Thursday, July 29, 2010

Looking Back: The class of 2005

We have now officially entered the dog days of summer. As the temperature rises, news in our college hoops universe comes to a standstill. Recruiting news, on the other hand, doesn't. There are two extremely important observation periods during the month of July, and more than a few scholarships, and spots on top 100 lists, are on the line. Unfortunately, BIAH doesn't pay the rent (click on some ads people!!!), which means we can't be out on the road at events like Nike's Peach Jam. In other words, we won't be putting out top 100 lists for the class of 2013. But since it is July, and since basketball in July is dedicated to recruiting, we are going to spend these next few weeks looking back past recruiting classes and rankings. Some of the results will surprise you.

Class of 2003

Class of 2004

Class of 2005:

The Class of 2004 was as strong at the top as it was deep, with a number of quality pros -- not too mention Florida's class that won two national titles -- coming from way beyond the top 20, the top 50, and even the top 100. The Class of 2005 is the opposite. There may never be an NBA all-star from this class (although, Monta Ellis is getting close). There is still time to turn it around, considering these kids are just 23 and 24 years old right now and a number of the higher ranked players have become decent contributors at the NBA level. That said, the top two of the 2005 class have been massively disappointing.

One thing to note about the Class of 2005 -- it was the last year that high schoolers could enter the NBA Draft. In 2006, the one-and-done rule officially went into effect.

Click the chart to enlarge.

1. Gerald Green: Green went straight to the NBA out of high school, and while many expected the insanely athletic, 6'8" Green to be picked early, he fell to 18th to the Boston Celtics. Green played sparingly as a rookie in Boston, but in his second season, he managed to work his way into the starting line-up due to injuries. He wound up averaging 10.4 ppg, but was traded during the off-season to Minnesota as a part of the deal for Kevin Garnett. Green would bounce from Minnesota to Houston and then Dallas over the next two seasons, before spending the last year in Russia. This summer, Green played with the Lakers.

1. Josh McRoberts: McRoberts spent two seasons at Duke, where he made the all-ACC freshman team in 2006. And even though he improved as a sophomore, McRoberts never quite lived up to the hype he left high school with. McRoberts left Duke after his sophomore season, getting drafted 37th by Portland. After one season with the Blazers, McRoberts was traded to his hometown Indiana Pacers. He's played a grand total of 83 games in his three seasons in the NBA.

3. Monta Ellis: Monta Ellis originally committed to Mississippi State, but he instead went directly to the NBA where he was picked 40th overall by Golden State in 2005. After a slow start during his rookie season, Ellis really developed in his second season, earning the NBA's Most Improved Player award, upping his numbers to 16.5 ppg and 4.1 apg. Ellis became a starter, and eventually developed into one of the most explosive scorers in the NBA. This past season, he averaged 25 points and 5 assists.

4. Martell Webster: Webster decided to forego college, going sixth in the draft to Portland in 2005. Webster was a part-time starter in his first two seasons, eventually becoming a full-time starter and double-digit scorer in 2007-2008. It was enough to earn him a four-year, $20 million contract from he Blazers. After missing all but five minutes of the 2009 season, Webster returned to form last year. During the summer, he was sent to Minnesota for the right to pick Luke Babbitt.

5. Andray Blatche: Blatche is another guy that went straight to the 2005 NBA Draft, getting picked 49 by the Wizards. His career was a bit bumpy at the start -- he was shot before training camp his rookie season during an attempted carjacking, he got picked up for attempted solicitation in 2007 -- but Blatche has continued to improve every season. He became a starter by the end of this season for the Wiz, averaging 14.1 ppg and 6.3 rpg.

6. Louis Williams: Williams had a storied career at South Gwinnett High School, becoming the second all-time leading scorer in Georgia history and twice winning state player of the year. Originally committing to Georgia, Williams went straight to the NBA. He was picked by the Sixers, and after struggling to find minutes backing up Allen Iverson, Williams was sent down to the D-League. After tearing up the competition, Williams was eventually recalled, and became a dynamic scorer off the bench for the Sixers. He's averaged double digits the last three years, with career highs of 14 ppg and 4 apg in 2009-2010.

7. Andrew Bynum: Bynum committed to UConn out of high school, but instead decided to enter the 2005 NBA Draft at the ripe age of 17. He was picked 10th by the Lakers, becoming the youngest player ever to be draft, and eventually the youngest to ever play in an NBA game. Bynum was able to break into the Lakers starting lineup by his second season in the league, and by his third year he was averaging double figures. Since then, Bynum has been battling injuries to his knees, but when he is healthy, he is capable of averaging a double-double.

8. Julian Wright: Wright headed to Kansas out of Chicago's Homewood-Flossmor High School where he was voted the Big XII's preseason freshman of the year. While he didn't quite live up to the hype, he did manage to make his way into the starting lineup and average 8.5 ppg and 4.6 rpg for a team that won both the Big XII regular season and tournament titles. Kansas lost in the first round of the tournament that year, but Wright came back for his sophomore season. Wright would average 12.0 ppg and 7.8 rpg as the Jayhawks went 32-5, again winning both Big XII titles and reaching the Elite 8. It was enough for Wright to earn third team all-america honors and head to the NBA Draft, where he would become the 13th pick by New Orleans. Wright has spent three seasons with the Hornets, and while his career averages are 4.0 ppg and 2.3 rpg, he has become a part time starter.

9. Tyler Hansbrough: If you read this blog, than you know the career Hansbrough had at North Carolina. Four time first team all-ACC. Four time all-american. 2008 national player of the year. 2009 national champion. He went 13th to the Pacers in the 2009 draft, and averaging 8.5 ppg and 4.8 rpg in a season cut short by inner ear problems.

10. Richard Hendrix: Hendrix started all but nine games in his three year career at Alabama, developing into one of the best big men in the South. His sophomore season was when he really broke out, posting 14.8 ppg and 8.9 rpg. As a junior, Hendrix averaged 17.8 ppg and 10.1 rpg, earning first team all-SEC honors. He entered the draft, getting picked 49th by Golden State, but was cut midway through his rookie season. He spent some time in the D-League before heading to Spain last year.

11. Keith Brumbaugh: Brumbaugh is an interesting story. As chronicled in this excellent Andy Staples piece from 2008, Brumbaugh initially tried to enter the 2005 NBA Draft, but after finding out that he would not be a first round pick, he decided to enroll at Oklahoma State. An arrest for shoplifting and a low score on an ACT retake cost him his scholarship there. After spending some time back in Florida, and some time in jail after being arrested six times in 26 months, Brumbaugh cleaned up his act with John Lucas, dominated at Hillsborough Community College, then entered the 2008 NBA Draft. He would go undrafted, spending the last two seasons putting up solid numbers in the D-League.

11. Brandon Rush: Rush arrived at Kansas with Julian Wright, averaging about 14 points and 6 boards in his first two years. Rush had every intention of entering the 2007 NBA Draft, but he tore his acl in May of that year, forcing him to return to Kansas for his junior season. It was a good decision, as Rush continued the produce, despite the Jayhwaks loaded roster, and helped Kansas win the 2008 national title. Rush went pro after his junior year, getting picked 13th by the Blazers before eventually being traded to the Pacers. Rush became a starter by his second season, averaging 9.4 ppg and 4.2 rpg.

13. CJ Miles: Miles committed to Texas, but decided to go straight to the NBA, where he was picked 34th by the Jazz. Miles bounced from the D-League to the NBA and back for his first two seasons, becoming a permanent member of the Jerry Sloan's rotation. Miles moved into the starting lineup in 2008-2009, and while he was back into a spot-starting role last season, he averaged a career-high in points and minutes.

13. Greg Paulus: Paulus was a storied high school athlete, earning Mr. Basketball in the state of New York as well as becoming a prized quarterback recruit. Paulus started for three seasons with the Blue Devils, but he was quite inconsistent. His numbers were far from terrible -- he averaged 11.4 ppg as a junior, was a good three point shooter, and picked up a fair number of assists -- but he had a knack for untimely turnovers and mistakes. As a senior in 2008-2009, Paulus was benched in favor of Nolan Smith, playing limited minutes. After he used up his eligibility in basketball, Paulus transferred to Syracuse and played quarterback for the Orange. He got a couple tryouts with the Saints, but it is looking more and more likely that Paulus is going to get into coaching.

15. Mario Chalmers: Chalmers, an Alaskan native, came to Kansas with Rush and Wright. As a freshman, he started out on the bench, but by conference play he had earned a starting spot. As a sophomore, Chalmers developed into one of the better point guards in the Big XII, being named to the all-Big XII third team and the co-defensive player of the year. Chalmers junior season was his best, as he played a vital role in the Jayhawks run to a title, hitting the three that forced overtime in the title game against Memphis. Chalmers entered the draft, and was the 34th pick by the Heat. He started all 82 games as a rookie, averaging 10.0 ppg and 4.9 apg. He was limited last season to due an injury to his thumb.

16. Tasmin Mitchell: Mitchell had a very solid five year career with LSU. He started immediately as a freshman, averaging 11.4 ppg and 5.6 rpg on a team that made a run to the 2006 Final Four. LSU would never find that much success as a team, but Mitchell would individually. Mitchell missed the 2007-2008 season due to a stress fracture in his ankle, but would come back to average over 16 ppg in both his junior and senior seasons. Mitchell went undrafted this past June, but he latched on with the Cavs in summer league play and will attend their training camp this fall.

17. Magnum Rolle: Rolle went with Mitchell to LSU, where he would see limited minutes in two seasons. He decided to transfer to Louisiana Tech after his sophomore season, sitting out 2007-2008. In two seasons at Tech, Rolle put up solid numbers, averaging 13 points, 8 boards, and 2 blocks per. He graduated with a degree in sociology, and was picked 51st in the 2010 NBA Draft, eventually ending up with Indiana.

18. Shawne Williams: Williams was a talented player, but he could never seem to steer clear of the law. After averaging 13.2 ppg and 6.2 rpg as a freshman at Memphis, Williams went pro, getting picked 17th by Indiana in 2006. He played limited minutes as a rookie, and before the start of his second season, he was arrested when a car he was driving was found to have weed and a stolen handgun in it. In January of 2010, Williams was arrested on felony charges of selling codeine cough syrup. And just this past week he was again arrested, and again it was because a car he was driving had weed and a gun in it. Williams has spent time with New Jersey, Dallas, and Indiana in the NBA.

18. Byron Eaton: Eaton was a big time recruit in both football and basketball in high school, but he chose to run the point for Oklahoma State. Eaton had a solid career in Stillwater, averaging 10.0 ppg, 4.0 apg, and 3.0 rpg in his four year career, capped by a 14.3 ppg and 5.7 apg senior season. Eaton wasn't drafted, in large part because he has always dealt with a weight problem. He lost a good deal of weight before his senior season, but packed it all back on, and more, after he graduated. The 5'10" point guard played just two games with the Tulsa 66ers last season before being cut.

20. Amir Johnson: Johnson, originally a Louisville commit out of LA's Westchester high school, has the dubious distinction of being the last player ever drafted straight out of high school. He was picked by the Pistons, and spent most of his first two seasons in the D-League. During the 2007-2008 season, Johnson was able to crack the rotation, and by the end of the 2009 season, he had worked his way into the Piston's starting line-up. Detroit traded Johnson to Toronto prior to last season, and Johnson averaged 6.2 ppg and 4.8 rpg. It was enough to earn himself a five year, $34 million contract from Toronto.

Other Notable 2005 Prospects:

29. Jon Brockman: Brockman was a force in the paint in college. He played four seasons at Washington, becoming the school's all-time leading rebounder and second all-time leading scorer. He was picked 38th in the 2009 NBA Draft, and averaged 2.8 ppg and 4.1 rpg last season as a rookie in Sacramento.

33. Eric Devendorf: The tattoed and chin-strapped Devo quickly became one of the most hated players in the country, in part because of how much trash he talked on the court, and in part because he was a 17 ppg scorer that had a reputation for knocking down big shots. Devo missed his junior season with a knee injury, and was nearly kicked out of school the next season because of an incident with a female on campus. He is currently playing in the New Zealand professional league.

35. Tyler Smith: Smith started out his career at Iowa, but was allowed to transfer back to his native Tennessee to be closer to his ill father. Smith became one of the most versatile forwards in the country as a Vol, but his career was cut short as a senior after he was arrested for being in a car with weed, vodka, and a gun. He finished last season playing in Europe.

36. Devan Downey: The 5'9" Downey began his career at Cincinnati before transferring back to South Carolina, where he became arguably the best pound-for-pound scorer in the country. He averaged 22.5 ppg as a senior, which included an incredible performance he had against Kentucky this past season.

44. Wilson Chandler: Chandler went to DePaul, where he was a good player for two seasons, averagign 14.6 ppg and 6.9 rpg before heading to the 2007 NBA Draft. He was taken 23rd by the Knicks, where he worked his way into the starting lineup. Last season, Chandler averaged over 15 points and 5 boards.

47. Jeff Adrien: Adrien played limited minutes as a freshman on a loaded UConn team before becoming their star and workhorse over the next three years. He helped lead the Huskies to the 2009 Final Four, but was not drafted. He's played in NBA summer leagues the past two seasons, and has a contract with a team in Spain.

55. Terrence Williams: T-Will is an incredible athlete with an excellent all-around game. After helping lead Louisville to a Big East regular season title, a Big East tournament title, and the No. 1 overall seed in 2009, Williams became a lottery pick, going to the Nets. He had a solid rookie campaign, averaging 8.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, and 2.9 apg.

Derrick Brown: Brown redshirted his first season at Xavier, but over the next three seasons, he slowly developed into one of the more dangerous players in the A-10. He graduated after his junior season, entering the NBA Draft in 2009. The Bobcats picked Brown 40th, although he saw limited minutes as a rookie.

Darren Collison: Collison had a tremendous four year career at UCLA, making three Final Fours and multiple all-american teams. He was picked 21st in the 2009 draft as a backup to Chris Paul, and he proved himself more than worthy. On the year, Collison averaged 12.5 ppg and 5.7 apg, but in 37 starts with Paul out with injury, Collison averaged 18.8 ppg and 9.1 apg.

Chris Douglas-Roberts: CDR has an unorthodox game, but it was effective in John Calipari's dribble-drive offense. He developed into an all-american by his junior season, although it was his missed free throws that helped cost Memphis a national title. CDR went pro, and was picked 40th in the 2008 NBA Draft. He moved into a starting role in New Jersey this season, averaging 9.8 ppg.

Tyree Evans: Evans was a troubled youngster, bouncing around from school to school before finally landing at Kent State, when he graduated this past spring. Read this excellent profile by Dan O'Neil on him.

Jimmy Graham: Graham is quite an interesting kid. He was a double major at Miami in business and marketing. He played four years of basketball there, developing into a solid big man off the bench. He then played one season of football for the 'Canes, finishing with five TD's. He was then taken early in the 2nd round by the New Orleans Saints.

Wes Matthews: Matthews, a former Mr. Basketball in Wisconsin, was a starter from Day 1 at Marquette. He played four seasons, becoming an all-american and 19 ppg scorer as a senior. Matthews would go undrafted, but he signed with the Jazz and developed into a talent and valuable rookie, starting and averaging 9.4 ppg. He signed a five year, $34 million contract with Portland.

Emanuel "Tiki" Mayben: You know who Tiki Mayben is for all the wrong reasons. Originally at UMass, Mayben bounced around for a while before eventually landing with Kevin Broadus and Binghamton. It was here that Mayben was arrested for dealing crack, an arrest which essentially sparked the collapse of the Binghamton program. Mayben plead guilty to the charge and got five years of probation.

Jerel McNeal: Like Matthews, McNeal was a four year starter for Marquette, becoming a Big East player of the year candidate after averaging 20.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, and 3.9 apg as a senior. McNeal wasn't drafted, either, but has played in NBA summer leagues the past two years and spent last season in Belgium.

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