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Reasonable Expectations for Star Hoops Recruits – Part I March 17, 2009

Posted by flashbuzzer in Sports.
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My last post got me thinking about the analogous situation in college basketball. In particular, it’s not uncommon for rabid hoops fans to expect national titles/Final Four appearances/conference tournament titles from their star recruits, especially those who are McDonald’s All-Americans.

Again, I did a small study based on my old prep all-America lists from 2001 to 2004. You can find the lists here. Note that 1) some of the players listed were not McDonald’s All-Americans, though all of them were heavily recruited and 2) I did not track players who never played college basketball.

This post focuses on players from the class of 2001. If I remember correctly, this class was quite ballyhooed at the time.

Many thanks to Statsheet for making this post possible.

Dajuan Wagner – Wagner played at Memphis for one season before becoming the latest “one-and-done” star. He was the best player on a fairly weak Tigers squad, leading them in scoring (21.2 ppg) and minutes (31.8 mpg). Unfortunately, they missed the NCAA Tournament despite compiling a 27-9 record; Wagner did lead them to the NIT tournament title. “Juanny” ended up being picked #6 overall in the 2002 NBA Draft by the Cavaliers.

Kelvin Torbert – Torbert actually stayed at Michigan State for four years, which was much longer than Spartans fans initially expected. A dominant scorer in the prep ranks, he put up a paltry 9.3 ppg, even accounting for the fact that he played for Tom Izzo. The Spartans did go 85-44 during his four years in East Lansing and even made it to the Final Four in his senior season, though he only started twice that year.

Jawad Williams – like Torbert, Williams played four years of college ball. He put up fairly solid stats at North Carolina, including averaging 12.7 ppg; perhaps the best indicator of his abilities was his starting 105 out of 128 games during his Tar Heel career. After suffering through an 8-20 season as a freshman, Williams compiled a career mark of 79-51 and played a key role on the Tar Heels’ 2005 national title run.

Jonathan Hargett – like Wagner, Hargett was “one-and-done”, though he was “done” for a very different reason. He led West Virginia with 4.6 apg and 88.1 ft% (stellar), though he only shot 30.3% from the floor and 28.8% from beyond the arc. The Mountaineers went 8-20 that year, including an 0-4 mark against top-25 teams. Hargett was declared ineligible after his freshman season for allegedly receiving payments from an agent.

Julius Hodge – Hodge stayed four years at N.C. State and put up good stats, including 15.8 ppg and 6.0 rpg (strong for a wing player). Perhaps the most telling sign of his importance to the Wolfpack was his averaging 33 minutes on the floor. During Hodge’s time at Raleigh, the Wolfpack went 83-48; unfortunately, they only advanced as far as the Sweet 16 in 2005, losing to Wisconsin.

James White – “Flight” White was “one-and-done” at Florida, though like Hargett, his “done” was not for a particularly good reason. White put up fairly pedestrian stats during his freshman year, including shooting 50.0% from the foul line. Getting 20.5 mpg probably didn’t help matters. The Gators went 22-9 and were bounced out of the first round of the Big Dance by Creighton, and White transferred to Cincinnati after the season.

David Lee – unlike White, Lee stayed four years in Gainesville. Lee actually improved his scoring/rebounding/steals during each year of his college career, which showed his willingness to work and raise his level of play. The Gators went 91-36 during Lee’s career and beat Kentucky to win the SEC tournament in his senior year. Unfortunately, Florida never advanced beyond the second round of the Big Dance.

T.J. Ford – Ford had a stellar two-year run in Austin and was arguably the best lead guard in the country throughout his college career. While his 12.9 ppg was pretty neat, he really turned heads by handing out 8 assists and racking up 2.1 spg. Texas went 48-19 during Ford’s career and made it to the Final Four in 2003, losing to the eventual national champs (Syracuse).

Dommanic Ingerson – though Ingerson was only “one-and-done” at Michigan for a less-than-ideal reason, he actually played quite well. In only 16.2 mpg, he put up 8.1 ppg, shooting 42/41.9/80.6. The Wolverines only went 11-18, though, including an 0-9 mark against top-25 squads. Ingerson then transferred to USF.

John Allen – Allen emerged from Richard Hamilton’s hometown to play four years at Seton Hall. His career average of 12.3 ppg was decent, and getting 1.2 spg was pretty good for a wing guard. Unfortunately, Allen only shot 29.1% from beyond the arc, and the Pirates went 62-57 during his career including a lone NCAA Tournament appearance during his junior year; they bowed out to Duke in the second round.

Wayne Simien – Simien had a nice four-year run for Kansas. A tireless worker, he improved over the course of his career and put up 15.0 ppg and 8.3 rpg, shooting 55.8% from the floor. The Jayhawks went 110-28 during Simien’s time in Lawrence and appeared in the Elite Eight three times; they narrowly lost the 2003 national title to Syracuse after Michael Lee’s 3-point attempt was blocked by Hakim Warrick.

Carlos Hurt – Hurt was “one-and-done” at Louisville, though his college career ended with a thud. Hurt only averaged 3.4 apg and shot 36.7/27.7/41.2; the last stat is particularly mind-boggling for a lead guard. The Cardinals went 19-13 and missed the NCAA Tournament that year. In the offseason, Hurt was kicked off the team by Rick Pitino.

Josh Childress – Childress stayed three years in Palo Alto and improved in most major categories over the course of his Stanford career. He rebounded well for a wing player (6.8 rpg) and was a fairly nasty defender (1.1 bpg and 0.9 spg). The Cardinal went 74-21 from 2001-04 and beat Washington to win the Pac-10 tournament in 2004, though they never made it past the second round of the Big Dance. Childress was picked #6 overall in the 2004 NBA Draft by the Hawks.

Anthony Richardson – Richardson stayed four years in Tallahassee and put up fairly mediocre numbers. Perhaps his most disappointing stat was his 20.0 mpg; he only averaged over 18.0 mpg during his sophomore year. The Seminoles only went 57-65 during Richardson’s career and never made it to the Big Dance, though they did play in the NIT in his junior year.

Rick Rickert – Rickert left Minnesota after two seasons, compiling average numbers along the way. While he put up 14.9 ppg, his 46.9 fg% left much to be desired, especially for a post player. He also put up only 5.7 rpg. The Golden Gophers went 37-27 and missed the Big Dance both years. Rickert then wound up as a second-round pick in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Timberwolves.

David Harrison – Harrison stayed three years in Boulder and put up good stats. In terms of the four key stats for a post player, he acquitted himself quite well (15.0 ppg, 60.1 fg%, 8.0 rpg and 2.6 bpg). The Buffaloes went 53-37 and made it to the Big Dance in his sophomore year, losing to Michigan State in the first round. Harrison was then picked #29 overall in the 2004 NBA Draft by the Pacers.

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1. Reasonable Expectations for Star Hoops Recruits - Part II « Ringing In - April 1, 2009

[…] 1, 2009 Posted by flashbuzzer in Sports. Tags: 2002, college basketball, recruiting trackback My previous post provided a synopsis of the college basketball careers of various members of the class of […]


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