College basketball’s biggest underachievers
When it comes to signing players, college basketball coaches often resemble recruiting experts. Sometimes, they just miss.
For every highly ranked prospect who becomes an NBA millionaire like so many people predicted, there are a handful of athletes who never live up to their expectations coming out of high school.
It’s never too late to turn things around. Heck, some guys simply blossom later than others. For now, though, here is a list of the biggest underachievers in each of the six major conferences.
Ty Walker, Wake Forest, senior – The 6-foot-11 Walker was the nation’s second-ranked center coming out of high school in 2008. But he played in just 19 games during his first two seasons under Dino Gaudio, averaging only 1.9 points and 1.4 rebounds. Walker hoped things would improve when the school hired Jeff Bzdelik prior to last season, but he averaged just 3.6 points and 3.5 boards in 18 minutes per game. That Walker couldn’t earn more court time for a team that finished 8-24 overall and 1-15 in the ACC is not an encouraging sign.
Dante Taylor, Pittsburgh, junior – The only McDonald’s All-American on the Panthers’ roster the past two seasons averaged a combined 4.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in 67 games. Taylor has had some solid players such as Gary McGhee and Nasir Robinson ahead of him in the pecking order. Still, considering the hype surrounding his signing, it’s a tad surprising Taylor hasn’t had a bigger impact on one of the Big East’s best teams. Five-star prospect Khem Birch will provide even more competition for Taylor in 2011-12.
Delvon Roe, Michigan State, senior – Roe was the nation’s 24th-ranked player coming out of high school in 2008, but he’s hardly been a star at Michigan State, where he’s never averaged more than 6.4 points in three seasons. Knee and ankle injuries and resulting surgeries have hampered Roe’s progress. Roe played 23 minutes a game last year and worked hard on the glass, as evidenced by his five boards per contest. And he’s certainly been around good players in a program that went to the Final Four when Roe was a freshman and sophomore. Still, the Spartans’ staff was expecting Roe to eventually make a quantum leap. It hasn’t happened. Not yet, at least.
J’mison Morgan, Baylor, senior – Morgan was one of the country’s most-heavily recruited players coming out of high school. He eventually picked UCLA over Kansas and LSU but lasted just two seasons with the Bruins before transferring to Baylor. Not many players look as good getting off the bus as the 6-11, 255-pound center. Morgan, though, averaged just 3.0 points and 2.4 rebounds for the Bears last season. This year he’ll struggle to get minutes in a loaded frontcourt that includes Perry Jones, Quincy Acy and Quincy Miller.
Jerime Anderson, UCLA, senior – An Anaheim native, Anderson was the nation’s seventh-ranked point guard prospect as a high school senior. But Anderson averaged just 5.1 points and 2.6 assists as a junior in 2010-11. Bruins coach Ben Howland had so little faith in Anderson that he signed a junior college point guard (Lazeric Jones) prior to the season. Howland has suspended Anderson from UCLA’s season-opener following his arrest for stealing a laptop.
Reginald Buckner, Ole Miss, junior – Buckner was one of the country’s top-ranked power forwards coming out of high school in 2009. But inconsistency and nagging injuries have plagued his career with the Rebels thus far. Buckner made the All-SEC defensive team as a sophomore last season. Still, as a starter, he averaged just 6.8 points for a program that continues to underachieve. The Rebels are counting on Buckner to take a significant step this season.
Rivals hit the nail on the head with J'mison Morgan. I read two years ago that he was going to have this huge impact on Baylor and was going to dominate, now he wont get off the pine this year because along with Perry Jones and Acy they also have Anthony Jones who started last year, and will get good minutes off the bench.
I've heard from a UCLA alum who follows the program closely that Jermie Anderson might be getting kicked off the team for stealing lap tops.
Man I live in north carolina and seen ty walker play against our high school I was a freshman I thought he was going to be a lottery pick one day he isnt a geat low post scorer but he was a very good defender
from NC here too bro...Walker is still a great shot blocker, but he has not developed anything else about his game in the slightest. I dont totally blame him though...Wake was disappointing under Gaudio and abysmal under Bzdelik. He has to take some blame because Roy Williams said that he was set to offer him a scholarship the week that he committed to Wake. Hard to believe that Walker and Tony Woods were nearly as highly regarded as Aminu.
J'Mison Morgan is terrible. He's big, but he isn't good at anything besides being big. He does give Baylor frontline line-up flexibility though. As he can start, play early minutes in both halves, and then slide so Acy and Perry Jones and those guys can play together. That's his main value really.
Dante Taylor isn't a huge underachiever, he was raw and thin when he 1st arrived at Pitt. He's gotten better down low, and he's put on about 35-40 lbs since he arrived. He needs more polish for sure, and he's not assingment sound on D (on a team that takes crazy pride in tough D, but he's making progress.
Delvon Roe just hasn't recovered from that HS ACL injury. Took alot of his quickness. He used to be a Thaddeus Young-style mismatch PF due to his quickness and athleticism. He's done all he can, added muscle and played real tough so he can defend true PF's. That's admirable to me. He's not going to live up to that HS rank, but he's a strong role player.
Jerime Anderson has prototype size, and he can defend and he's effective when things are kept simple. He's not very good, but he was adequate last year.
Ty Walker is tall, but he couldn't produce on a TERRIBLE Wake team. And I mean TERRIBLE.
andersen didnt deserve to be in contact with a bruin jersey his first 2 years. But he was drastically better last season and won the teams most improved player award and recieved nothing but praise last season from ben howland for his improved play and leadership. If the bruins do lose him it will hurt a lot.
Renardo Sidney anybody?
Wally Judge anyone?
Larry Drew lol
Even though he has only play one year Fab Melo was a huge dissapointment. He was extremely slow moving up and down the court amd played with no hustle or intensity. Hopefully that will change in his soph year because he had the tools to become a solid player
Melo turned it around at the end of the year though, against DePaul on March 5th he had 10 points and 6 rebounds in 16mins and against St. Johns on March 10th he had 12 points and 4 rebounds in 22mins. He was perfect from the field in both games.
I know this doesnt seem like much but its a major improvement from his season averages of 2.4ppg and 1.9rpg so there is hope for this year
Fab Melo had an achilles injury almost all of last year. I think he may surprise people this year assuming he's injury free.
Ty Walker was one ofmy hidden gems his senior year of high school after I saw him go against Greg Monroe and hold his own. Really thought that face-up game was going to develop. Seemed more like a 4 to me though, perhaps should have been developed as such. Who knows, maybe he's this years Hilton Armstrong.
Sorry guys, that didn't paste out like it was supposed to.
Rodney Williams- Minnesota, he was at one point supposed to be as good as J.Wall or better when their class came in.
about Sidney and Judge, they are underachievers so far, but they still have chances to turn it around in college. most of the guys listed in the original post are pretty much done for on this level, they will have to work hard as d-leaguers or head overseas.
Larry Drew is a perfect example of a guy with the skills but mentally just doesnt have it. He is a selfish player and he has serious confidence issues. This bolstered by the fact that his parents support his attitude and feels he deserves some sort of special treatment. He is done at this level, even when he gets to UCLA unless he has a complete change of attitude and sense of entitlement.
on a side note, UNC had 2 scholarships they were using for the frontcourt and they wanted Davis, Zeller, and Roe...and if I recall correctly, Davis was the odd man out if the decision had to be made. once again, IIRC (and feel free to correct me) Roe committed to MSU and thus made Roy's decision acedemic.
February 14, 2007
CarolinaBlue.com Recruiting Analyst
Talk about it in Blue Heaven
The news just couldn't be any better for Roy Williams lately in terms of his recruiting scenario for the class of 2008.
Samardo Samuels claimed North Carolina as his leader this week.
He's got 6-1 PG Larry Drew Jr. calling the Tar Heels his leader. He's got 6-7 PF Delvon Roe calling the Tar Heels his leader and practically on the verge of committing.
He's in great shape with 6-4 combo guard Jrue Holiday. And he's even got 7-0 Ty Walker, a player full of athletic potential, waiting for an offer.
And now, there is just more where that came from.
"If I had to pick right now, I'd be going to Carolina," said 6-9 C Samardo Samuels in a phone interview yesterday with Carolina Blue.
The strong and skilled interior player from St. Benedicts Prep (NJ) is at the center of an intense recruiting battle between UConn, Florida, Louisville and North Carolina. Not to mention the dozens of other high major programs lobbying for a visit from the dominant junior.
In short, he's one of the most sought after big men in the nation outside of Greg Monroe.
"I'm in regular contact with (UNC staff)," said Samuels in his heavy Jamaican accent. "I text with them. I talk to Coach (Joe) Holladay, Coach (Steve) Robinson and Coach Roy (Williams). They've been to a couple of my games and practices."
"I've visited Carolina before, but I would like to go see it again and get a feel for the campus life and all of that. They've got such a nice program down there and it was an exciting trip. I like the way that they treat the players down there."
When envisioning himself on the college level, Samuels thinks highly of the possibilities in Chapel Hill.
And it's easy to hear his excitement when he talks about it.
"Yeah, I just really like the way that they use their big guys and the way they run. (UNC) is just looking really good right now and that's why their my leader," he added.
He compares himself to two guys already in the roster when asked about who he felt his game resembled on the collegiate level.
"I'm one of those guys that can change it up a bit," he explained. "I see a lot of similarities with Tyler Hansbrough but also Brandan Wright as well."
The rugged rebounder says that his body has been an evolution of sorts since last season. Playing for Coach Danny Hurley's program has certainly helped him shed some bulk.
"I've really slimmed down some and I'm in a lot better shape than I was back in the summer. I'm just moving better now and I'm so much quicker off my feet. My moves are quicker, sharper and I just feel faster, especially running the court."
Ohio junior Delvon Roe told CarolinaBlue.com in an article two weeks ago that he had been in close contact with Samuels over the phone, so we asked the 240 pounder about his relationship with Roe and whether or not he had been recruiting him to join him at North Carolina.
"Yeah, he's been recruiting me to come," laughed Samuels. He's such a good player, and tough player too."
Samuels says that he'd like to take a couple more visits and see the campus life and so forth.
"I can make my decision anytime. We only have about two more games for my team, so like I said, I might make my decision soon, but I'm not in any rush. I plan to take another visit to UNC, and I'm also going to see Florida and UConn on a visit as well"
Basically, UNC's frontline couldve consisted of Samardo Samuels and Delvon Roe instead of Ed Davis and Tyler Zeller and Walker was indeed waiting on the offer from Roy as I mentioned previously and from what I remember Roy was readying the papers when Walker committed to Wake. Also, Holiday and Evans couldve ended up at UNC instead of Drew but Roy backed off of Evans because he was believed to be a one-n-done. Not sure what happened with Holiday, but possibly the same thing.
I want to clear up while I am at it that just because Roe appeared to be headed to UNC and thats who Roy wanted, didnt mean that he was a better prospect than Davis or that Roy even wanted Roe more. Its just that UNC was a frontrunner for Roe and Davis wasnt totally sure I dont think. You have to offer the scholarships to the players most likely to accept....and either Davis or Zeller (think it was Davis) wasnt offered until Roe committed to MSU.
My All Underacheiving TEAM..
Kris Joseph, Elias Harris, Reggie Bullock, Ian Miller, Renardo Sidney, Adrien Payne, and Snaer are not underachievers.
Bullock, Payne and Miller were Fr. last year. On tourny teams.
Joseph played very good for a tourny team 2 years straight, and had nagging injuries last year too.
Harris had a shaky year last year for his ability, but he also was hurt. He hasn't underachieved all in all though.
Sidney missed action early in the season and played about 19 games last year, and put up numbers in 25 mpg. He has talent and he was productive, but the whole MSU program was kind of messy and unorganzied. I think he did relatively fine for a guy who played a little more than half a season as a big man (the hardest position to adjust to as a basketball player).
Snaer hasn't be particularly efficient and he plays wild, but he's a very good defender and he's been a decent scorer over the 1st 2 years. He needs to work on his game just like a bunch of younger players, but he's not done bad.
Kris Joseph is an underacheiver, according to the so called experts ..He's should've been in the pros now...lol