With Jonathan Isaac reaffirming his commitment to FSU it is a good time to take stock of where FSU stands in the recruiting race nationally. FSU's uptick in recruiting started with the 2015 class. Using the 247 basketball recruiting composite team rankings FSU checked in with the #9 class in 2015. As Nole fans know, this class consisted of Dwayne Bacon, Malik Beasley, Terance Mann, Christ Koumadje, and Benji Bell. The 2016 class is currently ranked #10 on the 247 composite ranking. It currently features Jonathan Isaac, Trent Forrest and CJ Walker. FSU is also still in the running for 4* big man Bruno Fernando. Fernando was an AAU teammate of Jonathan Isaac and FSU legacy and 2017 target 5* Kevin Knox.
There are still a few players left to commit. The late signing period begins April 13 and ends May 18. In addition, the final player recruiting rankings have not been released. Therefore FSU is not guaranteed to have a top 10 class in 2016. However the Noles are in good position based on what they already have because the majority of top players have committed. There are only five players left in the 247 top 50 that have not yet committed or signed. The other major caveat is that there are two players in the 2015 class who could be one and done (Bacon and Beasley). If either player leaves after this year then FSU obviously can't retain both top 10 classes. However, neither player appears on the recent Draft Express two round projection for the 2016 Draft (although both appear on the 2017 draft projection). Draft projections are very fluid at this point and one or both players could parlay strong play down the stretch into a major rise up draft boards (Beasley in particular is already rising) but at this point neither player is a particularly strong candidate to be a one and done.
With those caveats in place we can investigate the question of whether FSU can be the only school in the nation to recruit two consecutive top 10 classes and have all of the players from both of the classes appear on the same roster.
Below is a chart of the 247 Composite Basketball Recruiting Rankings for the years 2015 and 2016.
As the preceding chart illustrates, there are only three programs right now poised to have two consecutive top 10 classes; Kentucky, Duke and Florida State, otherwise known as the bluebloods. Before we discuss those programs let's investigate the possibility that one of the other top 10 classes from 2015 could move into the top 10 for 2016. Although recruiting is obviously tough to predict, there are a few programs that could pass FSU into the top 10 if things fall right for them. The three programs that stand out are Arizona, Kansas and Syracuse.
Arizona is currently ranked #30. They have commitments from 4* forward Lauri Markkanen and 5* guard Kobi Simmons. They are still involved with two 5* guards in Josh Jackson and Rawle Alkins. If they get either player they will definitely pass FSU and land in the top 10. They are against Michigan State and Kansas for Jackson while Alkins has eight other schools he is considering. If Arizona is able to get into the 2016 top 10 they will likely be a team that could retain all of the players in two straight top 10 classes. They signed two 5* players in 2015 (Allonzo Trier and Ray Smith) but neither projects to be a one and done player.
Kansas is currently ranked #35. They have commitments from 4* center Udoka Azubuike (sigh) and 4* forward Mitch Lightfoot. They are still involved with Jackson, Alkins, 5* forward Thon Maker and 5* forward Jarrett Allen. If they get any of those guys they will also pass FSU into the top 10. I don't think they will get Maker or Allen and Alkins is obviously wide open. Jackson is a possibility but it will be tough to get him out of Michigan. Kansas signed two 5* players in 2015 (Cheick Diallo and Carlton Bragg). Even though Diallo is having a rough year I think that he will be a one and done because of his great potential.
Syracuse is currently ranked #22. They have commitments from 4* guard Tyus Battle and 4* forward Matthew Moyer. They are currently thought to lead for 4* center Taurean Thompson. If they get Thompson they will likely just barely pass FSU for 10th place although it will be so close that the reranked player rankings could change the order. The Orange signed four 4* players in 2015 and it is unlikely that any of them will be one and done.
Of course anything is possible in recruiting but those are the programs with the best chance to pass FSU in the late signing period. If FSU lands 4* center Bruno Fernando the Noles are very likely to have a top 10 class even if those other programs land one of these top players.
Duke and Kentucky are recruiting juggernauts. Both programs are assured of consecutive top 5 classes but neither is at all likely to retain all of their recruits from 2015. Kentucky signed three 5* players in their 2015 class (Skal Labissiere, Jamal Murray and Isaiah Briscoe). There is zero chance that all three players will return to Lexington. Duke signed four 5* in their 2015 class (Brandon Ingram, Derryck Thornton, Chase Jeter and Luke Kennard). Ingram is certainly gone. He has an outside chance of being the overall top pick and will almost certainly go in the top five. However Duke does have a chance to retain the other three players. They are going to be crazy talented next year.
Now we turn to the third blueblood on our list, Florida State. FSU signed five players in 2015. Of those five only Dwayne Bacon and Malik Beasley are considered legitimate candidates to be one and done players. However as we discussed neither player appears on the Draft Express 2016 Mock Draft. At this point I stand by my prediction that neither player will be a one and done. My prediction is that both players will test the draft waters by attending the NBA Draft Combine and perhaps even scheduling individual workouts. However I believe that both players will get feedback from NBA scouts and coaches that will lead them to come back to school for one more year. This prediction is subject to change of course if either player really excels down the stretch or if either player blows up in the NCAA Tournament.
Assuming that both players return to school FSU will have a roster in 2016 that will feature two full top 10 classes. If Syracuse can get Thompson they will likely join FSU on this list. Arizona will also be on the list if they can get Jackson or Alkins which is far from a lock. Absent something really crazy happening there is no other program in the nation that is likely to be on this list.
Of course there is a lot still to be determined and there is a considerable amount of speculation in this analysis. However, as this article shows Florida State has improved its recruiting dramatically and deserves to be considered, for the last two years at least, as one of the heavyweights in college basketball recruiting. We will see in the very near future if the Seminoles will soon be seen as one of the heavyweights in college basketball on the court as well as on the recruiting trail. Whatever happens it is bound to be a fun ride.