Looking Back: The 2007 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. OJ Mayo: After a somewhat curious recruitment and an infamous one-year stint at USC that helped drive that program into the ground and banish Tim Floyd to UTEP, Mayo went pro and was the third pick in the 2008 draft. He hasn’t quite lived up to the almost-unfair hype he had as a high-schooler, but Mayo has proven to be a solid pro, averaging 16.4 points in his five-year career.

2. Kevin Love: Love spurned his hometown Oregon program to go play for UCLA, leaving school after one season to enter the NBA Draft. He went fifth in 2008, and has become arguably the best power forward in the NBA. He’s a two-time all-star that has led the league in rebounding and won a three-point contest at the all-star game. He was injured for much of last season, but averaged 26.0 points in 2011-2012 and 15.2 boards in 2010-2011.

3. Eric Gordon: Gordon, like Mayo, had an interesting recruitment, as he backed off of a commitment to Illinois to attend in-state Indiana. He was off to a terrific start with the Hoosiers as a freshman, but Kelvin Sampson’s issues reared their ugly head and ruined the season. Gordon went pro and was the seventh pick in 2008. He spent three seasons with the Clippers before signing with New Orleans, averaging 18.0 points for his career.

4. Michael Beasley: Beasley followed Dalonte Hill from the DC area to Kansas State, where he had a phenomenal freshman season, averaging 26.2 points and 12.4 boards. He was the second pick in the 2008 draft, but he’s been a bit of a disappointment in the NBA. He’s averaged 14.1 points in five season, but his career has been littered with off-the-court issues, everything from weed to booze to driving violations to a sexual assault allegation to this mess with his former AAU coach and agent.

5. Derrick Rose: Questionable SAT score aside, Rose had a great freshman season at Memphis, leading the team to within a couple of missed free throws of a national title. He’s one of the best players in the NBA when healthy, but missed last year recovering form an ACL injury.

5. Kyle Singler: The highest-ranked player in the Class of 2007 that wasn’t one-and-done, Singler had a great four-year career at Duke that included the 2010 national title. Singler ended up getting picked early in the second round by the Pistons, and while he spent 2011-2012 in Spain, Singler started 74 of the 82 games this past season in Detroit.

7. Jerryd Bayless: Bayless spent one season averaging 19.7 points for a mediocre Arizona team before going pro. He was the 11th pick in the 2008 draft, and has played for four organizations in the NBA. He was a key playmaker off the bench this past season for a Memphis team that made the conference finals.

8. Donte Greene: Greene spent one year at Syracuse before heading off to the NBA. He was the 28th pick and headed to Sacramento, but never quite lived up to his potential. After spending four years in the NBA, Greene spent time in Puerto Rico this past season before getting scooped up by Memphis.

9. J.J. Hickson: Hickson left NC State after his freshman season and was the 19th pick in the 2008 draft. He spent three years making a name for himself in Cleveland before heading to Sacramento. This past season, he averaged a double-double for Portland.

9. Patrick Patterson: Patterson helped Kentucky bridge the Billy Gillispie gap, as he provided Kentucky with a veteran presence as a junior before heading off to the NBA. He was the 14th pick, going to the Rockets, and has averaged 8.3 points and 4.4 boards as a part-time starter with Houston and Sacramento.

11. Nick Calathes: Calathes left Florida after two seasons in Gainesville, and while he was the 45th pick of the draft, he left school to play in Greece. After three successful years with Panathiakos, Calathes spent last year in Russia.

12. Kosta Koufas: Koufos was Greg Oden’s replacement at Ohio State for one season before heading off to the NBA, where he was the 23rd pick in 2008. Koufos has never averaged double-figures in the league, but he actually started 81 games for Denver last season.

13. Austin Freeman: Freeman had a great four-year career at Georgetown, but he went undrafted in 2011. He’s gotten a taste of the NBA in summer leagues and training camps, but he’s spent the past two seasons playing in places like Italy and Israel.

14. Anthony Randolph: Randolph spent one season at LSU, averaging 15.6 points and 8.5 boards, before heading off to the NBA. He was the 14th pick in 2008, and while he’s bounced around four different NBA franchises, he’s yet to really find a good fit. His career average is 7.6 points.

15. DeAndre Jordan: After one unmemorable year at Texas A&M, Jordan went in the second round of the NBA Draft. He’s actually been able to latch on with the Clippers, and while he’s turned into a competent NBA player, he still isn’t much more than a dunker. But he’s a really, really good dunker.

16. Blake Griffin: Griffin had a good freshman season but came back as a sophomore and turned into the National Player of the Year. He’s battled injuries as a pro, but he’s one of the best young power forwards in the NBA.

17. James Harden: Harden spent two years at Arizona State and looked like he was getting ready to be a part of a three-headed monster with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City, but he left last summer, heading to Houston in a trade because OKC couldn’t afford all three players and Serge Ibaka. He averaged 25.8 points last season.

18. Gani Lawal: Lawal spent three seasons at Georgia Tech before heading to the NBA, where he was a second round pick of the Pheonix Suns. He only saw action in one game before tearing his ACL, and he hasn’t made it back to the NBA since.

19. Nolan Smith: Smith went from being Greg Paulus’ backup to stealing his starting job as a sophomore to a national champ as a junior and a Jimmer away from being the National Player of the Year as a senior. He was the 21st pick in 2011 to Portland, but has averaged just 3.3 points in his two seasons.

20. Jonny Flynn: Flynn had two really good seasons with Syracuse before heading to the NBA, where he was the sixth pick in the 2009 draft. He averaged 13.5 points and 4.4 assists as a rookie, but lost his job when Ricky Rubio finally arrived in the states. Flynn played the 2012-2013 season in Australia.

93. Trevor Mbakwe; UR: Julian Gamble: Gamble and Mbakwe just finished their college careers in the 2012-2013 season. That’s wild.

OTHER NOTABLE NAMES

  • 21. Cole Aldrich
  • 23. E’Twuan Moore
  • 24. Taylor King
  • 33. James Anderson
  • 34. Kalin Lucas
  • 35. Austin Daye
  • 40. DeJuan Blair
  • 43. James Johnson
  • 46. Chandler Parsons
  • 52. Bill Walker
  • 54. Evan Turner
  • 58. Jeff Teague
  • 62. Robbie Hummel
  • 65. Marcus Morris
  • 85. Isaiah Thomas
  • 86. Jon Leuer
  • 93. Markieff Morris
  • UR: Jacob Pullen
  • UR: Robert Sacre

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

Creighton’s Khyri Thomas posterizes defender

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Creighton rising junior wing Khyri Thomas, like several of his teammates, are taking part in the Omaha Summer League this offseason.

On Thursday night, the 6-foot-3, 205-lb. Thomas eviscerated a defender with a one-handed posterization.

Thomas is coming off a breakout sophomore campaign for the Bluejays. He started all 35 games, averaging 12.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Aside from the increase in offensive production, Thomas served as one of the top defenders in the Big East. He shared the Big East Defensive Player of the Year Award with Villanova’s Josh Hart and Mikal Bridges.

Zion Williamson throws down 360 windmill dunk

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Zion Williamson added another jaw-dropping dunk in the layup lines on the first night of the second live evaluation period.

Williamson and his SC Supreme team took on Each 1 Teach 1 at the Hoopseen Best of the South at the LakePoint Sporting Community in greater Atlanta.

The 6-foot-7 power forward threw down a 360 windmill dunk during his pregame routines.

Each 1 Teach 1 would pick up a 70-67 victory over SC Supreme. Williamson would end with a monster stat line of 37 points and seven rebounds.

Appalachian State freshman shooter to transfer

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A 3-point threat became a late addition to the transfer market earlier this week.

Appalachian State rising sophomore Patrick Good informed head coach Jim Fox on his intentions to leave the program. He was granted his release on Wednesday, according to Bret Strelow of the Winston-Salem Journal.

“I was pretty shocked when he came in to tell me he was leaving,” Fox told the Winston Salem-Journal. “He was a guy who had a very good freshman season, and we’re surprised to see him go.”

“I enjoyed being around the team and the experience that I got from the first year,” Good added. “I don’t think I would change that for anything. I just felt like moving forward, there is just so much more that I was capable of.”

Good appeared in 29 of 30 games, all of the bench, for the Mountaineers. The 6-foot guard averaged 7.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. His biggest asset to his newest team will  be in his ability to shoot from deep, connecting on 41 percent of his attempts during the 2016-17 season.

If Good plans to remain in at the Division I level, avoiding a year spent at a junior college, he will need to sit out the 2017-18 season due to NCAA transfer regulations. He will have three years of eligibility remaining.

Iowa State adds graduate transfer Zoran Talley

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Iowa State added a scoring option on Thursday night, one who is eligible immediately.

Zoran Talley, who spent his first three seasons at Old Dominion, will join the Cyclones as a graduate transfer this season.

“We are excited to add Zoran to our program,” Iowa State head coach Steve Prohm said in a statement issued by the athletic department. “He has had great success, both personally and as a team, at ODU and will be an asset for our team. Zoran brings versatility on both ends of the floor and his ability to play and guard several positions will benefit us. He can score and make plays and with him being immediately eligible, that is great for us.”

Talley, a 6-foot-7 wing, averaged 11.3 points for the Monarchs last season as a sophomore. However, he was dismissed from the team in April for a violation of team rules. This was preceded by two separate suspensions during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons, according to Ed Miller of the Virginia Pilot.

He redshirted the 2014-15 season, leaving him two years of eligibility remaining at Iowa State. He is set to graduate in August.

Talley and fellow graduate transfer Hans Brase (Princeton) provides a boost in scoring, as well as in experience, in a frontline that returns Solomon Young, the rising sophomore big man.

Ex-NCAA scoring leader Daniel ready to return for new team

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee guard James Daniel III finally has the chance to deliver a follow-up performance to his 2015-16 NCAA scoring title, an opportunity that essentially eluded him last season.

After an ankle injury caused Daniel to play just two games last season at Howard, the 6-foot graduate transfer brings experience and offense to Tennessee’s backcourt.

“I wanted to go on the biggest stage for my last year and try to pursue my hopes and dreams since I’ve been a little kid, which was to get to the NBA,” Daniel said.

Daniel likely won’t be shooting or scoring as much as he did at Howard, where he averaged 27.1 points per game to lead all Division I players in 2015-16. He’s more interested in getting to the NCAA Tournament, something he hasn’t done and Tennessee hasn’t accomplished since 2014.

“At this point in my career I’m ready to win,” Daniel said. “That’s pretty much what I have to do. I feel like if we win, my personal goals will be met.”

Daniel believed that NCAA berth would come last season as Howard was favored to win the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

Those plans quickly went awry.

Daniel was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain that caused him to miss the first 14 games of the season. After returning and playing just two games, Daniel learned he had a chipped bone in his ankle. With Daniel out for the rest of the season, Howard finished 10-24.

That injury allowed Daniel to redshirt the 2016-17 season, giving him one more year of eligibility. He decided to spend that season in a bigger conference and considered Michigan, Ohio State and DePaul before selecting Tennessee.

Daniel remembered watching Tennessee games when he was younger and appreciating prolific guard Chris Lofton, who starred for the Volunteers from 2004-08. When Daniel visited Tennessee, he bonded with the team and sensed a family atmosphere.

“They’re competitive,” Daniel said. “They all want to win. That was the most intriguing part.”

Although Daniel’s ankle leaves his status uncertain for Tennessee’s three exhibition games next month in France and Spain, he’s expected to be ready in plenty of time for the start of the season.

Tennessee is counting on the additions of Daniel and Vincennes University transfer Chris Darrington to solidify a backcourt that struggled with inexperience last year.

“With Chris Darrington and James Daniel, we felt like we could get guys who liked to score and were not afraid to go make plays,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. “I think that’s going to help these younger guys because they were put in situations they’d never been put in before.”

Barnes cited the maturity Daniel brings as Tennessee’s lone senior. Daniel will turn 24 on Jan. 29, about a month after Tennessee begins Southeastern Conference play. Nobody else on Tennessee’s roster is older than 20, though juniors Kyle Alexander and Brad Woodson will have their 21st birthdays before the season starts.

“He’s older than all of us, so I think I can learn some things from him,” Darrington said.

Daniel’s teammates will learn plenty about his knack for drawing fouls. Not only did Daniel lead all Division I players in scoring during that 2015-16 season, he also topped the nation in free-throw attempts with 331.

They’ll also learn about his work ethic. Daniel’s father, James Daniel Jr., remembers how his son used to take about 200 jump shots every morning before his classes started at Phoebus High School in Hampton, Virginia.

“He’s just been a workaholic,” James Daniel Jr. said. “Well, we’d call it a workaholic, but he’d probably say it was something that he loved doing.”

All that practice helped Daniel overcome his lack of height at Howard to become an NCAA scoring leader. Now he’s ready to compete at a higher level.

He got an idea of what to expect from Quinton Chievous, who made the move in reverse by leading MEAC program Hampton to the NCAA Tournament after starting out at Tennessee. Daniel said Chievous told him he “should do really well here.”

Daniel agrees.

“I don’t think they would have brought me here if they didn’t think I could compete at this level,” Daniel said.