Looking Back: The 2002 Recruiting Class

7 Comments

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.

2018 Peach Jam Takeaways: Vernon Carey tops the class, C.J. Walker shines, and why the media saved Peach Jam

Jon Lopez/Nike
Leave a comment

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — Peach Jam is unquestionably my favorite event to cover during the summer months.

It’s the highest level basketball that you are going to find in America prior to college, the atmosphere is better than most high school games and the town of Augusta has really grown on me; there are some good restaurants there, and the bar scene isn’t all that bad as long as certain media members that shall remain unnamed aren’t taking you to a place where smoking is still legal inside.

Combine that with the fact that every coach in the country is there along with, at a minimum, a half-dozen future lottery picks, and I truly believe that it’s an event that every real hoophead in the country needs to attend at least once in their life.

This year’s Peach Jam ended on Sunday afternoon with Team Takeover out of Washington D.C. winning the title by going 23-1, the best record in the history of the EYBL. Here are a few things to take away from the event.

THE MEDIA SAVED PEACH JAM

I realize that there is a large portion of our population that despises the media, and even those that do appreciate the job that journalists have to do can get fed up with the self-importance that people in my industry tend to have. We’re here to tell stories, break news and operate as a watchdog for our nation’s biggest entities. We’re not here to complain about flight delays and getting shorted a few Marriott points.

That said, I’m here to tell you that the college basketball media saved Peach Jam.

I’m convinced of it.

Here’s what happened: In June, Jeff Goodman and I caught wind of changes that were going to be proposed by the NABC to the Commission on College Basketball that would ban coaches from attending AAU tournaments and show company events in July. I railed against the recommended changes in a podcast last week, as did every media member even remotely involved in covering college basketball, from recruiting analysts and independent bloggers to the likes of Jay Bilas and Gary Parrish. I spoke with more coaches at the event about those changes than any other subject, and I honestly could not find a single one out of what probably amounted to 50 or so coaches that was a fan of the changes, and I know for a fact that I was not the only one that heard about it from those coaches.

That is why you are now seeing some influential voices start to pump the brakes while speaking on the record.

One thing that the NCAA, and college basketball decision-makers specifically, does a good job of is listening to the criticism. For example, they’ve been crushed for years about the flaws with the RPI as a metric and, as a result, they’ve started to phase it out. They listened when we said that valuing home and road wins equally is silly. They listened when we said college basketball needs a better opening night. And it appears that they are listening to us now.

I was told back in June that these changes were being proposed to be implemented as soon as possible, that the plan was to get the rules changed for next summer. But what happened is that the NABC — National Association of Basketball Coaches — ad-hoc committee that developed this proposal was made up of the upper-echelon of the coaching profession, and that the rank and file by and large does not agree with the biggest names, and that the biggest names supported these changes more or less out of selfishness.

For some, it’s because they recruit their home city and know all of the high school coaches that they don’t need AAU events to find players. For others, it’s because they’re a high-academic institution and thus can easily identify who actually has a chance to get into their school. For at least one influential voice in that room, it is because his program is in hot water for dealing with a shoe company and he’s looking to make his own life easier.

Whatever the case may be, I believe now our voices were heard.

“Keep killing them,” one coach at a top 25 program who despises the proposal told me. “It’s working.”

VERNON CAREY IS THE BEST PROSPECT IN THE CLASS

The 2019 class is weird in the sense that there are a lot of guys that are a typical top five prospect but there doesn’t appear to truly be a No. 1 player in this class. There is no Anthony Davis. There is no Deandre Ayton or Marvin Bagley III. Sometimes that happens.

James Wiseman, throughout the last few years, has been considered by most to be the best player in the Class of 2019, and I get it. He’s a 7-footer that can get up and down the floor with pretty good range on his jumper. He certainly isn’t a small-ball five, but he’s not inept when it comes to playing on the perimeter.

Cole Anthony is probably the most well-known player in this class, in part because of his pedigree — he is Greg Anthony’s son — and in part because he’s an uber-productive player that led the EYBL in scoring with highlight reel athleticism.

I get why you would have either of them ranked as the No. 1 prospect in 2019.

But for my money, Vernon Carey Jr. is the best player in the class.

At 6-foot-10, Carey has the athleticism, mobility and handle to thrive. He is a constant grab-and-go threat in transition, he can score in the post and while facing up and, when engaged, he’s a man-child on the glass. As one coach recruiting him told me, “he’s the best player in the world when he decides to play hard.”

And at Peach Jam, he did. In five games at the Riverview Park Activities Center, Carey averaged 23 points, 10.4 boards, 2.0 blocks and 1.2 steals, up from 17.8 points, 7.4 boards, 0.8 blocks and 0.7 steals during his 14 previous EYBL games. That included 21 points, 13 boards, five blocks and four steals while going head-to-head with Wiseman in a one point loss. He also had 25 points while grabbing one of the most impressive rebounds I’ve ever seen to seal a win over Team Takeover, the only loss TTO took on the EYBL circuit.

There’s another issue as well. Carey is the son of former offensive lineman Vernon Carey Sr. and seems to have inherited his father’s ability to carry weight. Carey Jr. was about 255 pounds at Peach Jam, but that was because he got sick during Team USA’s trip to Argentina for the U17 World Championships and lost 20 pounds.

Motivating a player with weight issues is not exactly ideal, but neither is hoping Cole Anthony is Russell Westbrook or rely on Wiseman, a 7-footer that averaged 5.8 boards in the EYBL while shooting 10 percent from three in 16 games, to thrive in the small-ball era.

THEN THERE IS JADEN MCDANIELS

The ascent that McDaniels, the latest in a long line of talented players to come through the Seattle Rotary program, has made in the past year is impressive. The younger brother of Jalen McDaniels, a potential first round pick at San Diego State, has gone from a player that was a borderline top 100 prospect to someone that may just have the highest ceiling of anyone in the class.

He’s an absolute scoring machine. A slender, 6-foot-11 perimeter four, he has the skill-set to one day be a 20 point-per-game scorer in the NBA. He needs to add strength — he’s currently listed at 182 pounds — and continue to get more fluid and explosive. He needs to be more consistent from beyond the arc and I’m not convinced he’s close to being the defender or the passer he needs to be, but it’s hard not to look at him and be reminded of Brandon Ingram, another lanky late-bloomer that developed into the No. 2 pick of the 2016 NBA Draft. Hell, I had one coach tell me that he was going to be the killer from Golden State that I refuse to compare any basketball player to.

Every coach on the west coast should be prioritizing him.

HOP ON BOARD THE C.J. WALKER HYPE TRAIN

If there was a breakout star at this year’s Peach Jam, it was probably C.J. Walker, a borderline top 50 prospect out of Orlando that plays for Each 1 Teach 1.

A 6-foot-7 forward already known for his athleticism, Walker did not disappoint in that department, throwing down what was probably the dunk of the week, on Vernon Carey, no less:

Walker finished with 40 points in that game, and what was perhaps the most impressive part about the performance was his shot-making. We know the kind of athlete that he is, but if he can develop into a player that can consistently make threes and create offense with the ball in his hands, he’s reaches a different level.

He’s already had a couple of programs, including Louisville, offer him based off of what he did in Augusta. It will be interesting to see who else follows suit.

SOMEONE IS GETTING A STEAL IN DREW TIMME

Maybe I just happened to catch him when he was playing well, but I could not have been more impressed with Drew Timme.

A 6-foot-11 center from Texas, Timme was sensational offensively in the two games I watched him. He had 25 points against MoKan Elite and followed that up with 21 points, including a dominating second half, against Cole Anthony’s PSA Cardinals. He can pass, he can shoot, he can handle the ball, he’s mobile, he scores with his back-to-the-basket. One coach that played in the NBA told me he thinks Timme is the next Spencer Hawes, although I think Ethan Happ is a more apt comparison. Timme to me screams college all-american that will play in the NBA if he learns to shoot it.

SCOTTIE BARNES IS A MONSTER

I’m not going to sit here and pretend like I know the Class of 2020 all that well, but I do know this: If there truly are two players in that class better than Scottie Barnes, they are going to be superstars.

Because, for me money, Barnes was one of the eight or so best players at the event.

He’s a 6-foot-8 wing that defends, can handle the rock and is a really good passer, especially in transition. He also made some big plays and big shots in close games, and did all of that despite heading to Peach Jam just a day or two after returning home from Argentina, where he was playing for the U17s despite being a year younger than most of the players on that roster.

Duke’s White to chair NCAA selection committee for 2019-20

Mike Lawrie/Getty Images
Leave a comment

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Duke athletic director Kevin White will serve as the chairman of the NCAA Tournament selection committee in 2020.

The NCAA announced White’s role Friday. White will serve as vice chairman this season for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee headed by Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir, then take over for the 2019-20 season.

White has been a committee member since the 2015-16 season.

In a statement, White called it “an incredible honor” to serve on the committee and be selected for a leadership role.

Creighton athletic director Bruce Rasmussen served as chairman of the committee last season and will rotate off the committee Sept. 1.

Ohio State grabs five-star 2019 point guard D.J. Carton

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ohio State landed one of the biggest commitments so far this summer on Saturday as five-star Class of 2019 point guard D.J. Carton pledged to the Buckeyes.

The 5-foot-11 Carton burst onto the national recruiting scene this spring as he went from a relative unknown into a five-star prospect. Although Carton doesn’t play on a major shoe-company circuit he impressed national scouts and college coaches with his play during the April live evaluation period with Quad Cities Elite — the same program that produced quality college players like Wisconsin’s Ethan Happ and Montana State’s Tyler Hall.

An explosive athlete who can play above the rim, Carton showed a high amount of upside during the USA Basketball U18 tryouts in June as he competed against many of the top players in his class.

Ohio State is landing a key piece at an opportune time as they now have a lead guard of the future to help build around. Carton is only the third five-star prospect to commit from the Class of 2019 so far, as he’s the No. 17 overall prospect in the Rivals national rankings. Carton joins in-state four-star wing Alonzo Gaffney in the Buckeyes’ 2019 recruiting class as Ohio State has the makings of a potential top 10 recruiting class.

With where Ohio State was last summer, with head coach Chris Holtmann taking the job in June and the roster lacking scholarship players, the Buckeyes have had a monster turnaround in the last 14 months. Ohio State now, once again, looks like a scary team when it comes to recruiting as they should be a major factor for some elite prospects.

Alabama lands four-star wing Juwan Gary

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Alabama added a quality wing to its Class of 2019 recruiting haul on Friday as four-star Juwan Gary pledged to the Crimson Tide.

The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Gary has been a known national prospect since his freshman season as the South Carolina native is an athletic two-way wing who thrives in the open court. Although Gary still needs to polish up his jumper, he has the potential to be an impact player in the SEC, especially if Alabama gets him going in transition.

Gary joins four-star forward Diante Smith in the Crimson Tide recruiting class in 2019 as now head coach Avery Johnson and his staff can focus more of their efforts on adding to a potentially strong class. Pulling Gary out of South Carolina — especially in light of recent NCAA tournament success from in-state programs like South Carolina and Clemson — is an impressive recruiting win for Alabama.

Former UCLA guard Billy Knight was facing child molestation charges before suicide

Donald Miralle/Allsport
Leave a comment

Former UCLA guard Billy Knight, who took his own life earlier this week, was arrested in June for sexually abusing a nine-year old girl, according to court documents that were obtained by The Mercury News.

The alleged assaults occurred in April of 2017 and Knight was reportedly arrested in Arizona in June. He was being charged with two counts of sexual conduct with a minor, two counts of sexual abuse, and two counts of molestation of a child.

Knight posted a video to YouTube prior to his death saying that he had lived a life of “sin”.