Five-Star Analysis From the High School Class of 2011

Posted by Sean Moran on November 14th, 2014

RTC recruiting guru Sean Moran takes an in-depth look at the players ranked as five-star recruits from the class of 2011. How many of these players are still in college? How many are already out of the NBA? We also encourage you to check out his contributions at The Intentional Foul dedicated to recruiting coverage and analysis. You can also follow Sean at his Twitter account @Seanmohoops for up-to-date news from the high school and college hoops scene. If you have any suggestions as to areas we are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at

Note: used for all player rankings.

Rating high school players is an inexact science. Look no further than the 2011 recruiting rankings for evidence of this. That year ranked 27 players as five-star prospects, and as we get set to enter the 2014-15 college basketball season, there are only six of those players remaining. Anthony Davis was the No. 1 recruit and he certainly lived up to the billing, leading Kentucky to a National Championship during his only collegiate season. Davis is now an All-Star in the NBA, but several other teams spent high draft picks on members of the class with varying degrees of success: guys like UConn’s Andre Drummond, Florida’s Bradley Beal, Duke’s Austin Rivers and Indiana’s Cody Zeller. A few other five-star players were not so lucky. James Michael McAdoo went undrafted after three years at UNC and Kentucky’s Marquis Teague is now out of the NBA after getting drafted late in the first round in 2012. Three years later, only 11 of those 27 are in the NBA (including Quincy Miller, who was recently waived by the Nuggets) while 10 are out of the league altogether, and six are still in college. For those remaining six collegians, they have one season left to impress the NBA scouts. The entire list of five-star prospects from the Class of 2011 is below.

class of 11 where are they now

2011 Five-Star Prospects Still in College

No. 9 – LeBryan Nash, 6’6”, SF, Oklahoma State. Nash is the highest-rated prospect of the class still in college. The athletic wing expected to be a one-and-done player coming out of high school, but he is now a senior for the Cowboys. He spent part of his freshman season injured but still managed to average 13.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. His field goal attempts have decreased every successive year and, as a result, his efficiency has risen. As a junior Nash averaged 13.9 points and 5.5 rebounds with a 109.5 ORtg. He had some big games in league play, including a 29-point performance against West Virginia, but Nash only managed to score six points in a first round NCAA Tournament loss to Gonzaga last year. Heading into his senior year, Nash was named an Honorable Mention All-Big 12 selection.

No. 14 – Branden Dawson, 6’6”, SF, Michigan State. Last year Dawson was the third-leading scorer for a Spartans squad that never seemed to put it all together; this year he will be “the man” for a relatively inexperienced Michigan State team. Despite missing nine league Big Ten games due to injury last year, Dawson scored in double figures in six straight postseason games as Michigan State won the Big Ten Tournament and made a run to the Elite Eight. The athletic wing had monster games against Harvard and Virginia but struggled mightily in an Elite Eight loss to UConn. Dawson finished his junior season averaging 11.2 points and 8.3 rebounds per game to go along with a 123.3 ORtg. He has received votes for the AP Preseason All-American team, but he was not named to the Preseason All-Big Ten First Team. In his three-year career Dawson is 0-of-9 from the three-point line. Will he hit his first triple as a senior?

No. 17 – Wayne Blackshear, 6’5”, G/F, Louisville. Blackshear has a championship to his name, but he has not experienced the type of career that many expected from him coming out of the Windy City. He lost most of his freshmen year to injury and then played only 20.1 MPG as a sophomore and 19.6 MPG last year, averaging around eight points per outing in both seasons. With Russ Smith no longer in the lineup and more shots available, will Blackshear finally become a consistent double-figure scorer for the Cardinals?

No. 21 – Rakeem Christmas, 6’9”, Power Forward, Syracuse. Christmas has been one of the anchors in Syracuse’s 2-3 zone over the last two seasons, averaging almost two blocks per game in the frontcourt. As a freshman he averaged 11.5 minutes but just 2.8 points per game; his playing time doubled next season, and he’s been good for around five points and five rebounds per game since. With the loss of three starters on this year’s squad, Christmas will be expected to steady the team in the beginning of the year.

No. 24 – Kyle Wiltjer, 6’10”, Small Forward, Gonzaga. Wiltjer spent his first two years at Kentucky, where he first won a championship as a bit player and the second suffering a first round loss in the NIT as a more significant player. The Oregon native averaged 10.2 points and shot 37 percent from behind the arc during his sophomore season. With a much ballyhooed freshmen class arriving last year in Lexington, Wiltjer decided to transfer back to the Pacific Northwest. After sitting out a redshirt year, he will join an extremely experienced and talented Gonzaga team that is ranked No. 13 in the nation.

No. 27 – Dorian Finney-Smith, 6’8”, Small Forward, Florida. Finney-Smith was the most prestigious recruit to sign with Virginia Tech in a long time, but he decided to leave Blacksburg after his freshman year. The talented small forward sat out the 2012-13 season and played 25.8 minutes per game for the Gators last year — a group that was ranked as the top team in the country for much of the year. With his role expected to increase as a junior, Finney-Smith will need to improve on his 37 percent field goal shooting. As a sophomore he averaged 8.7 points and 6.7 rebounds a game for the Gators.

Oh yeah, let’s not forget about several players who outplayed their Class of 2011 high school ranking. Some players who played above their four-star ranking out of high school include Arizona’s Nick Johnson (#29), Georgetown’s Otto Porter (#30), Syracuse’s Michael Carter-Williams (#35), Connecticut’s Ryan Boatright (#77), and Michigan’s Trey Burke (#94). Not a bad group there.

Sean Moran (79 Posts)

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