Looking Back: The 2001 Recruiting Class

2 Comments

Next week, the first session of July’s live recruiting period will begin, and high school hoopers around the country will take their talents to tournaments across the country, looking to impress coaches enough to earn a spot on a team at some level.

Those that are good enough will be playing for a scholarship. The best of the best will have a spot in all of the top 100 recruiting rankings on the line.

Over the course of this week, we will be looking back at the RSCI — a composite index for top 100 lists — to reinforce a point: recruiting rankings are not a guarantee. Top ten recruits flame out and unranked players make the NBA. The only thing that is a given is that hard work will be talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

Keep that in mind while tracking where a kid is ranked and who is recruiting him.

We’ll be looking at the Class of 1999-2008, the last 10 classes that have finished the five years they are allowed to use their four seasons of eligibility.

To read through the rest of our Looking Back posts, click here.

THE TOP 20

1. Eddy Curry: Curry went pro out of college and played his first four seasons with Chicago. His best year came in 2006-2007 when he averaged 19.5 points and 7.0 boards for the Knicks. He’s played 26 games in the NBA the last four years as conditioning and motivation issues continually pop up.

2. Kelvin Torbert: Torbert had a good-but-underwhelming four-year career at Michigan State, but he wasn’t even a full-time starter on the 2005 Final Four team. Torbert went undrafted in 2005 and has bounced around Europe since then.

3. Dajuan Wagner: Wagner spent a season at Memphis after a legendary high school career. He averaged 13.4 points as a rookie in Cleveland after getting picked sixth in the 2002 Draft, but injuries ended his hoops career way too early. He left Cleveland after 2005, and played just one more game in the NBA.

4. Tyson Chandler: Chandler skipped college and has developed into one of the best defensive centers in the NBA. He’s been an all-star, a Defensive Player of the Year, an NBA champion and an Olympic champion.

5. Ousmane Cisse: Cisse skipped college and was the 46th pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. He never played in the NBA, bouncing around basketball’s minor leagues and international leagues.

6. Kwame Brown: Brown was the first pick in the 2001 NBA Draft after skipping college. He’s never lived up to the hype, but he’s been in the NBA for 12 years and made more than $60 million in his career. Not bad.

7. Julius Hodge: Hodge had a solid four-year career with NC State, eventually getting picked 20th in the first round of the 2005 draft. He lasted all of 23 games before heading overseas.

8. DeSagana Diop: Diop never made it to college, going straight from high school to the No. 8 pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. Diop made the Finals with the Mavericks in 2006 and has been in the NBA for 12 years despite the fact that he’s never averaged more than 2.9 points in a season.

9. Rick Rickert: Rickert played for two seasons at Minnesota, where he earned all-Big Ten first team honors, but entered the draft after his sophomore season. He was picked 55th in the 2003 draft, but has never played in the NBA and lasted just three seasons in the NBDL.

10. David Lee: Lee played four years at Florida, averaging 13.6 points and 9.0 boards as a senior. He was the 30th pick in the 2005 draft, playing five years in New York and the past three seasons in Golden State. He’s become a consistent double-double threat, a two-time all-star and one of the more valuable big men in the league.

11. Jawad Williams: Williams played four seasons at North Carolina and averaged 13.1 points as a senior on the 2005 national title team. Williams bounced around Europe, but did play three years in the NBA with Cleveland.

12. Carlos Hurt: Hurt played just 14 games at Louisville before getting hurt and, eventually, kicked off the team. He ended up at Robert Morris, an NAIA school in Illinois. He played all of one seasn in the NBDL.

13. Jonathan Hargett: Hargett played one season at West Virginia, was arrested for selling weed and transferred to Virginia Union but couldn’t get eligible. He’s been locked up since.

14. David Harrison: Colorado played at Colorado for three seasons, averaging 17.1 points and 8.8 boards as a junior before entering the NBA Draft. Harrison went in the first round, 29th overall, to Indiana in the 2004 NBA Draft and lasted with the Pacers for four seasons. He played for three years in China afterwards. He’s perhaps best known for either partaking in the Pistons-Pacers brawl in Auburn Hills or an appearance on Real World: Philadelphia.

15. Aaron Miles: Miles had a terrific four-year career at Kansas, but he wasn’t picked in the 2005 NBA Draft. He latched on with the Warriors for 19 games in the 2005-2006 season, but hasn’t been back to the league since, instead bouncing around overseas.

16. Mo Williams: Williams went to Alabama and lasted with the Crimson Tide for two seasons, averaging 16.4 points and 3.9 assists as a senior. He went pro and was picked 47th in the 2003 NBA Draft. He’s been a starter in the league since his second season with Milwaukee, and played with Utah last season. Williams was an all-star in 2009.

17. TJ Ford: Ford had two wildly successful seasons at Texas, earning Freshman of the Year honors before leading the Longhorns to the Final Four as a sophomore while being named National Player of the Year. Ford was the No. 8 pick in the 2003 NBA Draft and was one of the best young point guards in the NBA before spinal cord injuries derailed his career. Ford was most recently on the Spurs roster in 2011-2012.

18. Josh Childress: Childress played three seasons in college and was an All-American as a junior before becoming the sixth pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. He had four successful years in Atlanta, but he accepted a more valuable contract to play in Greece over a five-year deal in the NBA. He lasted two seasons in the Greek League before returning to the NBA. Childress played with Brooklyn last season.

19. Cedric Bozeman: Bozeman played out his eligibility at UCLA, but he only managed to stay healthy for three full seasons. He ended his career as a fifth-year senior, but only lasted 23 games in the NBA during the 2006-2007 season.

20. Wayne Simien: Simien was a two-time All-American at Kansas and was a first round pick, 29th overall, of the Miami Heat in the 2005 NBA Draft. He won oa rin in 2006, but only lasted two seasons in the league. Simien retired from basketball in 2009.

OTHER NOTABLE PLAYERS

  • 22. James White
  • 32. Jason Maxiell
  • 32. Pierre Pierce
  • 36. Billy Edelin
  • 40. Travis Diener
  • 41. Ben Gordon
  • 46. Chuck Hayes
  • 53. Will Bynum
  • 65. Josh Powell
  • 87. Channing Frye
  • 87. Lawrence Roberts
  • 91. Keith Langford
  • 99. Emeka Okafor
  • UR. Luther Head
  • UR. Hakim Warrick

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Five-star forward King picks Oregon

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Oregon has nabbed one of the top players in the 2018 class.

Louis King, a top-20 forward, committed to Dana Altman and the Ducks on Thursday via a video on social media.

“It’s been a tough, strenuous process,” King said, “but today makes all of that worth it. I’ve been blessed with great opportunities.”

The 6-foot-8 New Jersey native selected Oregon over other finalists Seton Hall, NC State, Purdue and Kansas.

“I would like to thank each of them for all the time and effort they put into my recruitment,” King said. “I would like to thank my coaches and my teammates that have pushed me and helped get me to this point in my career. My friends for all their love and support, but most of all I would like to thank my family, who has been by my side through it all.”

King is Altman’s second commit in 2018, joining four-star big man Miles Norris, a top-75 recruit in the class. It’s the beginning of what could be an absolutely dynamic class for Oregon, which still has two scholarships remaining.

“Out of all of my schools I felt like it was best for me and my family,” King said to MADE Hoops. “Coach Altman said that I would have the ball in my hands throughout the season. When I get there, it will be an easy adjustment for me with how I handle rock and get my teammates open. Our goal is to win a national championship next year.”

 

Four-star forward Miller Kopp commits to Northwestern

Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images
Leave a comment

Northwestern has a second four-star recruit in its 2018 class.

The Wildcats received a commitment from Miller Kopp, a 6-foot-6 forward, on Thursday, he announced via social media.

“I built a really strong relationship with (coach) Chris Collins and I fell in love with the campus,” Kopp told Scout. “I knew it would be a nice campus and have that stuff, but I think me and him are wired the same way. II think that his personality fits mine and I think we complement each other. I’m definitely excited to be able to go to a program on the rise and be able to make some history.”

Kopp picked the Wildcats over offers from Georgetown, Butler, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt. The Houston native is ranked in the top-100 of his class by most recruiting services.

He gives Collins and the Wildcats an exceedingly strong 2018 class, which already featured four-star guard Pete Nance of Ohio along with three-star recruits Jordan Lathon and Ryan Young. It represents a major leap forward for Northwestern. It would appear that the program’s first-ever NCAA tournament appearance last March has brought momentum to the recruiting trail.

 

NEXT ONE? Hoops phenom at 13 has college offer, NBA height

AP Photo/Paul Sancya
Leave a comment

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Emoni Bates walks out a front door of Clague Middle School with just inches to spare.

A wide smile tops his 6-foot-7, extra-lean frame. He’s holding a seventh-grade honor society certificate in his right hand. His braces gleam in the afternoon sun.

Meet the best 13-year-old basketball player in America, according to some recruiting services. One of his highlight reels on YouTube has been viewed about 1 million times.

“I don’t really pay attention to it,” Emoni insists in a voice just louder than a whisper, “because if I pay attention to it, it’s just going to get to my head.

“And I don’t want it to get to my head. I just want to play basketball.”

He’s got the pedigree.

Emoni’s father, E.J. Bates, has been around the game most of his life. He picked greens and baled hay as a kid in nearby Milan, Michigan, then developed into a smooth-shooting guard. But he didn’t take school seriously until it was too late. Instead of playing for a basketball power like Kansas and maybe even in the NBA, E.J. wound up going to Kentucky Wesleyan and settling for pro hoops in Switzerland.

E.J. is determined to make sure his son doesn’t make the same mistake. The academics are a sign of that. House rules bar Emoni from picking up a basketball until his homework is done.

Yet E.J. knows when kids are this good this early, distractions roll in like waves. Already, it seems, lots of people want a piece of Emoni. Prep, private and public high school coaches are lining up. Colleges have him on their radar. DePaul took it a step further, offering Emoni a scholarship in late August. Two other much-touted players in the Class of 2022 — Amari Bailey of Illinois and Skyy Clark of California — also have offers from DePaul.

E.J. knows the shoe company bird dogs and other hustlers looking to buy favors are lurking, too. So he and wife Edith, who works for the Red Cross, keep their inner circle very tight.

“I’m his coach to keep the snakes away,” Bates says, sitting on one of Clague’s concrete benches. “We’re not for sale.”

The Bates family has agreed to provide The Associated Press with a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the life of one of the most coveted basketball prospects in the country for at least the next five years. The periodic series will include video, photos, audio and text updates to track his progress.

Will Emoni stay near his current home to attend a public high school? Or will he take his next step at a private school like Detroit Country Day, like Michigan native Chris Webber?

Will he follow the footsteps of Marvin Bagley III and other five-star prospects, reclassifying to finish high school in three years? Bagley did to play college ball at Duke this coming season — and potentially to get a jump on a pro future.

Will E.J. and Emoni emulate the father-son team of LaVar and Lonzo Ball, grabbing headlines while hawking their own brand at every turn?

No one knows.

E.J. says all options are on the table. But he won’t be loud, unlike LaVar Ball in the lead-up to his son Lonzo being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers.

“I don’t have to brag about what we’re doing,” E.J. says. “I let other people do all the talking about how good Emoni is because word of mouth is the best advertising there is.”

A POTENTIAL STAR IS BORN

Emoni James-Wayne Bates was born Jan. 28, 2004, at the University of Michigan hospital. He was on the light side — 6 pounds, 7 ounces — and a little long at 21 inches. Just over a year later, Emoni slept with his head cradled in his left arm and his right wrapped around a black and red basketball. A cherished photo was made.

“He would always sleep with the ball,” his father recalls, holding a framed picture in his Ypsilanti, Michigan, home. “If the ball wasn’t around, he would cry about the ball. Even to this day, he has a mini-ball he keeps with him, which is crazy to me.”

There were more hints. During a second visit to the doctor, E.J., who is 6-foot-4, and Edith, 5-9, asked how tall their son might grow.

“He was off the charts,” E.J. laughs, “so they couldn’t tell us.”

Emoni has shot up 7 inches in the last two years. He’s tall enough right now to play shooting guard at any level. He handles the ball like a point guard and launches 3-pointers like a savvy veteran. He can create his own shot like a wing or drive the lane and dish off to a teammate like another rail-thin former prodigy, Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant.

But adding weight and muscle is an ongoing challenge. He weighs just 155 pounds — not heavy or strong enough to play a dominating inside game that would complement his fluid perimeter skills.

“We try to stuff him full of food at night and hope it sticks,” E.J. sighs.

TEEN CELEBRITY

The Adidas Invitational in Fishers, Indiana, attracts some of the Midwest’s top seventh-grade AAU teams. Inside Best Choice Fieldhouse, talk centers on whether the Bates Fundamentals squad starring Emoni and coached by E.J. can live up to the hype.

“They’ve been hearing a lot about him,” says Bernetta Kelly, watching her son’s Peoria Area Elite team take its shot.

Bates Fundamentals wins 95-44 and Kelly understands why. She approaches Emoni and asks for a photo with her son and his team.

“I’ve seen the best players from Pittsburgh to Vegas the last four years, and he’s been the best in his class,” Peoria coach Zach Martin says. “I told the guys, ‘There are not many times you will be able to say you played an NBA player, but you just did.'”

After another lopsided victory in the two-day tournament won easily by Bates Fundamentals, Emoni walks off the court. A younger competitor darts out of his team’s pregame layup line to slap his hand. Moments later, the excitement follows Emoni out the door.

“Hey, that’s him,” a young boy entering the facility says to teammates.

How does a 10-year-old from Fort Wayne, Indiana, know who Bates is?

“YouTube,” he says.

Duh.

The highlight reel posted last summer had nearly 1 million views before Emoni walked into the doors at Clague for the first time as an eighth-grader. Several other videos have racked up 500,000-plus views in less than one year.

By the spring of 2018, the suspense about where he plans to attend high school may be its own mini-drama. Then a few years later: Which college?

E.J. and Edith hardly need reminding that’s still a long way off. As good as the recruiting services have become at projecting stars, it’s easy to forget the object of all that attention is still just 13. At times, the recruiting experts simply miss.

“It’s always a crap shoot,” E.J. says. “You don’t know what life will deal you. You never know what can happen with injuries, the loss of motivation or pressure getting to be too much.”

Yet fans of two college basketball powers with the inside track can already start thinking about the fall of 2021, when Bates can officially sign a scholarship offer. In quiet moments, Emoni sometimes does, too.

Asked about his favorite programs, the soft-spoken kid doesn’t hesitate to name the early front-runners.

“Michigan State and Kentucky,” Emoni says.

___

Follow the series: https://www.apnews.com/tag/TheKid

___

Follow Larry Lage at http://twitter.com/larrylage

NCAA punishes Pacific men’s basketball for violations

AP Photo/Young Kwak
2 Comments

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) — The men’s basketball team at Pacific has been punished by the NCAA for academic and recruiting violations under former coach Ron Verlin.

The NCAA said Wednesday that Verlin failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance when he violated academic misconduct and recruiting rules to get prospects eligible. He also failed to monitor his coaches and violated NCAA ethics rules when he encouraged others to give false information during the investigation.

The baseball program was also cited because former coach Ed Sprague impermissibly provided an athletic training student with a $16,000 scholarship to help with the housing costs of two baseball student-athletes, including her brother.

Penalties for the school include two years of probation, recruiting and scholarship reductions, a $5,000 fine and a vacation of all games in which ineligible athletes participated.

Memphis lands commitment from 2018 center Connor Vanover

Leave a comment

Memphis picked up its first commitment in the Class of 2018 on Wednesday night as unique center prospect Connor Vanover announced his decision on Twitter.

At 7-foot-2, Vanover brings elite size to the interior for the Tigers and he’s also skilled enough that he was a 43 percent three-point shooter during his stint playing with Pro Skills in the Nike EYBL this spring. Although Vanover needs to add strength and athleticism to adapt to the college level, he simply has size that you can’t teach. Pair that size with an intriguing perimeter jumper and it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Tubby Smith is able to develop Vanover the next few years.

A three-star prospect according to Rivals, Vanover averaged 9.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game during the spring. Originally from Arkansas, Vanover is spending his senior season of high school ball at prep school powerhouse Findlay Prep.