Instant-impact recruiting classes
Hope springs eternal when it comes to college basketball recruiting classes.
Once again, many of the blue-blood programs, such as the Kentucky Wildcats, North Carolina Tar Heels, Indiana Hoosiers, Michigan State Spartans and Kansas Jayhawks, have hit the jackpot with excellent recruiting classes that should help them maintain their status among the elite next season. But a number of former powerhouses and a couple of upstart programs will have to lean more heavily on their incoming recruiting classes, giving those newcomers the most opportunity to have an instant impact on the court next season.
Here are a number of teams who should dramatically benefit from their excellent crop of recruits:
1. UCLA Bruins
The Bruins under coach Ben Howland were used to being at the top of the polls and the recruiting rankings in his first six seasons, and then the bottom fell out. No team in the country needed to reload more than UCLA, and it took care of that with ESPN's No. 1 recruiting class. It's a good enough class to put the Bruins back among the elite programs in 2012-13.
Shabazz Muhammad's immense talent, athleticism and intensity level will make the 6-foot-5 small forward welcomed at UCLA. ESPN's No. 2-rated recruit should lead the Bruins in scoring en route to being a top-five selection in the 2013 NBA draft.
To read Fran Fraschilla's full list of the recruiting classes who will have an early impact, sign up for ESPN Insider.