Roster construction is the name of the game in college basketball.
It is always interesting to look at successful teams in the NCAA Tournament and deconstruct the puzzle to figure out how everything came together. You quickly find out there is no perfect way to go about roster construction, but there are certainly some wrong ways. For a good example, lets look at this year’s Baylor Bears.
Jared Butler: High school in Louisiana; Four- star in 2018; 93rd ranked national recruit via 247 Sports; Originally enrolled at Alabama before backing out and heading to Waco.
Macio Teague: High school in Ohio; Prep school at Montverde Academy in Florida; Unranked player nationally; No Power 6 offers in 2016; Two years at UNC Asheville; Transfers to Baylor, sits out 18-19 season.
Davion Mitchell: High school in Georgia; Four-star in 2017; 59th ranked nationally; Plays one year at Auburn, averages 3.5 points; Transfer to Baylor, sits out 18-19 season.
Mark Vital: High school in Louisiana and Texas; Four-star in 2016; 89th ranked nationally; Committed to Baylor as sophomore in high school in 2013; Red-shirted freshman season at Baylor.
Flo Thamba: High school in Virginia; Three-star in 2018; 243rd ranked nationally.
Matthew Mayer: High school in Austin, Texas; Four-star; 93rd nationally in 2018.
Adam Flagler: HS in Georgia. Unranked, no stars, no power 6 offers in 2019. One year at Presbyterian College. Transfers to Baylor, sits out 19-20 season.
Jonathan Tchatchoua: Class of 2018 out of Australia. One year at UNLV in 18-19, averages 3.5 points and 3.5 rebounds. Transfers to Baylor, sits out 19-20 season.
So if you’re scoring at home, in Baylor’s rotation, there are zero top 50 prospects out of high school. In fact, Baylor hasn’t signed a top 25 team recruiting class since 2013! But they have four transfers and five players that had to sit out a year due to transfer or redshirt in the rotation. They have retained players, picked up the perfect transfers to play roles and developed into one of the oldest and most successful teams in College Basketball.
It is also notable that not every transfer put up gaudy numbers at previous stops.
Ten years ago, Scott Drew chased top 10 recruiting classes and McDonald’s All-Americans but lately, it seems he has found the right balance for today’s changing world.
The Bears are in the Final Four as a result.