Author: Rob Dauster

Harry Giles (Getty Images)

July Live Period Preview: Top Players to Watch in the Class of 2016 and 2017

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Wednesday is the opening day of the first of July’s three five-day live periods. To get you prepped, here are 25 uncommitted players from the Class of 2016 and 10 uncommitted players from 2017 who you should keep track of over the next three weeks.

source: Getty Images
Harry Giles (Getty Images)

Class of 2016

1. Josh Jackson: In a loaded 2016 class, Jackson may actually be the best prospect. He’s a 6-foot-8 two-guard that can score from all three levels that has proven to be elite as a defender and a rebounder. He’s not as athletic as Paul George, but he has a similar skill-set.

2. Harry Giles: Giles was arguably the best player in the U19 World Championships despite playing two years above his age group. He’s a powerful four man that can finish around the rim while being mobile and skilled enough on the perimeter to be a threat.

3. Jayson Tatum: A 6-foot-8 wing from Saint Louis, Tatum’s ability to score seems effortlessly smooth. He’s a high-IQ and versatile offensive talent — the kind of player that often gets labeled “soft” — but in the U19 tournament in Greece the last two weeks, he showed off some serious athleticism and toughness defensively.

4. Dennis Smith: Smith is the best point guard in the 2016 class. An athletic, 6-foot-2 native of North Carolina, Smith is at his best when he can get a head of steam going towards the rim. His jumper is improving, and he’s athletic enough that he is an excellent defender when he wants to be.

5. Malik Monk: Monk can be streaky, but when he’s cooking there is not a more entertaining player in high school. He’s just 6-foot-3, but he has range well-beyond the NBA three-point line and is the kind of thrilling athlete that makes him a mixtape hero.

6. Ederice Adebayo: Adebayo is a powerfully athletic, somewhat-undersized four in the same mold as Montrezl Harrell and Cliff Alexander. Nicknamed ‘Bam’, his low-post game is developing but still a work in progress.

7. Kobi Simmons: A new-breed point guard with good size (6-foot-5) and athleticism, Simmons is in the running for top guard in the 2016 class. The Georgia native is one of the best in the country at attacking the basket and making plays for himself or others.

8. De’Aaron Fox: Fox is one of those players that qualifies as a lead guard. The 6-foot-3 Texas native looks to score first — and can put up buckets in a hurry — but he’s at his best with the ball in his hands.

9. Frank Jackson: Jackson’s rise over the course of the last few months has been meteoric. He’s another big-time back court scorer from Lone Peak HS (Utah), but unlike some of his predecessors, he’s a terrific athlete that plays on the ball.

Terrence Ferguson (Getty Images)

10. Terrance Ferguson: Ferguson has Klay Thompson written all over him. A 6-foot-6 guard from Texas, Ferguson is a deadly three-point shooter with elite athleticism.

11. Marques Bolden: A big spring put the 6-foot-10 Bolden firmly into five-star territory and he’s become a national recruit thanks to a good offensive post game and solid upside.

12. Rawle Alkins: A powerful and athletic wing, the 6-foot-4 Alkins is a terrific finisher around the rim and dangerous on straight-line drives as well as in transition. He’s still learning how to use that strength and athleticism, however, especially defensively.

13. Jarrett Allen: With tremendous measurables (6-foot-10 with a long wingspan) and great upside, Allen is one of the better long-term prospects in the 2016 class. Allen can protect the rim, hunts putbacks and also displays good touch around the rim.

14. Mustapha Heron: Heron committed to Pitt while he was a sophomore, but reopened his recruitment. A strong, 6-foot-5 wing, Heron’s most effective scoring the ball from 15-feet and in.

15. Tyus Battle: Battle’s recruitment has become one of the most interesting in the Class of 2016. A 6-foot-5 combo-guard with three-point range, Battle seemed like a perfect fit to follow in the mold of Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert at Michigan. But he recently decommitted from the Wolverines and took a visit to Syracuse.

16. Dewan Huell: A 6-foot-10 big man from Miami, Huell has the size, athleticism and motor that high-major programs look for. He’s also able to knock down a perimeter jumper, making him capable of playing either the four or the five.

17. Markelle Fultz: Frank Jackson has been the biggest riser in the Class of 2016, but Fultz isn’t far behind. He played JV as a sophomore and became a five-star recruit as a junior. At 6-foot-5, the DeMatha HS (Maryland) product can play either guard spot.

18. Miles Bridges: Bridges is big, strong, athletic and left-handed. The 6-foot-7, 230 pound combo-forward can beat smaller defenders in the paint and pull bigger defenders onto the perimeter. He’s a good passer as well and has the potential to a playmaker on the wing.

19. Seventh Woods: Woods became a sensation after his freshman season, when a mixtape highlighting his athleticism went viral. He’s still just as athletic, but at 6-foot, he’s still learning how to be a pure point guard as opposed to a score-first lead-guard.

20. Udoka Azubuike: At 6-foot-10 and 275 pounds, Azubuike has the size, hands, coordination and athleticism to be a dominant center at the college level. But at this point, his offense is a result of his size and strength more than his skill.

21. De’Ron Davis: Davis played up on the 17U level as a rising sophomore and has continued to add to his considerable offensive arsenal. Not a great athlete at 6-foot-9, Davis makes up for it with a good enough IQ to make plays on both ends of the floor.

22. Tony Bradley: After slimming down from last season, Bradley is far more mobile and active and, at 6-foot-10, he’s a pretty reliable post option on both ends of the floor.

23. Mario Kegler: A natural scorer with a well-rounded offensive game, the 6-foot-7 wing can get a little shot happy, but he’s gifted as an offensive weapon.

24. Mamadi Diakite: A tremendous athlete for a front-court player, Diakite is an impact shot blocker who can also rebound out of his area. With an improving offensive game, Diakite is an intriguing long-term prospect.

25. Thon Maker: Is there a more intriguing prospect in the class than Maker? He’s been on the national radar for what feels like a decade, but the 7-foot-1 center has officially decided to remain in the Class of 2016. He blocks shots, has three-point range and perimeter skills, and has drawn comparisons to Kevin Garnett, but he’s old for his grade and had a disappointing high school season.

Deandre Ayton (Getty Images)

Class of 2017

1. DeAndre Ayton: There are many that believe this 7-foot Bahamian native is the best prospect that not currently on an NBA roster. He’s rangy, he’s athletic, he knocks down jump shots. Think Amare Stoudamire back when he was still good.

2. Michael Porter: At 6-foot-9, Porter is a freakishly athletic wing that has already graced Sportscenter. He needs to add weight and he needs to continue to develop his perimeter skills, but his physical tools are on another level.

3. Wendell Carter: A breakout spring has led Carter to a consensus top-5 ranking and getting pursued by some of the biggest programs in the country. He’s an athletic shot-blocker with range to 15-feet and the ability to finish around the rim with both hands.

4. Mohamed Bamba: Another lanky, 6-foot-11 athlete that needs to add weight. Bamba had a terrific spring and has shot up recruiting rankings. His motor and aggressiveness overshadows the fact that his ball-skills are still developing.

5. Trevon Duval: Duval has consistently proven his ability to score against all levels of competition. He won Peach Jam prior to his sophomore season in high school. At 6-foot-3, he’s likely a point guard at the highest level, meaning he needs to continue to develop his ability to create.

6. Billy Preston: After moving from California to Texas, Preston has upped his motor and maintained his complete scoring package. Also a solid rebounder, Preston, at 6-foot-9, is as naturally talented a front-court player as there is in the country.

7. Troy Brown: A do-it-all big point guard, Brown put together a very good spring playing up in the Nike EYBL and he’s a potentially elite prospect.

8. Jarred Vanderbilt: A 6-foot-7, defensive dynamo who can guard multiple positions on switches, Vanderbilt is also a developing offensive player who is a plus passer and rebounder.

9. Nick Richards: Richards burst on the national scene this spring by putting together some good performances in the Nike EYBL. A developing big man who isn’t scared to mix it up, Richards has had some jaw-dropping post moves that shows he’s just scratching the surface of his vast potential.

10. Gary Trent Jr.: Trent, the sun of former NBA player Gary Trent, exploded on the national scene this spring with a handful of explosive scoring performances. The 6-foot-5 off-guard is what we call a ‘bucket-getter’.

Re-ranking Recruiting Classes: Who are the 25 best players from the Class of 2010?

Kyrie Irving (Getty Images)
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July’s live recruiting period is right around the corner, meaning that the Class of 2016 will have a chance to truly prove themselves to the recruiters and the recruitniks around the country. Scholarships will be earned and rankings will be justified over the course of those three weekends in July.

But scholarship offers and rankings don’t always tell us who the best players in a given class will end up being. Ask Steph Curry. Over the course of the coming weeks, we will be re-ranking eight recruiting classes, from 2004-2011, based on what they have done throughout their post-high school career. 

Here are the 25 best players from the Class of 2010, with their final Rivals Top 150 ranking in parentheses:

source: Getty Images
Kyrie Irving (Getty Images)

READ MOREThe complete Re-ranking the Classes series

1. Kyrie Irving (No. 4): Irving managed just 11 games in his one season with Duke in college, but he still went on to be the No. 1 pick in the 2011 draft. In his four years in the NBA, he has averaged 21.0 points and 5.7 assists and is currently the starting point guard for Cleveland alongside LeBron James and Kevin Love.

2. Harrison Barnes (No. 2): Barnes was the victim of some unfair hype coming out of high school, getting named an All-American — and, in some cases, National Player of the Year — before playing a college game. He had two solid-if-unremarkable seasons with the Tar Heels before getting picked seventh by the Warriors in 2012. He’s thrived playing a role for Golden State, helping them win the title in 2015, and at just 23 years old, has a bright future.

3. Brandon Knight (No. 6): Knight helped lead Kentucky to the 2011 Final Four before going eighth in the 2011 draft. He’s played with Detroit, Milwaukee and Phoenix, with whom he signed a long-term deal this month, and has averaged 17 points and five assists over the last two years.

4. Doug McDermott (UR): McDermott’s story is well-known by now. Overshadowed by Barnes on his HS team, McDermott signed with Northern Iowa and changed commitments when his father took the job at Creighton. From there, he became one of the greatest college basketball players ever, scoring 3,000 points and winning National Player of the Year as a senior. He was the No. 11 pick by the Bulls in 2014, but only played 36 games. It will be interesting to see how his career develops under fellow Ames native Fred Hoiberg.

5. Victor Oladipo (No. 144): Oladipo was an overlooked, underskilled prospect coming out of high school, spending his first two seasons at Indiana as a dunker and a defender. But as a junior, Oladipo blossomed into an all-american on a team that won the Big Ten title, getting picked second in the 2013 draft. This past season, he averaged 17.9 points, 4.2 assists and 4.1 boards.

RELATED: Re-ranking the classes 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009

source: AP
Doug McDermott (AP Photo)

6. Jared Sullinger (No. 5): Sully was a two-year all-american with Ohio State, returning to school for his sophomore season which cost him a dozen or so spots in the draft order. He went 21st in 2012, developing into one of the better low-block scorers under Brad Stevens He’s averaged 13 points and eight boards the last two seasons.

7. Tristan Thompson (No. 17): Thompson was the fourth pick in the 2011 draft after spending one uninspiring season at Texas. He put up decent numbers in his first three and a half seasons, but his value skyrocketed during the 2015 NBA Playoffs, as he nearly averaged a double-double while helping the Cavs get to the NBA Finals.

8. Enes Kanter (No. 3): Kanter never was declared eligible with Kentucky, eventually getting picked third in the 2011 draft to the Utah Jazz. He grew into a serviceable power forward with the Jazz, getting traded to Oklahoma City midseason and averaging 18.7 points and 11.0 boards in the final 26 games.

9. Tobias Harris (No. 7): After one unremarkable season with Tennessee, Harris was the 19th pick in the 2011 draft. His fourth season in the NBA was his best, as he averaged 17.1 points for the Magic.

10. Terrence Jones (No. 13): Jones underwhelmed during his two seasons with Kentucky, failing to live up to his hype and a freshman and thriving in a role on the 2012 national champs. He went 18th in the 2012 draft, find a role as a starting power forward with Houston the last two seasons.

11. Terrence Ross (No. 48): Ross spent two seasons at Washington before heading to the NBA, where he was the No. 8 pick in 2012. He’s played a major role for Toronto the last three years, the past two as a starter.

12. Jordan Clarkson (UR): Clarkson put up big numbers without much acclaim in three years at Tulsa and Missouri. He was a second round pick of the Lakers in 2014, going on to average 11.9 points and 3.5 assists while getting named to the NBA All-Rookie 1st team.

13. Tim Hardaway Jr. (UR): Hardaway Jr. was a second round pick in 2013, helping Michigan reach the national title game in the 2013 tournament. He’s been with the Knicks for the last two years, averaging 10.8 points as a part-time starter before getting traded to Atlanta on draft night this year.

14. Dion Waiters (No. 29): Waiters was the No. 4 pick of the 2012 draft after spending two seasons with Syracuse. He’s a proven scorer at the NBA level, having averaged a career-high 15.9 points in 2013-14. But he’s also yet to play on a team that reached the playoffs.

15. Tony Snell (UR): Snell was completely off-the-radar as a recruit, winding up at New Mexico where he spent three seasons, eventually becoming a first round pick in 2013. He has since played his way into Chicago’s rotation as a 3-and-D player on the wing.

16. Gorgui Dieng (No. 44): Dieng developed quite a bit during his three seasons at Louisville, becoming an integral part of the team that won the 2013 national title. He went pro that season, getting picked late in the first round and growing into a starting center for Minnesota this season.

17. Andre Roberson (UR): Roberson was an overlooked kid coming out of Kansas City before he wound up with Colorado. He grew into a defensive stopper in his three seasons in Boulder, becoming a late first round pick to Oklahoma City. He started 65 games this past season.

18. Tarik Black (No. 54): Black underwhelmed at Memphis for three seasons, was a backup at Kansas as a senior, and went undrafted in 2014, which obviously means that he started 39 games between the Rockets and the Lakers as a rookie.

19. Phil Pressey (No. 61): Pressey lasted three seasons in Missouri before turning pro. He went undrafted in 2013, but he latched on with the Celtics, playing in 125 games over the course of the last two seasons.

Shabazz Napier (AP Photo)

20. Shabazz Napier (No. 98): Napier won a pair of national championships at UConn, including carrying the Huskies to the 2014 title. He was eventually picked 24th by the Miami Heat, and while he never ended up playing with LeBron James, he started 10 games and averaged 5.1 points and 2.5 assists.

21. Jerian Grant (No. 105): Grant spent five years in college, eventually becoming a first-team all-american and the 19th pick in the 2015 draft. He’s got the skill-set to be a serviceable NBA point guard, meaning it will be interesting to see where his career takes him.

22. Cory Joseph (No. 8): Joseph spent one season at Texas before getting picked 29th in the 2011 draft. He spent four seasons backing up Tony Parker in San Antonio before signing a $30 million deal with Toronto this month.

23. Ray McCallum Jr. (No. 43): McCallum turned pro after playing three seasons with his father at Detroit. He was a second round pick in 2013 and has spent the last two seasons playing with Sacramento. He started 30 games this past season.

24. Perry Jones (No. 9): Jones was disappointing in his two seasons at Baylor, falling to the 28th pick in 2012. He has spent the last three years as a reserve with Oklahoma City.

25. Jeremy Lamb (No. 76): Lamb won a national title with UConn as a freshman and developed into a lottery pick as a sophomore. Like Jones, he’s spent the past three seasons as a reserve with Oklahoma City and was traded to Charlotte this offseason.


Josh Selby (No. 1)
Reggie Bullock (No. 10)
Tony Mitchell (No. 12)
Jelan Kendrick (No. 15)
Fab Melo (No. 16)
Russ Smith (UR)
Cameron Bairstow (UR)
Will Barton (No. 11)
Kendall Marshall (No. 32)
Cleanthony Early (UR)
Allen Crabbe (No. 69)
Meyers Leonard (No. 31)
Adreian Payne (No. 20)
Doron Lamb (No. 21)
Markel Brown (No. 137)
Joe Harris (No. 119)
Joseph Young (No. 93)
Aaron Craft (No. 111)

Coach K shares a story of the time he got a picture with Beyonce

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A couple of years back, a photo of Beyonce and Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski made the rounds on the interwebs.

I’m sure you’ve seen it before, with Coach K’s face flushed with the excitement anyone would have if they had the chance to meet Bey:


Over the weekend, Coach K joined WRAL to discuss a multitude of questions, one of which was about that picture. He explained how it came to be:

“You can see, this picture is taken in December,” Coach K said. “I was presenting LeBron James a Sports Illustrated Man of the Year, he asked me to come up and present him. I wanted to meet her. Jay-Z was sitting next to me and Beyonce was there.”

“He didn’t have anything to worry about with me. After the ceremony was over, I had to get back but they took a photo of me, LeBron and Jay-Z. My street cred is just bouncing high. But I don’t meet Beyonce, so I go out and say, ‘I have to meet her’. I say, ‘I’m Coach K,’ and she says, ‘Coach, I just heard you speak for 10 minutes. I know who you are.’ So I felt like 13. Then I asked her something I never ask anybody hardly ever to do, ‘Would you please take a picture with me?’ In taking that picture, when they showed it, my face is all red and I look like I’m 11. It doesn’t show her patting me on the head.”

“It was me being petrified. But she’s cool.”