Nick Saban coached the Alabama Crimson Tide to their 3rd BCS championship in 4 seasons. Saban took over the Alabama program prior to the 2007 season. What he has done with the program is amazing to say the least.
In the 2007 class, Alabama signed the 10th best class according to Rivals (0 5-stars, 10 4-stars, 12 3-stars). Naturally, the 2008 class would consist of players that he recruited more so than the previous coach. As such, it was the top-ranked class with 3 5-stars, 19 4-stars, and 8 3-stars. The 2009 class saw another top-ranked squad come in, featuring 4 5-stars, 14 4-stars, and 9 3-stars.
The 2010 class was not the top ranked but was good enough to be the fifth best class to come in that season, with 1 5-star, 15 4-stars, and 9 3-stars.
Saban’s recruiting rebounded in 2011 and Alabama, once more, brought in the top recruiting class (3 5-stars, 14 4-stars, 5 3-stars). In 2012, Alabama, once again, had the best recruiting class coming in (3 5-stars, 14 4-stars, 9 3-stars). At the moment, the 2013 class is the 5th best recruiting class (2 5-stars, 11 4-stars, 7 3-stars) but that could very well change
Minus his first season at Alabama, 2010 season and what appears to be the 2013 season, Saban has brought in the best recruiting class in the nation. Does that remind you of anyone? It reminds me of what John Calipari has done at the University of Kentucky. He has brought in nothing but the best players in the country to play for the Kentucky Wildcats.
Just as Saban won Alabama their first national championship in 2009 since 1992, Calipari returned Kentucky to the promised land in 2012 with the program’s first banner since 1998.
Look at this past summer as Birmingham News sports columnist Kevin Scarbinsky noted in comparing the two coaches and their talent in recruiting. Kentucky had two guys go 1-2 in the NBA Draft. Alabama had 4 guys selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.
In the last four years, 11 of the 128 first-round NFL picks (8.6 percent) came from Alabama. In the last three years, 11 of the 90 first-round NBA picks (12.2 percent) came from Kentucky.
The difference between the two is that Saban gets players for three seasons, at minimum, while Calipari gets them for one season at the very least. Just imagine how things would be if the NBA would change the age limit to where college players have to stay for two or three seasons! Kentucky would, no doubt, be on top year in and year out because of returning veterans.
Make no mistake: John Calipari is to college basketball what Nick Saban is to college football. All that is missing is changing the rules to where basketball players can leave after their second season at the earliest.