Looking Back: The 2002 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. Amar’e Stoudemire: Stoudemire, a Memphis commit, never set foot on a college campus as he immediately entered the 2002 NBA Draft. Drafted 9th overall by Phoenix, Stoudemire won Rookie of the Year honors in 2003 and played eight seasons in the Valley of the Sun before making the move to New York. In 11 seasons as a pro, Stoudemire has been to five All-Star games and is averaging 21.3 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.

2. Carmelo Anthony: Anthony may have spent just one year in college but it was an impactful one, as he helped lead Syracuse to the school’s only national title. In ten years as a pro in Denver and New York, Anthony is averaging 25.0 points and 6.4 rebounds per game with six All-Star Game appearances.

3. Raymond Felton: Felton spent three seasons (12.5 ppg, 6.9 apg) at North Carolina, winning a national title in 2005 while also earning first team All-ACC and third team AP All-America honors as a junior. Picked in the lottery by Charlotte in 2005, Felton has played eight seasons in the NBA (13.5 ppg, 6.6 apg) for four different franchises.

4. Rashad McCants: A teammate of Felton’s at North Carolina, McCants averaged 17.6 points and 4.1 rebounds per game in three seasons as a Tar Heel. His professional career wasn’t smooth by any means, as the 14th selection in the 2005 NBA Draft hasn’t played in the NBA since 2009. McCants played for the Texas Legends in the D-League, this past season, and he’s even dabbled in some acting.

5. Chris Bosh: From a professional hardware standpoint Bosh, who spent one season at Georgia Tech (15.6 ppg, 9.0 rpg), has been the most successful member of the 2002 class as he’s won back-to-back NBA titles with the Miami Heat. Bosh is averaging 19.5 points and 8.9 rebounds per game in ten seasons as a pro, spending the first seven in Toronto.

6. Jason Fraser: Fraser had a tough time eluding the injury bug during his four years at Villanova, Fraser averaged 5.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in four seasons at Villanova, followed by some professional basketball overseas and even a stint with the Harlem Globetrotters as “Apollo” Fraser.

7. Paul Davis: Davis played four seasons at Michigan State, averaging 13.2 points and 7.0 rebounds per game as a Spartan. Selected by the Clippers in the second round of the 2006 NBA Draft, Davis has played in three different leagues overseas since 2010 and most recently played for BC Khimki in Russia.

8. Shelden Williams: Williams was incredibly productive in four years at Duke, averaging 13.9 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game as a Blue Devil. A lottery pick of the Atlanta Hawks in 2006, Williams played for seven different NBA teams before spending last season with Élan Chalon in France. Oh, his wife is pretty good at basketball as well.

9. Sean May: May teamed up with Felton and McCants to win a national title in 2005, earning Most Outstanding Player honors in the process. In three seasons as a Tar Heel, May averaged 15.8 points and 10.0 rebounds per game and was picked 13th overall by Charlotte in the 2005 NBA Draft. After four seasons in Charlotte and Sacramento, May has played overseas since 2010 with his most recent action coming in France with Paris-Levallois Basket.

10. DeAngelo Collins: Collins attempted to jump straight from high school to the pros, and with teams voicing concerns about off-court issues he went undrafted. Collins has since played in multiple leagues around the world, playing in China last summer (20.9 ppg, 10.3 rpg).

11. J.J. Redick: Redick teamed up with Williams at Duke, where they helped lead the Blue Devils to a Final Four appearance in 2004 and three ACC titles. Redick won multiple national Player of the Year honors as a senior, and he left Duke as college basketball’s all-time leaded in made three-pointers. Drafted by Orlando with the 11th pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, Redick (who was traded to Milwaukee during the 2012-13 season) has averaged 9.4 points per game in seven seasons as a pro.

12. Bracey Wright: In three seasons at Indiana, Wright averaged 17.5 points and 5.1 rebounds per game and earned first team All-Big Ten honors as a sophomore. Drafted by Minnesota in the second round of the 2005 NBA Draft, Wright spent two seasons with the franchise before moving on to play in multiple leagues in Europe (most recently playing for Cedevita Zagreb in Croatia).

13. Evan Burns: Burns played one year at San Diego State, posting averages of 9.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. Originally a UCLA commit (academics led to his ending up at SDSU), Burns would be dismissed from the program by head coach Steve Fisher during the summer of 2003 for failing to “meet his academic responsibilities” three months after suffering a torn ACL. Burns last played professionally with the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the D-League in 2008.

14. Shavlik Randolph: Randolph spent three nondescript seasons at Duke (6.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg) before entering the 2005 NBA Draft, going undrafted. But he managed to play 57 games for the 76ers in 2005-06 and he’s been in the NBA ever since (albeit with minimal playing time), averaging 2.7 points and 2.7 rebounds per game in seven seasons as a pro.

15. Daniel Horton: In four years at Michigan the 6-3 Texan averaged 14.7 points and 4.4 assists per game. Horton wasn’t drafted in 2006, and outside of stints with Los Angeles and Albuquerque in the D-League (he also spent one game with the Miami Heat in 2006) he’s played overseas for his entire pro career. Horton last played with Korihait in Finland.

16. Anthony Roberson: Roberson and Matt Walsh arrived at Florida with high expectations, but it would be the group that came in after them (Joakim Noah and co.) that would lead the program to two national titles. In three seasons at Florida Roberson averaged 15.8 points and 2.6 assists per game, and he’s played with 11 professional teams (four in the NBA) since going undrafted in 2005.

17. Chris Rodgers: The Portland native failed to live up to the hype that preceded his arrival at Arizona, as he averaged just 6.3 points per game in four seasons in Tucson. Rodgers was suspended halfway through his senior campaign, only to return later in the season. Now known as Mahmoud Abdul-Awwel, he most recently played professionally in Mexico.

18. Antoine Wright: Wright played three seasons at Texas A&M (15.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg) before being selected 15th overall by the Nets in the 2005 NBA Draft. Wright played seven seasons in the NBA for four different teams, most recently playing with Sacramento in 2010. Since then, Wright has played in China, Spain, Venezuela and the D-League.

19. Dee Brown: Brown played four seasons at Illinois, averaging 13.2 points and 4.9 assists per game in his college career and earning second team AP All-America honors as a senior. Drafted in the second round of the 2006 NBA Draft by Utah, Brown played in 49 games as a rookie before making the move overseas. He most recently played for Türk Telekom in Turkey.

20. Hassan Adams: Adams was an incredible leaper during his career at Arizona, in which he averaged 14.0 points and 5.4 rebounds per contest. Drafted in the second round of the 2006 NBA Draft by the Nets, Adams spent one season in New Jersey and part of another in Toronto (2008-09) with the majority of his action coming in various international leagues. Adams most recently played for Guaros de Lara in Venezuela.

OTHER NOTABLE NAMES 

  • 25. Lenny Cooke
  • 27. Andre Iguodala
  • 38. Gerry McNamara
  • 45. Brandon Roy
  • 46. Jarrett Jack
  • 48. Deron Williams
  • 56. Randy Foye
  • 57. Steve Novak
  • 65. Taquan Dean
  • 71. Francisco Garcia
  • 86. C.J. Watson
  • 95. Nik Caner-Medley
  • UR: Quincy Douby
  • UR: Marcedes Lewis
  • UR: Nate Robinson
  • UR: Al Thornton

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Kentucky moves scrimmage to Eastern Kentucky for flood relief

Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal/USA TODAY NETWORK
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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky will play its annual Blue-White men’s basketball scrimmage in Eastern Kentucky to benefit victims of the devastating summer floods.

The school announced that the Oct. 22 event at Appalachian Wireless Arena in Pikeville will feature a pregame Fan Fest. Ticket proceeds will go through Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief.

Wildcat players will also participate in a community service activity with local organizations in the relief effort.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said the team was excited to play for Eastern Kentucky fans and added, “We hope we can provide a temporary escape with basketball and community engagement.”

The scrimmage traditionally is held at Rupp Arena. It will occur eight days after its Big Blue Madness public workout at Rupp.

Kentucky’s Tionna Herron recovering from open-heart surgery

Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times/USA TODAY NETWORK
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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy says freshman Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery to correct a structural abnormality.

The 6-foot-4 post player learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received other opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior trainer Courtney Jones said in a release that Herron underwent surgery Aug. 24 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto, Texas.

Elzy said Herron “is the definition of a warrior” and all are grateful to be on the other side of the player’s surgery. Herron is expected back on campus early next month and will continue rehabilitation until she’s cleared to return to normal activity.

“Her will and determination to eventually return to the court is inspiring, and it’s that `game-on’ attitude that is what makes her such a perfect fit in our program,” Elzy said in a release. “We are so thrilled for Tionna’s return to our locker room; it’s not the same without our full team together.”

Herron committed to Kentucky during last fall’s early signing period, rated as a four-star prospect and a top-70 player in last year’s class. Kentucky won last year’s Southeastern Conference Tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament’s first round.

Emoni Bates charged with 2 felonies

Joe Rondone/USA TODAY NETWORK
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SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Mich — Emoni Bates, a former basketball prodigy who transferred to Eastern Michigan from Memphis, was charged with two felonies after police found a gun in a car during a traffic stop.

The 18-year-old Bates failed to stop at an intersection Sunday night and a search turned up the weapon, said Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office.

Defense attorney Steve Haney told The Associated Press that the vehicle and the gun didn’t belong to Bates.

“I hope people can reserve judgment and understand there’s a presumption of innocence,” Haney said. “This was not his vehicle. This was not his gun. … We’re still gathering facts, too.”

Bates was charged with carrying a concealed weapon and altering identification marks on a firearm. He was released after his lawyer entered a not guilty plea. Bates’ next court hearing is Oct. 6.

“This is his first brush with the law,” Haney said in court. “He poses no threat or risk to society.”

Less than a month ago, the 6-foot-9 Bates transferred to Eastern Michigan to play for his hometown Eagles. Bates averaged nearly 10 points a game last season as a freshman at Memphis, where he enrolled after reclassifying to skip a year of high school and join the class of 2021.

“We are aware of a situation involving one of our student athletes,” EMU spokesman Greg Steiner said. “We are working to gather more details and will have further comment when more information is available.”

Bates was the first sophomore to win the Gatorade national player of the year award in high school basketball in 2020, beating out Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. Detroit drafted Cunningham No. 1 overall last year, two spots before Cleveland took Mobley in the 2021 NBA draft.

Bates committed to playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State two years ago, later de-committed and signed with Memphis. Bates played in 18 games for the Tigers, who finished 22-11 under Penny Hardaway. Bates missed much of the season with a back injury before appearing in Memphis’ two NCAA Tournament games.

In 2019, as a high school freshman, the slender and skilled guard led Ypsilanti Lincoln to a state title and was named Michigan’s Division 1 Player of the Year by The Associated Press. His sophomore season was cut short by the pandemic and he attended Ypsi Prep Academy as a junior, his final year of high school.

UConn to pay Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million over firing

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STORRS, Conn. — UConn announced Thursday it has agreed to pay former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million to settle discrimination claims surrounding his 2018 firing.

The money is in addition to the more than $11.1 million in back salary Ollie has already been paid after an arbitrator ruled in January that he was improperly fired under the school’s agreement with its professor’s union.

“I am grateful that we were able to reach agreement,” Ollie said in a statement Thursday. “My time at UConn as a student-athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am pleased that this matter is now fully and finally resolved.”

Ollie, a former UConn point guard who guided the Huskies to a 127-79 record and the 2014 national championship in six seasons as head coach, was let go after two losing seasons. UConn also stopped paying him under his contract, citing numerous NCAA violations in terminating the deal.

In 2019, the NCAA placed UConn on probation for two years and Ollie was sanctioned individually for violations, which the NCAA found occurred between 2013 and 2018. Ollie’s attorneys, Jacques Parenteau and William Madsen, accused UConn of making false claims to the NCAA for the purpose of firing Ollie “with cause.”

The school had argued that Ollie’s transgressions were serious and that his individual contract superseded those union protections.

Ollie’s lawyers had argued that white coaches, including Hall-of-Famers Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Geno Auriemma, had also committed NCAA violations, without being fired, and indicated they were planning to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.

The school and Ollie said in a joint statement Thursday they were settling “to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.”

Both sides declined to comment further.

Ollie, who faced three years of restrictions from the NCAA on becoming a college basketball coach again, is currently coaching for Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top prospects who are not attending college for the pros.

Dream’s McDonald returning to Arizona to coach under Barnes

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TUCSON, Ariz. — Atlanta Dream guard Aari McDonald is returning to Arizona to work under coach Adia Barnes.

The school announced that McDonald will serve as director of recruiting operations while continuing to fulfill her WNBA commitments. She will oversee all recruiting logistics, assist with on-campus visits, manage recruit information and social media content at Arizona.

McDonald was one of the best players in Arizona history after transferring from Washington as a sophomore. She was an All-American and the Pac-12 player of the year in 2020-21, leading the Wildcats to the national championship game, which they lost to Stanford.

McDonald broke Barnes’ single-season scoring record and had the highest career scoring average in school history before being selected by the Dream with the third overall pick of the 2021 WNBA draft.