Rankings Revisited: 2013 & 2014

Saturday, December 29th, 2018

Noah Vonleh 2013

Yesterday, we looked back on New England’s classes of 2011 and 2012, arguably the best two-year window for our region over the last decade.

Today, rankings rewind will take us to 2013 and 2014, which weren’t quite as deep, but still produced some true stars.

Class of 2013

It was always considered a two-horse race for the top spot in 2013. It was Noah Vonleh, Wayne Selden, and everybody else. Five years later, and that still appears to be accurate. Vonleh was a one-and-done lottery pick coming out of Indiana and is currently experiencing a breakout NBA seasons with the Knicks. Selden spent three years at Kansas and then went undrafted in 2016 but ended up signing a multi-year contract with the Grizzlies roughly ten months later after playing his way up from the then D-League and a 10-day contract with the Pelicans.

The only other player in New England’s class of 2013 to currently see anytime in the NBA is Duncan Robinson, who has a two-way deal with the Miami Heat and their G-League affiliate. Robinson’s story is well-documented. He did a post-graduate year at Phillips Exeter and committed to division III Williams College. At the time, we had him rated 47th overall in New England, the highest rating ever for a D3 commit, but obviously not high enough as he went on to transfer to Michigan a year later.

Truth be told, the rest of that 2013 class failed to live up to their potential in a lot of cases. Andrew Chrabasz and Dayshon Smith were two exceptions. They committed to Butler and Dayton respectively, both in the Atlantic 10 at the time, but went on to play significant roles for teams that made NCAA tournament runs in multiple years. They were ranked appropriately in the top ten, but given how others on that list failed to maximize their potential, they could have been higher. Jamel Artis was another top ten prospect who lived up to his potential at Pittsburgh before seeing some time in the NBA last season.

Others in that class who outplayed their ranking were #19 Duane Notice (South Carolina), #28 Gabe Levin (Loyola Marymount), and #40 Matt Mobley (Central Connecticut, St. Bonaventure).

Class of 2014

2014 provides a true opportunity for growth, because quite frankly it’s a class that didn’t end up the way we, or most evaluators, expected.

Isaac Copeland, Goodluck Okonoboh, Abdul-Malik Abu, Kaleb Joseph, and Paschal Chukwu were the top five ranked prospects in the region and candidly none of them have lived up to the expectations at the time they came out of high school.

Instead, the players who have done the best are the Brewster tandem of Jonah Bolden and Devonte Graham, who were ranked 6th and 7th respectively and currently play for the 76ers and Hornets. Bolden’s NBA career came after a brief stop at UCLA followed by a few years of professional basketball abroad while Graham was a true college star at Kansas. Similarly, Jared Terrell was a four-year starter who played in two NCAA tournaments at Rhode Island and currently has a two-way deal with the Timberwolves and their G-League affiliate. Yuta Watanabe, ranked 13th overall coming out of St. Thomas More, was another Atlantic 10 star at George Washington and has seen action in three games so far this year for the Grizzlies. 

We knew Bonzie Colson, who was essentially a 6-foot-5 center at St. Andrew’s, was the exception to every rule about positional size necessary for the high-major level, but in retrospect having him at #9 was even too low. Similarly, we knew Cane Broome was a steal for Sacred Heart, and ranked him accordingly at #27, but again that was too low as he’s now thriving for Cincinnati.

Tyler Nelson, who finished 24th in the class, probably outplayed his ranking more than anyone as he went on to become the leading scoring in Fairfield history while Isaac Vann at 56 ended up doing the same after a post-graduate year in New Jersey, freshman season at Maine, and then a red-shirt year at VCU.