Re-ranking the recruiting classes: Who are the 25 best players in the Class of 2008?

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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 2008, with their final Rivals Top 150 ranking in parentheses:

 (Paul George/Getty Images)

READ MOREThe complete Re-ranking the Classes series

1. Paul George (UR) – From unranked to a two-time All-NBA third-team selection, George has become one of the NBA’s best two-way players and a star on the wing. Also making two All-Defense selections and two all-star games, hopefully George can return to full strength from the gruesome leg injury suffered during the USA Basketball scrimmage last August.

2. Damian Lillard (UR) – Another unranked player who has become one of the faces of the NBA, Lillard is a two-time all-star himself and earned third-team All-NBA honors in 2014. After four years at Weber State, Lillard was ready to produce immediately at the NBA level and he earned Rookie of the Year honors in 2013.

3. Klay Thompson (51) – The only member of the re-ranked top 25 to be initially ranked, Thompson earned an NBA title, third-team All-NBA recoginition and a spot in the All-Star Game in 2015. During a breakout 2014-15, Thompson set an NBA record with 37 points and nine 3-pointers in one quarter against the Kings.

4. Nikola Vucevic (UR) – Playing with the Orlando Magic, Vucevic had a breakout fourth season and took a step forward as one of the league’s best offensive big men. Already a dynamic rebounder, Vucevic also shot 52 percent from the field as a primary scoring option last season.

5. Gordon Hayward (UR) – The multi-faceted Hayward has had two consecutive very good campaigns and improved his shooting percentages in 2014-15. If Hayward continues to stay consistent, he has a chance to be a potential All-Star.

6. Greg Monroe (8) –Earning a recent big contract from the Milwaukee Bucks, Monroe averaged a double-double at 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game last season and he’s also a good passer with quick hands for a big man.

7. Draymond Green (122) –One of the breakout performers of this past season, Green thrived in Steve Kerr’s new system and put up his best all-around numbers (11.7 pts, 8.2 reb, 3.7 ast, 1.6 stls, 1.3 blks) and also earned first-team All-Defense honors.

8. Demar DeRozan (3) – The first one-and-done on the list, DeRozan has turned into an all-star two-guard, capable of big scoring numbers. Also a member of the USA Basketball team in 2014, DeRozan has helped lead the Raptors into one of the better teams in the East.

9. Jrue Holiday (2) – Ben Howland didn’t find the best way to use Holiday in his brief time at UCLA, but at point guard, Holiday has thrived and made an all-star appearance in 2013. Battling injury since his best season, Holiday has struggled at times to regain that form in New Orleans.

source: Getty Images
(Klay Thompson/NBAE/Getty Images)

10. Brandon Jennings (4) – Jennings famously played his lone season before the NBA in overseas instead of college and he’s carved out a nice career so far with the Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons. Through half of the 2014-15 season, Jennings was off to a great start before a season-ending Achilles’ injury set him back.

11. Tyreke Evans (6) – Coming out of the gate strong, Evans was Rookie of the Year in 2010 before his scoring numbers and efficiency numbers took a dip. Still a consistent threat with the ball in his hands, Evans has good career numbers and is a steady performer in New Orleans.

12. Kemba Walker (14) – Walker has averaged over 17 points per game the last three seasons, but his shooting percentages took a dip this season as Charlotte missed the playoffs.

13. Isaiah Thomas (92) – The final pick of the 2011 NBA Draft, Thomas has carved his niche as a small scoring guard. Thomas played a big part in the Boston Celtics making the playoffs after being traded there mid-season.

RELATED: Re-ranking the classes 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007

14. Markieff Morris (49) – Playing all 82 games for the Phoenix Suns last season, Morris saw career bests in points, rebounds, assists and steals and stretches the floor at forward.

15. Reggie Jackson (115) – After being traded to Detroit, Jackson put up big numbers in Stan Van Gundy’s offense, averaging 17.6 points, 9.2 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game in 27 games for the Pistons.

16. Marcus Morris (29) – Though he had the better career at Kansas than brother Markieff, Marcus hasn’t had as much of an impact at the NBA level. A valuable role player, Marcus was traded to the Pistons this week.

17. Iman Shumpert (39) – More defensive-oriented than offense, the former McDonald’s All-American showed flashes of offensive play in the NBA Playoffs playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

18. Ed Davis (15) – As a career reserve forward, Davis has been a really good energy guy off the bench, collecting rebounds and scoring at a high percentage. Davis signed a three-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers this week.

19. Al-Farouq Aminu (7) –Aminu has been a durable role player on the wing who can rebound and defend. Playing with the Clippers, Hornets and Mavericks, Aminu also signed with the Portland Trail Blazers this week.

source:
(Damian Lillard/AP Photo)

20. Tyler Zeller (33) – In the best season of his brief career, Zeller looked like a rotation big man for the Boston Celtics, averaging 10.2 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

21. Jae Crowder (UR) – Another Celtic who had a very good season as a reserve, Crowder thrived playing for Brad Stevens, as he had career highs in minutes, points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals last season.

22. Miles Plumlee (101) – After a very good 2014-15 season for the Phoenix Suns, the oldest Plumlee never regained that form last season with the Suns and Bucks.

23. Kent Bazemore (UR) – An outstanding wing defender, Bazemore showed more of a scoring tough as a Laker and has become a valuable role player for the Atlanta Hawks.

24. Kyle O’Quinn (UR) – Through the first three seasons of his NBA career, O’Quinn has played double-digit minutes in every season and improved enough to be a bit of a stretch option for the Orlando Magic.

25. Shelvin Mack (UR) – Playing as a reserve guard for the Hawks, Mack has been tough on the defensive end to go along with steady numbers as a floor general.

Notables
Byron Mullens (1)
Samardo Samuels (9)
Willie Warren (10)
Devin Ebanks (11)
Chris Singleton (12)
Elliot Williams (16)
DeAndre Liggins (28)
Trey Thompkins (30)
Luke Babbitt (31)
Jeff Withey (36)
Darius Miller (42)
Henry Sims (48)
Jeff Taylor (52)
Larry Drew (71)
Tyshawn Taylor (77)
Quincy Acy (84)
Kim English (111)
Travis Leslie (116)
Demetri Goodson (132)
Terrelle Pryor (UR)
Bernard James (UR)
Jorge Gutierrez (UR)
Andrew Nicholson (UR)

Mike Tirico to host NBC Sports’ new daily sports talk show ‘Lunch Talk Live’

We’re excited to bring viewers fresh programming every day with unique, topical conversations from prominent individuals in all corners of sports. This will be a daily lunch date to share sports and stories we miss during these unique times.
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A new daily sports talk shot called Lunch Talk Live will debut on NBCSN at noon ET on Monday, April 6th.

The show will feature Mike Tirico joined like by special guests every single day, including a lineup of NBC Sports’ on-air personalities, current and former athletes and prominent people in sports media.

The show will focus on how the sports world is navigating the coronavirus pandemic, providing a platform for intelligent discussion on the state of sports and how we, as a society, are adapting to living in this challenging time. the goal is to detail personal stories of how different people from across the sports industry are functioning in the day-to-day.

“In these challenging times, we are all missing sports and the people who make sports memories,” said Tirico. “Hopefully, we can bring a midday connection with some of them to help fill the void.”

“We’re excited to bring viewers fresh programming every day with unique, topical conversations from prominent individuals in all corners of sports,” said Sam Flood, the Executive Producer & President of Production for NBC Sports. “This will be a daily lunch date to share sports and stories we miss during these unique times.”

The show will be an hour long. It will air on weekdays at Noon ET on NBCSN and will be streaming on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Additionally, content will also be provided on the NBC Sports’ YouTube channel as well as other social media platforms.

All episodes of the show will be hosted remotely.

Michigan State AD defends Tom Izzo after witness report

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EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State athletic director Bill Beekman defended basketball coach Tom Izzo on Thursday after Izzo was accused in

of contacting a witness who was part of a 2017 criminal sexual conduct investigation involving one of his players.

According to a police report obtained by ESPN, Michigan State student Brayden Smith was with basketball player Brock Washington on the night a female student said Washington forcibly groped her. When police interviewed Smith, he said he had already been contacted by Izzo and assistant coaches Dwayne Stephens and Mike Garland. They “asked (Smith) if he was OK and if there was anything that he had seen during the evening,” according to the report.

Beekman responded in a lengthy statement Thursday.

“Tom Izzo has been a beacon of integrity in his profession for nearly four decades, including a quarter century as head coach. Michigan State’s Office of Institutional Equity has gone on record to say that no policies were violated in regards to any actions taken by the men’s basketball staff during a Title IX investigation into a student,” Beekman said. “There’s nothing to support any claims that any member of the men’s basketball staff conducted their own investigation, or interfered with any ongoing investigation. Any insinuation to the contrary is nothing more than an attempt to smear a coach, a program, and an entire university.”

Smith, the son of former Michigan State player Steve Smith, has not played basketball for the Spartans. According to a Title IX report obtained by ESPN, Brayden Smith told investigators he considers the coaches his “godfathers” who check in on him occasionally.

According to ESPN, police said in their report that Brayden Smith’s perception of his conversation with the coaches about the night in question “was not to get information out of him, but rather to ensure that he was OK and remind him to be responsible.”

The school’s Title IX investigation determined that Washington was not responsible for having violated the university’s sexual misconduct policy, according to ESPN. The network

that in early 2018, Washington pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault under a provision allowing offenders to plead guilty without a court entering a judgment of conviction.

Earlier this week, ESPN reported that campus police told prosecutors they had probable cause that Brock Washington raped a woman Jan. 19 while she was too intoxicated to consent County prosecutors

because they didn’t feel they could prove their case to a jury.

Washington played a total of 19 minutes this season before he was suspended in late January.

NC State’s NCAA case recommended for independent process

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RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina State’s NCAA case involving recruiting violations tied to former Wolfpack one-and-done star Dennis Smith Jr. has been recommended to go through an independent investigation process created for complex cases.

In a statement Friday, athletics spokesman Fred Demarest said the school must respond by April 14 to the recommendation. Demarest said officials are “reviewing and evaluating our options.”

The NCAA created the Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP) last year, a product of proposals from the commission led by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2018 to reform college basketball amid a federal corruption investigation into the sport. The process includes independent investigators and decision-makers with no direct ties to NCAA member schools, and rulings cannot be appealed.

The NCAA announced last month that Memphis’ case involving star freshman basketball player James Wiseman would go that route, becoming the first to enter the process.

IARP spokeswoman Whitney Ertel declined to comment on the N.C. State case, but said involved parties have the chance to respond to any recommendation before a determination is made.

“A case can either be accepted into the independent process or it can be denied,” Ertel said. “If any case is going to be accepted, then we will make an announcement.”

N.C. State was charged last summer with four violations, including former head coach Mark Gottfried being charged individually under the provision of head-coach responsibility for violations within his program.

Specifically, the NCAA has alleged ex-assistant Orlando Early provided Smith and his associates approximately $46,700 in impermissible benefits – including $40,000 that a government witness testified he delivered to Early intended for Smith’s family in 2015.

N.C. State has argued the NCAA had not proven money was actually provided to Smith or his family, noting Smith – picked ninth in the 2017 NBA draft after one year in Raleigh – denied receiving money in a school interview in 2019.

Attorneys for Gottfried, now coach at Cal State Northridge, have questioned the fairness of the process and argued Gottfried fulfilled obligations to monitor the program.

The NCAA enforcement staff’s response in February held firm that violations had occurred.

2020 NBA Draft Early Entry Tracker

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Here is CBT’s full 2020 NBA Draft early entry tracker. You’ll find a full breakdown of what players are deciding. We’ll track signing with agents, testing the waters and returning to school here. 

Underclassmen have until Sunday, April 26th at 11:59 p.m. EST to declare for the 2020 NBA Draft.

A deadline of Monday, June 15th at 5 p.m. EST is set for underclassmen to withdraw and retain college eligibility.

Of course, these dates are subject to change given the fluidity of the COVID-19 situation.

Here is the full list of the underclassmen who have declared for the 2020 NBA Draft. You can also find a list of the biggest names we’re waiting on.

NBA DRAFT EARLY ENTRY

Preseason Top 25 | Mock Draft | Early Entry Tracker

NBA DRAFT TESTING THE WATERS

  • PAUL ATKINSON, Yale
  • SADDIQ BEY, Villanova
  • TYLER BEY, Colorado
  • JERMAINE BISHOP, Norfolk State
  • JOMARU BROWN, Eastern Kentucky
  • JORDAN BRUNER, Yale
  • JORDAN BURNS, Colgate
  • MARCUS CARR, Minnesota
  • TAMENANG CHOH, Brown
  • DAVID COLLINS, South Florida
  • JALEN CRUTCHER, Dayton
  • RYAN DALY, St. Joseph’s
  • DEVON DANIELS, N.C. State
  • KENDRIC DAVIS, SMU
  • DEXTER DENNIS, Wichita State
  • MASON FAULKNER, Western Carolina
  • L.J. FIGUEROA, St. John’s
  • D.J. FUNDERBURK, N.C. State
  • ALONZO GAFFNEY, Ohio State
  • JIMMA GATWECH, Huntington Prep (WV)
  • JORDAN GOODWIN, Saint Louis
  • JAYVON GRAVES, Buffalo
  • RAYSHAUN HAMMONDS, Georgia
  • ELIJAH HUGHES, Syracuse
  • FERON HUNT, SMU
  • HERB JONES, Alabama
  • MASON JONES, Arkansas
  • KAMERON LANGLEY, North Carolina A&T
  • SABEN LEE, Vanderbilt
  • KIRA LEWIS, Alabama
  • ISAIAH LIVERS, Michigan
  • SANDRO MAMUKELASHVILI, Seton Hall
  • NICO MANNION, Arizona
  • NAJI MARSHALL, Xavier
  • KENYON MARTIN JR., IMG Academy (FL)
  • REMY MARTIN, Arizona State
  • MAC MCCLUNG, Georgetown
  • ISAIAH MILLER, UNCG
  • ELIJAH OLANIYI, Stony Brook
  • JOHN PETTY JR., Alabama
  • NATE PIERRE-LOUIS, Temple
  • XAVIER PINSON, Missouri
  • JEREMIAH ROBINSON-EARL, Villanova
  • MARCUS SANTOS-SILVA, VCU
  • JAY SCRUBB, John A. Logan College (Louisville commit)
  • MITCHELL SMITH, Missouri
  • STEF SMITH, Vermont
  • PARKER STEWART, UT Martin
  • MACIO TEAGUE, Baylor
  • XAVIER TILLMAN, Michigan State
  • JEREMIAH TILMON, Missouri
  • JORDAN TUCKER, Butler
  • KALEB WESSON, Ohio State
  • KEITH WILLIAMS, Cincinnati
  • MCKINLEY WRIGHT, Colorado

NOTABLES RETURNING TO SCHOOL

  • DEREK CULVER, West Virginia
  • OSCAR TSHIEBWE, West Virginia

NOTABLES YET TO ANNOUNCE

PRECIOUS ACHIUWA, Memphis
DERRICK ALSTON, Boise State
COLE ANTHONY, North Carolina
BRYAN ANTOINE, Villanova
JOEL AYAYI, Gonzaga
JARED BUTLER, Baylor
VERNON CAREY, Duke
AYO DOSUNMU, Illinois
DEVON DOTSON, Kansas
MALACHI FLYNN, San Diego State
LUKA GARZA, Iowa
JOSH GREEN, Arizona
ASHTON HAGANS, Kentucky
AARON HENRY, Michigan State
MATTHEW HURT, Duke
TRAYCE JACKSON-DAVIS, Indiana
ISAIAH JOE, Arkansas
DAVID JOHNSON, Louisville
A.J. LAWSON, South Carolina
SCOTTIE LEWIS, Florida
TYRESE MAXEY, Kentucky
JADEN MCDANIELS, Washington
WENDELL MOORE, Duke
JORDAN NWORA, Louisville
FILIP PETRUSEV, Gonzaga
YVES PONS, Tennessee
NEEMIAS QUETA, Utah State
IMMANUEL QUICKLEY, Kentucky
JAHMI’US RAMSEY, Texas Tech
NICK RICHARDS, Kentucky
JALEN SMITH, Maryland
CASSIUS STANLEY, Duke
TYRELL TERRY, Stanford
TRENDON WATFORD, LSU
ROMEO WEEMS, DePaul
KAHLIL WHITNEY, Kentucky
ROBERT WOODWARD, Mississippi State

Preseason Top 25 | Coaching Carousel | NBA Draft Early Entry (link)

WHEN IS THE 2020 NBA DRAFT?

The 2020 NBA Draft is currently scheduled to take place on June 25th, 2020, but that date is up in the air due to the spread of COVID-19. At the very least, the league is preparing as if the pre-draft process is going to be drastically different than it has been in past seasons.

WHEN IS THE DEADLINE FOR AN EARLY ENTRY TO DECLARE FOR THE 2020 NBA DRAFT?

Underclassmen have under April 26th to declare for the draft. Those that don’t sign with an agent have until June 15th to pull their name out of the draft and return to school.

WHERE CAN I FIND A 2020 MOCK DRAFT?

Right here, thanks for asking.

Dr. Anthony Fauci to Coach K: ‘We’re not even at halftime’ in fight against COVID-19

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Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared on the radio show of Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski — Basketball and Beyond with Coach K — on Thursday to discuss our nation’s battle with coronavirus and COVID-19. Fauci is an immunologist that has served as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984.

In an interview with Coach K that was overrun with basketball analogies, Fauci stressed the same talking points that he has stressed in every appearance that he has made over the course of the last month: The coronavirus pandemic is incredibly serious, we have not yet come close to winning the fight against it and the only way to save lives, slow this thing down and get back to normal is social distancing.

In simple terms, Fauci, again, told Krzyzewski we need to stay at home if they want COVID-19 to be a thing of the past.

“The [battle with coronavirus] is going to go on for several weeks, Coach K,” Fauci said. “The issue is that we have a large country and we have different metropolitan areas.”

Preseason Top 25 | Mock Draft | Early Entry Tracker

“If you want to do the basketball analogy, that right now we have a team that’s a very powerful team, and that’s the virus, and what we need to do is that we’ve got to play a full-court press. We can’t let them get the ball on the ground to dribble. We’ve just got to be all over them,” he added. “I mean, that’s what we’ve really got to do, because that’s the only tool we have right now.”

Fauci also told Krzyzewski that we are “not even at halftime,” and that the only way to truly combat the coronavirus is to do everything we can as a nation to avoid contact with other human beings.

“We are not yet at the point where we’re turning the corner and we’re coming around the bend and coming down as a country,” Fauci said later, a reference to flattening the curve. “There are some cities that have not yet even begun to spike and it’s our absolute responsibility to make sure that in those cities that people understand what they need to do to prevent that explosive spike that New York City has seen, that New Orleans has seen, that parts of New Jersey have seen, Detroit and on and on.”

These talking points are not new.

It’s what we’ve been hearing for months on end. It’s the reason sports in our country have been postponed for the foreseeable future, to avoid a situation like the one stemming from a Champions League soccer match in Italy.

Fauci has been steadfast in his efforts to get this message out. In addition to Coach K’s radio show, he appeared on an Instagram live with Stephen Curry and did an interview with Pardon My Take. It’s clear what he is trying to do, reaching the largest cross section of sports fans that he can. Put another way, I’d imagine the venn diagram of people that listen to Coach K’s radio show and Pardon My Take is basically two circles.

Hopefully people are listening.