KStateOnline - OPINION: Weber has his best class, again
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OPINION: Weber has his best class, again

Let's make one point clear to start this column: Technically speaking, the "best" class Bruce Weber has signed at Kansas State included Barry Brown, Dean Wade and Kam Stokes.

Results on court, not recruiting rankings, define how good of a class you ultimately sign.

That group, of course, ended up going to three NCAA Tournaments in four years, making a trip to the Elite Eight and winning a Big 12 Championship, putting an end to rival Kansas' 14-year conference winning streak in the process.

For the purposes of this piece, though, when I talk about "best" recruiting classes, I'm just referring to recruiting rankings at the time of that class arriving at K-State.

That said, from a recruiting ranking perspective, Weber signed his best class a year ago.

The high school group of DaJuan Gordon, Montavious Murphy and Antonio Gordon boasted Weber's highest rated individual recruit (D. Gordon) and two Rivals150 players (D. Gordon, Murphy). Antonio Gordon, the high school signee not listed in the 150, was nationally rated among his own position group.

The fourth signee a year ago, junior college transfer David Sloan, was a Rivals150 recruit as a high school player.

When K-State won the Big 12 last season, it had two players - Xavier Sneed (No. 93 in 2016) and Dean Wade (No. 106 in 2015) - who were Rivals150 members, upon arriving at K-State, on its roster.

This coming season, the Wildcats will have three such players (Sneed, D. Gordon and Murphy).

Next season, the Wildcats should have a minimum of six such players in D. Gordon, Murphy, Nijel Pack, Luke Kasubke, Selton Miguel and Davion Bradford.

If you wanted to force the thought even further, the Wildcats would have eight players who were ranked in the 150 at least once during their high school senior year, with Sloan and Shaun Williams included.

The point, ultimately, is K-State is following up its most highly rated recruiting class of the Weber era with a class that will blow it out of the water, from a rankings perspective.

This was bolstered further today, of course, with the commitment of Bradford, the 7-foot high school big man who picked the Wildcats over Missouri, among other Power Five offers.

K-State entered the day with Rivals' 19th best basketball class for 2020. Bradford will push that into the top 15, at least, although the class may ultimately settle in the 15-25 range.

Barry Brown wasn't a Rivals150 recruit, but he became a star in Manhattan.
Barry Brown wasn't a Rivals150 recruit, but he became a star in Manhattan. (Getty Images)

It's important to note, of course, membership in the Rivals150 doesn't guarantee success any more than exclusion from it suggests you can't contribute.

As referenced above, Brown and Stokes were not Rivals150 members as high school recruits, and each became massive four-year contributors to one of the most successful basketball programs in the Big 12 over their time in Manhattan.

And, on the flip side, a highly rated player such as Malek Harris ended up having little production at K-State before transferring after one season.

So, obviously, a 'Rivals150 member' tag doesn't guarantee anything.

Also as obvious, though, should be the typical correlation you find between the best basketball teams in the country and annual recruiting rankings. You're better off trying to make noise with a bunch of highly recruited kids, more often than not.

K-State is off a seven-year stretch featuring five NCAA Tournaments, two Big 12 titles and an Elite Eight berth, one that came with rosters not as talented - at least on paper - as the core Weber and company are building right now.

It's hard not to feel like Weber, Chris Lowery, Brad Korn and Jermaine Henderson are raising the bar right now when it comes to the talent level of K-State basketball. And, they're also doing it by taking the commitment of one more player (at least...) than the scholarship situation suggests it can handle next year.

Stockpiling talent, even more than your roster can currently handle, would probably be something Wildcat fans could get used to.

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