ncb_a_ojmayo4_600

Looking Back: The 2007 Recruiting Class

Leave a comment

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.

Looking Forward: Which programs are on the rise as we head into 2016-17?

FILE - In this Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016, file photo, Wisconsin's Vitto Brown, left, and Bronson Koening laugh during the final seconds of an NCAA college basketball game against Ohio State in Madison, Wis. Wisconsin won, 79-68. Though he moved on to the NBA long ago, March Madness is also Steph Curry's world now. (AP Photo/Andy Manis, File)
AP Photo/Andy Manis, File
Leave a comment

The NBA Draft’s Early Entry Deadline has come and gone. Just about every elite recruit has decided where they will be playing their college ball next season. The coaching carousel, which ended up spinning a bit faster than initially expected, has come to a close for all of the major programs. 

In other words, by now, we have a pretty good feel for what college basketball is going to look like during the 2016-17 season. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some programs on the rise heading into next season.

Virginia Tech: Buzz Williams’ second season in Blacksburg proved to be more successful than many expected, as the Hokies won ten ACC games (20 overall) and played in the Postseason NIT. What can they do for an encore? In all honesty the pieces needed for the program’s first NCAA tournament appearance since 2007 are in place, with six of their top seven scorers from a season ago due to return led by forward Zach LeDay and guard Seth Allen. Expecting the Hokies to contend for the ACC title may be a bit much, but it’s fair to expect them to work their way into the Top 25 and the NCAA tournament in 2016-17.

Creighton: The Bluejays, picked to finish eighth in the Big East preseason poll, nearly played its way onto the NCAA tournament bubble thanks to a much-improved big man in Geoffrey Groselle, transfer Maurice Watson Jr. and Cole Huff, and guard Isaiah Zierden. Groselle’s gone, but given the combination of returnees and the addition of former Kansas State guard Marcus Foster the Bluejays could be in line for another leap forward. The key for Greg McDermott’s team will be the return of Watson, who’s going through the NBA Draft evaluation process.

Wisconsin: At one point last season the Badgers were 9-9 overall and 1-4 in Big Ten play, with it appearing highly unlikely that Greg Gard would have his interim tag removed. But Gard’s team turned things around, winning 22 games and reaching the Sweet 16. Provided Nigel Hayes, who’s currently going through the NBA Draft evaluation process, returns to school the Badgers will be on the short list of Big Ten title contenders. Bronson Koenig and Ethan Happ lead four other starters who will be back, and Andy Van Vliet (who the NCAA sidelined for last season) will help in the front court as well.

USC: The Trojans’ progression was a year ahead of schedule, as after producing consecutive 12-win seasons they earned an NCAA tournament berth in Andy Enfield’s third season at the helm. USC does have some questions in the form of guard Julian Jacobs and forward Nikola Jovanovic both going through the NBA Draft process, but if both return the Trojans will be a contender in the Pac-12. Jordan McLaughlin, Bennie Boatwright and Chimezie Metu are among the returnees for a team that could return five of its six double-digit scorers — Katin Reinhardt being the lone departure — from last season.

UCLA guard Bryce Alford, center, attempts to move the ball past Kentucky guard Charles Matthews, right, as Jamal Murray, left, helps defend during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Los Angeles, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
UCLA guard Bryce Alford (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

UCLA: Staying in Los Angeles, this is a big year coming up for Steve Alford. The Bruins were a major disappointment last season, but the combination of some key returnees and a recruiting class led by Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf should propel UCLA back into the Pac-12 and national conversations. Ball should be handed the keys to the show from the start given his abilities at the point, which should result in plentiful scoring opportunities for the likes of Bryce Alford, Isaac Hamilton and Thomas Welsh. How good this team can be will depend on two things: how well the pieces mesh, and an improved commitment on the defensive end.

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs reached the Sweet 16 last season, but the way in which they got there wasn’t what we’ve grown accustomed to with regards to Mark Few’s program as they needed the WCC automatic bid to ensure a spot in the field. Even with the departures of Kyle Wiltjer and Domantas Sabonis, Gonzaga has the tools needed to be better in 2016-17, as a backcourt that made strides as the season progressed will be a year older with Josh Perkins and Silas Melson leading the way. Also, Przemek Karnowski will be back on the court after missing last season with a back injury.

Florida State: Leonard Hamilton received some good news, as both Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes decided to return after briefly flirting with the NBA Draft. They’ll be asked to lead the way for a team that adds a solid recruiting class led by McDonald’s All-American Jonathan Isaac, and putting points on the board won’t be much of an issue. If they can get back to defending at the level we’ve come to expect from Hamilton-coached teams, Florida State can make their first NCAA tournament appearance since 2012.

Rhode Island: Dan Hurley’s Rams began the 2015-16 season viewed as a team that could contend in the Atlantic 10. Then the injury bug hit, with E.C. Matthews being lost to a torn ACL and multiple key contributors (including Hassan Martin) missing time throughout the course of the year. URI’s healthy again, and with Four McGlynn being the lone major contributor out of eligibility 2016-17 should see the Rams rebound and make a run at the Atlantic 10 title.

Michigan’s Spike Albrecht to finish his career at rival Big Ten program

Michigan guard Spike Albrecht (2) makes a layup between Northern Michigan forward Brett Branstrom, top left, and center Vejas Grazulis (52) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. Michigan won 70-44. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
(AP Photo/Tony Ding)
Leave a comment

Spike Albrecht’s career isn’t over, as the former Michigan point guard and graduate transfer has committed to play his final season for Big Ten rival Purdue.

“I’ll be playing my 5th year for Purdue University,” Albrecht tweeted on Tuesday morning. “Boiler Up.”

Albrecht’s career has been fascinating to follow. A very lightly recruited high schooler, Albrecht picked Michigan over Appalachian State, playing very limited minutes behind National Player of the Year Trey Burke before popping off for 17 points in the first half of the national title game that season (and launching the greatest heat check in the history of heat checks). He would play a bigger role as a sophomore before averaging 7.5 points and 3.9 assists in 32 minutes as a junior in 2014-15.

But as a senior, Albrecht cut his season short after just a couple of games due to a degenerative issue in his hips. He had surgery on both hips prior to last season and initially announced that his career was over. That changed, but Michigan’s scholarship situation didn’t: They had already recruited someone to take his scholarship after his graduation, so Albrecht was forced to transfer.

Purdue is a good fit for him. He’ll provide veteran leadership on a team with just one other senior on the roster — redshirt junior Basil Smotherman — and he’ll help anchor the point guard spot currently held by junior P.J. Thompson.

Villanova’s Jenkins to return for senior season

Villanova forward Kris Jenkins (2) reacts to play against North Carolina during the second half of the NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball championship game Monday, April 4, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
Leave a comment

After briefly taking part in the NBA Draft evaluation process, Villanova forward Kris Jenkins announced Monday night that he’s decided to withdraw and return to school for his senior year. Jenkins, whose three-pointer as time expired gave the Wildcats the win over North Carolina in the national title game, announced the news via Twitter.

2015-16 was a breakout season for Jenkins, who moved into the starting lineup and averaged 13.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. The 6-foot-6 forward shot 45.9 percent from the field and 38.6 percent from beyond the arc, and with starters Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu graduating he’ll have even more opportunities to produce next season.

Jenkins’ decision to return leaves wing Josh Hart as the lone Wildcats going through the early entry process at this time. Hart was a first team All-Big East selection as a junior, and his return would be the final piece to the puzzle for a team that many expect to be a national title contender in 2016-17.

Jenkins and Hart wouldn’t be the only returnees who had a part in the national title run, with guards Jalen Brunson and Phil Booth, wing Mikal Bridges and forward Darryl Reynolds back as well. To that group Villanova adds Fordham transfer Eric Paschall and a recruiting class anchored by Omari Spellman and Dylan Painter with Donte DiVincenzo and Tim Delaney available after being hampered by injuries last season.

Delaney missed all of last year after undergoing surgical procedures on his hips, and DiVincenzo played a total of 74 minutes over the first nine games before having to sit due to a broken foot.

Florida State guard Rathan-Mayes to return for junior season

Florida State guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes (22) drives past Notre Dame guard Rex Pflueger, left, for a score in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Tallahassee, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser)
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
Leave a comment

With their top three scorers from last season all deciding to declare for the NBA Draft, Florida State was facing the possibility of having to rebuild their backcourt ahead of the 2016-17 season. However two of those three have decided to return to Tallahassee, with rising junior Xavier Rathan-Mayes announcing on Monday that he will be back in school.

Rathan-Mayes joins rising sophomore Dwayne Bacon in returning to play another season for head coach Leonard Hamilton, with Malik Beasley hiring representation and remaining in the draft.

Rathan-Mayes had more scoring help last season and as a result was able to concentrate more on the distribution aspects of the point guard position, as he averaged 11.8 points and 4.4 assists per contest. With the return of Rathan-Mayes and Bacon, Florida State will have two of its top three scorers from last season back on campus.

The Seminoles did lose some veteran players, most notably guard Devon Bookert and center Boris Bojanovsky, but the returnees and a recruiting class led by McDonald’s All-American forward Jonathan Isaac means that they won’t lack for options next season.

Auburn lands third transfer within the last week

Auburn guard T.J. Dunans (4) and coach Bruce Pearl celebrate a 75-74 win over UAB in an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 13, 2015, at Auburn Arena in Auburn, Ala.  (Julie Bennett/AL.com via AP)
Julie Bennett/AL.com via AP
Leave a comment

After receiving commitments from former Purdue/Houston guard Ronnie Johnson and former Presbyterian forward DeSean Murray, Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl continued to load up on the transfer market Monday. Forward LaRon Smith, who was named MEAC Defensive Player of the Year at Bethune-Cookman last season, announced that he will use his final season of eligibility at the SEC program.

Like Smith, Johnson will also be eligible to compete immediately for the Tigers while Murray will have to sit out next season before having two years of eligibility remaining.

The 6-foot-8 Smith played two seasons at Georgia State before transferring to Bethune-Cookman, where he averaged 7.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per contest in 2015-16. Smith played just over 25 minutes per game for the Wildcats, shooting 58.5 percent from the field.

Smith reached double figures in scoring in four of the Wildcats’ final seven games, including a 20-point, 11-rebound, three-block outing in an overtime win over North Carolina A&T. He joins a front court in need of depth following the departures of the likes of Cinmeon Bowers and Tyler Harris, with Horace Spencer, Trayvon Reed and incoming freshman Anfernee McLemore also competing for minutes in 2016-17.