Re-ranking Recruiting Classes: Who are the 25 best players in the Class of 2011?
July’s live recruiting period is right around the corner, meaning that the Class of 2016 will have a chance to truly prove themselves to the recruiters and the recruitniks around the country. Scholarships will be earned and rankings will be justified over the course of those three weekends in July.
But scholarship offers and rankings don’t always tell us who the best players in a given class will end up being. Ask Steph Curry. Over the course of the coming weeks, we will be re-ranking eight recruiting classes, from 2004-2011, based on what they have done throughout their post-high school career.
Here are the 25 best players from the Class of 2011, with their final Rivals Top 150 ranking in parentheses:
READ MORE: The complete Re-ranking the Classes series
1. Anthony Davis (2): This is an easy choice. Davis was the Most Outstanding Player on Kentucky’s national title team in 2012 and then picked first overall by New Orleans in the 2012 NBA Draft. He hasn’t slowed down either, emerging as one of the top players in the NBA and leading the Pelicans to the playoffs this past season.
2. Bradley Beal (4): Like Davis, Beal spent one season playing in the SEC as he was part of a Florida team that reached the Elite Eight. From there it was off to Washington, where he’s combined with John Wall to form the Wizards’ backcourt of the present and future.
3. Elfrid Payton (UR): Payton arrived at Louisiana-Lafayette to little national fanfare, but after spending his freshman season in a reserve role he took a step forward as a sophomore. Payton turned that year into a spot on the United States’ U19 team, and after a standout junior campaign he was taken in the 2014 NBA Draft lottery by the Magic. Payton was a first team NBA All-Rookie Team selection this past season.
4. Andre Drummond (UR): Drummond moved back into the 2011 class from 2012, joining the UConn program for one season. From there he was a lottery pick of the Pistons in the 2012 NBA Draft, where he’s averaged 12.1 points and 11.8 rebounds per game in three seasons.
5. Trey Burke (142): Burke spent two seasons at Michigan, the second of which included a National Player of the Year award and a run to the national title game where the Wolverines fell to Louisville. Burke was selected 9th overall by the Jazz in the 2013 NBA Draft, and he’s averaged 12.8 points and 5.0 assists per game game in two seasons.
6. Michael Carter-Williams (29): Carter-Williams was a backup at the point during his freshman season at Syracuse, and as a sophomore he helped lead the Orange to the Final Four in 2013. Picked in the 2013 NBA Draft lottery by Philadelphia, Carter-Williams was an NBA Rookie of the Year in 2014. Traded to Milwaukee during the 2014-15 season, he averaged 14.6 points and 6.7 assists per game.
7. Ben McLemore (34): McLemore’s college career was delayed by a season, as he was ruled academically ineligible for the 2011-12 campaign by the NCAA. In his lone season of play at Kansas, McLemore averaged 15.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per contest. Picked seventh overall by the Kings in the 2013 NBA Draft, McLemore’s averaging 10.5 points and 2.9 rebounds per game as a pro.
8. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (3): Kidd-Gilchrist teamed up with Davis on a loaded Kentucky team to win a national title in 2012, then moved on to the NBA where he was the second overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Always a good defender, Kidd-Gilchrist has worked to improve his abilities as a shooter since entering the NBA and wound up averaging 10.9 points per game last season.
9. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (12): Caldwell-Pope took a major leap forward in his second season as a pro, averaging 12.7 points per game for the Pistons in 2014-15 (5.9 ppg as a rookie). Prior to that KCP played two seasons at Georgia, where he was SEC Player of the Year in 2013 after averaging 18.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.
10. Austin Rivers (1): Rivers averaged 15.5 points per game in his lone season at Duke, which included a memorable game-winning three at North Carolina. As a pro the road hasn’t been as smooth, with his best run of play coming as a reserve with the Clippers (where his dad’s the head coach and president) following a trade from New Orleans this season.
11. Otto Porter (37): Like McLemore, Porter was a lottery pick in the 2013 NBA Draft as he was taken third overall by the Wizards. Unlike McLemore, Porter played two seasons of college ball (and Georgetown) and was named Big East Player of the Year and a first team All-American in 2013. With Paul Pierce moving on to L.A., 2015-16 could be a breakthrough campaign for Porter.
12. Cody Zeller (15): Zeller played two seasons at Indiana, where as a sophomore he was a first team All-Big Ten and second team All-America selection. Picked in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft by Charlotte, Zeller’s averaged 6.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in two seasons as a pro.
RELATED: Re-ranking the classes 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010
13. Shane Larkin (72): Larkin, originally a DePaul commit, wound up at Miami where he helped lead the program to heights it had never visited as a member of the ACC. Larkin ran the point for a team that won the program’s first ACC title and reached the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2000, sharing ACC Player of the Year honors in 2013. Larkin didn’t play much in Dallas as a rookie, but he saw more time in 2014-15 with the Knicks (6.2 ppg, 3.0 apg).
14. Jabari Brown (19): Brown didn’t last all that long at Oregon, transferring to Missouri after playing just two games in Eugene. Once at Mizzou the shooting guard became of the SEC’s top perimeter players as a junior in 2014 (first team All-SEC; 19.9 ppg). After spending time in the NBA D-League Brown’s now with the Lakers, where he averaged 11.9 points per game this season.
15. Tony Wroten (14): Wroten played just one season at Washington, averaging 16.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game in 2011-12. A first round pick of the Grizzlies in the 2012 NBA Draft, Wroten’s averaged 11.2 points per game in three season for two franchises (Philadelphia being the other). Wroten suffered a torn ACL in January.
16. Maurice Harkless (41): Harkless played one season at St. John’s before being drafted by Philadelphia in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft. The Sixers traded Harkless to Orlando, where he’s averaged 6.8 points and 3.5 rebounds in three seasons as a professional.
17. Nick Johnson (18): Johnson played three seasons at Arizona, where he was a mainstay for Sean Miller’s program. Not only was he Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2014, but Johnson was also a first team All-American. Drafted in the second round by the Rockets in 2014, Johnson’s bounced between the NBA and NBA D-League the last two seasons.
18. P.J. Hairston (13): To say that the sharpshooter’s college career was a tumultuous one would be an understatement, as NCAA issues ended his time in Chapel Hill before the 2013-14 season began. Hairston lit up the NBA D-League for a season before being taken in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft by Miami, which traded him to Charlotte on draft night.
19. Rodney Hood (16): Hood was an SEC All-Rookie Team selection at Mississippi State before transferring to Duke, where he played one season under Mike Krzyzewski. A first round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by Utah, Hood averaged 8.7 points per game as a rookie.
20. Frank Kaminsky (UR): Kaminsky went from being a three-star prospect to the National Player of the Year in his four season at Wisconsin, which included two Final Four appearances and Big Ten regular season and tournament titles. He was picked in the lottery by Charlotte last month. (Mistakenly left off this list.)
21. Kyle Wiltjer (22): Wiltjer still has another season left to play in college, but he’s put together a solid resume at that level. As a freshman he was part of a national champion squad at Kentucky, following that up with SEC Sixth Man of the Year honors as a sophomore. He transferred following the 2012-13 season, and after sitting out a year Wiltjer was both WCC Newcomer of the Year and a second team All-American at Gonzaga in 2014-15.
22. Spencer Dinwiddie (146): Dinwiddie put together a very good run at Colorado before suffering a torn ACL in a road game at Washington during his junior campaign. That would be the last time he’d play in a CU uniform, as he moved on to the NBA where he was taken in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft by the Pistons. Dinwiddie saw time as the team’s backup point guard once Brandon Jennings went down with a ruptured Achilles.
23. Quincy Miller (7): Miller played just one season at Baylor, averaging 10.6 points and 4.9 rebounds per contest in 2011-12. Picked in the second round of the 2012 NBA Draft by Denver, Miller played two seasons with the Nuggets before splitting time with the Kings and Pistons in 2014-15.
24. Johnny O’Bryant III (46): O’Bryant played three seasons at LSU, where he was a first team All-SEC choice in both 2013 and 2014. A second-round pick of the Bucks in the 2014 NBA Draft, O’Bryant played 10.8 minutes per game (34 games played) as a rookie on a team that reached the playoffs.
25. Ryan Boatright (42): Boatright wasn’t selected in last month’s NBA Draft (playing with the Nets in Summer League), but his four-year career at UConn was a highly productive one. Boatright, who won a national title in 2014, left Storrs as one of just two players in the history of the program to be ranked in the Top 10 of the school’s scoring and assists lists (Shabazz Napier being the other).
Marquis Teague (5)
James Michael McAdoo (8)
Khem Birch (9)
DeAndre Daniels (10)
Josiah Turner (11)
Tony Wroten (14)
Branden Dawson (20)
Chane Behanan (21)
Jahii Carson (33)
Quinn Cook (38)
Sir’Dominic Pointer (44)
Amir Garrett (68)
Norman Powell (69)
Dez Wells (76)
Chasson Randle (78)
Wesley Saunders (88)
Malcolm Brogdon (104)
Josh Richardson (124)
Pat Connaughton (128)
DaVonte Lacy (138)
Marcus Thornton (UR)
Darrun Hilliard (UR)
Ron Baker (UR)
Alex Len (UR)