CU coach Tad Boyle shows his intensity during the first half of the January 21, 2012  Arizona game in Boulder.
CU coach Tad Boyle shows his intensity during the first half of the January 21, 2012 Arizona game in Boulder. ( CLIFF GRASSMICK )

North Carolina, UCLA, Duke, Kentucky and Kansas.

That's the top-five list for most Final Four appearances.

North Carolina, Duke, Kentucky, Kansas and UCLA.

That's the top-five list for most McDonald's All-Americans.

This Saturday in New Orleans, some of the usual suspects -- Kentucky, Louisville, Kansas and Ohio State -- will participate in this year's national semifinals.

On Wednesday night in Chicago, the 2012 McDonald's All-American Game was played. The participants, of course, are committed to a list of traditional power programs that also includes Arizona, Michigan State and Syracuse.

The nation's No. 1 prospect, Shabazz Muhammad, will announce his school of choice (likely for a one-and-done season) in April.

"UCLA, Kentucky, Kansas, UNLV, did I forget one?" Muhammad told the Chicago Tribune when asked which programs he was still considering. "I forgot one. Oh Duke, there it is. I can't forget Coach K."

Tad Boyle is working hard trying to get Colorado included on the list of possibilities for the country's top high school and AAU players.

CU's 2012 recruiting class, which features top-100 players Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson, is ranked No. 22 by ESPN.

The coaching staff has established Boulder as a destination for top-notch players from Southern California interested in relocating without leaving Pac-12 country.

Eventually, Boyle would like to welcome a McDonald's All-American to CU.


Advertisement

"You have to try to get into the door. We're going to do that. We're trying to recruit those guys," Boyle said recently. "You have to give it a shot. You might get in the top four or five this year, you might get in the top two or three next year, and then you land one."

Boyle has already made some history at CU, setting the program records for wins (24) last season and tying it this season. The Buffs advanced to the semifinals of the NIT last March and won an NCAA Tournament game this March.

Signing a McDonald's All-American, however, would not be a first for the program. There have been three of them in the CU's history -- Martice Moore, Chauncey Billups and David Harrison.

Moore and Billups played on the previous CU team to win an NCAA Tournament game in 1997. Harrison played on the previous CU team to make an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2003.

"You have to get lucky, there is no doubt," Boyle said. "It would be nice if one or two of them were in Colorado."

Chris Thomas, a five-star, 6-foot-4 shooting guard, lives in Denver and is ranked by rivals.com as the No. 5 prospect for the 2013 class.

CU has already established a relationship with Thomas and offered him a scholarship. So have Arizona, Kansas and a list of other prominent programs.

But one of Thomas' mentors is Billups. Perhaps the next potential Mr. Big Shot will give the Buffs a shot? Boyle is not allowed to comment on recruits, only players that have already signed letters of intent.

CU's recent success, including winning the Pac-12 Tournament, has already created interest from some recruits in the conference footprint that wouldn't have considered joining Boyle's program when it was in the Big 12.

"I do think we have a brand we're trying to establish with Colorado basketball on the West Coast," Boyle said. "What we did this year in the Pac-12 Tournament opened some eyes, and so that might open some doors."

Arizona (No. 1) and UCLA (No. 12) are the only Pac-12 programs with 2012 recruiting classes ranked higher by ESPN than CU.

The Wildcats had two players (Brandon Ashley and Grant Jerrett) and the Bruins had one player (Kyle Anderson) participating in Wednesday's McDonald's All-American Game.