Where Are They Now? Five-Stars From 2012

Posted by Sean Moran on October 29th, 2015

RTC recruiting guru Sean Moran takes an in-depth look at the players ranked as five-star recruits from the high school Class of 2012. 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 rushthecourt@yahoo.com.

Note: Scout.com used for all player rankings.

Per Scout.com, there were 25 five-star players in the Class of 2012. Eleven of those players will suit up for a college team this season (after only seven returned last year). At the time of graduation, this particular prep class did not receive the same type of fanfare that its 2011 antecedent had (a class headlined by Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist) or the class that would follow it in 2013 (Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker). Until Nerlens Noel re-classified into the class, Shabazz Muhammad was the consensus top player in the country. Five freshmen were selected in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft, including #1 pick Anthony Bennett (now on his third NBA team), and there have been a total of nine players drafted in the first round over the last three years. Some prospects, such as Grant Jerrett and Semaj Christon, were drafted in the second round are still bouncing around the professional ranks. Kentucky, UCLA, Arizona, Baylor and N.C. State notched the top five recruiting classes that year, but only the two Wildcats programs (in Lexington and Tucson) were able to maximize that season’s talent influx.

Sean 2012

Going into this season, Arizona’s Kaleb Tarczewski and Kentucky’s Alex Poythress are the highest ranked recruits from the Class of 2012 still playing college basketball. Other players such as Willie Cauley-Stein and Nik Stauskas weren’t five-star prospects, but they put together tremendous college campaigns and came out early as NBA lottery picks. Big things are expected out of Providence guard Kris Dunn this year — just check anyone’s All-America list — but there are also a bunch of four-star players also gracing those same teams. North Carolina guard Marcus Paige, Indiana guard Yogi Ferrell, Kansas forward Perry Ellis, and Iowa State forward Georges Niang are all solid bets to also find their names on such lists this season. Somewhat surprisingly, it could be Maryland that benefits the most from the Class of 2012. The Terps lost one top-50 player to transfer (Shaquille Cleare), but they will be adding two former five-stars to the roster this season: former Duke guard Rasheed Sulaimon, and Georgia Tech transfer Robert Carter. The 2012 class may not have generated much in terms of NBA stardom (yet), but the upcoming college season should benefit from the presence of those guys who are still around.

2012 Five-Star Prospects Still in College

No. 6 – Kaleb Tarczewski, 7’0”, C, Arizona – A soon-to-be four-year starter at Arizona, the 7’0” Tarczewski is the highest-rated recruit still in school from the 2012 class. As a freshman, he averaged 6.6 PPG and 6.1 RPG for a 27-8 Sweet Sixteen team. Tarczewski improved upon these stats as a sophomore, averaging 9.9 PPG and 6.3 RPG for a group that was considered one of the top teams in the country. He notched 12 points and four rebounds in an Elite Eight loss to Wisconsin, contributions that were heavily overshadowed by his helplessness on the defensive end against Badgers’ star center Frank Kaminsky. Tarczewski’s minutes dropped slightly as a junior, partially explaining his decreased per game averages in points and rebounds. He ultimately put together several strong performances in the NCAA Tournament, but the Wildcats’ season suffered a familiar fate when they again fell to Wisconsin in the Elite Eight. With Arizona likely to take a step back this year after losing four starters, Sean Miller’s club could use a strong closing performance from its five-star center.

No. 7 – Alex Poythress, 6’8”, SF, Kentucky – It’s extremely rare to see a five-star recruit still at Kentucky for his senior year, but such is the case for Alex Poythress. The athletic swingman had his best season during his freshman year when he averaged 11.2 PPG and 6.0 RPG as Kentucky limped into the NIT. With more talented classes arriving the following two years, Poythress received a diminished role, playing just 18.4 minutes per game as a sophomore and 20.3 minutes per contest as a junior before tearing his ACL. Primarily known for his defense and rebounding, Poythress will try to show an improved outside shot as a senior for NBA scouts. In three years of college, he is just 22-of-70 from behind the three-point line.

How big Cameron Ridley adjusts to Shaka Smart's frenetic style will be key for the 'Horns. (USA TODAY Sports)

How big Cameron Ridley adjusts to Shaka Smart’s frenetic style will be key for the ‘Horns. (USA TODAY Sports)

No. 11 – Cameron Ridley, 6’9”, C, Texas – Ridley decided to stay home in Texas for college but his time in Austin has not gone as expected. Battling weight issues, Ridley was limited to 16.4 minutes and 4.1 points per game as a freshman. His production increased (11.2 PPG and 8.2 RPG) as a sophomore, culminating in several double-doubles and a 17-point, 12-rebound performance in the Longhorns’ NCAA Tournament victory over Arizona State. As a junior, the big man’s minutes decreased with the arrival of freshman Myles Turner, a development that also resulted in a decline in his overall efficiency. As a senior, we will see how he fits in with new Texas head coach Shaka Smart’s frenetic style — his role in ‘Havoc’ will go a long way towards determining this season’s success.

No. 12 – Rasheed Sulaimon, 6’4”, SG, Maryland – It’s been quite the tumultuous career for Rasheed Sulaimon. When he arrived in Durham as Duke’s top recruit in 2012, Sulaimon was often compared favorably to the likes of Marcus Smart and Archie Goodwin. While both those players were busy becoming future first round draft picks, Sulaimon was instead finding ways to get suspended and ultimately dismissed from the team just in time for his former teammates to win a national championship. After seeing his scoring average decline in each of his three years at Duke, Sulaimon is now hoping to fill the scoring void left by Dez Wells at Maryland. A strong closeout season in College Park could land Sulaimon his own championship ring.

Rasheed Sulaimon Gets A Final Chance To Deliver On His Pre-College Promise This Season At Maryland (Photo: ABC11)

Rasheed Sulaimon Gets A Final Chance To Deliver On His Pre-College Promise This Season At Maryland (ABC11)

No. 18 – Rodney Purvis, 6’4”, SG, UConn – Purvis was hailed as the potential missing piece for an overhyped and dysfunctional N.C. State team that went from preseason ACC favorite to a #8 NCAA seed that was bounced in the Round of 64. Despite averaging a decent 8.3 points per game that season, Purvis decided to transfer and became UConn’s second-leading scorer for a Huskies team that ended up in the NIT. Can Purvis help to get UConn back to the Big Dance as a redshirt junior?

No. 19 – Dajuan Coleman, 6’8”, PF, Syracuse – Coleman, who averaged fewer than five points per game in both his freshman and sophomore seasons, took a medical redshirt last year after suffering a knee injury in January 2014. With Syracuse looking to return to the NCAA tournament after its self-imposed one-year hiatus, the play of Coleman on the inside will go a long way in defining the 2015-16 season for Jim Boeheim’s squad.

No. 20 – Tony Parker, 6’9”, C, UCLA – Like Ridley and Coleman, Parker is another widebody from the Class of 2012. Unlike his peers, however, Parker has improved each year that he has resided in Westwood. As a freshman, Parker averaged just 2.4 PPG, but he increased those totals to 6.9 PPG and 4.4 RPG during his second season and followed it up with 11.5 PPG and 6.7 RPG as a junior. At one particularly productive point last season, Parker strung together seven double-doubles, including a 28-point, 12-rebound performance in a Round of 64 win over SMU. In his final go-around, Parker will team with Bryce Alford, Isaac Hamilton and Thomas Welsh on one of the top teams in the Pac-12.

No. 21 – Amile Jefferson, 6’8”, PF, Duke – Jefferson fully understands his role at Duke and has a championship to show for it. He is a scrappy forward who averaged 6.1 PPG and 5.8 RPG last season and played tough defense on Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky down the stretch in the championship game. As a senior, he will necessarily take on a leadership role for a Duke team that lost the majority of its production from last season.

Now at Maryland, Robert Carter is a key player for the 'Terps. (USA TODAY Sports)

Now at Maryland, Robert Carter is a key player for the ‘Terps. (USA TODAY Sports)

No. 22 – Robert Carter, 6’8”, PF, Maryland – Carter averaged a solid 10.5 points and 7.4 rebounds per game during his two seasons at Georgia Tech, but he decided to transfer to Maryland and will play as a redshirt junior this season. His year off allowed him to shed weight and trim his body fat and he will add good experience to a young and talented team. With the addition of transfers Carter and Sulaimon as well as five-star big man Diamond Stone, the move to College Park could be a brilliant one for Carter.

No. 23 – Kris Dunn, 6’3”, G, Providence – Dunn had a rough start to his college career but his patience is finally paying off. After tearing the labrum in his right shoulder during a disappointing freshman season, Dunn played four games as a sophomore before yet another shoulder injury sidelined him. As a junior, he came back with a vengeance, being named Co-Big East Player of the Year with an eye-popping stat-line of 15.6 PPG, 7.5 APG, and 5.5 RPG. After turning down the NBA Draft, Dunn returns as a preseason All-American by almost any expert’s account — Blue Ribbon even named him its National Preseason Player of the Year.

No. 25 – Devonta Pollard, 6’7”, SF, Houston – Pollard committed to Alabama as a highly touted recruit and averaged 3.9 points and 3.1 rebounds as a freshman member of the Crimson Tide before his life was turned completely upside down. He was charged with conspiracy to commit kidnapping and later had to testify against his own mother. Pollard ended up at a junior college for a year before resurfacing at Houston last year, where he played over 30 minutes and scored 11.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. After a nightmarish start to his college career, the former McDonald’s All-American will look to end his senior season on a high note under the tutelage of Kelvin Sampson.

Sean Moran (79 Posts)

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