Rankings Revisited: 2011 & 2012
Yesterday, we launched our #RealTalk series, which strives to provide transparency on a variety of subjects impacting prospects and their families, and simultaneously combat the growing amount of “noise” filling gyms and social media alike from people who have no frame of reference on what most college coaches are really looking for, or worse yet, an agenda they’re trying to promote by perpetuating certain narratives.
The first subject in this series was evaluating prospects and rankings where we detailed, among other things, the goal of creating best practices to project prospects’ futures with the greatest degree of accuracy. Part of that process is to audit past rankings and evaluations to identify any commonalities among prospects who were either ranked too low or too high.
So, over the next few days we’ll dive back into those rankings, in search for patterns that can help us learn and evolve.
This is actually an exercise we’ve done once before, back in 2012, when we analyzed the first four classes in the NERR database from 2007 to 2010, and came away with some conclusions, almost all of which are still applicable today.
To further that study, we’ll pick-up in 2011, which marked the beginning of an almost unprecedented two-year period of talent in New England.
Class of 2011
New England’s Class of 2011 included six players who currently play in the NBA: #1 Andre Drummond, Pistons; #2 Khem Birch, Magic; #3 Michael Carter-Williams, Rockets; #6 Maurice Harkless, Trail Blazers; #8 Pat Connaughton, Bucks; #15 Damion Lee, Warriors.
Also ranked among the top 15 but not currently in the NBA are the likes of Alex Murphy, Naadir Tharpe, Markus Kennedy, Todd Mayo, and Jordan Laguerre.
Lee, who committed to Drexel that year, was rated aggressively at the time as a mid-major recruit ahead of numerous others who were committed to high-major programs but, in retrospect, not quite high enough.
For the most part, this was a year without too many other outliers although there were some that certainly thrived by going to the right respective levels.
Ousmane Drame had a great career at Quinnipiac. Gabas Maldunas was better for Dartmouth than almost anyone expected. Roy Mabrey was a division II star as predicted at St. Anselm while Tylon Smith was another NE-10 star at Southern Connecticut.
Class of 2012
The class of 2012 was the most talented New England has seen in the last decade-plus. 10 of the top 11 players in the class all played in the NBA and the only one who didn’t, Kaleb Tarczewski, was a four-year starter at Arizona. 7 of those 10 are still in the NBA today: #1 Nerlens Noel, Thunder; #3 Steven Adams, Thunder; #6 Kris Dunn, Bulls; #8 T.J. Warren, Suns; #9 Georges Niang, Jazz; #10 Jake Layman, Trail Blazers; and #11 Nik Stauskas, Trail Blazers. #3 Ricardo Ledo currently plays professionally in Turkey while #7 Jakarr Sampson plays for the Bulls’ G League team. #5 Mitch McGary has left basketball after playing multiple years with the Thunder and is now reportedly a professional bowler.
While the specific order of that group is certainly debatable, identifying the ten future pros in the first 11 spots is hard to argue with. There were other future college stars in the class as well including Zach Auguste, Myles Davis, Semaj Christon, and Olivier Hanlan among others. Ethan O’Day (Vermont) and Cedric Kuakumensah (Brown) were both successfully identified as steals at their respective levels while Terry Tarpey (William & Mary), Maodo Lo (Columbia), A.J. English (Iona), and, most notably, Spike Albrecht (Michigan) were among those who exceeded their final ranking.