Class of 2012 Big Ten Recruiting Rankings: May 16th, 2012

The late signing period is finally drawing to a close and most schools in the Big Ten are putting the finishing touches on their incoming classes of 2012. In that spirit, national scouting services have also released the majority of their final recruiting rankings and we’ve updated our compilation of Big Ten Recruiting Rankings.

Rk School # Rivals Scout ESPN Avg. Avg. Score Cum. Score
1 Indiana 5 3.80 3.60 3.60 3.67 110.39 1335
2 Michigan 5 3.80 3.20 3.20 3.40 103.78 1255
3 Michigan State 4 4.00 4.00 4.25 4.08 101.70 1100
4 Iowa 5 3.40 3.00 2.80 3.07 99.64 1205
5 Purdue 4 3.75 4.00 3.75 3.83 98.46 1065
6 Northwestern 4 3.00 2.75 2.25 2.67 80.89 875
7 Nebraska 4 2.50 1.50 1.00 1.67 63.33 685
8 Penn State 3 2.33 1.67 2.00 2.00 62.98 590
9 Minnesota 2 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 59.49 455
10 Wisconsin 1 5.00 5.00 5.00 5.00 55.47 300
11 Ohio State 1 3.00 3.00 3.00 3.00 42.53 230
12 Illinois 0 N/A N/A N/A 0.00 0.00 0

Find full class breakdowns, additions and subtractions of the last two months, and a note on how all of these numbers were calculated after the jump.

Movement

  • AprilFahro Alihodzic, Keith Coleman and Jerran Young decommit from Nebraska
  • Apr 6: Michigan adds commitment from Spike Albrecht
  • Apr 13Michael Orris decommits from Illinois
  • Apr 15: Nebraska adds commitment from Deverell Biggs
  • Apr 21: Ohio State adds commitment from Amedeo Della Valle
  • May 2: Penn State adds commitment from Donovan Jack
  • May 3: Nebraska adds commitment from Sergej Vucetic
  • May 11: Michigan adds commitment from Caris LeVert
  • May 14: Northwestern adds commitment from Mislav Brzoja

1. Indiana

Name Pos. State Rivals Scout ESPN
Kevin Ferrell PG IN 5 4 4
Jeremy Hollowell SF IN 4 4 4
Peter Jurkin C NC 3 3 3
Ron Patterson SG IN 3 3 3
Hanner Mosquera-Perea PF IN 4 4 4

2. Michigan

Name Pos. State Rivals Scout ESPN
Spike Albrecht PG IN 3 NR 1
Caris LeVert SG OH 3 3 2
Mitch McGary PF IN 4 4 4
Glenn Robinson III SF IN 5 4 5
Nik Stauskas SF CAN 4 4 4

3. Michigan State

Name Pos. State Rivals Scout ESPN
Matt Costello C MI 4 4 4
Gary Harris SG IN 5 5 5
Kenny Kaminski PF OH 3 4 4
Denzel Valentine SF MI 4 3 4

4. Iowa

Name Pos. State Rivals Scout ESPN
Anthony Clemmons PG MI 3 2 2
Mike Gesell PG NE 4 4 4
Patrick Ingram SG IN 3 2 2
Kyle Meyer C GA 3 3 2
Adam Woodbury C IA 4 4 4

5. Purdue

Name Pos. State Rivals Scout ESPN
Raphael Davis SG IN 4 4 4
A.J. Hammons C IN 4 4 4
Ronnie Johnson PG IN 4 4 4
Jay Simpson PF IL 3 4 3

6. Northwestern

Name Pos. State Rivals Scout ESPN
Mislav Brzoja SG IN 3 3 NR
Kale Abrahamson SF IA 3 3 3
Sanjay Lumpkin SG MN 3 3 2
Alex Olah C IN 3 2 2

7. Nebraska

Name Pos. State Rivals Scout ESPN
Deverell Biggs PG NE 3 NR NR
Benny Parker PG KS 3 NR 1
Shavon Shields SG KS 3 3 2
Sergej Vucetic C MI NR NR NR

8. Penn State

Name Pos. State Rivals Scout ESPN
Donovan Jack PF PA NR 2 2
Akosa Maduegbunam SF MA 3 NR 2
Brandon Taylor PF PA 3 3 2

9. Minnesota

Name Pos. State Rivals Scout ESPN
Charles Buggs PF TX 3 3 3
Wally Ellenson SG WI 3 3 3

10. Wisconsin

Name Pos. State Rivals Scout ESPN
Sam Dekker SF WI 5 5 5

11. Ohio State

Name Pos. State Rivals Scout ESPN
Amedeo Della Valle SG ITA 3 3 3

12. Illinois

No class of 2012 commitments.

Ranking Explanations

Every player is given a normalized score on a 100 point scale for each of the three major scouting services. That score breaks down like this:

Player Score
100 = 5* Player
95 = 4* and top 50 player
90 = 4* player not in top 50
85 = Top 150 player or top 30 at position
80 = Top 40 at position
75 = Top 50 at position or 3* player unranked at his position
70 = Top 75 at position
65 = Top 100 at position or 2* player unranked at his position
60 = Top 300 player or 1* player unranked at his position
50 = Player who has no star rating or position ranking

That much is relatively simple. Those scores are combined into two cumulative metrics: Class Average Score and Class Cumulative Score.

  • Class Average Score: Average normalized scores by service multiplied by the square root of the number of commitments/3.25  (13 total scholarships over 4 years).
  • Class Cumulative Score: Sum of all normalized score for all recruits based on all services

The system is far from perfect. I wouldn’t hesitate to choose a one man class of Sam Dekker over a three man class consisting of Donovan Jack, Akosa Maduegbunam, Brandon Taylor – and I don’t think I’m alone. However, that problem is almost unavoidable when evaluating classes mathematically. As always, we’re open to suggestions on how to improve this feature.

Special thanks to Trent Montemayor for compiling all of the data.

  • http://twitter.com/spartychemist spartychemist

    why the square root of the # of commitments. If a team signs 6 their score is going to be higher.

    • http://www.umhoops.com/ Dylan Burkhardt

      The idea is that you have to weight for the number of commitments because otherwise a school like Wisconsin (1 5-star) would have the top class. It’s a careful balance to normalize things.

      • http://twitter.com/spartychemist spartychemist

        then try weighted averages. Multiply each player with their average stars(including, rivals, scouts, ESPN) and then use that

      • http://twitter.com/spartychemist spartychemist

        Weighted average (WA), GH (Gary Harris), KK (kenny Kaminski), MC (matt costello), DV (denzel Valentine)
        For MSU= WA of GH X Player Score + WA of KK X Player Score + WA of MC X Player Score + WA of DV X Player score/ 4

  • BlimpyBlue

    There’s no perfect way of properly quantifying class rankings like this, but the first thing I’d say is that you probably don’t give enough weight to higher rated players — a 5 star player should be more than twice as valuable as a player with no ranking. Similarly, under the above system, a 5* recruit is only 11% more valuable than 4* recruit that is not in the top 50. That’s not enough of a premium for a 5* recruit.

    The first thing I’d ask — borrowing a concept from sabermetrics — is what star or ranking level would you define as a “replacement level” recruit? A player with no star rating or position rating is probably a good starting point for that, and thus may best be assigned a zero value or small, nominal value. This way teams don’t get credit for filling a class with unrated recruits that are unlikely to be impact players and are more likely to be roster filler.

    • BlueRev

      Agreed BB, Dyl how about this…
      50 =5* Player,
      45 =4* and top 50 player,
      40 =4* player not in top 50,
      35 =Top 150 player or top 30 at position,
      30 =Top 40 at position,
      25 =Top 50 at position or 3* player unranked at his position,
      20 =Top 75 at position,
      15 =Top 100 at position or 2* player unranked at his position,
      10 =Top 300 player or 1* player unranked at his position,
      5 =Player who has no star rating or position ranking.
      This gives more weight to stars compared to walk-ons.

      • BlueRev

        Of course this doesn’t account for guys that are considered to have an upside higher than their ranking–I see Lavert like that, while Albrecht will likely be a role play back-up pg for us, still an important guy but not a star nor needing to be one, while I would not be surprised to see CL a bigtime player by Jr season. So I like our 5 guy class over MSU’s for our situation, while MSU people may prefer their class to ours–and I think Rivals nailed it best by putting us neck-n-neck w/IU.

  • BlimpyBlue

    Adding to my post, I think a cumulative score is a more appropriate way to rank classes than an average score. For example, Michigan’s class score shouldn’t decrease because Spike Albrecht and Caris Levert were added. It should have improved by a small amount because Albrecht has some value, and shouldn’t have moved at all with the addition of Levert, who is probably replacement level based on the current rankings. In other words, our class did not get weaker by adding these two players.

    I understand the concept behind the average score, as you are trying to account for the finite number of roster spots, but I think there are too many other variables (e.g., transers, players leaving early) to capture this on an average basis.

    • BlimpyBlue

      Flip what I said about Albrecht and Levert. Levert would have some small value based on ratings while Albrecht would probably be categorized as a replacement level recruit.

    • Lankownia

      Disagree strongly. While on a qualitative level, I have no problem with taking Albrecht as an insurance policy and serviceable backup, there’s a significant opportunity cost that shouldn’t be ignored (but almost always is in these kind of rankings.)

      Every scholarship you use up on a guy like this is one less Burke or Hardaway you can take. Because to get Burke and Hardaway you also have to take some Brundidge and a Vogrich.

      To put it in baseball terms — no team will ever bat a thousand, but every at bat is an opportunity to score a run. Taking a guy like Albrecht is the equivalent of bunting. Is it better than not batting at all – yes, but you’re also guaranteeing that you won’t hit a homerun. And, the key point here for our purposes (and where the comparison falls apart) is that it’s not just that every team gets the same number of outs, it’s that every team gets the some number of AT BATS. (ignoring transfers, early entries, etc.)

  • http://www.umhoops.com/ Dylan Burkhardt

    I guess the big question is what teams you would move in the list if you were doing it without any metrics.
    Wisconsin up. Maybe Purdue up a slot?

    • BlimpyBlue

      Using a cumulative system with a replacement level concept as a part of it, I imagine that Purdue, Wisconsin, and Minnesota could all move up. I could see the rankings ending up as:

      1. Indiana
      2. Michigan
      3. Michigan State
      4. Purdue
      5. Iowa
      6. Wisconsin
      7. Northwestern
      8. Minnesota
      9. Nebraska
      10. Ohio State
      11. Illinois

    • Lankownia

      MSU, clearly IMO, should be above Michigan. Any school can take a guy like Albrecht if they have the scholarship available.

      Wisconsin should be much higher too. They’re moving the needle in their favor, while Nebraska and Northwestern tread water.

      • BlimpyBlue

        You can argue that MSU should be above Michigan, but I disagree. I don’t think either team is clearly above the others, but I would put Michigan on top. If you were to rank the players in each classes overall — based on the rankings by Rivals, Scout, and ESPN, it would look like this:

        1. Gary Harris
        2. Glenn Robinson III
        3. Mitch McGary
        4. Nick Stauskas
        5. Matt Costello
        6. Denzel Valentine
        7. Kenny Kaminski
        8. Caris LeVert
        9. Spike Albrecht

        I’d argue that having 3 of the top 4 on that list (with Harris and Robinson being very close to one another as Harris is an average of 2 spots ahead), McGary being a clear #3 that is close to 5* status, and Stauskas slightly ahead of Costello (by an average of 10 spots across the three sites) makes Michigan’s class stronger despite the clear advantage of Kaminski over LeVert for the 4th member of each class.

        • Lankownia

          Well, McGary and Stauskas are unanimous 4-star, just like Costello. I wasn’t evaluating beyond the number of stars, so considered them unanimous. So, based on that I’d call the top recruit a win for MSU (Harris over GRob), the 2nd best a tie (McGary and Costello), the 3rd best a win for UM (Stauskas over Valentine). Where MSU is superior, IMO is that Kaminski is significantly higher rated than LeVert and MSU isn’t taking a flyer on a lowly ranked PG (they did that last year.)

          I realize you can got beyond the number of stars and say McGary is a lot better than Costello, but thats a level of effort I don’t think anyone wants to take for all the recruits in the conference.

          • http://www.umhoops.com/ Dylan Burkhardt

            If you look at the index we are using to evaluate.

            Costello grades out to a 90 by all three. McGary a 95, Robinson 95/100, Harris 100, Valentine 85/90, Stauskas 90, etc. So we are breaking it down further than the star ranking.

          • Lankownia

            Gotcha, thanks, guess I didn’t look at it closely enough.

            That approach makes ranking UM higher more valid. I still think
            Michigan should get dinged for taking 2 low-ranked players though,
            rather than getting bonus points for pure quantity.

            If you ignore quantity you implicitly normalize for need (the context of
            that season’s situation). That gives you a better idea of how
            successful the school is at recruiting. The fact is that UM’s decision
            to take LaVert and Albrecht makes it harder for them to get a good rank
            next year. Taking into account quantity like this is an overreaction –
            makes Michigan too high next year and too low in later years when they
            take fewer guys as a result of this year.

            I’d just take your normalized 100 point scale (a significant improvement
            to the raw stars IMO) and straight average it across all recruits in
            the class. Your square root conversion seems difficult to explain.
            That doesn’t make it wrong per se, but it feels arbitrary. Especially
            when the average class size of 3.25 assumes no attrition or red-shirts.

          • SamGoBlue

            I’m guessing you are a State fan from the way you are talking, which is
            completely fine; we welcome you here with open arms as long as you are
            level-headed. That being said, I would advise you take a look at next
            year’s class at Michigan. You keep mentioning that taking Albrecht and
            LeVert should ding our ranking, which I actually happen to agree with
            (but think both fit positions of need and were smart pick-ups, but that
            argument is for another day), but this incoming class is clearly not
            affecting next year’s class, which I think will end up being better than
            this one. So far the 2013 class includes Derrick Walton, a dynamic
            pass-first PG also capable of scoring in bunches that is rising on the
            recruiting sites, a very smooth wing in Zak Irvin (projected to take
            over for Hardaway whenever he leaves) who scores in bunches, is an adept
            shooter, great defender, and pretty much played on par with Hamilton
            Southeastern teammate Gary Harris all season from what I gather, Mark
            Donnal, a prototypical Beilein 4/5 man who has showcased a very nice
            inside-out game so far and appears to be gaining strength, and Austin
            Hatch, who was a terrific shooter before his horrific accident (still
            waiting to see if he will be a part of this class). Also of note, if we
            are lucky enough to add Reggie Cameron, I think the 2013 class has to be
            rated higher than the 2012 class.

            In other words, your assertion that taking two fairly low-ranked players
            in this class will severly hurt our 2013 class is dead wrong.

          • Lankownia

            I love the 2014 class, but because it’s probably going to only include 3
            or 4 guys it will be ranked lower than a similar class that has 5 guys,
            even if the 5th guy is a 2 star. I didn’t say it would ‘severly hurt’ our 2013 class, I said it would hurt our RANKING…that’s because the ranking is based on quantity – so if you take guys in 2012, you can’t take as many in 2013.

            This isn’t about a single class or the individual recruits, it’s about a
            trying to come up with a ranking that actually reflects which teams are
            ‘winning’ the recruiting battle.

            BTW…I’m not a State fan at all. I’m not even the type of guy who roots for them when they play ‘anyone besides us’. My interest, actually, is just in being fair, but especially in being fair to Michigan. Historically, MIchigan has had a stable and successful program (especially in football) and it annoys me to see programs like this get punished via the bias towards quantity. I’ve seen, too many times, a 20 person class of mostly 4 stars get outranked by a 26 person class of a mix of 3 and 4 at what is clearly a weaker program, and a program that lost most head-to-head battles to a school that supposedly has a lower-ranked class.

            Going back to basketball – to me, MSU is still ahead of MIchigan in recruiting. Guys like Harris and Ferrell and Costello were guys MIchigan wanted and lost out on. Yes, MSU would now love to have McGary and Robinson and others, but I would say by-and-large that MSU is winning the recruiting war still…but this year we got a hell of a lot closer than in years past.

          • Lankownia

            I love the 2014 class, but because it’s probably going to only include 3
            or 4 guys it will be ranked lower than a similar class that has 5 guys,
            even if the 5th guy is a 2 star. I didn’t say it would ‘severly hurt’ our 2013 class, I said it would hurt our RANKING…that’s because the ranking is based on quantity – so if you take guys in 2012, you can’t take as many in 2013.

            This isn’t about a single class or the individual recruits, it’s about a
            trying to come up with a ranking that actually reflects which teams are
            ‘winning’ the recruiting battle.

            BTW…I’m not a State fan at all. I’m not even the type of guy who roots for them when they play ‘anyone besides us’. My interest, actually, is just in being fair, but especially in being fair to Michigan. Historically, MIchigan has had a stable and successful program (especially in football) and it annoys me to see programs like this get punished via the bias towards quantity. I’ve seen, too many times, a 20 person class of mostly 4 stars get outranked by a 26 person class of a mix of 3 and 4 at what is clearly a weaker program, and a program that lost most head-to-head battles to a school that supposedly has a lower-ranked class.

            Going back to basketball – to me, MSU is still ahead of MIchigan in recruiting. Guys like Harris and Ferrell and Costello were guys MIchigan wanted and lost out on. Yes, MSU would now love to have McGary and Robinson and others, but I would say by-and-large that MSU is winning the recruiting war still…but this year we got a hell of a lot closer than in years past.

          • Lankownia

            I love the 2014 class, but because it’s probably going to only include 3
            or 4 guys it will be ranked lower than a similar class that has 5 guys,
            even if the 5th guy is a 2 star. I didn’t say it would ‘severly hurt’ our 2013 class, I said it would hurt our RANKING…that’s because the ranking is based on quantity – so if you take guys in 2012, you can’t take as many in 2013.

            This isn’t about a single class or the individual recruits, it’s about a
            trying to come up with a ranking that actually reflects which teams are
            ‘winning’ the recruiting battle.

            BTW…I’m not a State fan at all. I’m not even the type of guy who roots for them when they play ‘anyone besides us’. My interest, actually, is just in being fair, but especially in being fair to Michigan. Historically, MIchigan has had a stable and successful program (especially in football) and it annoys me to see programs like this get punished via the bias towards quantity. I’ve seen, too many times, a 20 person class of mostly 4 stars get outranked by a 26 person class of a mix of 3 and 4 at what is clearly a weaker program, and a program that lost most head-to-head battles to a school that supposedly has a lower-ranked class.

            Going back to basketball – to me, MSU is still ahead of MIchigan in recruiting. Guys like Harris and Ferrell and Costello were guys MIchigan wanted and lost out on. Yes, MSU would now love to have McGary and Robinson and others, but I would say by-and-large that MSU is winning the recruiting war still…but this year we got a hell of a lot closer than in years past.

          • Lankownia

            I love the 2014 class, but because it’s probably going to only include 3
            or 4 guys it will be ranked lower than a similar class that has 5 guys,
            even if the 5th guy is a 2 star. I didn’t say it would ‘severly hurt’ our 2013 class, I said it would hurt our RANKING…that’s because the ranking is based on quantity – so if you take guys in 2012, you can’t take as many in 2013.

            This isn’t about a single class or the individual recruits, it’s about a
            trying to come up with a ranking that actually reflects which teams are
            ‘winning’ the recruiting battle.

            BTW…I’m not a State fan at all. I’m not even the type of guy who roots for them when they play ‘anyone besides us’. My interest, actually, is just in being fair, but especially in being fair to Michigan. Historically, MIchigan has had a stable and successful program (especially in football) and it annoys me to see programs like this get punished via the bias towards quantity. I’ve seen, too many times, a 20 person class of mostly 4 stars get outranked by a 26 person class of a mix of 3 and 4 at what is clearly a weaker program, and a program that lost most head-to-head battles to a school that supposedly has a lower-ranked class.

            Going back to basketball – to me, MSU is still ahead of MIchigan in recruiting. Guys like Harris and Ferrell and Costello were guys MIchigan wanted and lost out on. Yes, MSU would now love to have McGary and Robinson and others, but I would say by-and-large that MSU is winning the recruiting war still…but this year we got a hell of a lot closer than in years past.

          • Lankownia

            I love the 2014 class, but because it’s probably going to only include 3
            or 4 guys it will be ranked lower than a similar class that has 5 guys,
            even if the 5th guy is a 2 star. I didn’t say it would ‘severly hurt’ our 2013 class, I said it would hurt our RANKING…that’s because the ranking is based on quantity – so if you take guys in 2012, you can’t take as many in 2013.

            This isn’t about a single class or the individual recruits, it’s about a
            trying to come up with a ranking that actually reflects which teams are
            ‘winning’ the recruiting battle.

            BTW…I’m not a State fan at all. I’m not even the type of guy who roots for them when they play ‘anyone besides us’. My interest, actually, is just in being fair, but especially in being fair to Michigan. Historically, MIchigan has had a stable and successful program (especially in football) and it annoys me to see programs like this get punished via the bias towards quantity. I’ve seen, too many times, a 20 person class of mostly 4 stars get outranked by a 26 person class of a mix of 3 and 4 at what is clearly a weaker program, and a program that lost most head-to-head battles to a school that supposedly has a lower-ranked class.

            Going back to basketball – to me, MSU is still ahead of MIchigan in recruiting. Guys like Harris and Ferrell and Costello were guys MIchigan wanted and lost out on. Yes, MSU would now love to have McGary and Robinson and others, but I would say by-and-large that MSU is winning the recruiting war still…but this year we got a hell of a lot closer than in years past.

          • Lankownia

            I love the 2014 class, but because it’s probably going to only include 3
            or 4 guys it will be ranked lower than a similar class that has 5 guys,
            even if the 5th guy is a 2 star. I didn’t say it would ‘severly hurt’ our 2013 class, I said it would hurt our RANKING…that’s because the ranking is based on quantity – so if you take guys in 2012, you can’t take as many in 2013.

            This isn’t about a single class or the individual recruits, it’s about a
            trying to come up with a ranking that actually reflects which teams are
            ‘winning’ the recruiting battle.

            BTW…I’m not a State fan at all. I’m not even the type of guy who roots for them when they play ‘anyone besides us’. My interest, actually, is just in being fair, but especially in being fair to Michigan. Historically, MIchigan has had a stable and successful program (especially in football) and it annoys me to see programs like this get punished via the bias towards quantity. I’ve seen, too many times, a 20 person class of mostly 4 stars get outranked by a 26 person class of a mix of 3 and 4 at what is clearly a weaker program, and a program that lost most head-to-head battles to a school that supposedly has a lower-ranked class.

            Going back to basketball – to me, MSU is still ahead of MIchigan in recruiting. Guys like Harris and Ferrell and Costello were guys MIchigan wanted and lost out on. Yes, MSU would now love to have McGary and Robinson and others, but I would say by-and-large that MSU is winning the recruiting war still…but this year we got a hell of a lot closer than in years past.

          • Lankownia

            I love the 2014 class, but because it’s probably going to only include 3
            or 4 guys it will be ranked lower than a similar class that has 5 guys,
            even if the 5th guy is a 2 star. I didn’t say it would ‘severly hurt’ our 2013 class, I said it would hurt our RANKING…that’s because the ranking is based on quantity – so if you take guys in 2012, you can’t take as many in 2013.

            This isn’t about a single class or the individual recruits, it’s about a
            trying to come up with a ranking that actually reflects which teams are
            ‘winning’ the recruiting battle.

            BTW…I’m not a State fan at all. I’m not even the type of guy who roots for them when they play ‘anyone besides us’. My interest, actually, is just in being fair, but especially in being fair to Michigan. Historically, MIchigan has had a stable and successful program (especially in football) and it annoys me to see programs like this get punished via the bias towards quantity. I’ve seen, too many times, a 20 person class of mostly 4 stars get outranked by a 26 person class of a mix of 3 and 4 at what is clearly a weaker program, and a program that lost most head-to-head battles to a school that supposedly has a lower-ranked class.

            Going back to basketball – to me, MSU is still ahead of MIchigan in recruiting. Guys like Harris and Ferrell and Costello were guys MIchigan wanted and lost out on. Yes, MSU would now love to have McGary and Robinson and others, but I would say by-and-large that MSU is winning the recruiting war still…but this year we got a hell of a lot closer than in years past.

          • Lankownia

            I love the 2014 class, but because it’s probably going to only include 3
            or 4 guys it will be ranked lower than a similar class that has 5 guys,
            even if the 5th guy is a 2 star. I didn’t say it would ‘severly hurt’ our 2013 class, I said it would hurt our RANKING…that’s because the ranking is based on quantity – so if you take guys in 2012, you can’t take as many in 2013.

            This isn’t about a single class or the individual recruits, it’s about a
            trying to come up with a ranking that actually reflects which teams are
            ‘winning’ the recruiting battle.

            BTW…I’m not a State fan at all. I’m not even the type of guy who roots for them when they play ‘anyone besides us’. My interest, actually, is just in being fair, but especially in being fair to Michigan. Historically, MIchigan has had a stable and successful program (especially in football) and it annoys me to see programs like this get punished via the bias towards quantity. I’ve seen, too many times, a 20 person class of mostly 4 stars get outranked by a 26 person class of a mix of 3 and 4 at what is clearly a weaker program, and a program that lost most head-to-head battles to a school that supposedly has a lower-ranked class.

            Going back to basketball – to me, MSU is still ahead of MIchigan in recruiting. Guys like Harris and Ferrell and Costello were guys MIchigan wanted and lost out on. Yes, MSU would now love to have McGary and Robinson and others, but I would say by-and-large that MSU is winning the recruiting war still…but this year we got a hell of a lot closer than in years past.

  • Lankownia

    A straightforward alternative: Use the rank based on cumulative score
    and the rank based on average score and simply average them for a total rank.

    ….

    The problem you mentioned at the end is not mathematically unavoidable at all. All you need to do is ignore quantity and look at average star rank. Quantity is simply a reflection of team need, so if Wisconsin just needs 1 guy – good for them! Why consider their class as lesser because their current roster is in good shape.

    If you think quantity MUST be captured, I’d suggest normalizing to an expected baseline of 3-stars. Give a bonus for 4 and 5-stars and a negative to 2 stars.

    Yes, that would mean a 4-man class of three 3 stars would be better than a 1 man class with one 3-star. Every scholarship is a limited resource. If you’re taking 2-stars it means you can’t take a 4-star. Relative to the rest of the conference, you’re falling behind on talent (at least as far as recruiting goes.)

    If scholarships were not limited than the cumulative approach would make sense, but the reality is that there is significant opportunity cost in taking a 2-star recruit. It shouldn’t be viewed as – I got a new pair of shoes! It should be viewed as everyone having $100 and some people buying Air Jordans (5-stars) and others getting Chuck Taylors (2-stars).

    • http://www.umhoops.com/ Dylan Burkhardt

      Should two 1-star recruits bring down a class if they are combined with three 5-stars?

      Would that five man class (3 5s, 2 1s) be better or worse than a 3-man class of five stars?

      Does Wisconsin need 1 player? Do they need three but only landed one?

      • BlimpyBlue

        Dylan, that’s where the concept of replacement level come into play. If Wisconsin needs three players but only landed one, then that concept assumes they could go out and get two unranked players to fill the gap. They shouldn’t get any extra credit from a cumulative standpoint for getting additional recruits that are plentiful, but their class also shouldn’t be considered to have gotten weaker by doing so.

        Unfortunately, you can’t account for team needs or roster composition when putting together a quantitative ranking because it introduces too much subjectivity into the mix.

        • Lankownia

          You could try. It’s not too subjective to identify available scholarships.

      • Lankownia

        Good questions.

        I think it’s fair to assume that a teams generally take the number of recruits they need. There are always ‘replacement level’ players available. To Michigan that might be a 3-star and to Northwestern it might be a 1-star, but you can always find a body. I think this rule is particularly true with recruiting moving to earlier and earlier, although attrition (such as early draft entry) does complicate matters. Generally, it’s easier to recover if you don’t get the elite guy you’d want than it was when most kids decided close to signing day.

        Yes, 2 star recruits should bring down a class, even with 3 5-stars. If Purdue only needs 3 kids and get 3 5-stars, they knocked it out of the park. If Indiana needs 5 kids and got 3 studs and 2 role player types, they’re not doing quite as well as Purdue. Purdue did a better job filling their needs. They maximized their opportunity. Most likely, the next year or two the roles will be reversed and Purdue will have bigger needs to fill, and they can be judged on that when it happens.

        Every 1-2 star guy you take makes you incrementally less likely to get the level of talent necessary to win a conference title. That’s the reality of the Big10. That doesn’t mean you never take them – everyone has needs – but it means when you do, you’re falling behind your competition.

  • Steve2081

    Illinois dodged a bullet with Orris. He isn’t even a low major talent. He’s a D2 talent.

  • Lankownia

    Your normalized 100 point scale is a significant improvement
    to the raw stars, IMO. I’d take the number and apply a straight average across all recruits in
    the class. Your square root conversion feels arbitrary and counter-intuitive. Especially
    when the average class size of 3.25 assumes no attrition or red-shirts.

    If you ignore quantity you implicitly normalize for team needs (the context of
    that season’s situation). That gives you a better idea of how
    successful the school is at recruiting because it controls for things that are variable and or irrelevant. A team that needs a big class has a huge advantage before any commitments are made – how does that make sense?

    I think
    Michigan should get dinged for taking 2 low-ranked players instead of getting bonus points for pure quantity. UM’s decision
    to take them this year makes it harder for them to get a good rank
    next year. Taking into account quantity like this is an overreaction –
    it makes Michigan too high next year and too low in the years to come, when they
    have to take fewer guys as a result this year’s choices.

    • Lankownia

      To clarify, I’m saying UM is getting a bump this year for taking quantity and will get ranked lower than it should in the next couple years because they’ll take fewer guys than they would have without the two low-rated player.

    • http://www.umhoops.com/ Dylan Burkhardt

      If you just average the normalized scores you are left with the following order:
      WI, MSU, IU, PU, UM, Iowa, OSU, Minnesota, NW, PSU, NEB, Illinois

      • Lankownia

        I think Wisconsin’s class is a lot closer to 1 than 10.

        • http://www.umhoops.com/ Dylan Burkhardt

          Yep — I think 10 is too low for Wisconsin and something around 4-6 would be fair. However, 1 is definitely too high. I don’t think anyone would take Wisconsin’s class – no detriment to Dekker – over IU, UM or IU’s classes.

          • Lankownia

            That is probably true. It is indisputable that a class of three 5-stars is better than a class of one 5-star. I don’t think quantity should be ignored entirely, but doing so is better than the ‘aggregate’ approach that most rankings take.

            I mostly agree with the other people who argue that what needs to be rewarded is the number of 4 and 5 star players recruited. To that, I’d just add that 2 or 3-star type (replacement-level recruits) shouldn’t help a class. If anything, they hurt it.

  • A State Fan

    MSU isn’t #1… your argument is invalid.

    Just kidding, I like how you guys did this, trying to account not only for quality of player, but also quantity of the class. If I were trying to put a value on each ranking, I think I’d try to separate the 5 and 4 stars even more from the rest of the pack.

    What if is was like (just a rough approx, i’m not worrying about high4/low4s or anything like that):
    5 = 100
    4 = 85
    3 = 60
    2 = 40
    1 = 20

    Because I think, just from a high major perspective, 4s and 5s are coveted, but 3s and below are probably areas that a coach is looking to replace in the next recruiting class. This probably wouldn’t change the rankings of the top few teams, but it might help someone like Wisco move up these rankings. What do you guys think?

  • Erob

    Would be interesting to re-visit these rankings after the 12-13 season is done.

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