New York has spent the past five seasons playing for the Charlotte Hornets. He averaged 20.9 points and 5.2 assists last season.

Jalen Adams is now a sophomore at UConn. He averaged 7.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists last season while helping the Huskies win 25 games and advance to the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament.