Don't Buy Hype: High School Player Ratings Are Little More Than Ridiculists
Many high school player ratings need to be printed on toilet paper so they can be flushed down the commode. If you seek the latest evidence of their actual worth, simply assess the prep senior class of 2009/college senior class of 2013.
Two of the biggest busts in multiple ways were Renardo Sidney (Mississippi State) and Lance Stephenson (Cincinnati). Have the genius analysts who acknowledged these colossal cancer-causing clowns among the 2009 top 10 recruits on their manifestos gone to confession to deal with their selection sins? In retrospect, it seems inconceivable that Sidney and Stephenson were rated so far ahead of Arizona All-American Derrick Williams.
This critique also extends to rush-to-judgment plaudits from announcers who rely on these lists to hype recruits beyond reason before the impressionable teenagers set foot on a major-college court. There should be a "Duds Not Studs" web site devoted to so-called expert hyperventilating proclamations detailing the seemingly endless sizzle that wound up becoming little more than fizzle.
For instance, the following total of 11 McDonald's All-Americans from 2009 enter this season with college career scoring averages of less than eight points per game: Dominic Cheek (Villanova/7.6 ppg), Abdul Gaddy (Washington/6.4), Milton Jennings (Clemson/7), Wally Judge (Kansas State & Rutgers/4), Ryan Kelly (Duke/6.3), Alex Oriakhi (Connecticut & Missouri/7.2), Mason Plumlee (Duke/7.3), Dexter Strickland (North Carolina/6.7), Dante Taylor (Pittsburgh/5), David Wear (North Carolina & UCLA/6.8) and Travis Wear (North Carolina & UCLA/7.4).
This mistake-ridden mess isn't exactly a new trend. To their credit, at least the current underachievers all have higher scoring averages than McDonald's All-Americans since 1977 such as Darryl Barnes (1989/Georgia Tech/1.5 ppg), Bret Bearup (1980/Kentucky/3.6), Barry Bekkedam (1986/Villanova/2.1), Milton Bell (1988/Georgetown/3.7), Jimmy Braddock (1979/North Carolina/3.7), Pete Budko (1977/North Carolina/1.9), Vasco Evtimov (1996/North Carolina/2.8), Neil Fingleton (2000/North Carolina & Holy Cross/2.6), Bobby Frasor (2005/North Carolina/3.7), Shaun Golden (1989/Georgia/3.2), Bill Heppner (1987/DePaul/0.9), Pete Holbert (1980/Maryland/3), Reggie Jackson (1978/Maryland/3.9), Cedric Jenkins (1984/Kentucky/2.5), James Keefe (2006/UCLA/2.2), Dan Larson (1978/Utah and Santa Clara/3.6), Majestic Mapp (1999/Virginia/3.4), Glenn Mayers (1980/Wake Forest/3.5), Lonnie McFarlan (1980/St. Joseph's/3.7), Raymond McKoy (1979/San Francisco and DePaul/1.5), Martin Nessley (1983/Duke/2.4), Calvin Rayford (1991/Kansas/1.5), Casey Sanders (1999/Duke/2.7), Rodney Walker (1985/Syracuse and Maryland/2.3), Kevin Walls (1984/Louisville/2.7) and Matt Wenstrom (1989/North Carolina/1.6).
Ironic or not, all claims against fast-living Bekkedam and his former Radnor, Pa.-based investment firm were dismissed by investors last winter. He was CEO of Ballamor Capital Management, an integral feeder, funneling $100 million, into what turned out to be a Florida Ponzi scheme. Scott Rothstein, a Fort Lauderdale lawyer, enticed investors by promising a 15% return to invest in confidential settlements that his law firm had supposedly negotiated for plaintiffs.
"I sympathize completely with my fellow victims in this terrible deception," said Bekkedam, who had a reputation for using a private jet to visit clients in out-of-the-way places. "All of us were cruelly swindled by Rothstein (convicted of fraud and serving a 50-year prison sentence)." Seems to resemble the hoax being lured into putting too much stock into high school basketball player ratings!
Meanwhile, the following college seniors-to-be virtually overlooked when they left high school have had just as much, if not significantly more, impact on the sport: Murray State's Isaiah Canaan, Montana's Will Cherry, Central Florida's Keith Clanton, Notre Dame's Jack Cooley, Ohio's D.J. Cooper, BYU's Brandon Davies, Penn State's Tim Frazier, Baylor's Pierre Jackson, Lehigh's C.J. McCollum, Kansas State's Rodney McGruder, San Diego State's Chase Tapley and South Dakota State's Nate Wolters.
When will the myriad of breathless recruiting services and gurus playing loose and fast with the truth invest time issuing "corrections" after all of the returns are in? Errick McCollum Jr., C.J.'s dad, probably summed up the debilitating dialogue best when he told espn.com: "All those coaches and scouts don't know what they're doing. They have jobs to scout talent, but they don't know what they're doing. A plain eye can see that."
If they comprehend accountability, any overdue apologies from the recruiting services can simply lift phrases from Bekkdam's press release about "this terrible deception" and "all of us were cruelly swindled."