As I watched the McDonald’s All-American game, the players change but some things stay the same. Kentucky, North Carolina and Duke have gone back to the old days where they got at least two all-americans every year. These three teams alone have 9 combined all-americans. This pattern shows you that these three programs are above the rest. When you look at the legacies of the three schools, you can see why these schools are where they are.
Kentucky has had a recent surge the past few years because of the arrival of Jon Calipari to take over the reins and when he stepped in, the talent followed. Calipari has brought in 10 high school all-americans since he first got there including the 4 he’s bringing in next year in PF Anthony Davis, PF Michael Wiltjer, SF Michael Gilchrist and PG Marquis Teague. Because of this surge of talent, now Kentucky has returned to elite status in college basketball. These new pieces along with whoever stays next year will have Kentucky in the mix again.
North Carolina has had a more steady approach of talent over the years. From Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins and James Worthy to Harrison Barnes, Reggie Bullocks and Kendall Marshall, the cupboard never seems to be bare. And because of their pedigree for recruiting the top talents despite who the coach has been, the Tar Heels have got two more elite talents to come into the university, PF James McAdoo and SF PJ Hairston. These pieces along with what North Carolina has coming back should propel them to even new heights next year.
Duke has the biggest advantage of any of these teams. I’m not the biggest fan of Coach K, but the thing you have to respect is that he continually gets the best talent to come play for him. And this year isn’t any different because he has the number 1 player in the nation, SG Austin Rivers, along with PF Marshall Plumblee and PG Quinn Cook coming into Durham. These players will ease the transition of what the Blue Devils will lose coming into next year.
The ever-changing scene of college basketball can be frustrating to a fan. You can never get used to the players there because of the one-and-done style and the early exits of college basketball increases. But for the true fans, just look at the legacies of winning with these programs and you can firmly say that elite programs still exist in this day and age of parity in college basketball. And as long as their around, talented people will be drawn to these colleges and universities because of their status.