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Re-ranking the recruiting classes: Who are the 25 best players in the Class of 2007?

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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 2007, with their final Rivals Top 150 ranking in parentheses:

READ MOREThe complete Re-ranking the Classes series

source:
AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps

1. Derrick Rose (3): Rose’s lone season at Memphis nearly resulted in a national title (that run was vacated by the NCAA), and he was the top overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. The Chicago native’s had some health issues to deal with, but he’s also the only player in the class to have been named NBA MVP.

2. James Harden (11): Harden’s two seasons at Arizona State were incredibly productive, as he led the Sun Devils to the NCAA tournament in 2009 and was a lottery pick in that year’s draft. Having spent his first three seasons in Oklahoma City before being traded to Houston, “The Beard” is currently one of the best players in the NBA.

3. Blake Griffin (23): Griffin was dominant in his two seasons at Oklahoma, where he helped lead the Sooners to the Elite Eight in 2009 before being taken first overall in that year’s NBA Draft. Griffin’s averaging 21.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game in five seasons as a Clipper.

Blake Griffin
AP Photo/David J. Phillip

4. Kevin Love (6): Love’s lone season at UCLA ended in the Final Four, and he’s been a productive pro in both Minnesota and Cleveland. Love, who’s averaging 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game in six seasons as a professional.

5. Jeff Teague (57): Teague, who played his college basketball at Wake Forest and was a second team All-American in 2009, has emerged as a highly valuable player for the Atlanta Hawks. Teague, who averaged 15.9 points and 7.0 assists per game this season, earned his first All-Star appearance in 2014-15 as well.

6. DeAndre Jordan (8): Say what you want about the development of Jordan’s offensive skill set, he’s been a high-level rebounder and defender in the NBA after playing a season at Texas A&M. Currently working his way through free agency, Jordan’s a two-time NBA rebounding champion and was third team All-NBA this past season.

7. Chandler Parsons (19): Parsons is one of the few players on this list who spent four seasons in college, earning SEC Player of the Year honors at Florida in 2011. As a pro he’s played in Houston and Dallas, averaging 14.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game for his career.

8. O.J. Mayo (4): Mayo’s lone season at USC was marred by controversy, with NCAA violations leading to him losing his remaining eligibility and Tim Floyd being relieved of his coaching duties. Mayo was a first team All-Pac-10 selection in 2008, and he’s averaging 14.3 points per game for his NBA career.

9. Eric Gordon (2): Gordon’s recruitment was an interesting one, as he committed to Illinois before changing his mind and joining Indiana instead. Picked seventh in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Clippers, Gordon’s struggled with injuries throughout his career but has averaged nearly 17 points per contest.

**** Kenneth Faried (UR): Yup, this was an oversight. This is where he would have been ranked.

10. Jerryd Bayless (13): Bayless averaged nearly 20 points per game in his lone season at Arizona, going on to be a lottery pick of the Pacers (traded to Portland) in the 2008 NBA Draft. He’s bounced around quite a bit in the NBA but is averaging just over eight points per game as a pro.

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

11. Patrick Patterson (17): Patterson played three seasons at Kentucky, averaging at least 14.3 points per game in each of those campaigns. From there it was on to the NBA, where he’s developed into a dependable option who can serve as a stretch four. Patterson’s averaging 8.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per contest as an NBA player.

12. Evan Turner (49): Like Patterson, Turner played three seasons in college. Unlike Patterson, Turner earned National Player of the Year honors in 2010 and was a unanimous All-Big Ten selection in each of his final two seasons at Ohio State. Turner played four seasons in Philadelphia before moving on to Boston, where he averaged 9.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game this past season.

13. Kyle Singler (5): Singler is one of two players on this list who won a national title in college, doing so as a junior at Duke in 2010. Singler spent his first season as a pro (2011-12) in Spain, earning NBA All-Rookie Team honors with the Pistons in 2013. Since then the Oregon native move on to Oklahoma City, where he agreed to a new deal earlier this week.

14. Michael Beasley (1): Beasley’s one season at Kansas State was a dominant one, as he averaged 26.2 points and 12.4 rebounds and earned Big 12 Player of the Year and first team All-America honors. However that didn’t translate to the NBA, where inconsistency and immaturity have plagued his career. Beasley, who began last season in China, played with the Heat from late February on.

15. Mike Scott (115): Scott ended up spending five seasons at Virginia due to an ankle injury, and by the time he was a fifth-year senior the forward was one of the best players in the ACC. Scott’s been a solid contributor for the Hawks in three seasons, averaging 7.9 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.

source:
AP Photo/David J. Phillip

16. Nick Calathes (14): Calathes joined Parsons at Florida but wasn’t there nearly as long, leaving the school for the pro ranks after earning first team All-SEC honors as a sophomore. Calathes has played in both Europe and the NBA, most recently serving as Mike Conley Jr.’s backup in Memphis.

17. Norris Cole (NR): Cole wasn’t ranked coming out of high school, and in four seasons at Cleveland State he emerged as a player worthy of being selected in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft. Cole was a member of two NBA champion teams in Miami, before being traded to New Orleans during the 2014-15 season.

18. James Johnson (62): Johnson spent two seasons at Wake Forest before turning pro, and the second degree black belt has averaged 6.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in six seasons in the NBA. Johnson also spent some time in the NBA D-League during the 2013-14 season before signing with Memphis in November of that season.

19. J.J. Hickson (10): After playing one season at NC State, Hickson was a first round draft pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Since then he’s played for four franchises, averaging 9.8 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest in the NBA.

20. Kosta Koufos (16): Koufos averaged 14.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game in his lone season at Ohio State, going on to be a first round pick of the Jazz in 2008. He’s averaging 5.4 points and 4.7 rebounds per game at the NBA level.

21. Robbie Hummel (75): Part of the highly acclaimed “Baby Boilers” class that helped Matt Painter rejuvenate the Purdue basketball program, Hummel has spent his entire career in Minnesota.

22. Jon Leuer (82): Having been traded to Phoenix earlier this week, Leuer played for four different NBA franchises. Leuer improved throughout his career at Wisconsin, earning first team All-Big Ten honors as a senior in 2011.

23. Festus Ezeli (145): After spending five seasons at Vanderbilt, redshirting as a freshman, Ezeli’s been able to earn some playing time with the champion Golden State Warriors in each of his first two seasons as a pro. Ezeli was a second team All-SEC selection in 2011.

24. Cole Aldrich (21): Aldrich joins Singler as the lone national title holder on this list, winning his as a freshman reserve in 2008. Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore, Aldrich has played for four franchises since being drafted in the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft by New Orleans.

25. Lavoy Allen (142): Allen put together a solid four-year career at Temple before being selected in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft by the 76ers. Allen spent this past season with the Pacers after playing his first three NBA seasons in Philadelphia.

Notables:

Bill Walker (7)
Donte Green (9)
Anthony Randolph (12)
Austin Freeman (15)
Jonny Flynn (22)
Austin Daye (25)
Corey Fisher (27)
Herb Pope (31)
Manny Harris (34)
E’Twaun Moore (35)
Taylor King (37)
Nolan Smith (39)
Scoop Jardine (53)
DeJuan Blair (59)
Jon Diebler (60)
Demetri McCamey (72)
Justin Holiday (83)
Robert Sacre (102)
Talor Battle (131)
Jeremy Hazell (136)
Jacob Pullen (NR)

Unfair to rush to any judgement on UCLA after Shabazz’s first game

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BROOKLYN – All things considered, Shabazz Muhammad didn’t play too badly in his first game as a collegian.

He finished with 15 points on 5-10 shooting in 25 minutes of action, although a couple of those buckets came in the final minute with the outcome, a 78-70 loss to Georgetown in the semifinals of the Legends Classic, all-but decided. He only grabbed one rebound, which is concerning given his strength and athleticism, and he was no where near the player that he needs to be on the defensive end of the floor. He was a long way from good, and he certainly didn’t come close to the reputation he had built for himself coming into the game.

This wass supposed to be a top three pick, mind you, and top three picks aren’t supposed to look as consistently over-matched as Muhammad did on both ends of the floor tonight.

And Muhammad will tell you the same thing.

“I can get a lot better. I didn’t play well tonight. I didn’t play well on defense,” Muhammad told reporters after the game.

That’s understandable. This was Muhammad’s first college basketball game after spending the past six months dealing with NCAA investigations into his time as a high schooler. He suffered a high-ankle sprain that kept him out for nine weeks over the summer. He didn’t practice with the team before they went to China. He didn’t go with the team to China. The first chance he had to practice was about a month ago, and in that time he’s dealt with a shoulder injury that kept him from being able to play, lift, or work on his conditioning for half that time.

He’s out of shape, out of sync with his teammates and, quite frankly, probably rusty.

And you thought he was going to come in here and look like James Harden did in his first game with the Rockets?

“It was really exciting getting out on the court for the first time,” Muhammad said when asked how he felt about his debut. “Just finally getting the jitters out and getting comfortable playing college basketball for the first time was a good experience.”

“I’m trying to get out here and gel with my teammates for the first time. My first college game, trying to get used to playing with all these players.”

It’s not like Muhammad is a piece getting plugged into an experienced team, either. Kyle Anderson is a freshman. Larry Drew II is a transfer that is playing for the first time in 20 months. Norman Powell is starting for the first time in his college career. Jordan Adams, who has scored at least 20 points in all four games as a collegian, is also a freshman.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Bruins have been dealt a bad hand when it comes to injuries. Muhammad has already dealt with ankle and shoulder issues. Kyle Anderson missed a couple months over the summer after thumb surgery. Tony Parker didn’t play on Monday due to a back issue. Tyler Lamb hasn’t returned to the court yet after getting surgery on his knee.

In other words, Muhammad isn’t the only one that needs to gel on this team.

It’s a group that doesn’t necessarily fit together perfectly with a coach who isn’t necessarily built to handle a team with their strengths. They were shredded defensively by Georgetown’s Princeton-style offense, which is not something you typically see from a Ben Howland-coached team. They looked lost offensively against Georgetown’s zone. They didn’t run the floor well at all. The 16 offensive rebounds they collected were nice, but the 60% Georgetown shot from the floor in the second half wasn’t.

“We are a team that is very young and we got hurt defensively,” Howland said. “They shot 55% from the game, 60% for the second half. Those two stats jump out.”

I spent the preseason doing nothing but send up warning flares that UCLA had dumpster fire potential written all over them.

And while I would love to take this time to revel in the fact that I was, once again, right, I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you that there were some positives to take out of this game.

First and foremost, Drew looks like a different player than they one that flamed out at North Carolina. He now has 33 assists and just six turnovers in 135 minutes this season. He got in the lane and created, he found shooters on the secondary break, he got the ball to his teammates where they needed it and when they needed it, and, most importantly, he did nothing dumb to hurt them. In the end, that’s all he really needs to do.

The other thing I liked was the way Howland used Anderson in the second half. There’s no question that Anderson is one of the more unique talents in the country, but asking him to be a primary ball-handler at this level is unfair. He’s not going to be blowing by players like Otto Porter and Greg Whittington off the dribble. Where he is effective, however, is as a playmaker out of the high post. When UCLA cut Georgetown’s lead to four in the second half, it’s because Anderson got them easy shot after easy shot against a 2-3 zone.

The Wears are capable up front, Josh Smith and Tony Parker can provide muscle when need be, and Muhammad, Adams and Powell provide as much scoring punch on the wing as you’ll find anywhere in the country.

There are still plenty of pieces that need to fall into place for this group.

But if you’re a UCLA fan, now is not the time to be selling off your season tickets, and judging them too harshly off of their first game with Muhammad in the fold is unfair.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Arizona State fans have high hopes for point guard Jahii Carson

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The 2011-12 season was a bad one for Arizona State, as the Sun Devils won just 10 games and finished tenth in the Pac-12. A major issue for Herb Sendek was the fact that one of his two most talented players wasn’t cleared to play.

That would be point guard Jahii Carson, who did not qualify academically and was only allowed to practice. That left Trent Lockett, now at Marquette, without the sidekick expected to help Arizona State climb back to respectability.

Now that Carson is eligible, along with transfers Evan Gordon (Liberty) and Bo Barnes (Hawaii), and returnees such as Chris Colvin and Carrick Felix are coming off of solid seasons the Sun Devils are expected by their fans to be an improved team.

And with Sendek committed to playing a faster tempo, the big question for Arizona State is whether or not Carson is ready to lead the way. The Mesa native certainly doesn’t lack for confidence.

“I definitely have a certain confidence and swagger about myself,” said Carson in an interview with John Marshall of the Associated Press. “I don’t want to seem arrogant or cocky, but I definitely have a confidence about my game. I have a confidence about my teammate’s game. I think that together, we can be something super.”

Even with players such as Lockett and James Harden having played for Sendek during his time in Tempe he hasn’t had a point guard as electric as Carson, which should make for an interesting 2012-13 season.

“Jahii is an electrifying player.  He’s blessed with amazing athletic talent.  But for me, the joy in practice with Jahii is his eagerness to learn,” said Sendek at Pac-12 Media Day. “And he has been a complete and total team guy.

“So that’s the joy that I get from working with Jahii every day.  He’s very unselfish and he’s very eager to learn.  And that’s an awesome combination to have in a young player (courtesy of ASAP Sports).”

But will the addition of Carson truly result in Arizona State playing faster? That remains to be seen. According to Ken Pomeroy’s numbers, the Sun Devils have never averaged more than 64 possessions/40 minutes during Sendek’s tenure in Tempe.

As noted above however, he hasn’t had a point guard like Carson before (although Derek Glasser was pretty good) and Sendek wants to play more man-to-man in an effort to push the tempo defensively.

“I have said this all offseason, so it is not breaking news, but I would be surprised if anyone is able to push the ball any faster than Arizona State,” Sendek said.

With Carson running the show it will be easier for Arizona State to carry that out. Now the question is whether or not they get it done.

Photo credit: Arizona State University

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at CollegeHoops.net and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej. 

Arizona State assistant Scott Pera reportedly leaving to join staff at Penn

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Arizona State assistant Scott Pera is leaving the Sun Devils to become the top assistant at the University of Pennsylvania, Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic is reporting.

Pera has been with Arizona State for six years, but now accepts a position closer to his hometown and family in Hershey, Penn.

“It’s been an emotional few days,” Pera told the paper. “It’s a great feeling on many levels. We’re very excited. It’s a terrific opportunity for me and my family.”

Pera’s move comes after former Penn assistant Dan Leibovitz left the Quakers to take a job with the Charlotte Bobcats. Penn has had to replace all three assistants on its staff this off-season.

Coach Mike Martin left the Quakers to become the head coach at Brown, while assistant Rudy Wise left the program.

Pera is known as a high-level recruiter, having had a hand in getting both James Harden, now with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Derek Glasser, the school’s all-time assists leader, to Arizona State.

He now joins a Penn team that finished 20-13 last season. Quaker head coach Jerome Allen will be entering his fourth season with the team in 2012-13, having amassed an overall record of 39-43 in his first three seasons.

As for the team Pera leaves behind, Arizona State is looking to guard Jahii Carson to help the team rebound from a 10-21 finish last season.

Photo Credit: Robert Kline/Cactus Ranch

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

The Morning Mix

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If I didn’t know better, I’d think Team USA is out there trying to prove to Magic and M.J. that 2012 is better than 1992. When did the Dream Team ever win by 85? When did the Dream Team ever score 156 points in one game? Nigeria never had a chance. But former-George Mason star Tony Skinn had the lone bright spot for the Nigerians, crisscrossing the ankles of James Harden into tiny pieces

– Glen Logan is unquestionably one of the best team-specific bloggers in the college hoops blogosphere. The “A Sea Of Blue” writer penned a phenomenal response to Rob Dauster’s Wednesday article about the dark underbelly of college recruiting. I love it when fans pour it on Rob. He’s always available for your heckling and besmirching at @RobDauster. Tell him I sent you.

– Speaking of Kentucky, assistant coach Rod Strickland was arrested for driving on a DUI suspended license on Thursday morning. It turns out Strickland’s suspension ended months ago. That’s kinda of a big mistake to make

– Hell, while we’re already talking about Kentucky, I might as well drop you a line about Rush The Court’s offseason report on the reigning National Champions

– Remember when the NCAA promised harsher penalties for violating the rules? Well, the day has come for those penalties to be put in place. The NCAA committee has endorsed a new structure that would issue strict reprimands such as lengthy post-season bans and larger fines

– Tom Izzo, recently ranked by Athlon as the top coach in college hoops, got some serious dap from the rap community. And by “serious dap” I mean “YouTube rappers make weed anthem about Spartans head coach“. Yeah, that just happened.

– Rutgers coach Mike Rice talks about winning the Big East. Sounds kinda ridiculous, right? Wrong. I think Rice is on to something. It might take longer than expected. But Rutgers is on the rise

– Five months after being fired from Alabama-Birmingham, Mike Davis has accepted the head coaching job at Texas Southern

– Ever wonder what all the terms & conditions of a mid-major coaching salary looked like? Take a peek at the new contract of Ohio’s Jim Christian

– In case you missed it: Tom Penders made some pretty strong accusations about a Big-XII program regarding illegal recruiting payments

– ICYMI part II: Ken Caldwell doesn’t know what the truth is

– Tulsa center Kodi Maduka officially announced his retirement on Thursday due to recurring health issues

– Missouri’s starting guard Phil “Flip” Pressey suffered a mild knee sprain on Wednesday when he knocked knees with a teammate at practice. The junior leader will be held out of practices the next few days, and head coach Frank Haith has discussed holding Pressey out of the team’s trip to Europe which begins next Wednesday

– Jabari Parker, the nation’s top 2013 recruit, is likely to take his sweet time making a decision

– Never thought I’d see the day that the Battle 4 Atlantis has the most loaded bracket of all the preseason tournaments

– I dunno. Part of me loves this song. The other part of me thinks the chicks in the video are hot. I can’t decide

Troy Machir is the managing editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @TroyMachir.

In savvy business move, Kentucky’s Anthony Davis trademarks “Fear the Brow”

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People might now “Fear the Brow” because they’ll have to pay royalties to use it.

Soon-to-be No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis has made it official, filing paperwork to trademark two phrases that have helped to shape his on-court persona at Kentucky, Darren Rovell of CNBC is reporting.

“I don’t want anyone to try to grow a unibrow because of me and then try to make money off of it,” Davis told CNBC. “Me and my family decided to trademark it because it’s very unique.”

Along with “Fear the Brow,” Davis has also filed paperwork for “Raise the Brow,” which, like the signature beard of Oklahoma City’s James Harden, it looks like Davis’ intimidating unibrow is a marketing ploy that is here to stay.

In a crowded market of NBA talent vying for sponsorship dollars, anything that can set a player apart, however odd, is worth money. In fact, the more unique, the more valuable it is.

According to Rovell, Davis has one sponsorship locked up for draft night, coming from Sprint, as he’ll be pedaling the company’s Watch Live app.

We already saw shirts and slogans with “brow” references pop up while Davis was at Kentucky and now, as is an indication that Davis is surrounded by some smart businesspeople and freed from the confines of NCAA amateur eligibility rules, he will be funneling those dollars into his own pocket.

Robert Griffin III, a top pick by the Washington Redskins in this year’s NFL draft, made a similar move by trademarking phrases that include “RGIII,” a nickname that gained popularity while he was at Baylor.

Davis averaged 14.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 4.7 blocks per game for the national champion Kentucky Wildcats last season and is all but a lock to be the top pick in Thursday’s NBA draft, going to the New Orleans Hornets.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_