In my view, Monson has been an excellent recruiter. But, he has struggled to hold onto talent. He has often had culture issues in the program. So often, Monson brings good guys in and struggles to keep them happy here.
Of course the Fab 4, followed by Ennis and Caffey were fantastic. He made a huge error bringing in too many talented guys with issues and me first attitudes (guys like Tyler Lamb and Travis Hammonds). I thought the class of Bibbins, Jack Williams, Deonte North and Temi was really good recruiting. But, you have to keep them happy.
I thought Blackwell was another excellent recruit the next year. Gabe Levin was outstanding too. But, then Monson recruited Loren Jackson, another talented PG the next year. Then lost Bibbins, Blackwell and Jackson all at once.
Personally, I think Monson has generally been able to recruit top of the BW talent. I think he has often been too willing to ignore attitude issues and has therefore struggled to get guys to buy in. Talented guys who are playing for themselves create dysfunctional culture. This often has led to teams quitting on Monson.
I am hopeful Monson will find guys that fit, have talent are are high character. Jones, Slater, Murray, Traore seem to be this type of player. We need a few more and can hope to repeat.
I would not consider us 'cleaned out of bigs" by any stretch of the imagination
Hampton: was going t graduate
Irish: frankly, was always a project, even if healthy would have never been more than a 10 min a game plug in if we were to amount to anything
Mansel: a loss, was finally progressing, even then had not exhibited good hands
bottom line, if our incoming recruits each year are the likes of Jones/Murray/Traore then woo-hoo
I have no idea if this recruiting 'Nuggets" this last year is a combo of Carey/Caveness coming of age, we'll see if we can finally get a back-to-back high level recruiting years which has been maybe the #1 thing keeping the program from building into a prerenial contendor
the Murray-Traore-Rotegard class from last year has a chance to be a top 3 class in the CDM era, with still potential 1st teamers, POY, DPOY candidates for the next year and beyond (they already had 2 awards)
#1: Fab Four - 2 championships
#2: Ennis-Caffey-Papageorge-Jennings - 2 championships
other: Bibbs-Temi (fizzled)
but I wouldn't consider Monson to have been a solid recruiter, he's nabbed some really good talent, especially point guards, but he's had so many duds, so little continuity in building one good class on top of another. he really didn't build well on teh fab four, it took 3 years to supplement those guys with the Ennis class, that was a 2 year gap
now, getting Jones (impact guy), then getting the aforementioned 3 this last year, now can he 'score' 3 years in a row? that's something he's not been good with - and if he can get an impact xfer each year now with the new MO of college basketball, we'll see
The transfer portal and the rule changes have made player turnover accelerate. Last year, we thought we had some pretty good guards coming back. Chance Hunter then decided to transfer and Jelly Roll Washington decided to go pro. Carter was of course shown the door at the end of the season and our guard corp that had been among the best in the league, was all of the sudden gone. But, all was not lost, Jones looked very promising and in July we announced Murray signing, and in September we had late adds Rotegaard and Traore. At least one of those rides was avaialable because Ramon Watkins did not qualify. Not to mention, Slater went from a role player to BW POY. This year, the losses to transfers are not as dramatic, but, we do look cleaned out of bigs aside from Traore, and lord know we will miss Slater.
It will be interesting to see who Monson finds. He has been a solid recruiter in his time here. We have a real nice corp to build around, especially Jones, Murray and Traore.