Rankings Revisited: Class of 2009
Next up in our rankings revisited series is a look back at the class of 2009 as we continue to look for commonalities in prospects we underestimated while they were in high school:
Jordan Williams, Torrington High School, 5th in New England – It’s hard to underestimate a guy who is ranked in the top five prospects in New England, but in Williams’ case that is exactly what happened. Williams was rarely included in a lengthy debate between Alex Oriakhi, Erik Murphy, and sometimes Jamal Coombs-McDaniel during their high school days, but was nonetheless a dominant force at Maryland for two years before being drafted by the New Jersey Nets last June.
What we missed – Williams always got off to a slow start on the grassroots circuit, as he took a few weeks to adjust to a much higher level of competition than he was used to at Torrington High School. Ultimately, those struggles reinforced questions we had about his explosiveness while the sheer dominance he showed as a senior was likely minimized because of the low level of competition.
Jordan Henriquez, Winchendon, 26th in New England – Enriquez was far from dominant in his post-graduate season at Winchendon, and conventional wisdom was that he was too raw, and far too lean physically, to make any type of immediate impact in the Big 12. Nevertheless, he played in 27 games and made 5 starts as a freshman and played in all 34 games as a sophomore. As a junior, Henriquez has started a handful of games and is among the Big 12 leaders in blocks with 2.6 per game.
What we missed – He was undeniably skinny and offensively raw, but big men are late bloomers by nature and Henriquez had indisputable tools in his ability to run, jump, and block shots. His rapid development since arriving at Kansas State (adding 50 pounds of muscle in two years) is a reflection of his own work ethic and choosing a program that is going to bring the best out of him.
Tucker Halpern, Noble & Greenough, 57th in New England – Halpern’s recruitment went as high as places like Stanford and Georgetown early in his junior year before he ultimately chose Brown as a senior. The Ivy League has proven to be a level where he is capable of making an immediate impact. He was the Bears’ third leading scorer as a freshman and averaged 14 points per game last year as a sophomore.
What we missed – His three-point shooting was always his greatest attribute, but as his physicality and lateral quickness were being constantly scrutinized, it is ironic that his total skill set actually went undervalued. He’s a much better passer than he was given credit for in high school and has the type of basketball I.Q. that shows through much easier with the structure of offense at the college level.
Chris Flores, Marianapolis Prep, 71st in New England – He didn’t own a division I offer coming out of O’Bryant High School, and didn’t pick one up until towards the end of his post-graduate season at Marianapolis. Nevertheless, Sporting News named him GWC freshman of the year while he has earned second team all conference honors in both of his seasons at NJIT.
What we missed – He flourished more in a secondary role than when asked to be the primary scorer and that has continued to be the case in his college career. Most importantly, he had opportunity at NJIT, as he was joining a new division I program which afforded him the chance to play through his mistakes and see 30 minutes of action a night.
Jason Pancoe, Salisbury, 79th in New England – Pancoe’s post-graduate season at Salisbury showed that he was a shot-maker who knew how to come off screens and by the end of the year he had proven himself worthy of his spot at the division I level. He only saw action in 18 games as a freshman but cracked the starting line-up as a sophomore and remains one of the team’s most dependable guards as a junior.
What we missed – Pancoe’s ability to shoot the ball has dictated that Army find ways to get him on the floor and he was consequently moved to the point as a sophomore. That wasn’t a development that we anticipated during his high school days but Army’s two-guard system has eased the transition while Pancoe’s assist to turnover ratio shows he was a far more versatile guard then we gave him credit for.