No one is going to argue with it; the SEC reigns supreme as the top league on the football gridiron. Due to the remarkable dynasty that Nick Saban as set up in Tuscaloosa, along with the championship play at the likes of Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Georgia, Auburn, LSU, and Texas A&M in recent years, all things run through the SEC with the pigskin. When it comes to the roundball? Not so much.
John Calipari has done his very best to repair the image of the league as a whole. However, the dominance of the Wildcats during his tenure in Lexington may have hurt the league to some extent where the gap between UK and the rest of the conference remains to be a wide gap.
Three years ago, its league members met and decided it was in their best interest to beef up their non-conference schedules where some of the presidents and athletic directors also made sure to implement more monetary amounts into the basketball facilities and programs as a whole. Today, things began to pay off.
Last year, only three members of the SEC reached the NCAA Tournament and just one made it past the first weekend of bracket play. While coaching and development of talent is crucial, it is difficult to win games whenever the necessary amount of talent isn’t in tow in the first place. Where there were six, top-50 commitment decisions set to commence today, it is quite remarkable and impressive that four of the first five have named the SEC as its future landing spot.
Collin Sexton, a five-star guard from the Peach State, committed to Alabama, Nick Richards and PJ Washington, two five-star talents down low, committed to Kentucky, while Georgia kept Rayshaun Hammonds within its state’s borders. John Petty is also nearing a college decision later on this evening where he too is expected to commit to Alabama. Add it all up and infusion of talent to the SEC is at hand.
Throw all five of the commitments into the league, add in Auburn’s tremendous, top-five national recruiting class, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, and Arkansas’ top-25 recruiting class, and the league now boasts six programs within the 2017 HoopSeen Top-25 Class Rankings, leading the way with the most by any league across the land.
Developing that talent and hopefully keeping it on campus for more than just a single season is the next step for each school. However, the talent is now being implemented into the league and not just for the usual suspects. The Wildcats, Aggies, and Gators are always going to get theirs on the trail. However, the fact that Ben Howland, Bruce Pearl and Mike Anderson have begun to ramp things up with their recruitment efforts can only mean better days lay ahead for the SEC.
Is the league ready compete with the Big 10, ACC, and Big 12 when it comes to the top conference in the land? For the next year or two…no! The struggle is still real down south but with a highmark type of day with potentially five, top-50 recruits committing to an SEC member, along with Felipe Haase, who committed earlier in the day to South Carolina, maybe, just maybe, the Southeastern Conference can take a progressive leap in the coming seasons and begin to rival its counterparts on the football field for conference dominance on the hardwood.