Looking Back: The 2005 Recruiting Class

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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. Gerald Green: Green went pro out of high school and wound up getting picked 18th by the Celtics. He managed to start 26 games for Boston in his second season, but bounced between the NBA and the D-League for the next couple of seasons. Green eventually turned to Europe in 2009, but returned to the NBA in 2011 and wound up playing 60 games with the Pacers this past season.

2. Josh McRoberts: McRoberts played two underwhelming seasons at Duke before entering the NBA Draft. He was picked in the second round in 2007 and played a couple of seasons with Indiana and Portland before signing a deal with the Lakers. McRoberts’ claim to fame at this point in his career is being a part of the trade that sent Dwight Howard to the Lakers from Orlando.

3. Monta Ellis: Ellis was a high school legend in Mississippi, but the diminutive scorer skipped college and dropped to the 40th pick in the 2005 draft. Ellis developed into one of the best young scorers in the NBA with Golden State before getting traded to Milwaukee in 2012.

4. Martell Webster: Webster skipped college and was the sixth pick in the 2005 draft. He played for four seasons with Portland and a couple years with Minnesota before averaging 11.4 points in his best season as a pro in Washington this past season.

5. Andray Blatche: Blatche went pro out of prep school in Connecticut and was picked 49th by the Wizards. He lasted with Washington for seven years, even averaging 16.8 points and 8.2 boards in 2010-2011, before playing with Brooklyn this past season, but has been known for his off-court “exploits” more than anything he did on the court.

6. Tyler Hansbrough: Hansbrough was one of the bet college basketball players of all time, getting named an All-American four times, getting named the National Player of the Year as a junior and a national title as a senior. He was the 13th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft and was a productive piece for the Pacers for the last four years. Oh, and his nickname is no longer Psycho T, it’s Gooch.

7. Louis Williams: Williams went pro out of high school and was the 45th pick in the draft. He’s never developed into a superstar, but Williams has been a double-figure scorer in the league for the last six years.

8. Julian Wright: Wright played at Kansas for two seasons before heading off to the NBA Draft, where he was the 13th pick in 2007. He spent the next three seasons playing for New Orleans before latching on with Toronto for a season, but he’s been out of the league since 2011, spending a year in the D-League and a season in Israel.

9. Richard Hendrix: Hendrix went to Alabama, where he teamed up with a talented-but-disappointing team coached by Mark Gottfried. After a junior season in which he averaged 17.8 points and 10.1 boards, Hendrix went pro. He was the 49th pick in 2008, but never set foot on an NBA court.

10. Mario Chalmers: Chalmers went from Alaska to Kansas to play his college ball, where his dad was the Director of Basketball Operations while he was there, where he won a national title in 2008. Chalmers went pro after that season, getting picked in the second round by the Heat, where he has become a starter and now a two-time NBA champion.

10. Tasmin Mitchell: Mitchell had a solid four-year career at LSU, making a final four and averaging 16.8 points and 9.4 boards as a fifth-year senior. He played one season in the D-League after graduating, but has been in Israel and Russia since then.

12. Andrew Bynum: Bynum went pro out of college instead of enrolling at UConn and was picked by the Lakers with the 10th pick. He developed into a constant double-double threat, a two-time NBA champ and an all-star in 2012, but he missed all of the 2012-2013 season in Philly with an injury. He’s also out of his mind these days.

13. Brandon Rush: Rush had an excellent three-year career at Kansas, winning a national title in 2008, but went pro after his junior season. He was the 13th pick in the 2008 draft and was a solid role player for Indiana and Golden State the past five years. He tore his ACL last season, the second time he’s had that injury. He also tore his ACL in an illegal workout with the Knicks when he was considering entering the 2007 draft.

14. Keith Brumbaugh: Brumbaugh tried to enter the 2005 NBA Draft, but committed to Oklahoma State instead. He never enrolled, because of a questionable ACT score and a shoplifting arrest, and was forced to go to a JuCo after a gun charge. (His story is detailed here.) He entered the 2008 NBA Draft and played professionally until 2010. Since then, he’s been arrested at least 13 times, most recently for violation of a pretrial release stemming from a domestic violence charge.

15. CJ Miles: Miles went pro out of high school and was a second round pick by the Jazz. He bounced between the NBA and the D-League for a few years but carved himself out a career with the Jazz as a bench scorer. He played with the Cavs last season.

16. Greg Paulus: Paulus was Duke’s point guard for three and a half years before losing his starting spot to Nolan Smith. A two-sport star in high school, he transferred to Syracuse to play quarterback as a fifth-year senior. When he graduated, Paulus went into coaching and is now on staff at Ohio State.

17. Amir Johnson: Johnson went pro out of high school and ended up getting picked late in the second round by the Pistons. He spent four years in Detroit before signing with Toronto, where he had his best season of his career in 2012-2013, averaging 10.0 points and 7.5 boards.

18. Danny Green: Green’s story is well-known by now. He spent four years at North Carolina, winning the 2009 national title, before getting picked in the second round of the 2009 draft. Green bounced around between the NBA and the D-League for a couple years, even doing a stint abroad, before finally buying into the ideal of being a professional He exploded during the 2013 Playoffs with the Spurs, having a memorable five games in the 2013 Finals before going ice cold for Game 6 and Game 7.

19. Jon Brockman: Brockman was a double-double machine for four seasons at Washington before heading off to the NBA. He ended up getting picked in the second round and spent three non-descript years in the league before heading to France.

20. Brandon Costner: Costner was injured as a freshman, earning a redshirt, and averaged 16.8 points and 7.3 boards in 2006-2007. He would never repeat that production in college before entering the 2009 NBA Draft. He went undrafted, averaged 20.1 points in the D-League in 2011-2012 and, ironically enough, was a teammate of Brockman’s in France this past season.

*According to the RSCI database for 2005, Gerald Green, Andray Blatche and Brandon Rush were all rated much lower than where they should have been because one outlet — Clark Francis of The Hoop Scoop — didn’t put fifth-year seniors in his top 100 list. We’ve adjusted the rankings here to account for that. For example, Green was the No. 1 prospect by three of the four outlets that counted prep players, so he’s No. 1 on this list.

OTHER NOTABLE NAMES 

  • 22. Eric Devendorf
  • 27. Shawne Williams
  • 34. Luke Zeller
  • 41. Chris Douglas-Roberts
  • 43. Tiki Mayben
  • 44. Terrence Williams
  • 53. Jeff Adrien
  • 56. Wilson Chandler
  • 58. Sam Young
  • 61. Wesley Matthews
  • 81. Martellus Bennett
  • 84. Jeremy Pargo
  • 95. Denis Clemente
  • 98. Darren Collison
  • UR. Jimmy Graham

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Syracuse’s Tyus Battle to test NBA draft waters

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Syracuse announced on Friday afternoon that sophomore guard Tyus Battle will be declaring for the NBA draft without signing with an agent, giving him until the NCAA’s May 30th deadline to withdraw from contention and return to school.

Battle averaged 19.2 points as a sophomore for the Orange, who made a surprising run to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.

He is a projected late-first round or early-second round pick given his size, shooting ability and skill with the ball in his hands.

Losing Battle would be a massive blow to a Syracuse team that is already going to be without Matthew Moyer, who transferred out of the program, and Dareus Bazley, who is heading to the G League instead of enrolling in college.

Maryland’s Kevin Huerter declares for NBA draft, won’t hire agent

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Maryland wing Kevin Huerter announced on Friday afternoon that he will be declaring for the NBA draft without hiring an agent, giving him the option of returning to school by May 30th.

“This will be a great experience for Kevin to get honest feedback from NBA teams and executives,” said head coach Mark Turgeon. “Taking advantage of this opportunity will allow Kevin and his family to make an informed decision about his future.”

Huerter is a 6-foot-7 wing known for his ability to shoot from the perimeter. He averaged 14.8 points and shot 42 percent from three as a sophomore.

He is also the third player from Maryland to declare for the 2018 NBA Draft. Justin Jackson, a borderline first round pick who missed time last season with a shoulder injury, has signed with an agent while Bruno Fernando is testing the waters. Maryland, who has an excellent recruiting class coming in, will be a preseason top 20 team if Huerter and Fernando both return to school.

Huerter is a borderline first round pick.

Michigan’s Charles Matthews to test NBA draft waters

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Michigan guard Charles Matthews announced on Friday that he will be declaring for the NBA draft, but that he does not intend to sign with an agent, meaning he has until May 30th to withdraw from the draft and return to school.

“After careful consideration with my parents and coaching staff, I am excited to announce that I will be declaring for the 2018 NBA Draft without hiring an agent,” said Matthews. “I give thanks to the Lord for this amazing opportunity, as well as the entire University of Michigan for their support. Go Blue!”

Matthews, a redshirt sophomore that averaged 13.0 points and 5.5 boards for the national runners-up, was a four-star prospect coming out of Chicago and spent his freshman season at Kentucky.

Matthews is a likely second round pick with the potential to climb into the first round should he prove to be a more consistent three-point shooter. He shot just 31.8 percent from beyond the arc this past season.

Virginia’s Hunter to return to school for sophomore season

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De’Andre Hunter announced on Friday afternoon that he will not be entering his name into the NBA draft and will return to Virginia for his redshirt sophomore season, a decision that will have as much of an impact on the 2018-19 college basketball season as any that is made this spring.

Hunter, now a potential top ten pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, was one of the breakout stars of the 2017-18 season. A 6-foot-7 combo-forward with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, Hunter averaged 9.2 points and 3.5 boards while shooting 38.2 percent from three in just under 20 minutes a night for a Virginia team whose pace severely limits the kind of numbers a player like him can put up.

Throw in his ability to defend on the perimeter and in the paint, and Hunter is precisely the kind of player that NBA teams are looking to land as basketball becomes more and more built on positional versatility and the ability to space the floor.

And it’s that versatility that will make Hunter so important for the Cavaliers next season.

Let’s go beyond the simple fact that he is going to be the only guy on the Virginia roster that can create his own shot against length and athleticism and that there is a chance that he could end up being an all-american next season if things play out the right way. What makes Hunter so important to Virginia his that his defensive versatility is what allows Virginia to matchup with teams that want to try and play small-ball against them.

That’s precisely what UMBC did in the first round of the NCAA tournament, a game that Hunter missed with a broken wrist. We all know how that played out, and I’m not even dumb enough to pin all the blame of a 20-point loss to a No. 16 seed on a guy that played less than 20 minutes a night.

Virginia choked once they realized that there was a chance this could happen, but I would argue that a major reason they couldn’t ever truly assert their dominance was because they were unable to matchup with UMBC’s four-guard lineup without Hunter.

With Hunter back, Virginia is the No. 6 team in the NBC Sports Preseason Top 25. If he had declared for the draft and signed with an agent, I’m not sure I would have had the Wahoos in the top 20.

He takes Tony Bennett’s club from simply being good to once against being a contender for the ACC regular season title.

Vanderbilt the sixth Kentucky player declares for the NBA draft

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Jarred Vanderbilt is now the sixth Kentucky Wildcat to declare for the NBA draft this spring, joining P.J. Washington and Wenyen Gabriel in testing the waters without signing with an agent.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kevin Knox and Hamidou Diallo have all declared for the draft and signed with an agent.

Vanderbilt announced his decision on Friday afternoon.

“This season wasn’t easy for me,” Vanderbilt said. “At the end of the day, my goal has always been to make it to the NBA.”

“I know I have more to my game to show, but now I’ve got to figure out if the time is right for me to do it at the next level or if I would be better to return to school.”

Vanderbilt missed the first 17 games of his freshman season with a left foot injury, a foot that he had injured twice before during his high school career. He then missed all four of Kentucky’s postseason games with a left ankle injury, and there is a chance that he could end up needing surgery to correct this issue this offseason.

All told, the 6-foot-9 Vanderbilt played in 14 games as a freshman, averaging 5.9 points and 7.9 boards in just 17 minutes a night. But issues with his ability to shoot from the perimeter and a lower left leg that has proven to be extremely problematic, there is a good chance that Vanderbilt would go undrafted should he decide to turn pro.