(CBS Sports) LAS VEGAS -- Recruiting is the lifeblood of any College Basketball program. Doing it at an elite level doesn't guarantee success, obviously. But struggling at it, especially at the high-major level, makes success a long shot.
Plus, your fans will turn on you quickly.
As I've written before, the best thing a coach can have in college basketball is a great team. Next to that, though, is a heralded recruiting Class committed that provides hope that a great team is on the way. So as the final five-day Evaluation Period of July gets started late Wednesday, primarily here in Sin City, why not take a look at which first-year coaches have been getting results on the recruiting trail?
Here are five coaches at new schools who are off to great recruiting starts:
Counzo Martin, Missouri
Martin left Cal for Mizzou on March 15 and immediately hired Michael Porter Sr. to his staff, which led to commitments from his sons -- Michael Porter Jr. (No. 1 in 2017) and Jontay Porter (No. 18 in 2018). Martin subsequently secured commitments from Jeremiah Tilmon (No. 41 in 2017) and Blake Harris (No. 151 in 2017). So now Missouri's 2017 class is ranked eighth nationally -- and it will improve just as soon as Jontay Porter formally reclassifies and enrolls at Missouri, at which point Missouri will be projected to make the NCAA Tournament in Martin's first year back in the SEC. Yes, the Tigers should finish better than Tennessee this season -- the school Martin guided to the Sweet 16 in 2014.
Will Wade, LSU
Wade left VCU for LSU on March 21 and was able to hold on to multiple recruits signed by former coach Johnny Jones before securing commitments from Tremont Waters (No. 39 in 2017), Mayan Kiir (No. 149 in 2017) and JUCO prospect Daryl Edwards. The result? LSU's 2017 class is ranked 16th nationally. And Wade is also off to a great start for the Class of 2018. Last month, he got a commitment from Ja'Vonte Smart (No. 19 in 2018) -- a 6-foot-4 combo guard from Baton Rouge. And he's already had Naz Reid (No. 10 in 2018) on campus for a visit.
Archie Miller, Indiana
Miller left Dayton for Indiana on March 25 and was able to keep all three recruits signed by former coach Tom Crean -- namely Justin Smith (No. 94 in 2017), Clifton Moore (No. 152 in 2017) and Aljami Durham (No. 228 in 2017) -- and also add four-star forward Race Thompson (No. 96 in 2017) to complete a class that ranks second in the Big Ten. And Miller is already killing it with the Class of 2018. Jerome Hunter (No. 51 in 2018) and Damezi Anderson (No. 87 in 2018) both committed on July 17. So, right now, Indiana's 2018 class is ranked 12th nationally. And it'll move into the top 10 if Miller is able to secure a commitment from five-star in-state product Romeo Langford.
Wyking Jones, California
Jones was promoted from assistant to head coach on March 24. And though he didn't get too much of note accomplished in the Class of 2017, the first-time head coach is off to a great start with the Class of 2018. Jacobi Gordon (No. 93 in 2018) committed in May. And Matt Bradley (No. 66 in 2018) committed in June. So that's two top-95 recruits in 2018 for Cal already, which suggests this promotion could work.
Brad Underwood, Illinois
Underwood left Oklahoma State for Illinois on March 18 and quickly put together a class that ranks 32nd nationally and third in the Big Ten -- mostly thanks to the commitment of Mark Smith (No. 71 in 2017) -- a 6-5 guard who was Mr. Basketball in Illinois. He's the first player with that label to commit to the Illini since Class of 2010 standout Jereme Richmond. So Underwood has things moving in the right direction. One more good class could result in a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
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