Great Expectations for Five Highly Ranked SEC Freshmen

Posted by Brian Joyce on October 18th, 2011

This year, the SEC will be home to 14 McDonald’s All American Game alumni including JaMychal Green (2008), Kenny Boynton (2009), Renardo Sidney (2009), Patric Young (2010), Terrence Jones (2010), Doron Lamb (2010), Jelan Kendrick (2010), Brad Beal (2011), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (2011), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (2011), Johnny O’Bryant (2011), Anthony Davis (2011), Marquis Teague (2011) and Kyle Wiltjer (2011). These players are selected using recruiting rankings and evaluations at the high school and AAU level. It is not an exact science, but obviously players ranked in the top of the class generally produce at the next level. Green, Boynton, Sidney, Young, Jones and Lamb have demonstrated their talent through superb play and numerous all-SEC selections among them (Kendrick remains to be seen). This year, expectations are at an all-time high. The focus of this post is on the five newbies the SEC welcomes from the top 12 of Scout.com’s final recruitment rankings for the Class of 2011 – Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, Beal, Teague, and Caldwell Pope. With that level of talent coming into the league it is certain that the SEC’s overall play and competitiveness will be elevated. However, is there any guarantee that with high expectations comes automatic production?

#1 recruit - Kentucky's Anthony Davis

To get some idea of what we can expect this season from the SEC’s highly ranked incoming freshmen, I have evaluated the top 12 players from Scout.com’s final recruiting rankings over the last five seasons. Why 12? Well, the best answer is that it seemed to be a good cutoff and I was too tired to extend it to 15 or 20. I am only one man people! I examined PPG in their first year in college, as well as results from whether or not they went pro as that is also an indicator of talent or at least potential. Here are the last five years of players and their point production beginning with the Class of 2006 and going through the Class of 2010.

While production of the Class of 2011 remains to be seen, it is apparent that the numbers are in favor of these five elite incoming SEC players. These freshmen will put up big numbers for their respective teams and likely dominate the high picks in next year’s NBA draft. Undoubtedly, we will see some great individual performances and plenty of scoring in the talented SEC, and much of it will come from highly ranked newcomers rather than seasoned veterans. Are these freshmen worth the hype? History suggests the SEC is now home to five new college basketball stars.

Class of ’06

Recruit Ranking (Scout.com)

Name

College/University

PPG

One and done?

Draft position

1)

Greg Oden

Ohio State

15.7

Yes

1 (2007)

2)

Kevin Durant

Texas

25.8

Yes

2 (2007)

3)

Brandan Wright

North Carolina

14.7

Yes

8 (2007)

4)

Spencer Hawes

Washington

14.9

Yes

10 (2007)

5)

Tywon Lawson

North Carolina

10.2

No

18 (2009)

6)

Thaddeus Young

Georgia Tech

14.4

Yes

12 (2007)

7)

Wayne Ellington

North Carolina

11.7

No

28 (2009)

8)

Chase Budinger

Arizona

15.6

No

44 (2009)

9)

Darrell Arthur

Kansas

9.8

No

27 (2008)

10)

Paul Harris

Syracuse

8.6

No

Undrafted

11)

Brook Lopez

Stanford

12.6

No

10 (2008)

12)

Sherron Collins

Kansas

9.3

No

Undrafted

Class of ’07

Recruit Ranking (Scout.com)

Name

College/University

PPG

One and done?

Draft position

1)

O.J. Mayo

USC

20.7

Yes

3 (2008)

2)

Michael Beasley

Kansas State

26.2

Yes

2 (2008)

3)

Kevin Love

UCLA

17.5

Yes

5 (2008)

4)

Eric Gordon

Indiana

20.9

Yes

7 (2008)

5)

Derrick Rose

Memphis

14.9

Yes

1 (2008)

6)

Kyle Singler

Duke

13.3

No

33 (2011)

7)

Bill Walker

Kansas State

11.3

No

47 (2008)

8)

Donte Green

Syracuse

17.7

Yes

28 (2008)

9)

Jerryd Bayless

Arizona

19.7

Yes

11 (2008)

10)

Nick Calathes

Florida

15.3

No

45 (2009)

11)

DeAndre Jordan

Texas A&M

7.9

Yes

35 (2008)

12)

Patrick Patterson

Kentucky

16.4

No

14 (2010)

Class of ’08

Recruit Ranking (Scout.com)

Name

College/University

PPG

One and done?

Draft position

1)

Brandon Jennings

Arizona

N/A

Europe

10 (2009)

2)

Samardo Samuels

Louisville

11.8

No

Undrafted

3)

B.J. Mullens

Ohio State

8.8

Yes

24 (2009)

4)

Jrue Holiday

UCLA

8.5

Yes

17 (2009)

5)

Tyreke Evans

Memphis

17.1

Yes

4 (2009)

6)

Demar DeRozan

USC

13.9

Yes

9 (2009)

7)

Scotty Hopson

Tennessee

9.2

No

Undrafted

8)

Greg Monroe

Georgetown

12.7

No

7 (2010)

9)

Devin Ebanks

West Virginia

10.5

No

43 (2010)

10)

Ed Davis

North Carolina

6.7

No

13 (2010)

11)

Delvon Roe

Michigan State

5.6

No

Injured

12)

Kemba Walker

Connecticut

8.9

No

9 (2011)

Class of ’09

Recruit Ranking (Scout.com)

Name

College/University

PPG

One and done?

Draft position

1)

Derrick Favors

Georgia Tech

12.4

Yes

3 (2010)

2)

John Wall

Kentucky

16.6

Yes

1 (2010)

3)

DeMarcus Cousins

Kentucky

15.1

Yes

5 (2010)

4)

John Henson

North Carolina

5.7

No

Still Active

5)

Avery Bradley

Texas

11.6

Yes

19 (2011)

6)

Xavier Henry

Kansas

13.4

Yes

12 (2010)

7)

Renardo Sidney

Mississippi State

N/A

No

Still Active

8)

Lance Stephenson

Cincinnati

12.3

Yes

40 (2010)

9)

Mouphtauo Yarou

Villanova

4.5

No

Still Active

10)

Abdul Gaddy

Washington

3.9

No

Still Active

11)

Keith Gallon

Oklahoma

10.3

Yes

47 (2010)

12)

Ryan Kelly

Duke

1.2

No

Still Active

Class of ’10

Recruit Ranking (Scout.com)

Name

College/University

PPG

One and done?

Draft position

1)

Harrison Barnes

North Carolina

15.7

No

Still Active

2)

Kyrie Irving

Duke

17.5

Yes

1 (2011)

3)

Enes Kanter

Kentucky

N/A

Yes

3 (2011)

4)

Jared Sullinger

Ohio State

17.2

No

Still Active

5)

Josh Selby

Kansas

7.9

Yes

49 (2011)

6)

Brandon Knight

Kentucky

17.3

Yes

8 (2011)

7)

Tobias Harris

Tennessee

15.3

Yes

19 (2011)

8)

Terrence Jones

Kentucky

15.7

No

Still Active

9)

Perry Jones

Baylor

13.9

No

Still Active

10)

Tristan Thompson

Texas

13.1

Yes

4 (2011)

11)

C.J. Leslie

North Carolina State

11.0

No

Still Active

12)

Will Barton

Memphis

12.3

No

Still Active

Some key findings:

  • Of this elite group, 74% (of those who played in college their first year) averaged double figures in points their freshman year.
  • Just over 50% (30 + Brandon Jennings) entered the NBA Draft in the first year they were eligible.
  • A one-and-done player from this group ended up as the number one overall pick in the NBA Draft in four out of the five years (Blake Griffin was the #1 pick in 2009).
  • Thirteen players were a top five NBA Draft pick.
  • Finally, 27 of the 44 players (61%) who have made themselves eligible for the NBA Draft went in the NBA lottery. Of that group, 35 (80%) went in the first round.
  • One interesting side note, of the 23 players who chose to return to college for at least one more year rather than jump to the NBA, seven went on to win a National Championship.

Class of ’11

Recruit Ranking (Scout.com)

Name

College/ University

    1)     

Anthony Davis

Kentucky

?

2)

Andre Drummond

Connecticut

?

3)

Austin Rivers

Duke

?

4)

Quincy Miller

Baylor

?

5)

James McAdoo

North Carolina

?

    6)     

Michael Gilchrist

Kentucky

?

    7)     

Brad Beal

Florida

?

    8)     

Marquis Teague

Kentucky

?

9)

LeBryan Nash

Oklahoma State

?

10)

Adonis Thomas

Memphis

?

11)

Myck Kabongo

Texas

?

12)

Kentavious Caldwell

Georgia

?

While production of the Class of 2011 remains to be seen, it is apparent that the numbers are in favor of these five elite incoming SEC players. These freshmen will put up big numbers for their respective teams and likely dominate the high picks in next year’s NBA draft. Undoubtedly, we will see some great individual performances and plenty of scoring in the talented SEC, and much of it will come from highly ranked newcomers rather than seasoned veterans. Are these freshmen worth the hype? History suggests the SEC is now home to five new college basketball stars.

Brian Joyce (289 Posts)

Brian Joyce is an advanced metrics enthusiast, college hoops junkie, and writer for the SEC basketball microsite for Rush the Court.


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2 Responses to “Great Expectations for Five Highly Ranked SEC Freshmen”

  1. Fjmin10 says:

    A Sea of Blue did something similar over the summer for UK’s four freshmen called “What to expect based on the stats of similar recruits.” They came up with predictions for freshman season stats based on the scout.com’s positional rankings. Check it out if your looking for some content.

  2. bjoyce says:

    Oh wow… Never saw that post, but well done! And eerily similar! Looks like they came up with same conclusion — players ranked that high are gonna be good. Kentucky’s guys may not have extremely high averages because there are several great players and only so many shots to go around, whereas Caldwell-Pope may be relied upon to do more scoring for UGA. I like the breakdown by position!

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