Looking Back: The 2005 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. Gerald Green: Green went pro out of high school and wound up getting picked 18th by the Celtics. He managed to start 26 games for Boston in his second season, but bounced between the NBA and the D-League for the next couple of seasons. Green eventually turned to Europe in 2009, but returned to the NBA in 2011 and wound up playing 60 games with the Pacers this past season.

2. Josh McRoberts: McRoberts played two underwhelming seasons at Duke before entering the NBA Draft. He was picked in the second round in 2007 and played a couple of seasons with Indiana and Portland before signing a deal with the Lakers. McRoberts’ claim to fame at this point in his career is being a part of the trade that sent Dwight Howard to the Lakers from Orlando.

3. Monta Ellis: Ellis was a high school legend in Mississippi, but the diminutive scorer skipped college and dropped to the 40th pick in the 2005 draft. Ellis developed into one of the best young scorers in the NBA with Golden State before getting traded to Milwaukee in 2012.

4. Martell Webster: Webster skipped college and was the sixth pick in the 2005 draft. He played for four seasons with Portland and a couple years with Minnesota before averaging 11.4 points in his best season as a pro in Washington this past season.

5. Andray Blatche: Blatche went pro out of prep school in Connecticut and was picked 49th by the Wizards. He lasted with Washington for seven years, even averaging 16.8 points and 8.2 boards in 2010-2011, before playing with Brooklyn this past season, but has been known for his off-court “exploits” more than anything he did on the court.

6. Tyler Hansbrough: Hansbrough was one of the bet college basketball players of all time, getting named an All-American four times, getting named the National Player of the Year as a junior and a national title as a senior. He was the 13th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft and was a productive piece for the Pacers for the last four years. Oh, and his nickname is no longer Psycho T, it’s Gooch.

7. Louis Williams: Williams went pro out of high school and was the 45th pick in the draft. He’s never developed into a superstar, but Williams has been a double-figure scorer in the league for the last six years.

8. Julian Wright: Wright played at Kansas for two seasons before heading off to the NBA Draft, where he was the 13th pick in 2007. He spent the next three seasons playing for New Orleans before latching on with Toronto for a season, but he’s been out of the league since 2011, spending a year in the D-League and a season in Israel.

9. Richard Hendrix: Hendrix went to Alabama, where he teamed up with a talented-but-disappointing team coached by Mark Gottfried. After a junior season in which he averaged 17.8 points and 10.1 boards, Hendrix went pro. He was the 49th pick in 2008, but never set foot on an NBA court.

10. Mario Chalmers: Chalmers went from Alaska to Kansas to play his college ball, where his dad was the Director of Basketball Operations while he was there, where he won a national title in 2008. Chalmers went pro after that season, getting picked in the second round by the Heat, where he has become a starter and now a two-time NBA champion.

10. Tasmin Mitchell: Mitchell had a solid four-year career at LSU, making a final four and averaging 16.8 points and 9.4 boards as a fifth-year senior. He played one season in the D-League after graduating, but has been in Israel and Russia since then.

12. Andrew Bynum: Bynum went pro out of college instead of enrolling at UConn and was picked by the Lakers with the 10th pick. He developed into a constant double-double threat, a two-time NBA champ and an all-star in 2012, but he missed all of the 2012-2013 season in Philly with an injury. He’s also out of his mind these days.

13. Brandon Rush: Rush had an excellent three-year career at Kansas, winning a national title in 2008, but went pro after his junior season. He was the 13th pick in the 2008 draft and was a solid role player for Indiana and Golden State the past five years. He tore his ACL last season, the second time he’s had that injury. He also tore his ACL in an illegal workout with the Knicks when he was considering entering the 2007 draft.

14. Keith Brumbaugh: Brumbaugh tried to enter the 2005 NBA Draft, but committed to Oklahoma State instead. He never enrolled, because of a questionable ACT score and a shoplifting arrest, and was forced to go to a JuCo after a gun charge. (His story is detailed here.) He entered the 2008 NBA Draft and played professionally until 2010. Since then, he’s been arrested at least 13 times, most recently for violation of a pretrial release stemming from a domestic violence charge.

15. CJ Miles: Miles went pro out of high school and was a second round pick by the Jazz. He bounced between the NBA and the D-League for a few years but carved himself out a career with the Jazz as a bench scorer. He played with the Cavs last season.

16. Greg Paulus: Paulus was Duke’s point guard for three and a half years before losing his starting spot to Nolan Smith. A two-sport star in high school, he transferred to Syracuse to play quarterback as a fifth-year senior. When he graduated, Paulus went into coaching and is now on staff at Ohio State.

17. Amir Johnson: Johnson went pro out of high school and ended up getting picked late in the second round by the Pistons. He spent four years in Detroit before signing with Toronto, where he had his best season of his career in 2012-2013, averaging 10.0 points and 7.5 boards.

18. Danny Green: Green’s story is well-known by now. He spent four years at North Carolina, winning the 2009 national title, before getting picked in the second round of the 2009 draft. Green bounced around between the NBA and the D-League for a couple years, even doing a stint abroad, before finally buying into the ideal of being a professional He exploded during the 2013 Playoffs with the Spurs, having a memorable five games in the 2013 Finals before going ice cold for Game 6 and Game 7.

19. Jon Brockman: Brockman was a double-double machine for four seasons at Washington before heading off to the NBA. He ended up getting picked in the second round and spent three non-descript years in the league before heading to France.

20. Brandon Costner: Costner was injured as a freshman, earning a redshirt, and averaged 16.8 points and 7.3 boards in 2006-2007. He would never repeat that production in college before entering the 2009 NBA Draft. He went undrafted, averaged 20.1 points in the D-League in 2011-2012 and, ironically enough, was a teammate of Brockman’s in France this past season.

*According to the RSCI database for 2005, Gerald Green, Andray Blatche and Brandon Rush were all rated much lower than where they should have been because one outlet — Clark Francis of The Hoop Scoop — didn’t put fifth-year seniors in his top 100 list. We’ve adjusted the rankings here to account for that. For example, Green was the No. 1 prospect by three of the four outlets that counted prep players, so he’s No. 1 on this list.

OTHER NOTABLE NAMES 

  • 22. Eric Devendorf
  • 27. Shawne Williams
  • 34. Luke Zeller
  • 41. Chris Douglas-Roberts
  • 43. Tiki Mayben
  • 44. Terrence Williams
  • 53. Jeff Adrien
  • 56. Wilson Chandler
  • 58. Sam Young
  • 61. Wesley Matthews
  • 81. Martellus Bennett
  • 84. Jeremy Pargo
  • 95. Denis Clemente
  • 98. Darren Collison
  • UR. Jimmy Graham

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

VIDEO: Mixtape for North Carolina-bound Nassir Little

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Nassir Little is one of the most improved players in the high school basketball ranks, going from being a guy that was a borderline five-star prospect to being a potential No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

At 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan and athleticism to burn, he has all the makings of being one of the switchable wing defenders that are en vogue in the modern era of the NBA.

Former UNC star Phil Ford has surgery for prostate cancer

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina says former point guard Phil Ford has had surgery for prostate cancer.

Team spokesman Steve Kirschner said Wednesday that Ford underwent the procedure Tuesday after he was diagnosed during his annual physical. Dr. Eric Wallen, the UNC physician who is treating Ford, says the cancer was caught early because Ford “has been proactive regarding his health.”

Ford played for Dean Smith in the 1970s and scored 2,290 points, a mark that stood as the school record until Tyler Hansbrough broke it in 2008. Ford also spent 12 seasons as an assistant to Smith after a seven-year NBA career in which he was the rookie of the year in 1979.

Bruce Pearl: ‘Good chance’ Auburn returns four players testing the waters

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Bruce Pearl told reporters on Monday that there is a “good chance” that his Auburn program will return all four of the players that are currently testing the waters of the NBA draft.

“I think there’s a good chance they’re all going to consider coming back,” Pearl said. “There’s a chance they’re all going to come back, but that’s been the case since the beginning.”

“I just feel as we get closer to the deadline and they gather more and more information, I think that chance improves. It would not surprise me, still, to see a couple of them stay in.”

Those four players are Mustapha Heron, Austin Wiley, Bryce Brown and Jared Harper. Brown was the leading scorer for the Tigers last season, while Heron was arguably their best player and Harper a steady floor general that is the piece that holds everything together. Wiley did not play after he was ruled ineligible as a result of the FBI’s investigation into college basketball. If he returns he will be eligible to play the 2018-19 season.

Heron will be the most interesting decision of the four. A former McDonald’s All-American, when he declared for the draft last month, he announced that he intended to sign with an agent. But he has told reporters in the last week that he never actually signed and is still “50-50” on whether or not he will return. He was not invited to the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago last week. Wiley was, but he did not make enough of an impression to earn himself a first round guarantee. Brown and Harper are very unlikely to be drafted, but both juniors will get feedback from NBA teams on what they might need to do to play their way into the league.

Auburn is coming off of a year where they shared the SEC regular season title with Tennessee, but they struggled down the stretch of the season after Anfernee McLemore suffered a gruesome ankle injury. As it stands, under the assumption that Heron and Wiley are gone, we currently have the Tigers ranked as a top 15 team in the country in the NBC Sports Preseason Top 25.

With Heron and Wiley back, however, Auburn will have the pieces to make a case as one of college basketball’s five best teams next season.

Forward Lance Thomas transferring from Louisville

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With Anas Mahmoud out of eligibility and Ray Spalding having made the decision to enter the 2018 NBA Draft, new Louisville head coach Chris Mack had some holes to fill in the front court ahead of his first season at the helm. There’s now another departure to account for, as it was announced Tuesday afternoon that 6-foot-8 forward Lance Thomas has decided to transfer.

Thomas, who will have three seasons of eligibility remaining at his next school, appeared in 12 games for the Cardinals last season and averaged 2.2 points and 1.3 rebounds in 4.2 minutes per game.

Losing Thomas may not appear to be a big deal based upon his production as a freshman. But, given the combination of player departures and misses on the recruiting trail this spring it can also be argued that Louisville is not in a position where it can afford any more personnel losses.

Louisville is now down to four scholarship players in the front court, wings V.J. King and Jordan Nwora and forwards Malik Williams and Steven Enoch, with Enoch eligible after sitting out last season after transferring in from UConn.

Williams made 12 starts as a freshman, averaging 3.8 points and 2.4 rebounds in 10.6 minutes per game, with King averaging 8.6 points per game and Nwora 5.7 points per game. Enoch played in 29 games at UConn during the 2016-17 season, averaging 3.4 points and 2.3 rebounds in 12.1 minutes per appearance.

Four-star wing Romeo Weems commits to DePaul

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DePaul landed its first verbal commitment in the Class of 2019 Tuesday afternoon, as four-star small forward Romeo Weems announced that he will be a Blue Demon. Weems, who attends New Haven HS in New Haven, Michigan, picked DePaul over Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and Oregon and is considered by most major scouting services to be a Top 50 prospect in the 2019 graduating class.

The 6-foot-6 Weems plays his grassroots basketball for The Family on the Nike EYBL circuit, averaging 15.0 points and 7.5 rebounds per game this spring. Weems also has experience playing for USA Basketball, as he was part of the Under-16 team that won the FIBA Americas U16 title last year. Weems will also be part of the training camp from which the Under-17 team will be selected next month in preparation for this summer’s FIBA Under-17 World Championships.

DePaul managing to land a commitment from a prospect of Weems’ caliber, a versatile wing who can defend multiple positions while also being productive offensively, could be the shot in the arm that Dave Leitao’s program so desperately needs if they’re to improve their standing within the Big East.

Since making the move from Conference USA in 2005, DePaul has finished above .500 in a season just once (20-14 in 2006-07) with that also being the only time in which the Blue Demons finished above .500 in Big East play (9-7). Since Leitao, who led DePaul to its most recent NCAA tournament in 2005, returned for his second stint at the school the Blue Demons have gone 29-65.

Getting out of Allstate Arena and moving to the new Wintrust Arena ahead of last season was an important move for the DePaul program, but it’s been clear that the rebuild won’t be a “quick fix.” Bringing in a talent of Weems’ caliber should help DePaul moving forward, with the key now being to recruit well enough to ensure that the talented wing has ample help when he arrives on campus next year.

Among the players currently on the roster who will have eligibility remaining in 2019 are guards Devin Gage and Justin Roberts and wing Darious Hall, who will sit out the 2018-19 season after transferring to DePaul from Arkansas. Hall appeared in 35 games for the Razorbacks this past season, averaging 5.1 points and 3.1 rebounds in just under 15 minutes per game.