• Mike Ricci

How High School Recruiting Classes Look Now: Part 2


Continuing the rundown of high school recruiting classes from 2003 until 2012 using the Rivals rankings by class. Each player (with NBA experience) is shuffled into subjective categories. Since I am the writer, I will use my discretion. Sound good? Let’s get to it.

2008:

*Photo via USA Today

Superstars (0):

All-Stars (4):

2. Jrue Holiday

3. Demar DeRozan

51. Klay Thompson

122. Draymond Green

Role Players (15):

1. Byron Mullens

4. Brandon Jennings*

6. Tyreke Evans

7. Al-Farouq Aminu

8. Greg Monroe

12. Chris Singleton

14. Kemba Walker

15. Ed Davis

29. Marcus Morris

22. Tyler Zeller

39. Iman Shumpert

47. Malcolm Lee

92. Isaiah Thomas

101. Miles Plumlee

115. Reggie Jackson

Other Notables (1):

59. Ralph Sampson III

I had to do a double and triple check to verify Jrue Holiday was an All-Star at one point. It’s weird to think now---hell, it was weird to grasp in 2013. But even with the inclusion of Holiday into the All-Star category, it’s a weak class NBA-wise. That is, of course, unless you’re the Golden State Warriors.

A quick tangent: it’s not entirely uncommon for colleges who are recruiting a star player to recruit a friend who is less talented as a way to entice the star into committing with their school. In the business, it’s called calf and bull meaning the star is the bull and the friend is the calf...I digress. At the time, USC was recruiting Demar DeRozan hard and offered a scholarship to his best friend Percy Miller Jr. (better known as rapper ‘Lil Romeo). DeRozan was a star at USC during his only college season while Miller spent 2008-2010 on the team, playing sparingly.

This was also the class that saw Brandon Jennings buck the trend and decide to play professionally overseas instead of playing college basketball. You can read more about it in a blog post I dug up on my old blog (from 2008---MMMM VINTAGE!) by clicking here.

2009:

*Photo via USA Today

Superstars (2):

2. DeMarcus Cousins

48. Kawhi Leonard

All-Stars (2):

1. John Wall

23. Eric Bledsoe

Role Players (10):

3. Derrick Favors

4. Avery Bradley

5. John Henson

11. Lance Stephenson

27. Solomon Hill

31. Thomas Robinson

55. Mason Plumlee

87. Hassan Whiteside

96. Devin Booker

140. Khris Middleton

Other Notables (3):

19. Royce White

45. Glen Rice

105. Shawn Kemp

If you can believe it, John Wall is the first #1 player to have an above average impact in the NBA since Dwight Howard in 2004 (I’ll save you the time it takes to scroll back up: Gerald Green, Greg Oden, Michael Beasley, and Byron Mullens). I’m probably being overly generous with my choosing of Cousins as a superstar which is a fair point given he’s never played in the playoffs but is arguably the best center in the league.

Cousins teamed up with John Wall during their one season in Kentucky. Wall would go on to being the top overall pick in the 2010 draft before embarking on a successful career with the Washington Wizards. Radio personality Colin Cowherd would go onto make the most controversial comments about Wall…that is, until Donald Trump would announce his candidacy for President in 2015.

Derrick Favors and Thomas Robinson parlayed successful college careers (for Favors, one season) into being top five picks in the NBA Draft.

You’ll also notice that both Glen Rice Jr. and Shawn Kemp Jr. were ranked in this class. They can’t all be Del Curry’s kid.

2010:

*Photo via USA Today

Superstars (0):

All-Stars (1):

4. Kyrie Irving

Role Players (22):

2. Harrison Barnes

5. Jared Sullinger

6. Brandon Knight

7. Tobias Harris

8. Cory Joseph

9. Perry Jones

10. Reggie Bullock

11. Will Barton

13. Terrence Jones

17. Tristan Thompson

20. Adreian Payne

29. Dion Waiters

31. Meyers Leonard

32. Kendall Marshall

43. Ray McCallum

44. Gorgui Dieng

48. Terrence Ross

54. Tarik Black

76. Jeremy Lamb

98. Shabazz Napier

105. Jerian Grant

144. Victor Oladipo

Other Notables (1):

1. Josh Selby

There is a lot to digest when looking at the 2010 recruiting class. The biggest thing of note has to be the on the court disappointment of the nation’s top recruit Josh Selby. Selby was the subject of an NCAA investigation before his career even began. Eventually he would only play in 26 games during his only college season with Kansas. After one season, he made himself eligible for the NBA Draft where he was drafted in the 2nd round (49th overall) by the Memphis Grizzlies. Now, I’ll admit that if we are considering Greg Oden a role player, I should do the same with Selby but then again, Selby was never the household name Oden was. Selby lasted 38 games in the NBA before signing with the Qingdao Eagles in China. Currently he is playing with Socar Petkim, a team in Turkey’s Second Basketball League.

2011:

*Photo via USA Today

Superstars (0):

2. Anthony Davis

All-Stars (-):

Role Players (-):

1. Austin Rivers

3. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

4. Brad Beal

5. Marquis Teague

7. Quincy Miller

8. James McAdoo

12. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

13. P.J. Hairston

14. Tony Wroten

15. Cody Zeller

16. Rodney Hood

29. Michael Carter-Williams

34. Ben McLemore

37. Otto Porter

41. Maurice Harkless

72. Shane Larkin

143. Trey Burke

Other Notables (1):

6. LeBryan Nash

It’s pretty clear that Anthony Davis is the prize from this particular class. Not only is he one of the most valuable young assets in the league today, but he also led Kentucky to a National Championship during his only collegiate season while playing alongside Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

This class is chalk full of players who are just now coming into their own in the NBA. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a key contributor to a Detroit Pistons team beginning their ascension in the Eastern Conference. Trey Burke carried Michigan to the Final Four (the same season he was named National Player of the Year) where his Michigan team lost to Louisville in the title game.

I stopped this rundown in 2011 because this was the last class to play four years in college (the seniors in college this season were part of the 2012 class and I feel it’s best to give each high school class at least five years before judging it’s professional performance.

So in the end, what did we learn? Well, each class is unpredictable. Some classes have one or two players who put together hall of fame caliber careers (2003) while some fail to make any sort of major impression (2005). Sure things? No such thing. We knew Lebron wasn’t going to fail and we were right. We also knew Greg Oden wasn’t going to fail. The sure thing label should probably be retired.

Part 1

#NBA #MikeRicci #HighSchool #Recruiting #FunStuff

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