Big 12 Basketball: Grading each team’s best recruiting class since realignment

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Rico Gathers Baylor Bears Big 12 Basketball (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

The transfer portal has taken over the past year and has become an escape-goat for programs that have had to band-aid their roster, with clear flaws. Prior to that, Big 12 Basketball has had their fair share of electric classes.

From AP Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year on the national level, the foundation of recruiting has propelled these teams to conference championships.

Here’s a look at each team’s best class and grading how they panned out. The criteria used is based on individual success, individual accolades, as well as, team accolades.

The list begins from when TCU and West Virginia joined the conference with their 2012 classes.

Baylor

Grade: A- (No.4, class of 2012)

Notable commits: PF Isaiah Austin (No. 2 PF, No. 4 overall), PF Rico Gathers (No. 10 PF, No. 34 overall), SF Taurean Prince (No. 44 SF, No. 188 overall)

Although the clear highlight of the class was Austin, the one that stayed with the program the longest, was the lowest-ranked player in the class in Taurean Prince.

Austin was the cream of the crop and is to this day, Baylor’s highest-rated commit in program history. He finished with many Big 12 accolades, including All-Big 12 team, as well as, Big 12 All-Defense. His ability to make three-pointers as a 7-1 center made him versatile.

The freshman phenom could’ve easily become a one-and-done prospect, with averaging 13 points and 5.8 rebounds on 33% from beyond the arc.

Even if Rico Gathers found greener pastures in a different professional sport, Gathers ability to rebound is among the best in school history.

He broke a Baylor record, with 28 rebounds, alongside 25 points in a regular-season victory over Huston-Tillotson. Gathers was a four-year player and was a part of three NCAA Tournament appearances.

The most talented after Baylor of the group was the lowest-rated recruit in Prince. His ability to come off the bench and become the leading scorer is not common in college basketball. Prince did it and won Big 12 Sixth-Man of the Year. Prince is still in the NBA and currently has a role with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The class as a whole wasn’t the biggest hit, as Four-star guard LJ Rose was with the program for one year, alongside three-star Chad Rykhoek never found a role and transferred out.

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