Re-ranking recruiting classes: Who are the 25 best players from the Class of 2005?

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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 2005, with their final Rivals Top 150 ranking in parentheses:

READ MORE: The complete Re-ranking the Classes series

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1. Monta Ellis (No. 3): Since entering the league out of high school Ellis has been a potent scorer who has averaged double figures every year since his second season. At 19.3 points, 4.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game over 10 seasons, Ellis is a proven talent who was named the league’s most improved player in 2007.

2. Andrew Bynum (No. 6): It appears Bynum’s career could be over due to bad knees and a bad attitude, but he’s the only player in the class to make an All-NBA team (second in 2012), an all-star game (2012) and he’s a two-time starting center on the championship Lakers (09-10). At his peak, Bynum was one of the best centers in the game.

3. Wesley Matthews (No. 85): Going from undrafted to averaging at least 13 points per game the last five seasons, Matthews has become one of the NBA’s best two-way two-guards. Matthews suffered a season-ending Achilles tear in March of last season.

RELATED: Re-ranking the Class of 2004

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4. Lou Williams (No. 7): The only player in his class to be name-dropped by Drake, Williams won the 2015 Sixth Man Award during the best season of his career. A volume shooter, Williams can score points in a hurry, but he’s also inefficient sometimes as a shooter.

5. Darren Collison (No. 100): Collison has averaged double figure points in all six of his NBA seasons and he’s been a steady presence playing good minutes. After leaving UCLA tied as the program’s winningest player, Collison has averaged 12.4 points, 5 assists and 1.1 steals per game.

6. Wilson Chandler (No. 44): After two seasons at DePaul, Chandler has carved out a solid NBA career with a brief stint in China during the NBA lockout. Chandler is coming off of a solid season with the Denver Nuggets and he’s averaging 13.7 points and 5.3 points over the course of his career.

7. Danny Green (No. 31): A champion at both the college (2009 North Carolina) and NBA (2014 Spurs) level, Green has carved out a solid career as a three-and-D guard on a championship contender. Green set the NBA Finals record for 3-pointers and is also coming off of a solid 2014-15 season.

8. Mario Chalmers (No. 12): Also a champion in college (2008 Kansas) and the NBA (2012-13 Heat), Chalmers has received steady point guard minutes for a championship contender. The former Kansas star averaged 8.9 points, 3.8 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while making second-team all-rookie in 2009.

9. C.J. Miles (No. 19): Now a 10-year NBA veteran after being drafted in the second round out of high school, Miles had a good 2014-15 season with Indiana, giving the Pacers some much-needed scoring.

10. Gerald Green (No. 1): Once known only as the Slam Dunk Champion from 2007, Green re-started his NBA career after some time in the D-League and overseas to become a potent role scorer for the Phoenix Suns. Green has improved his three-point shooting to become a high flyer who can also hit shots.

11. Amir Johnson (No. 29): Also out of high school, Johnson has been a consistent producer as a reserve forward for the Toronto Raptors the last five seasons.

12. Andray Blatche (No. 4): Another high school prospect who slipped to the second round, Blatche is still playing in China after some productive stints in the NBA.

13. Martell Webster (No. 5): Webster has been a productive scorer as a role player the last few years after being selected No. 6 overall out of high school.

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(Tyler Hansbrough/Getty Images)

14. Tyler Hansbrough (No. 10): One of the most decorated college players in recent memory, Hansbrough still gets some minutes after his title and four-year All-American run at North Carolina.

15. Josh McRoberts (No. 2): McRoberts has never been a particularly impressive player in terms of production, but he’s steady and he’s developed a 3-pointer to be a stretch forward.

16. Alonzo Gee (No. 33): Playing with Denver this past season, Gee has been in the league six seasons after going undrafted out of Alabama. He’s averaged 7.5 points and 3.4 rebounds per game during his career.

17. Brandon Rush (No. 13): A member of the 2015 champion Golden State Warriors, Rush has only played in 73 games the last three seasons after a productive four-year stretch. Injuries have limited him.

18. Shawne Williams (No. 15): Since finishing his Memphis career as a one-and-done, Williams has stayed in the NBA, having played for seven different teams. Williams started 22 games for the Heat last year and appeared in 57 total games.

19. Chris Douglas-Roberts (No. 75): Playing with the Clippers for 12 games last season, CDR has played for five different teams since his career at Memphis ended.

20. Terrence Williams (No. 111): The former Louisville wing hasn’t been in the league since the 2012-13 season, but Williams had a briefly solid stretch when he entered the league with the Nets.

21. Sam Young (No. 71): Entering the league with two solid years with Memphis, Young only played two more seasons and hasn’t appeared in the league since the 2012-13 season.

22. Jeff Adrien (No. 41): Appearing in parts of five seasons in the NBA, Adrien never played more than 52 games in a season. He still plays professionally in China.

23. Jeremy Pargo (No. 105): Pargo played in 83 games over three seasons in the NBA after his career at Gonzaga. The last few seasons for Pargo have been played in Israel.

24. Julian Wright (No. 8): A lottery pick out of Kansas, Wright hasn’t played in the NBA since the 2010-11 season after only four years in the league. He still plays professionally, most recently in Puerto Rico.

25. Jon Brockman (No. 47): Four good years at Washington and three years in the NBA before Brockman carved out a solid professional career. He’s currently in Germany.

Notables
Greg Paulus (11)
Tyler Smith (34)
Eric Devendorf (46)
Bobby Frasor (51)
Antonio Anderson (56)
Marcus Williams (76)
Luke Zeller (79)
Jerel McNeal (99)
Derrick Brown (115)
Justin Dentmon (119)
Taylor Griffin (141)
Martellus Bennett (UR)
Jimmy Graham (UR)

Louisville challenges NCAA over recruiting allegations

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville has refuted NCAA allegations against its men’s basketball program in the wake of a federal corruption scandal, requesting that the highest-level violation be reclassified.

The university also is challenging that former coach Rick Pitino failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance in his program.

Louisville filed a 104-page response last week to the Notice Of Allegations sent to the school in May. The document stated that college sports’ governing body seeks to ignore wire fraud convictions against several people involved in the scheme – including a former Adidas executive – by suggesting they were representing its athletic interests. Louisville’s contract with the apparel maker was a standard sponsorship agreement rather than a promotional deal, the response added.

“This argument is as novel as it is wrong,” the school wrote in its response. “Even if an institution has some responsibility for the conduct of its suppliers, that responsibility plainly does not extend to acts of fraud perpetrated against the institution itself.”

Louisville also seeks to have several second-tier violations reclassified even lower. The NCAA has until Nov. 15 to respond with the school responding 15 days after before a decision is made whether the case will proceed through the traditional Committee on Infractions or Independent Accountability Review Process (IARP).

The NCAA’s Notice of Allegations states that Louisville committed a Level I violation, considered the most severe, with an improper recruiting offer and extra benefits along with several lesser violations. Those lesser violations also include Pitino failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance.

The NCAA notice completed a two-year investigation following a federal corruption probe of college basketball announced in September 2017. Louisville acknowledged its involvement in the federal investigation related to the recruitment of former player Brian Bowen II. Pitino, who’s now coaching Iona, was not named in the federal complaint and has consistently denied authorizing or having knowledge of a payment to a recruit’s family.

Louisville has previously indicated it would accept responsibility for violations it committed but would contest allegations it believed were not supported by facts. The school also noted corrective measures taken in the scandal’s immediate aftermath, such as suspending and then firing Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich.

Louisville also dismissed the NCAA’s contention that former Adidas executive James Gatto and amateur league director Merl Code represented the school while funneling illegal payments to recruits at several schools.

“The enforcement staff’s remaining allegations lack factual support and overread the relevant Bylaws,” the response stated, “and rest on the erroneous contention that the conspirators were representatives of the University’s athletics interests.

“For these reasons and others set forth, the panel should reject the enforcement staff’s dramatically overbroad theory, and classify this case as involving a Level II-Mitigated violation.”

Bubbles brewing with season on horizon

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
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INDIANAPOLIS — With the coronavirus pandemic already forcing changes for college basketball, a bubble may be brewing in Indianapolis.

Indiana Sports Corp. released a 16-page proposal Friday that calls for turning the city convention center’s exhibition halls and meeting rooms into basketball courts and locker rooms. There would be expansive safety measures and daily COVID-19 testing.

The all-inclusive price starts at $90,000 per team and would cover 20 hotel rooms per traveling party, testing, daily food vouchers ranging from $30-$50 and the cost of game officials. Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn said the price depends on what offerings teams or leagues choose.

“The interest has been high,” Vaughn said. “I think as conferences figure out what conference and non-conference schedules are going to look like, we’re we’re a very good option for folks. I would tell you we’ve had conversations with the power six conferences, mid-majors, it’s really kind of all over the Division I spectrum.”

Small wonder: The NCAA this week announced teams could start ramping up workouts Monday, with preseason practices set to begin Oct. 14. Season openers, however, were pushed back to Nov. 25 amid wide-ranging uncertainty about campus safety and team travel in the pandemic.

There is already scrambling going on and some of the marquee early-season tournaments have already been impacted.

The Maui Invitational will be moved from Hawaii to Asheville, North Carolina, with dates still to be determined and organizers clear that everyone involved “will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.” The Batttle 4 Atlantis has been canceled. The Cancun Challenge will be held in Melbourne, Florida, not Mexico.

More changes almost certainly will be coming, including what to do with the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

“I think we’re past the guesswork on whether we play 20 conference games or more than that,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said Friday. “We’re trying to get everybody set like in terms of MTEs (multi-team events), figuring out when to play the ACC-Big Ten challenge.”

Painter, who was part of the NCAA committee that recommended how to start the season, noted part of the uncertainty stems from differing protocols imposed by campus, city and state officials.

In Indianapolis, Vaughn believes the convention center, nearby hotels, restaurants and downtown businesses, many within walking distance of the venue, could safely accommodate up to 24 teams. The 745,000-square foot facility would feature six basketball courts and two competition courts.

Anyone entering the convention center would undergo saliva-based rapid response testing, which would be sent to a third-party lab for results. Others venues could be added, too, potentially with more fans, if the case numbers decline.

If there is a taker, the event also could serve as a dry run for the 2021 Final Four, also slated for Indy.

“It’s not going to hurt,” Vaughn said. “I can tell you all the planning we’re doing right now is the same for a Final Four that’s been scheduled here for any other year. But it would be nice to have this experience under our belt to see if it can be done.”

Maui Invitational moving to North Carolina during pandemic

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ASHEVILLE, N.C. — The Maui Invitational is moving to the mainland during the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the premier preseason tournaments on the college basketball schedule, the Maui Invitational will be played at the Harrah’s Cherokee Center in downtown Asheville, North Carolina.

Dates for the tournament announced Friday have yet to be finalized. The NCAA announced Wednesday that the college basketball season will begin Nov. 25.

This year’s Maui Invitational field includes Alabama, Davidson, Indiana, North Carolina, Providence, Stanford, Texas and UNLV.

All teams, staff, officials, and personnel will be in a bubble environment that limits their movement and interaction outside the venue.

Burton eligible at Texas Tech after 2 seasons at Wichita State

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
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LUBBOCK, Texas — Junior guard Jamarius Burton has been granted a waiver from the NCAA that makes him eligible to play this season for Texas Tech after starting 52 games the past two seasons for Wichita State.

Texas Tech coach Chris Beard announced the waiver Thursday, which came five months after Burton signed with the Big 12 team.

Burton has two seasons of eligibility remaining, as well as a redshirt season he could utilize. He averaged 10.3 points and 3.4 assists per game as a sophomore at Wichita State, where he played 67 games overall.

Burton is from Charlotte. He helped lead Independence High School to a 31-1 record and the North Carolina Class 4A state championship as a senior there.

NCAA season set to open day before Thanksgiving

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The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball season will begin on Nov. 25, the day before Thanksgiving.

The Division I Council voted Wednesday to push the start date back from the originally scheduled Nov. 10 as one of several precautions against the spread of coronavirus.

The later start date coincides with the decision most schools made to send students home from Thanksgiving until January out of concern about a potential late-fall and early-winter flareup of COVID-19. Closed campuses could serve as a quasi bubble for players and provide a window for non-conference games.

The maximum number of regular-season games has been reduced from 31 to 27. The minimum number of games for consideration for the NCAA Tournament was cut from 25 to 13.

Teams can start preseason practices Oct. 14 but will be allowed to work out 12 hours per week beginning Monday.

No scrimmages against other teams or exhibitions are allowed.

In other action, the council voted to extend the recruiting dead period for all sports through Dec. 31. In-person recruiting is not allowed during a dead period, though phone calls and other correspondence are allowed.

The men’s and women’s basketball oversight committees had jointly recommended a start date of Nov. 21, which would have allowed for games to be played on the weekend before Thanksgiving. The council opted not to do that to avoid a conflict with regular-season football games.

The council is scheduled to meet again Oct. 13-14 and could delay the start date and change other pieces of the basketball framework if circumstances surrounding the virus warrant.