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College Basketball Podcast: Why are Duke and Kentucky consistently first and second in recruiting rankings?

A pair of 5-star prospects have made public commitments to universities in the past week — first Terrence Clarke to the Kentucky Wildcats, then DJ Steward to the Duke Blue Devils. So — surprise, surprise — Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame coaches John Calipari and Mike Krzyzewski currently have the nation’s top two recruiting classes, according to the 247Sports Composite. And, if they finish that way, it’ll represent the sixth time in the past seven years that Kentucky and Duke have finished first and second, in some order, in the national recruiting rankings.


Why is it (almost) always Kentucky and Duke at the top? Those are not the only two places where you can win national titles, play on national television, develop for the NBA, perform in front of amazing crowds, travel in a first-class way or compete in a great league. You can do almost all of those things at lots of different places. And yet it’s Kentucky and Duke that have clearly separated themselves from the rest of the nation on the recruiting trail. Why? I have a theory. And Matt Norlander and I decided to discuss it at the top of this episode of the CBS Sports Eye On College Basketball Podcast.

After that, the conversation went like this:

25:30: Four-star center Justice Ajogbor became the highest-rated prospect to ever commit to Harvard earlier this week when he picked the Crimson while rejecting multiple offers from traditional high-majors. I subsequently wrote a column about it in which I made the case that more prospects ranked between, say, 50th and 150th in their high school class should at least consider an Ivy League option. I sincerely believe that. So why don’t more prospects do it?

44:00: Tony Bennett won the 2019 NCAA Tournament — and then turned down a “substantial” raise from Virginia because, he said, “I have more than I need.” This is obviously not how most college coaches think. In fact, here’s a question: How many other coaches would reject a “substantial” raise immediately after winning a national championship?

53:30: Rick Pitino settled with Louisville this week — without getting a penny. What’s up with that? And does this set the stage for the Hall of Fame coach to return to college basketball next March or April?

The latest “Eye on College Basketball” podcast is below. Give it a listen. If you’re not already subscribed, please subscribe via iTunes. And if you’ve already done that, thank you. #ShoutsToDevanDowney.