A remarkable recruiting class, and five stinkers

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There’s a “50-50 chance” Evan Turner could be the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. That’s means it’s 50-50 the high school class of 2007 sits atop the draft. For the third time.

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Think about that. First it was Derrick Rose going No. 1, then Blake Griffin. Now Turner could follow suit and reinforce just how impressive that really was.

Consider the names: Rose, Griffin, Michael Beasley, Turner, O.J. Mayo, Kevin Love, DeJuan Blair, Eric Gordon, James Harden, Patrick Patterson, Jerryd Bayless, Kyle Singler, James Anderson, and Robbie Hummel. And that’s just for starters.

They’ve also had two of the last three players of the year (Turner and Griffin) and just missed on three-for-three when Beasley lost out to Tyler Hansbrough.

Simply put, they comprise a class that impacted the game as freshmen on a larger scale than any other class since 2003, writes Basketball Prospectus’ Josh Reed. Most freshmen classes have four-six impact freshmen. The 2007 class had 16, according to Reed.

Perhaps more impressive – given how many of them were one-and-done players – is the number of first-team all-americans the class has had. If Singler, Hummel and another senior are all-americans in 2011, that’ll be the most from one class since 1990.

On a less positive note – but no less interesting – The Dagger played off of Tubby Smith’s 2009 bust of a freshman class and detailed which schools had the single worst classes since 2005.

The “winners” for each year: UCLA (2008), USC (2007), Florida (2006) and Duke (2005).

The worst among those would have to be the Bruins. They brought in the nation’s No. 1 class, yet don’t have much to show for it. Drew Gordon and J’Mison Morgan are no longer there, Jrue Holiday went pro after one year and Jermie Anderson’s inconsistent enough to drive even the most devout fans crazy. At least Malcolm Lee can play a little.

Perhaps the most surprising on that list is Florida. The Gators won the first of two titles in 2006, yet had two guys transfer (Doneal Mack and Jon Mitchell) and had Marreese Speights turn pro as a sophomore. No wonder Billy Donovan only reached the NIT in 2008 and 2009.

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Texas lands commitment from top 100 center

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James Banks announced on Thursday that he has committed to Texas, joining Jacob Young in Shaka Smart’s first recruiting class as the head coach of the Longhorns.

Banks is an interesting prospect. A 6-foot-10 center from Georgia, Banks is a still-developing prospect that was recruited more on his potential than his immediate ability.

“James Banks emerged as a good low post prospect this spring and summer,” NBC Recruiting Analyst Scott Phillips said. “With a good set of hands, some offensive potential and a frame that can add weight, Banks is a nice upside grab for Texas.”

He’s probably a few years away from having a major impact in the Big 12, but he may not have that much time to develop. Cameron Ridley, Prince Ibeh and Conner Lamert all graduate after this season, meaning that Banks is going to have to contribute immediately when he sets foot on the Austin campus for the 2016-17 season.

Texas has three commitments in the Class of 2015. Smart convinced Kerwin Roach and Eric Davis to remain committed to the program when he took over for Rick Barnes while he landed a commitment from Tevin Mack, who pledged to Smart when he was at VCU.

Memphis guard could miss season with shoulder injury

Kedren Johnson
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Memphis just cannot catch a break.


It’s to the point where I almost feel bad for Josh Pastner.

Today, CBSSports.com reported that Kedren Johnson, a 6-foot-4 point guard that was on track towards being an all-SEC point guard at Vanderbilt, could end up missing the season due to a shoulder injury. If he can handle the pain he can avoid surgery and play with the injury, but at the very least, Johnson is going to be less than his best.

Johnson averaged 6.7 points and 2.7 assists last season for the Tigers. He sat out 2013-14 after leaving Vanderbilt and entered last season incredibly out of shape. There was hope that he would be able to make a bigger impact this season and help fill the void at the point guard spot.

This news comes on the heels of Memphis finding out that Jaylen Fisher is heading to UNLV. Who’s Jaylen Fisher? Well, he’s a point guard and top 40 recruit from Memphis that was Pastner’s No. 1 recruiting target that opted to leave the city for his college hoops instead of play for the Tigers.

That’s a bad sign, but not quite as bad as Memphis losing star center Austin Nichols — another local kid — to a transfer over the summer. Nichols transferred to Virginia.