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Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Coaches weigh impact of top new recruits

By Myron Medcalf

We won’t see another college basketball game for about seven months. That’s a long time.

But the players in the highly touted 2013 recruiting class will reach their respective campuses soon.

Future Arizona forward Aaron Gordon (No. 4 in the 2013 class per RecruitingNation) could be a game-changer who morphs Sean Miller’s squad into a Final Four-caliber program. He’s Blake Griffin Lite.

Indiana’s Noah Vonleh (No. 8), a 6-foot-8 five-star forward, could make folks in Bloomington forget about the loss of Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller.

Former Nerlens Noel teammate Wayne Selden (No. 12) is a stocky 6-foot-5 guard with swagger. He’s going to Kansas and, yes, he’ll log minutes for Bill Self.

Florida’s Billy Donovan will have a good rotation problem when McDonald’s All Americans Kasey Hill (No. 9) and Chris Walker (No. 14) enter the mix in Gainesville.

Locals are at the center of Memphis’ nationally ranked recruiting class, which includes PF Austin Nichols (No. 15), SF Kuran Iverson (No. 31) and SF Nick King (No. 33).

Julius Randle
Julius Randle highlights a Kentucky recruiting some have touted as being the best of all-time.
Duke’s Jabari Parker (No. 2) plays like a pro. He’ll be ready to star in Mike Krzyzewski’s system in Year 1.

And then there’s the young NBA franchise that John Calipari signed. The “greatest recruiting class of all time” is a legitimate label for the top-rated bunch in the field. Julius Randle (No. 3), Andrew Harrison (No. 5), James Young (No. 6), Aaron Harrison (No. 7) and Dakari Johnson (No. 11) are all potential pros.

Here’s what some of the coaches who’ll have to deal with those young studs in conference play next season had to say (anonymously) about the impact they might have on their programs as freshmen.

Aaron Gordon (Arizona)
“Arizona will be very tough adding Gordon. He’s versatile and athletic and could probably play three to four positions.” -- Pac-12 head coach.

Noah Vonleh (Indiana)
“Noah is as talented as any 2013 recruit. He has the total package. Should be an impact player from day one. He’s very skilled for his size and also has a college-ready body.” –-- Big Ten assistant.

Wayne Selden (Kansas)
“He’s a big-time athlete and very talented, I know that.” -- Big 12 head coach.

Kasey Hill and Chris Walker (Florida)
“Hill is a special talent and will play, but he is not beating out [Scottie Wilbekin]. He is too tough and the best defender in our league. I worry about Walker. Will Walker accept his role? Because he is not a better basketball player than [Dorian Finney-Smith] or [Damontre Harris]. He is a better athletic talent but not a better basketball player.” -- SEC head coach.

Austin Nichols, Kuran Iverson and Nick King (Memphis)
“I think from what I saw, Kuran Iverson has the intangibles to make an impact. Nick King has good length and size. He has the best chance to make an impact. Austin Nichols is going to need a year to develop his body.” -- American Athletic Conference/Big East assistant.

Jabari Parker (Duke)
“Jabari has the ability to impact the game in so many ways. He’s versatile, knows how to win, and will fit in very well in Duke’s style.” -- ACC assistant.

Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison, Julius Randle and Dakari Johnson (Kentucky)
“I think they’re all very talented. When you’re talking about this class, they all have the mentality of one-and-done. Now you have to make it work. Two years ago, they had some experienced guys with a seven-man rotation. Now, they’ll have a nine- or 10-man rotation.” -- SEC head coach.