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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(Monta Ellis/Getty Images)

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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(Lou Williams/Getty Images)

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)

Northwestern beats No. 20 Michigan State in Big Ten opener

Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK
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EAST LANSING, Mich. – Boo Buie scored 20 points and Northwestern beat No. 20 Michigan State 70-63 on Sunday night in the Big Ten opener for both teams.

Chase Audige added 15 points and Ty Berry had 13 for Northwestern (6-2), which ended a two-game losing streak.

“Needless to say, this was a huge win for us,” coach Chris Collins said. “Coming off our performance in the ACC-Big Ten challenge, where we lost badly on our home floor (to Pittsburgh), I was really pleased with our resolve the past couple days.”

Mady Sossoko and A.J. Hoggard each had 12 points for Michigan State (5-4) and Joey Hauser added 10. The Spartans have lost two in a row, falling to Notre Dame earlier in the week.

Hoggard cut Northwestern’s lead to 64-63 with 46 seconds left. After a timeout, Buie scored on a layup with 23 seconds left.

“We got out-toughed,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.

Northwestern took the lead late in the first half on a layup by Buie and never relinquished it, leading by as many as nine points.

“We put (the loss to Pittsburgh) under the rug,” Buie said. “We turned the page, just like we do with any win or loss. The season is so long you can’t get caught up on one single game. Just like tonight. We’re super happy with the win, but after tonight it’s over. You can’t dwell on things.”

The Wildcats went 21 of 24 on free throws, while the Spartans were 9 of 12.

“I was concerned about a knockout punch early,” Collins said. ‘I knew they would be revved up after the Notre Dame loss. They hit us early and got a seven-point lead, and then we settled down.”

UP NEXT

Northwestern: Hosts Prairie View A&M on Dec. 11

Michigan State: At Penn State on Wednesday night.

Miles, No. 7 Notre Dame women beat No. 3 UConn; Fudd hurt

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Olivia Miles had 21 points and eight rebounds for No. 7 Notre Dame, and UConn star Azzi Fudd suffered a knee injury in a collision with a teammate, as the Fighting Irish handed the third-ranked Huskies their first loss of the season, 74-60 on Sunday.

“I think she’ll be all right,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said afterwards of Fudd, who went into the day averaging 24.0 points, but finished scoreless on two shots over 13 minutes.

Fudd exited in the final minute of the first quarter after teammate Aaliyah Edwards fell on her. She returned midway through the second period to play four hobbled minutes, but sat the rest of the way as a precaution, according to Auriemma.

Maddy Westbeld had a season-high 17 points and nine rebounds for Notre Dame (7-1), which bounced back from a 74-72 loss to No. 20 Maryland three days earlier.

“I think Thursday’s loss really fueled us today,” Irish coach Niele Ivey said. “We learned a lot from that game. We have incredible scorers on our team, a lot of balance offensively, but it’s our defense that’s gonna win games, so that was our focus the last 48 hours. (The players) took the challenge and came out and played with heart and defensive intensity. I feel like if we can play that way, we can beat anyone in the country.”

Notre Dame shot 56% from the field while limiting the Huskies to 37%.

“We played very badly (Thursday), but we were still two points away,” Miles said, “so it’s kind of scary what we can do when we play really well.”

Led by Miles, the Irish roared to a 41-24 lead by intermission, outscoring the Huskies 30-11 over the final 11 minutes of the first half.

Miles scored 13 of Notre Dame’s 18 first-quarter points, going 6 of 7 from the field. Westbeld provided her scoring punch after averaging 5.2 points over her previous five outings.

Lou Lopez Senechal led UConn (6-1) with 21 points. Edwards added 14.

“We didn’t win the rebound battle and that hurt us,” said Auriemma, whose club was outboarded 39-26 and outscored in the paint. 46-16. “We just didn’t have enough scoring on the court and enough people playing at a real high level to get enough buckets when we needed them.”

The Huskies got as close at 49-44 at the 3:44 mark of the third quarter, but the Irish stretched their lead back to as high as 70-53 at the midway mark of the fourth period.

Notre Dame ended a seven-game head-to-head losing streak against UConn in regular-season play, prevailing for the first time since a triple-overtime decision in March 2013.

BIG PICTURE

UConn: The Huskies faced a top-10 opponent for the fourth time this season, but this one was their first true road game. If Fudd’s injury doesn’t turn out to be serious, UConn ought to still have a chance to do what it’s done for decades: craft a resume that will make them a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Notre Dame: The Irish, coming back from that loss at the buzzer to Maryland, showed that Thursday’s outcome may just be a blip on their promising season. Notre Dame matched last season’s win over No. 3 North Carolina State for the highest-ranked team it has beaten in its third year under Ivey.

UP NEXT

UConn: The Huskies host Princeton on Thursday before visiting Maryland next Sunday.

Notre Dame: The Irish have a couple apparent mismatches coming up as they visit Lafayette (2-7) on Thursday and host Merrimack (1-6) on Saturday.

Brink leads No. 2 Stanford women over No. 23 Gonzaga 84-63

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
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STANFORD, Calif. – Gonzaga may be rolling out an injury-depleted roster, but the Bulldogs nevertheless left a lasting impression on their West Coast rival in Stanford.

And that leads the Cardinal to wonder if the two power programs might meet again on college basketball’s biggest stage come March.

“This is a team that is a Top-25 team,” Hall of Fame Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “I think if we can do it, they’re going to be in Seattle (for the NCAA Tournament).”

Cameron Brink had 14 points and a season-high 16 rebounds and Brooke Demetre made a career-high five 3s and scored 17 points, leading second-ranked Stanford past No. 23 Gonzaga 84-63 on Sunday.

The Cardinal (10-1) have now won five straight games after falling to top-ranked South Carolina in overtime on Nov. 20.

“I kind of call Brooke my secret weapon,” VanDerveer said. “She is a really special young lady, and when you have both Cam out there and Brooke, it’s a two-headed monster.”

“She has one of the highest releases I’ve ever seen, one of the quickest releases,” Brink said of Demetre. “She can shoot it, and we’ve always had confidence in her.”

Hannah Jump hit four 3s and scored 14 points, and Haley Jones had 12 points for Stanford.

Short-handed Gonzaga (7-2), limited to seven players because of illness and injuries, had won three in a row.

The Zags kept the pressure on Stanford early in the game, thanks to a 20-point first half from Kaylynne Truong.

Truong shot 4 of 9 from deep and finished with a career-high 22 points.

Brynna Maxwell contributed 19 points. Yvonne Ejim, Gonzaga’s leading scorer, was held to two points in the first three quarters but added six points in the fourth.

“We try to focus on a leading scorer and try to limit them,” VanDerveer said. “But you can’t just focus on (Ejim) because they’ve got Truong, they’ve got Maxwell. . I think we did a much better job (on defense) in the second half.”

STAT OF THE GAME

The Cardinal were able to pull away due to a strong game from beyond the arc, making 15 3-pointers on 15 of 28 (53.6%) shooting. A season-high eight different Stanford players made a 3, led by Demetre’s five and Jump’s four.

BIG PICTURE

Gonzaga: Lost its fourth straight in the series with Stanford and dropped to 1-7 on the Cardinal’s home floor. The Zags haven’t won any matchups since a 79-73 victory at home on Dec. 2, 2018. … Despite playing short-handed, Gonzaga did not yield an easy win to its higher-ranked opponent, trailing by just one point after the first quarter before fading in the second half.

Stanford: Held a 37-23 rebounding advantage. … This win marked the beginning of a crucial stretch in the Cardinal’s season. Stanford’s next two games come against Tennessee – receiving votes in The Associated Press Top 25 poll – and No. 13 Creighton, followed by the start of Pac-12 Conference play against rival California on Dec. 23.

UP NEXT

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs return to McCarthey Athletic Center to start a five-game homestand, starting with a Tuesday matchup vs. Queens University of Charlotte.

Stanford: After a two-week break for final exams, the Cardinal will continue their seven-game homestand vs. Tennessee on Dec. 18.

Top-ranked Houston grinds out 53-48 win over Saint Mary’s

Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports
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FORT WORTH, Texas – J’Wan Roberts scored 15 points, Marcus Sasser added 13 and top-ranked Houston held on to beat Saint Mary’s 53-48 on Saturday night.

The Cougars (8-0) won twice in their first week as the No. 1 team since the final poll of the 1982-83 regular season, when Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon led high-flying Phi Slama Jama.

Logan Johnson scored 17 points and Aidan Mahaney had 14 for the Gaels (6-3), who lost their third in a row following a 6-0 start.

Houston was the favorite to win it all in the second of three consecutive trips to the Final Four nearly 40 years ago, but lost to Jim Valvano and North Carolina State in one of the iconic championship games.

Coach Kelvin Sampson’s first top-ranked team is coming off trips to the Final Four and Elite Eight the past two seasons.

For the third straight year, the postseason path will start at Dickie’s Arena, where Sampson likes to bring his team during the regular season as prep for the American Athletic Conference tourney.

This victory in the Battleground 2k22 series improved the Cougars to 9-0 in the arena near downtown Fort Worth, where they have won AAC tournament titles each of the past two years.

Saint Mary’s whittled a 12-point deficit to a single possession when Mahaney hit a 3, and he made it a three-point game again at 46-43 with another from long range.

Roberts answered by backing down for a short jump hook before Sasser converted a three-point play to put the Cougars up 51-43.

Houston broke a 17-all tie with a 14-3 run to finish the first half, with Saint Mary’s going 1 of 11 from the field in that stretch against the vaunted Cougars defense. Both teams shot 37%.

BIG PICTURE

Saint Mary’s: Facing the No. 1 team isn’t foreign to the Gaels, who play in the West Coast Conference with Gonzaga. St. Mary’s is 2-7 against the Zags when they have the top ranking, with one of the victories coming last season.

Houston: The Cougars had no trouble in their debut with the No. 1 ranking, blowing out Norfolk State 100-52 at home Tuesday. A disciplined and tournament-tested opponent for the second game was just the threat Sampson’s club figured it could be.

UP NEXT

Saint Mary’s: Missouri State at home Wednesday.

Houston: North Florida at home Tuesday.

Clowney, No. 11 Alabama recover to beat South Dakota St

Gary Cosby Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Freshman Noah Clowney’s breakout game – 22 points, nine rebounds, four assists and a steal – helped No. 11 Alabama recover from blowing a 20-point lead and beat South Dakota State 78-65 on Saturday night.

Clowney shot 8 of 17, including 5 of 12 on 3s, in his highest-scoring game of the season.

“We’ve encouraged him to shoot it, I’m glad he did,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “His senior year of high school, he started out pretty poorly from 3 then shot it 40% after that, so I kind of referenced that.”

Alabama (7-1) led 37-17 with 6 1/2 minutes left in the first half. South Dakota State (3-6) rallied to go ahead 51-50 on Alex Arians’ 3-pointer with 11 1/2 minutes remaining.

Nimari Burnett’s foul shot a minute later put the Crimson Tide ahead for good at 54-53. Alabama used a 9-0 run to pull away.

Mark Sears scored 19 points and Brandon Miller had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Crimson Tide

Alabama made 14 of its first 26 shots to build a big lead before it slipped away.

“I’m not going to call them mature, we still have some room to grow,” Oats said. “Our guys have to understand, no matter who we’re playing, even if their record isn’t great, they’re Division I basketball players, they’re good teams. Last year, we had issues with this going down the road.”

Charlie Easley and Arians each scored 17 points for the Jackrabbits. Zeke Mayo added 12 points and Matt Dentlinger contributed nine rebounds.

BIG PICTURE

Sears continues to be a force at home for Alabama. In Alabama’s last three home games – wins over Liberty, Jacksonville State and South Dakota State – he has scored 22, 18 and 19 points, making at least three 3-pointers in all three games. Alabama’s next home game comes against a Memphis team that already has two wins over SEC competition.

SECOND HALF SPRING

South Dakota State coach Eric Henderson noticed that in Alabama’s first two home games, Longwood and Liberty both trailed by fewer than 10 points at halftime before losing by 21 and 36 points, respectively. He viewed the first five minutes of the second half as critical in both instances, seeing an Alabama team using the home environment to its advantage.

Henderson stressed to his team that it had to win those five minutes to have a chance. Down 42-35 at the break, it did, and ultimately took the lead.

“They really increase the pressure, they try to play a little faster, they get downhill and they really spray it,” Henderson said. “I thought we were getting some 50-50 balls, I thought we were playing with some confidence. There’s been a lot of schools to come in here and have a good first half and it ends up being a 30- or 40-point game.”

UP NEXT

South Dakota State stays on the road to face Montana on Tuesday.

Alabama takes a weeklong break before its second game against the current No. 1 team in the nation, this time a road game against Houston on Saturday. The Crimson Tide beat former No. 1 North Carolina in its first shot at the top-ranked team, winning 103-101 in four overtimes on Nov. 27.