Not by any means trying to say if BU were to land a top 15 class after the track record he's already had that it wouldnt be impressive, but Groce had some solid overall rankings for recruiting in the beginning.
2013: 13th overall, 2nd in the B1G
2014: 56th overall, 8th in the B1G (Leron Black)
2015: 15th overall, 2nd in the B1G
A little cherry picked, because the next two classes were 110+ ranked with just Tejon Lucas and 30th ranked, but thats still a good 5 year run.
I really dont have a point here other than to say getting top 25 recruiting classes isn't something unheard of here. I think if there's any take away here is that rankings dont mean anything if you cant coach up guys, and that this staff clearly is better at both that and evaluating talent, even at the top. Even BU hasn't been 100% on sure fire prospects, but we can him some slack with MS. Groce had a lot of top ranked guys burn out, for whatever reason.
A little recruiting history since Groce took over until now...
2013 (#13): Nunn (#56), Hill (#70), Colbert (#124), Morgan (#152), Tate (#203) | Finished season 20-15 (7-11)
2014 (#56): Black (#42), Finke (#203) | Finished season 19-14 (9-9)
2015 (#15): Coleman-Lands (#37), DJ Williams (#77), Jordan (#118), Paul (#38 Transfer), Nichols (#282) | Finished season 15-19 (5-13)
As you can see the difference is that Brad Underwood had a winning 3rd season with huge momentum pushing into a shot at a great March Tournament Run. The cancellation of the season (and return of Ayo + Kofi) could be an absolutely enormous reason for Underwood's potential long term success and complete righting of the ship at Illinois. Without the tournament being cancelled we either would have lost early, or Ayo and Kofi would have gotten the spotlight they needed to launch their NBA careers - either way Illinois would not have been ranked preseason Top 10 right now and we likely would not be in the running for Hopkins and Big Mac might be re-thinking whether he should consider our program.
2016 (#110): Te'Jon Lucas (#138) | Finished season 20-15 (8-10)
2017 (#30): ___ (#79), Frazier (#109), DMFW (#177), Eboigbodin (#510), Vesel (N/A)
Groce was fired so this became Brad's first class of freshman. Underwood cleaned house after 2017-18 and so he probably spins it as his first real season with HIS team as being 2018-19. Also, because of his success in 2019-20 he can easily talk away the 2018-19 season as a development and growth year for players to really learn his system.
2018 (#25): Ayo (#32), Jones (#118), Griffin (#185), Kane (#282), Feliz (#11 Transfer), Giorgi (#373), Higgs (#393) | No question Ayo was the crown jewel of this class, but Underwood found some gems in Griffin, Feliz, and Giorgi who were undoubtedly under ranked compared to how they've performed.
2019 (#68): Kofi (#46), Verdonk (N/A), Hamlin (N/A) | Kofi has played better than most would expect from a Freshman Big ranked #46 and while we pretty much struck out on the rest of the class (Carton/Patterson/Whitney/Brown/Shannon/Lidell/Hall were all the in the running at some point) Kofi + our previous recruits + Underwood's coaching was enough to get some national media attention.
Now's the time for Underwood to cash in on that momentum by landing both Hopkins and Etienne and taking us to back-to-back final 4s.
"It wasn't a commitable offer." Coach Cal. BTW, someone explain to me what a non-commitable offer is? Where I come from if you have an offer it can be accepted. If not, it's simply not an offer.
Basically its an offer that a player can not accept at the current time. Its a combination of I am looking at you, interested in you and would like for you to come to our school, but we are going to wait and see how you progress/we have to see how many scholarships we will have available."It wasn't a commitable offer." Coach Cal. BTW, someone explain to me what a non-commitable offer is? Where I come from if you have an offer it can be accepted. If not, it's simply not an offer.
Team needs balance and adding the ratings doesn’t reflect positions. Groce never had a highly rated center or PG. BU has already recruited two better centers (although one not highly rated) And four better PG’s than Groce ever had. Ratings are indicator but if they told the whole story Kentucky, Duke, etc would win every year. Part of evaluation must be fit for the team.Snider would've been a part of the '14 class (4 year player who got better each year), and I believe he was a top 50 recruit. PG was Groce's kryptonite, and Snider could've potentially righted the ship for him or at least extended his stay at Illinois.