The rich might get richer in college basketball. We're not talking about the possibility of five-star 2017 recruit Brian Bowen joining Michigan State or Svi Mykhailiuk (likely) withdrawing from the NBA Draft to rejoin Kansas.
Western Kentucky, a team who hasn't been ranked in the AP top 10 since 1986 and owns one Elite Eight appearance since 1940, could get richer.
The Hilltoppers have the nation's eighth-ranked recruiting class (247Sports) and have signed Virginia grad transfer Darius Thompson, but they're not done. They are the "team to beat" for Kansas grad transfer Dwight Coleby, according to ESPN's Jeff Goodman.
Western Kentucky second-year head coach Rick Stansbury beat out teams who've actually made the NCAA Tournament since 2013 for five-star center Mitchell Robinson, four-star guards Jordan Brangers and Josh Anderson and three-star guards Taveion Hollingsworth and Chris Duarte. He also added Marek Nelson, a small forward from Sunrise Christian Academy who reclassified from the 2018 class.
Robinson, the nation's top-ranked center and No. 8 overall prospect, committed last June and never wavered. He initially pledged to Texas A&M in October 2015 when Stansbury was an Aggies' assistant, but decommitted a month after Stansbury was named head coach at WKU.
"I knew after I left (Texas A&M) that there were really no relationships there and that it would be hard for him to stay with that commitment,” Stansbury said after Robinson signed in February. “Once he decommitted, I wanted to sell the opportunity for him here at Western Kentucky. I knew we had the tradition to do it and facilities to sell. But so much of it is based on relationships.”
And those relationships could help Stansbury land Coleby, whom Stansbury actually began recruiting during his final season as head coach at Mississippi State (2011-12).
Coleby is a 6-foot-9, 240-pounder from the Bahamas but he played high school basketball in Piney Woods, Miss. He signed with Ole Miss before transferring to Kansas after two seasons. Now he's on the move again. Though his KU production was disappointing — partly due to a torn ACL in September 2015 that forced missed practice time and long rehab — he did play 22 big minutes in their tourney wins over Michigan State and Purdue.
They're also reportedly pursuing Tremont Waters, a four-star point guard from Connecticut. The 5-foot-11, 160-pounder signed with Georgetown but was given a release after the dismissal of John Thompson III in March. He visited Indiana, Kansas and Kentucky in September, though he's not believed to be considering any of those schools any longer.
Adam Finkelstein, recruiting analyst for ESPN, said on Wednesday that Western Kentucky is "making a hard push" he could make a decision as early as this weekend.
Adding either, or both, Coleby or Waters would add to already a legendary 2017 recruiting transfer haul for Rick Stansbury and the Hilltoppers.