Duke, UNC, and N.C. State have top-five 2020 recruiting classes

DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 16: Head coach Kevin Keatts of the North Carolina State Wolfpack looks on against the Duke Blue Devils in the first half at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 16, 2019 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 16: Head coach Kevin Keatts of the North Carolina State Wolfpack looks on against the Duke Blue Devils in the first half at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 16, 2019 in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images) /

For the first time, the state of North Carolina has three schools with top-five basketball recruiting classes in the same year.

For the first time since recruiting rankings were made available, North Carolina has three schools with top-five recruiting classes. Per 247 Sports, N.C. State joined Duke and UNC in the top-five of the 2020 class following the commitment of forward Josh Hall on Monday night. The Blue Devils and Tar Heels have become mainstays atop the recruiting totem pole (Duke especially), however, for N.C. State, it signifies a program on the rise. Although it’s still early in the recruiting period, the 2020 class thus far would mark the state’s best since the same three schools ranked in the top eight in 2005.

The commitment from Josh Hall gives N.C. State its first top-five class since 2016, and just its second-ever.

Unlike Duke and North Carolina, N.C. State doesn’t often have elite recruiting classes, so when it does, it’s a cause worth celebrating. Next year’s class would represent the school’s best since 2016 when Dennis Smith committed to the Wolfpack, and would also tie the same year for the best in school history. Throughout Kevin Keatts’ coaching career at Louisville and UNCW, he earned the reputation of being a great recruiter. Now, three years into his time at N.C. State, the Wolfpack is reaping the benefits

The aforementioned Hall is the Wolfpack’s prized possession, however, there is plenty of talent behind him as well. Hall and guard Cam Hayes are both four-star players, and both are top-50 players in the nation. It’s also worth noting that Hall and Hayes are the second and third-ranked players in North Carolina. After them, Keatts has also earned commitments from Shakeel Moore, Nick Farrar, and Ebenezer Dowuona–all of whom are three-stars. Including Hall and Hayes, the Wolfpack have four of the top-eight players from the state of North Carolina. There’s almost an entire calendar year between now and when those five officially lace up at N.C. State, but the optimism is already there. It may not be long before the whole country knows that Kevin Keatts is a winner.

Currently, UNC has the third-best recruiting class in the country. It would mark its highest ranking since 2009.

As the Tar Heels begin their quest for a seventh NCAA title, Roy Williams is already winning on the recruiting trail. A year after taking the Cole Anthony sweepstakes, UNC is on pace for its best recruiting class since 2009 (their fifth-championship season), and has already gotten commitments from three five-star players. If the class rankings hold steady, Carolina will have its second-straight top-ten recruiting class.

As previously noted, the Tar Heels already have commitments from three five-stars. Two of the three are centers, Walker Kessler and Day’Ron Sharpe, and the third is point guard Caleb Love. All three of Williams’ five-stars are ranked inside the top 25. Aside from the impressive trio of Kessler, Sharpe, and Love, the Heels also have two four-star players in forward Puff Johnson and combo-guard R.J. Davis. Carolina has a handful of key players who are set to depart the program at the conclusion of this season, so it’s an extremely positive development for UNC to reload in the way that they have. Who knows, this time next year, we could be talking about the Tar Heels going for an eighth title.

Over the past decade, Mike Krzyzewski has become the most dominant recruiter in the nation. His 2020 class is no different.

For the seventh-straight season, Duke is on track to have the top recruiting class in the ACC. Over that same span, dating back to 2014, the Blue Devils have yet to finish outside the top-three nationally, and have brought in players including Brandon Ingram, Jayson Tatum, the Jones brothers, and more recently, Marvin Bagley, RJ Barrett, and Zion Williamson. Coach K has been impeccable on the recruiting trail, and is exactly why his team is a title threat each and every year, despite having constant turnover each year.

Like UNC, the Blue Devils have three five-stars, each of whom rank in the top-27 nationally. From highest to lowest, the three are as follows: forward Jalen Johnson, guard Jeremy Roach, and guard DJ Steward. Johnson, the sixth-best player in the nation, is Duke’s crown jewel so far. Roach and Steward are both superbly talented guards who can perhaps take the places of Cassius Stanley and Tre Jones next season. After the five-stars, Duke also has commitments from three four-stars–all big men–who are top-50 players in the country. In fact, all six of the Blue Devils’ recruits rank inside the top 50. As for the future of basketball in Durham and the Triangle as a whole, it’s sure to be a fun one.