Sunday, January 2, 2011

RSCI Top 20 Recruits who are now upperclassmen

I intended to continue the RSCI posts awhile ago but it turns out South Dakota does not have a lot of WiFi hotspots. Go figure.

This used to be the “McDonald’s All-American Watch”, but because the MAA team usually includes a few too many duds, I started posting this “RSCI Watch” last year. Sadly, when you remove the duds this exercise is a little less entertaining. For better or worse, RSCI top 20 recruits almost always develop eventually. Some took a few years, but have now become stars. See Tyler Zeller and Kemba Walker who have finally become elite players this year. The next table shows the career numbers for RSCI top 20 seniors and juniors who are still in school. Scroll to the right to see the full set of numbers.

Twelve juniors have already left school early,

1 Brandon Jennings
2 Jrue Holiday
3 Tyreke Evans
4 Samardo Samuels
5 Demar DeRozan
6 Greg Monroe
7 Al-Farouq Aminu
8 BJ Mullens
9 Ed Davis
13 Willie Warren
16 Elliot Williams
19 Luke Babbit

and most RSCI top 20 seniors have already left school early.

But what can we learn about the players who have stuck around? First, note that Duke and Georgetown are the only two programs who brought in a top 20 recruits who stuck around for four years. (While Vernon Macklin is now at Florida, he started at Georgetown.)

-Vernon Macklin has finally learned the value of rebounding this year.

-2007’s 13th ranked recruit, Austin Freeman has seen his percentage of shots taken and efficiency rating slowly creep up over his four years. I think he probably is not going to live up to the Big East player-of-the-year accolade, but he is on pace for a very solid season.

-Some of Kyle Singler’s shots are going to Nolan Smith who is looking to make the most of his senior season. While it is true that Smith is not a natural point guard, his assist rate is at the highest point of his career. And Smith has also learned to draw fouls this year, posting a career high free throw rate.

-Looking at the Juniors, 2008’s tenth ranked recruit Delvon Roe has yet to become a dominant player. Certainly injuries have played a large role in his lack of progress, but his progress does seem disappointing.

-Scotty Hopson has developed into a go-to scorer for Tennessee, significantly upping the number of shots he takes when on the floor. And he has done it without a drop in efficiency. (We have not reached SEC play yet, so it is unclear if he will be able to maintain his rating against SEC East defenses, but it is a nice start.) One key is that he is drawing fouls at the highest rate in his career, and he has finally learned how to make free throws.

-2008’s 12th ranked recruit, William Buford is going to go down as one of the most over-shadowed great players in Big Ten history.

-Florida St.’s offense still has problems with turnovers, but Chris Singleton is posting his best offensive season to date. His three point shooting and free throw shooting are improved and his ORtg is finally over 100.

-Kemba Walker has gone from being a player like William Buford (solid, but not spectacular), to a player of the year candidate. I might have expected him to shoot more frequently this year, but to simultaneously increase his efficiency this much is phenomenal.

-JaMychal Green needs some help.

-2008’s 18th ranked recruit, Tyler Zeller, has finally stayed healthy, and he is the most efficient scorer on North Carolina. And until recently, he was the only efficient scorer on the Tar Heels.

-Malcolm Lee has cut down his turnovers this year which has led to a bump in efficiency, but his assists are also down, which leads me to believe this is not a “real improvement.” Lee is just handling the ball less often this year.