DraftExpress has an article that asks if the high school Class of 2005 has doomed the talent pool for the 2009 NBA Draft.
I don't really have any opinion on that, but I did find the chart in the article interesting from an ACC perspective.
The guys at DraftExpress ranked the guys according to what they call the Recruiting Services Consensus Index (RSCI), which uses the average of all the major recruiting service rankings.
According to the RSCI, only two players in the top 10 did not leave college early - or bypass it altogether - for pro basketball. One was LSU's Tasmin Mitchell (No. 10), who redshirted and may actually return to Baton Rouge for a fifth season in 2009-10.
The other? That would be Tyler Hansbrough (No. 6). I'd say that's significant. It's not just that Hansbrough turned out to be a heck of a college player. It's also that all those other 2005 guys who might also have made an impact in the 2008-09 college season weren't around to do so. By the time Hansbrough's final season rolled around, his talent was at an elite level in college basketball while his experience level was unmatched.
I wonder what Kansas would have been like with Julian Wright (No. 8 in the RSCI) and Mario Chalmers (No. 10). Certainly a threat to go back-to-back, I'd think. Think Oklahoma State, which turned out to be a pretty solid team this season, could have used Gerald Green (No. 1) on the wing?
Hansbrough wasn't the only Tar Heel happily filling that talent void. Check out No. 18 in the RSCI, one Danny Green. Again, it's pretty significant that Green stuck around for his senior season when you consider that all but three of the players above him in the rankings did not.
We already mentioned two of those three - Hansbrough and Mitchell. The third?
(Wait for it ... wait for it)
Greg Paulus (No. 16)!
Duke fans, I know you're cringing. Brace yourself for what comes next.
The No. 2 guy for the high school Class of 2005? Josh McRoberts, of course!
Just in case you were wondering why the balance of power between UNC (one national title, two Final Four appearances, three Elite Eight appearances since 2006) and Duke (two Sweet 16 appearances) shifted so much in the last four seasons, this is a pretty good place to start.
The top-10 guy that UNC brought in - Hansbrough - had an impact and stayed in college longer than any other top talent in the class. The top-10 guy that Duke brought in - McRoberts - was certainly not the bust that many make him out to be, but he left (after the 2007 season) before he ever became a force on the college level.
The guy in the teens that UNC brought in - Green - steadily improved throughout his college career until he became a key contributor on the best team in the country. The guy in the teens that Duke brought in - Paulus - went from a starter as a freshman to a bit player as a senior.
Other items of ACC interest in the chart:
At No. 20 there's Brandon Costner. Courtney Fells is No. 34. Cue the shrug and sigh from N.C. State fans.
No. 26 is Lewis Clinch. Why it took him until the 2009 ACC Tournament to play up to that ranking is a puzzle Georgia Tech fans are still trying to decipher. Or maybe they've just given up at this point.
Maybe Bobby Frasor (No. 31) would have been better if not for the injuries. Or maybe he was proof that not all that Roy Williams touches in recruiting turns to gold. If you believe the latter though, you have to give it to Williams for squeezing a second-place ACC finish out of a team (2005-06) that had Frasor as its starting point guard the whole season.
If Duke fans are still actually reading this, they'll love to see Eric Boateng there at No. 40. And Martynas Pocius at No. 56. And Jamal Boykin at No. 63. Okay, let's just move on.
Derwin Kitchen at No. 67 threw me for a loop for a moment. I'd forgotten the circuitous route he took to reach Florida State.
Wake brought in David Weaver (No. 73) and Kevin Swinton (No. 76) in this class. Ugggh.
K.C. Rivers at No. 89? I'd say that turned out pretty well for the Tigers.