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Reasonable Expectations for Star Hoops Recruits – Part IV April 19, 2009

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My previous post provided a synopsis of the college basketball careers of various members of the class of 2003.

This post focuses on players from the class of 2004. This class was perhaps best known for featuring a slew of preps-to-pros.

Again, many thanks to Statsheet for making this post possible.

Malik Hairston – Hairston was actually the only player on my 2004 First Team to play college basketball. He was a fine scorer, putting up 14.1 ppg, and rebounded well for a wing guard, putting up 5.1 rpg. His shooting needed some work, though, as he hit just 39.5% of his 3s and only 64.2% of his free throws. Oregon went 76-53 during his four years in Eugene, including making a trip to the Elite Eight in 2007.

Joe Crawford – somehow Crawford endured four years of the unique pressures that come with being a Kentucky Wildcat. As a testament to his work ethic, he improved his scoring and shooting over the course of his career, ending up with marks of 11.3 ppg and 43.7 fg%. Most of his other stats were fairly pedestrian, though, and Kentucky “only” went 90-45. The high point of Crawford’s career was a run to the Elite Eight in 2005 that ended with a loss to Michigan State.

Rudy Gay – Gay had a nice two-year run at Connecticut, though his detractors will always question his will to win during his time in Storrs. He put up solid stats, including marks of 13.6 ppg, 1.7 bpg and 1.3 spg. The Huskies went 53-12 and made it to the Elite Eight in 2006, losing to George Mason in an overtime thriller. Gay was then chosen by the Rockets with the #8 pick in the 2006 NBA Draft.

LaMarcus Aldridge – like Gay, Aldridge had a nice two-year college career. In particular, Texas benefited tremendously from rewarding Aldridge with increased playing time in his sophomore year. His solid career stats included marks of 13.5 ppg, 58.5 fg% and 8.2 rpg. The Longhorns went 50-18 and, like the Huskies, made it to the Elite Eight in 2006 before bowing out to LSU. Aldridge was then selected by the Bulls with the #2 pick in the 2006 NBA Draft.

Jordan Farmar – though Farmar’s UCLA career started off fairly slowly, he ended his two-year stay in Westwood as one of the better floor generals in Bruins history. He put up 13.3 ppg and received extensive playing time with 32.2 mpg, though average marks of 5.2 apg and 1.2 spg bar him from inclusion in the Bruins’ pantheon. UCLA went 50-18, making it to the Final Four in 2006 before losing to eventual national champion Florida. Farmar was then selected by the Lakers with the #26 pick in the 2006 NBA Draft.

DeMarcus Nelson – Nelson showed an impressive work ethic during his four years at Duke, as he showed steady improvement in most of the key statistical categories. Some of his solid stats included averages of 10.8 ppg, 46.6 fg% and 1.2 spg. Like most Duke players, Nelson had a superb win-loss record of 109-27, though the Blue Devils never made it past the Sweet 16 during his college career.

Marvin Williams – Williams was “one-and-done” in Chapel Hill, and his brief college career was a blast. In limited playing time (22.2 mpg), he put up 11.3 ppg, grabbed 6.6 rpg and shot 50.6/43.2/84.7. He played a key role on a Tar Heels squad that went 33-4 and won the national title by beating a superb Illinois squad. Williams was then selected by the Hawks with the #2 pick in the 2005 NBA Draft.

D.J. White – White’s four years at Indiana ended with him being coached by Kelvin Sampson, and we all know how that went for the Hoosiers. He put up strong stats, averaging 14.6 ppg, 7.6 rpg and 2 bpg along with a 56.2% mark from the floor. He also bounced back from a broken left foot that wiped out most of his sophomore year. Indiana went 80-45, though they never made it past the second round of the Big Dance.

Randolph Morris – Morris had a decent three-year stay in Lexington, though Big Blue Nation expected much more from him. His stat line included marks of 12.6 ppg and 6.0 rpg in limited playing time (23.8 mpg). He also shot 57.8% from the floor and put up a decent 66.1% from the charity stripe. Kentucky would have benefited from better play by Morris, though, as the Wildcats went 72-31 and never made it to the Final Four. Morris then signed with the New York Knicks in 2007; interestingly, he went undrafted in 2005 but had his eligibility restored by the NCAA even though he had hired an agent.

Darius Washington Jr. – Washington had an interesting two-year stay at Memphis. He proved to be a scoring guard, averaging 14.4 ppg while only dishing out 3.5 apg. While he played solid defense, averaging 1.5 spg, he’s perhaps most famous for missing a free throw in the 2005 Conference USA title game, giving Louisville the title instead. The Tigers went 55-20 and lost to UCLA in the 2006 Elite Eight. Washington then declared for the 2006 NBA Draft and was not selected.

Arron Afflalo – Afflalo finished his three-year stay at UCLA as one of the best players of the post-Ed O’Bannon era. His scoring was his hallmark, as he put up 14.8 ppg. Most of his other stats weren’t eye-popping, though, which keeps him from inclusion in the Bruins’ pantheon. For example, he only shot 37.3% from beyond the arc and put up a mere 3.5 rpg. The Bruins went 80-24 and made it to the Final Four in 2006 and 2007, losing to Florida both times. Afflalo was then selected by the Pistons with the #27 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.

Mike Williams – Williams had a very quiet two-year stay in Austin. He never averaged more than 15 mpg and put up other pedestrian stats, such as marks of 3.2 and 2.3 ppg in his two seasons as a Longhorn. It’s safe to say that Aldridge made the bigger impact for Texas in this recruiting class. Williams then transferred to Cincinnati.

Glen Davis – “Big Baby” Davis had a great three-year run for LSU. His excellent stats included marks of 16.7 ppg and 9.6 rpg, though his 49.5% shooting from the floor could have been better. He saw extensive playing time (32 mpg) and played good defense, averaging 1.2 bpg and 1.1 spg. The Tigers went 64-34, losing to UCLA in the 2006 Final Four. Davis was then selected by the Sonics in the second round of the 2007 NBA Draft.

The overall results were revealing. Of the 60 profiled players who played college basketball, only five of them (Jawad Williams, Felton, McCants, Anthony and Marvin Williams) played on national title-winning teams. 11 others (Torbert, Ford, Simien, Paul Davis, Redick, Shelden Williams, Brown, Deng, Farmar, Afflalo and Glen Davis) played on teams that reached the Final Four at least once. 14 others (Fraser, Rodgers, Adams, Winston, Padgett, Brooks, Butch, Nardi, Hairston, Crawford, Aldridge, Morris, Washington Jr. and Mike Williams) played on teams that reached the Elite Eight at least once. 14 of the profiled players (Lee, Childress, Redick, Roberson, Shelden Williams, Brooks, Butch, Jones, Ibekwe, Hairston, Farmar, Nelson, Washington Jr. and Afflalo) captured at least one conference tournament title.

Based on these results, here are what I think constitute reasonable expectations for a star hoops recruit. First, the recruit must play well; to clarify, he should be regarded (by a reputable authority such as Statsheet) as one of his team’s top five players for the majority of his time in school. Second, his team should advance to the Elite Eight at least once during his career.

Hopefully rabid college fans will remember that quite a few factors go into either winning a national title or making a Final Four appearance, such as luck (March Madness), coaching, cohesiveness and the right amount of talent. On the last point, see the 2002 Maryland and 2006-07 Florida teams, which featured just one McDonald’s All-American among them (Corey Brewer).

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Reasonable Expectations for Star Hoops Recruits – Part III April 11, 2009

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My previous post provided a synopsis of the college basketball careers of various members of the class of 2002.

This post focuses on players from the class of 2003. This class was perhaps best known for featuring the best prep star since Lew Alcindor…

Again, many thanks to Statsheet for making this post possible.

Chris Paul – Paul had a high-profile two-year run at Wake Forest. He was one of the best floor generals in the nation during his career, averaging 15.0 ppg, 6.3 apg and 2.5 spg. His stellar shooting was just icing on the cake; he put up 47.1/46.9/83.8. Paul led the Demon Deacons to a 48-16 record, though they never made it past the Sweet 16. He was then selected by the Hornets with the #4 pick in the 2005 NBA Draft.

Shannon Brown – The athletic Brown had a decent three-year career at Michigan State. He began to emerge as a dominant scorer in his junior year, putting up 17.2 ppg. For his career, he shot a sterling 83.1% from the foul line and averaged a solid 28.0 mpg, though his 36.4% shooting from beyond the arc should have been better. The Spartans went 66-31 and made it to the Final Four in Brown’s sophomore year; he was then selected by the Cavaliers with the #25 pick in the 2006 NBA Draft.

Drew Lavender – Lavender put up fairly pedestrian stats during his two years at Oklahoma. While he played solid defense, averaging 1.7 and 1.6 spg in his two seasons as a Sooner, he never cracked the 4 apg barrier, which is quite galling for a lead guard. The Sooners went 45-19 from 2003-05 and only appeared in the Big Dance once, bowing out in the second round. Lavender then transferred to Xavier.

Dion Harris – Harris happened to play for the Maize and Blue during their long NCAA Tournament drought. He played extensively for Michigan, averaging 32.1 mpg. While he shot a superb 80.4% from the foul line, marks of 38.1% from the field and 35.4% from the 3-point line didn’t cut the mustard. The Wolverines went 80-53 during Harris’ four years in Ann Arbor, winning the NIT title in his freshman year.

Luol Deng – Deng had a superb “one-and-done” run at Duke. He put up 15.1 ppg and 6.9 rpg, getting extensive playing time with a mark of 31.1 mpg. He also proved to be a capable defender, averaging 1.1 bpg and 1.3 spg. The Blue Devils went 31-6, advancing to the Final Four before falling to eventual national champ Connecticut. Deng was then chosen by the Suns with the #7 pick in the 2004 NBA Draft.

Kris Humphries – Humphries had a strange journey to Minnesota, as he originally signed with Duke before obtaining a release from his National Letter of Intent. He put up superb stats for the Golden Gophers in his one season of college ball, including marks of 21.7 ppg, 10.1 rpg and 1.1 bpg. Minnesota only went 12-18 and missed the postseason, though. Humphries was then selected by the Jazz with the #14 pick in the 2004 NBA Draft.

David Padgett – Padgett stayed one season in Lawrence and got some decent run, putting up 19.2 mpg. While his scoring (6.5 ppg) and rebounding (4.5 rpg) were decent for a freshman, fellow diaper dandies would have been glad to match his 1.4 bpg. The Jayhawks went 24-9 and lost to Georgia Tech in the Elite Eight, and Padgett transferred to Louisville during the off-season.

Aaron Brooks – Brooks stayed four years at Oregon and went through various ups and downs. After improving his stats across the board in his sophomore year, his junior season was a disappointment. Then he played well in his senior year to finish with solid career averages of 13.1 ppg and 83.3% shooting from the foul line. Brooks’ 4.1 apg and 1.1 spg showed that he was definitely a shoot-first guard, though. The Ducks went 76-42, losing to eventual national champ Florida in the Elite Eight in 2007.

Brandon Cotton – Cotton had a very brief, sad stay in East Lansing. He only played a total of 16 minutes over three games for the Spartans. After his uncle was shot and killed, Cotton decided to transfer to Detroit. For the sake of completeness, it should be noted that Michigan State went 18-12 that season, losing to Nevada in the first round of the Big Dance.

Brandon Bass – Bass had a good two-year run at LSU. His solid numbers included averages of 15.1 ppg, 77.9% shooting from the charity stripe, 8.2 rpg and 1.8 bpg. He also saw extensive action for the Tigers, as he averaged 34.3 mpg. LSU went 38-21 and never made it past the first round of the Big Dance, though. Bass was then selected by the Hornets in the second round of the 2005 NBA Draft.

Leon Powe – like Brooks, Powe’s college career had its highs and lows. He put up great numbers for Cal when he was healthy, including marks of 17.8 ppg and 9.8 rpg in 32.5 mpg. Unfortunately, knee surgery kept him out of the 2004-05 season. The Golden Bears went 33-26 in the two years that Powe suited up for them, never making it past the first round of the Big Dance. Powe was then selected by the Nuggets in the second round of the 2006 NBA Draft.

Brian Butch – it’s safe to say that in many respects, Butch’s career at Wisconsin was not spectacular. He took the atypical step of redshirting his freshman year. Then he put up pedestrian stats during his four years in Madison, including marks of 9.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg and 62.6% shooting from the foul line. His defenders will note that he put up these stats in only 20.0 mpg, though his detractors will ask why he didn’t receive extensive playing time. The Badgers went 105-32 and advanced to the Elite Eight in 2005, losing to eventual national champ North Carolina.

Mike Nardi – Nardi had a decent 4-year career for Villanova, playing in Jay Wright’s guard-friendly system. He put up 10.1 ppg, 3.3 apg and shot 82.6% from the foul line, though his 37.8% shooting from beyond the arc wasn’t quite up to snuff. The Wildcats benefited from his extensive time on the court (30.9 mpg) as they went 92-41, losing to eventual national champions North Carolina and Florida in the 2005 and 2006 editions of the Big Dance, respectively.

Mike Jones – Terrapins fans probably couldn’t have guessed that Jones would only put up 18.6 mpg when he signed on the dotted line for Gary Williams. On the bright side, his shooting averages of 43.2/41.0/80.2 were superb for an athletic wing guard. Maryland went 83-47 during Jones’ four years in College Park, never making it past the second round of the Big Dance. They did beat Duke to win the ACC Tournament in 2004.

Ekene Ibekwe – Ibekwe joined Jones in a recruiting class that definitely looked promising for the Terps back in 2003. Like Jones, he saw limited playing time, averaging 21.0 mpg during his four-year stay in College Park. While most of his stats were nothing to sneeze at, he did put up 6.1 rpg and 1.8 bpg.

Reasonable Expectations for Star Hoops Recruits – Part II April 1, 2009

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My previous post provided a synopsis of the college basketball careers of various members of the class of 2001.

This post focuses on players from the class of 2002. I recall that back in 2002, recruiting experts rated this class solidly behind its predecessor.

Again, many thanks to Statsheet for making this post possible.

Raymond Felton – Felton made an immediate impact at North Carolina and was the key cog on their 2005 national championship squad (it can be argued that he was more vital to the Tar Heels’ success than Sean May). He proved to be a superb floor general, averaging 6.9 apg and 1.9 spg over the course of his three-year stay in Chapel Hill. After leading Tar Heel Nation to a 71-31 record, the Bobcats selected him with the #5 pick in the 2005 NBA Draft.

Rashad McCants – McCants also played a vital role in the Tar Heels’ 2005 national title run, making this UNC recruiting haul a smashing success (May was also in this class). He was a fantastic scorer during his three-year college career, averaging 17.6 ppg and shooting 48.4% from the floor, along with a 41.4% mark from beyond the arc. This mercurial talent was then selected by the Timberwolves with the #14 pick in the 2005 NBA Draft.

Carmelo Anthony – Anthony’s one year at Syracuse was spectacular, to say the least. He put up awesome stats, including 22.2 ppg and 10.0 rpg; perhaps the best sign of his importance to the Orange was his 36.4 mpg mark. Anthony led the Orange to a sparkling 30-5 record and the national title in a thrilling 81-78 victory over Kansas. He was then selected by the Pistons with the #3 pick in the 2003 NBA Draft.

Paul Davis – Davis put up decent stats during his career at Michigan State, including marks of 13.2 ppg, 53.7% from the floor, 7.0 rpg and 1.1 spg. Unfortunately, he was never the best player on any of the four Spartans squads that he suited up for. Michigan State went 88-44 from 2002-06 and made it to the Big Dance each year, including Elite Eight and Final Four appearances in 2003 and 2005, respectively.

Daniel Horton – Horton put together a real four-year mixed bag with Michigan. Pros: he averaged 14.7 ppg and 1.7 spg. Cons: he only shot 39.5% from the floor and 35.7% from beyond the arc. The Wolverines went 76-52 and had only two NIT appearances to show for Horton’s time in Ann Arbor, though they did win the 2004 NIT title.

J.J. Redick – Redick finished his career as one of the best two-guards in college basketball history. A consummate winner, his four-year run at Duke included a record of 116-23 and three ACC Tournament titles. His well-documented scoring (19.9 ppg, including 26.0 ppg during his senior season), three-point (40.5%) and free-throw (91.1%) exploits made him a deadly offensive threat; the fact that the Blue Devils never won a national title tarnishes his legacy to some extent, though.

Chris Bosh – all of the hoopla surrounding Anthony obscures the fact that Bosh also had a great “one-and-done” college experience. He put up 15.6 ppg and 9.0 rpg for Georgia Tech, shooting 56% from the floor and 73% from the foul line. The Yellow Jackets only went 16-15 and missed the Big Dance, though. Bosh was then picked #4 overall in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Raptors.

Jason Fraser – though Fraser entered Villanova with plenty of hype, injuries ruined his career. He only put up 5.9 ppg and 5.8 rpg, averaging a paltry 20.4 mpg. The Wildcats did go 85-46 during his four-year stay in Philadelphia, though that sterling record was largely due to stars such as Randy Foye and Allan Ray. To Fraser’s credit, this New York Times article shows that Fraser definitely had plenty going for him off the court.

Anthony Roberson – “Peeper” proved to be a superb offensive threat during his three years in Gainesville, putting up 15.8 ppg and shooting 44.3/40.1/86.4. The Gators went 69-27 and won the 2005 SEC Tournament, beating Kentucky in the final. Florida never made it past the second round of the Big Dance during Roberson’s career, though; he then declared for the 2005 NBA Draft and went undrafted.

Bracey Wright – Wright had a reputation for being a superb long-range shooter, but he only shot 34.9% from beyond the arc during his three-year career for Indiana. His impact on the Hoosiers was debatable, as they went 50-42 and only made it to the Big Dance once, losing to Pittsburgh in the second round in 2003. On the bright side, he averaged 17.6 ppg and dished out 5.1 apg; he also averaged 35.7 mpg. Wright then declared for the 2005 NBA Draft and was picked in the second round by the Timberwolves.

Evan Burns – Burns had an interesting recruiting journey. He initially committed to UCLA, though he failed to gain admission and ended up at San Diego State. Burns’ one season with the Aztecs wasn’t spectacular; they went 16-14 and missed the Big Dance. While his offensive stats weren’t great, he proved to be a great defender, putting up 1.0 bpg and 1.2 spg in 22.4 mpg. Unfortunately, he became an academic casualty and was kicked off the team after the season.

Shelden Williams – the “Landlord” certainly lived up to his moniker during his 4-year run in Durham, averaging 9.1 rpg and 3.0 bpg. He even put up 1.2 spg and shot 57.1% from the floor to boot. As his career completely overlapped with Redick’s, he also went 116-23 during his college career. His high point at Duke came when the Blue Devils advanced to the Final Four in 2004, losing to eventual national champ Connecticut.

Torin Francis – Francis proved to be a mixed bag for Notre Dame during his 4-year career. On one hand, he grabbed 8.6 rpg and tallied 1.4 bpg. On the other hand, he only scored 11.3 ppg and shot 49.7% from the floor. The Irish went 76-49, only making it to the Big Dance in 2003 and losing in the Sweet 16 to Arizona. Francis was never close to being the best player on any of the four Irish squads that he suited up for.

Chris Rodgers – Rodgers never blossomed into the star that Wildcats fans expected him to become. He only put up 6.3 ppg and saw limited playing time, averaging 19.4 mpg. Arizona did go 98-34 during his 4-year career, though other players played a larger role in contributing to that sparkling mark. The Wildcats made it to the Elite Eight in 2003 and 2005.

Hassan Adams – one of those star Wildcats turned out to be Adams. Somehow he stayed four years in Tucson and stuffed the stat sheet in a variety of ways, including averages of 14.0 ppg, 49.9 fg%, 5.4 rpg and 1.8 spg. He was one of the stars on the Arizona squad that pushed top-ranked Illinois to the brink in their 2005 Elite Eight matchup. The Wildcats led the Illini by 15 with 4 minutes to play, and the rest is history.

Kennedy Winston – Winston proved to be a solid scorer during his three-year run in Tuscaloosa, averaging 16.2 ppg. The Crimson Tide went 61-33 during his career, including a spectacular run to the Elite Eight in 2004 that included a second-round upset of top-seeded Stanford. While Winston was the best player on the Tide throughout most of his career, his decision to declare for the 2005 NBA Draft was not vindicated.

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

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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.

Reasonable Expectations for Star QB Recruits October 2, 2008

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I recently came across this article on Jimmy Clausen’s press conference where he verbally committed to Notre Dame. It took me back to the spring of 2006, when a tremendous amount of hype surrounded the rising high school senior from Westlake Village, CA.

The article was interesting, and one quote in particular caught my eye. Clausen mentioned that one of his goals was to essentially lead Notre Dame to four national championships during his time in South Bend, which really fired up the crowd at the press conference.

This got me thinking about the hype that usually accompanies the signing of a star quarterback recruit. Quarterbacks are (rightly or wrongly) perceived as the heroes who will lead their teams to national titles. The key question for me, then, was: should a rabid fan base expect their top QB recruit to lead their team to at least one (if not more) BCS titles?

I did a small study of this based on my old prep all-America lists from 2000 to 2003. You can find the lists here. The quarterbacks for each list were all consensus top-5 signal-callers after their senior seasons.

The results were quite alarming, in my opinion.

Let’s start with the team from 2000:

Joe Mauer – Florida State fans who have grown weary of their team’s poor play at QB must be kicking themselves, wondering how things would have gone had Mauer actually suited up for the Seminoles. It’s difficult to call Mauer a bust, though, seeing as how he was the #1 pick in the 2001 Major League Baseball amateur draft. After being called up to the majors in 2004, he played in the 2006 and 2008 MLB All-Star Games and led the AL in batting average for both seasons. He’s now arguably the best catcher in the big leagues.

D.J. Shockley – Shockley redshirted in 2001 and then sat behind Georgia legend David Greene for three years before finally getting the starting job in 2005. He made the most of that chance, going 10-3 and leading the Bulldogs to the 2005 SEC title. His career ended on a somewhat sour note as Georgia fell 38-35 to West Virginia in the 2006 Sugar Bowl.

Brent Rawls – the star recruit from QB factory Evangel Christian (Shreveport, LA) actually never started a game for Oklahoma. He initially beat out Jason White for the starting job in the spring of 2003 before a series of injuries and self-inflicted mishaps caused the Sooner coaches to perform an about-face. He then transferred to Louisiana Tech in September 2003 but was ruled academically ineligible for the 2004 season.

Ingle Martin – Martin signed with Florida and served as a capable backup to Rex Grossman during the 2002 season. He then started the first four games of the 2003 season before true freshman Chris Leak took the reins of the Gators’ offense. Martin wound up transferring to Furman in January 2004.

Next, let’s look at the team from 2001:

Vince Young – this is a case where the recruiting gurus actually got one right. Young’s well-chronicled accomplishments at Texas included an astounding 30-2 record as a starter. After beating Michigan 38-37 in the 2005 Rose Bowl, he led the Longhorns on a march back to Pasadena during the following season. Young inspired Texas to the 2005 Big 12 title before unleashing a mind-boggling performance to beat USC 41-38 in the 2006 Rose Bowl, capturing the Longhorns’ first national title in 35 years.

Ben Olson – after signing on the dotted line with BYU, he redshirted the 2002 season before going on a two-year Mormon mission. After returning from his mission trip, he transferred to UCLA in the spring of 2005, having never played a down for the Cougars.

Trent Edwards – he redshirted the 2002 season with Stanford before starting four games in the 2003 season, backing up Chris Lewis for the rest of the year. He then started for the Cardinal from 2004-06, compiling a 10-24 record. Edwards never led Stanford to a winning record during his three years at the helm of their offense.

Reggie McNeal – he started for Texas A&M from 2003-05, compiling a 16-19 record along the way. McNeal’s high-water mark came in the 2004 season, when he led the Aggies to a 7-5 record, which culminated in a 38-7 humiliation at the hands of Tennessee in the 2005 Cotton Bowl. That turned out to be the only bowl game for A&M during McNeal’s time in College Station.

Now let’s look at the team from 2002:

Chris Leak – this is another case where the recruiting gurus actually got it right, though like Young, there were some growing pains along the way. Leak ended up starting during all four years of his Florida career, and the Gators went 37-14 from 2003-06. Leak teamed up with star freshman Tim Tebow to win both the 2006 SEC title and the 2007 BCS Championship Game. In the latter matchup, Leak led the Gators to a 41-14 crushing of Ohio State, delivering their first national title in 10 years.

Kyle Wright – he signed on the dotted line with Miami and redshirted the 2003 season. After backing up Brock Berlin during the 2004 season, he started for the Hurricanes from 2005-07 and led them to a 21-16 record. Along the way, he briefly lost his starting job to Kirby Freeman at the outset of the 2007 season.

Robert Lane – this touted recruit pulled off a Signing Day switcheroo and ended up with Ole Miss instead of LSU. Oddly enough, he played multiple positions and only started one game at QB during his Rebels career. He finally settled in at tight end and started every game there during his senior season.

JaMarcus Russell – Russell signed with LSU and redshirted the 2003 season before backing up Marcus Randall during the 2004 season. He then started for the Tigers from 2005-06, leading them to a 22-4 record. Russell led LSU to the 2005 SEC West title and then sparked them to a 41-14 beatdown of Notre Dame in the 2007 Sugar Bowl.

Finally, let’s look at the team from 2003:

Rhett Bomar – things started off very promisingly for Bomar at Oklahoma, as he led the Sooners to an 8-4 record in the 2005 season. Then things went south very quickly thanks to a notorious car dealership scandal that I won’t get into here. He transferred to Sam Houston State in the fall of 2006.

Chad Henne – Henne actually started during all four years of his Michigan career as he led the Maize and Blue to a 36-14 record from 2004-07. His true freshman season was actually remarkably successful as the Wolverines went 9-3, shared the Big Ten title with Iowa and lost 38-37 to Texas in the 2005 Rose Bowl. Henne also led Michigan to the 2007 Rose Bowl, where they were pasted 32-18 by USC. He also had some trouble beating Ohio State during his time in Ann Arbor, going 0-4 against the Buckeyes.

Xavier Lee – this multidimensional threat actually only started 6 games during his Florida State career, going 2-4 in the process. Perhaps he was a victim of poor coaching/player development on the part of Jeff Bowden, or maybe he was somewhat overrated. He ended up declaring early for the 2008 NFL Draft.

Anthony Morelli – his signing with Penn State sent the Nittany Lion faithful into a frenzy. After sitting behind Michael Robinson, he started in 2006-07 and led Penn State to a combined 18-8 record (with identical 9-4 records in both seasons).

The overall results were quite eye-opening. Of the 15 quarterbacks who actually played college football, only two of them (Young and Leak) started for national title-winning teams. Two others (Shockley and Henne) won or shared conference championships as a starting QB, and a third (Russell) started for a BCS bowl-winning team. The rest had either solid careers, mediocre careers or completely flamed out.

Based on these results, here are what I think constitute reasonable expectations for a star QB recruit. If the recruit starts for two seasons and his team goes to a bowl in each season, that should satisfy his fan base. Anything on top of that (BCS bowl berth, conference championship, or national title, let alone multiple national titles) is just gravy.

Hopefully rabid college fans will remember that quite a few factors go into winning a national title, including good player development, strong offensive line/defensive line play, luck, etc.