The college basketball recruiting class of 2016 has now graduated on from their Division 1 careers. But how would this class look four years later?
Meteorologists often make mistakes with the weather. Journalists are bound to have grammar mistakes in their articles, even after double and triple checking (I probably have one somewhere in here). College basketball recruiting services are notorious for getting quite a few players wrong in their high-school rankings.
The class of 2016 is no exception. Some of the best players, such as Myles Powell and Cassius Winston were both outside the top 25. For easier purposes, I’ll be using the 247sports rankings, which you can find by clicking here. I will be grading based on NBA and collegiate production. It’s a tough model to follow, but here we go:
50. Rapolas Ivanauskas – Northwestern / Colgate / Cincinnati (Original Rank: 158)
49. Terrance Ferguson – Prime Prep Academy (Original Rank: 15)
48. Brandon Childress – Wake Forest (Original Rank: 188)
47. Christian Vital – UConn (Original Rank: 229)
46. Jon Teske – Michigan (Original Rank: 147)
45. Alpha Diallo – Providence (Original Rank: 107)
44. Thon Maker – Orangeville Prep (Original Rank: 13)
43. Omer Yurtseven – NC State / Georgetown (Original Rank: 26)
42. Kamar Baldwin – Butler (Original Rank: 181)
41. Skylar Mays – LSU (Original Rank: 111)
40. Anthony Cowan – Maryland (Original Rank: 83)
39. Nick Ward – Michigan State (Original Rank: 50)
38. Zach Collins – Gonzaga (Original Rank: 20)
37. Frank Jackson – Duke (Original Rank: 5)
36. Yoeli Childs – BYU (Original Rank: 153)
35. Elijah Hughes – East Carolina / Syracuse (Original Rank: 195)
34. Josh Okogie – Georgia Tech (Original Rank: 219)
33. John Mooney – Notre Dame (Original Rank: 117)
32. Sam Hauser – Marquette (Original Rank: 114)
31. Shamorie Ponds – St. John’s (Original Rank: 65)
30. Harry Giles – Duke (Original Rank: 3)
Giles didn’t exactly pan out at Duke, but he’s turned into a decent role player with the Sacramento Kings. However, at third, he was one of the biggest falls as far as college basketball recruiting rankings go.
29. Tyus Battle – Syracuse (Original Rank: 39)
At one point, Battle had first-round potential in the NBA. Last season didn’t quite go his way, but at Syracuse he was top dawg.
28. Killian Tillie – Gonzaga (Original Rank: 67)
Tillie was never the leading guy on Gonzaga, but a glue guy that also had a lot of talent. Any coach in America would like to have him.
27. Ty Jerome – Virginia (Original Rank: 31)
Like Tillie, Jerome’s stats won’t blow you away, but his National Championship will. He was a major player on that team.
26. Omari Spellman – Villanova (Original Rank: 27)
Speaking about National Championships. Spellman won one with Villanova, and has shown signs of becoming a decent NBA role player, averaging 7.6 points per game with Golden State last season.
25. Kevin Huerter – Maryland (Original Rank: 85)
Huerter came from a small town near Albany, to a sharpshooter for the Terrapins, to a current NBAer with the Atlanta Hawks.
24. Grant Williams – Tennessee (Original Rank: 203)
203rd is actually absurd considering how well Williams performed in his final two seasons at Tennessee. He also was part of a recent winning culture for the Volunteers.
23. Lamar Stevens – Penn State (Original Rank: 92)
Stevens was one of the best big men in the Big Ten last season. He worked hard to get there, but 92 still seems low.
22. Zavier Simpson – Michigan (Original Rank: 93)
Like Stevens, Simpson is an example of a Big Ten player who really improved since he arrived on campus. He finished third in assists per game in the NCAA last season.
21. Kyle Guy – Virginia (Original Rank: 43)
Like Jerome, Guy brought a Natty to Virginia. He also made one of the most memorable moments in the history of college basketball by knocking down three clutch free throws to down Auburn in the final seconds of the 2019 Final Four.
20. Markelle Fultz – Washington (Original Rank: 4)
While Fultz hasn’t panned out in the NBA, really as one of the biggest busts in recent history, there’s no denying how great he was at Washington.
19. Markus Howard – Marquette (Original Rank: 44)
Howard is the best scorer to grace the floor in recent Power Six basketball history.
18. Payton Pritchard – Oregon (Original Rank: 69)
Pritchard was the floor general for the Ducks for four years, leading them to numerous NCAA Tournaments. His clutch moments also defined him as one of the top players in Pac-12 history.
17. Udoka Azubuike – Kansas (Original Rank: 40)
Azubuike helped the Jayhawks to the number one team in the nation before the NCAA Tournament was canceled this past season.
16. Jonathan Isaac – Florida State (Original Rank: 9)
Isaac has been a steady big man in the NBA. While his college career wasn’t as great as some of the guys below him, his NBA status is proven.
15. Malik Monk – Kentucky (Original Rank: 10)
Like Isaac, Monk has had a pretty decent NBA career, albeit nothing spectacular. He’s still young however, and has scoring ability.
14. Miles Bridges – Michigan State (Original Rank: 11)
Bridges was the top scoring option while with the Spartans, and has had a decent NBA career thus far. He’s one of the few guys that was graded pretty well by college basketball recruiting services.
13. Josh Jackson – Kansas (Original Rank: 1)
Fourteenth really isn’t too bad, but Jackson has been one of the bigger disappointments for players ranked first overall coming out of high school, given he’s yet to make an All-Star game and has already played for two teams in three years.
12. Carsen Edwards – Purdue (Original Rank: 139)
At Purdue, Edwards was one of the top scorers in the nation. What puts him higher than say, Markus Howard – a very comparable player – on the list, was his Elite Eight appearance in 2019.
11. Myles Powell – Seton Hall (Original Rank: 77
Powell was one of the most fun players to watch over the past four years in college basketball. However, the college basketball recruiting guys didn’t really hit it on the mark with this ranking. It’ll be interesting to see if he’ll make an impact in the NBA.
10. Dennis Smith Jr. – NC State (Original Rank: 7)
Smith Jr. was one of the top draft picks in 2017 and has for the most part lived up to that hype. While this season has been full of injuries and chaos with the New York Knicks, he still has a lot of potential and his one of the most athletic players in the NBA.
9. Jarrett Allen – Texas (Original Rank: 17)
Jarrett Allen only played one year with Texas, averaging 13.4 points per game to go along with 8.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks. However, he’s solidified himself as one of the most reliable centers in the NBA, nearly averaging a double-double this season.
8. Rui Hachimura – Gonzaga (Original Rank: 136)
At Gonzaga, Hachimura made his name known by helping the Bulldogs to a gritty win over Zion Williamson at Duke. He won All-American honors among other awards, and has been one of the top rookies in the NBA this season, putting up 13.4 points and 6.0 rebounds before the season was suspended.
7. Cassius Winston – Michigan State (Original Rank: 35)
Cassius Winston is arguably one of the top players in Michigan State basketball history, yet was only ranked 35th in the 2016 247sports college basketball recruiting rankings. He’ll have the odds stacked against him to perform in the NBA, as staying four years may have hurt his draft stock. However, from a pure college standpoint, he had arguably the best career of anyone on this list.
6. De’Andre Hunter – Virginia (Original Rank: 106)
De’Andre Hunter was the defensive key to Virginia’s 2019 National Championship. Oh, and his offense wasn’t too shabby either, nearly posting 30 on Texas Tech. In the NBA, Hunter has shined with the Atlanta Hawks, as one of the top rookies this season.
5. Lauri Markkanen – Arizona (Original Rank: 16)
In his one year at Arizona, Markkanen was good, but no one expected how that would translate to the NBA as it has. In three years with the Chicago Bulls, Markkanen has averages of 16.1 ppg and 7.6 rpg, one of the best statlines from his draft class. Look for him to make an All-Star game down the road.
4. Bam Adebayo – Kentucky (Original Rank: 12)
I personally loved Adebayo’s potential coming out of Kentucky, but still didn’t think it would translate that quickly to the next level. Coming out of college, he was a bit raw offensively, often using his strength to out muscle his opponents. Well, I was half right about his potential, but wrong about how it’s worked in the NBA. Adebayo doubled his point per game average to over 16 a game this season, which includes a career-high 30 points in a game against Atlanta, and his first NBA All-Star appearance.
3. Lonzo Ball – UCLA (Original Rank: 2)
With one of the most scrutinized dads in the history of sports, Lonzo Ball has seemingly quieted the critics and etched his name as more than just the son of Lavar Ball. Drafted second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017, Ball was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans where he’s played this season. His career averages of 10.9 ppg, 6.6 apg and 6.2 rpg shows his value to multiple assets of the game.
2. De’Aaron Fox – Kentucky (Original Rank: 6)
Fox is one of, if not THE quickest player in the NBA, and has made himself into one of the top young guards as well. Before the suspension of the season, he was averaging career highs of 20.4 points and 4.0 rebounds, while still dishing out a very impressive 6.8 assists. Look for Fox to get PAID soon.
1. Jayson Tatum – Duke (Original Rank: 8)
Tatum is by far the one player in this draft class who has not only accomplished a lot, but has the potential to keep growing into one of the best players in the NBA for quite some time. After being drafted by the Boston Celtics out of Duke, Tatum has become their top option. His season averages of 23.6 ppg and 7.1 rpg, while shooting 39.8% from deep speak for themselves.