Nerlens Noel was one of the few first-round picks in the NBA Draft who was ranked a Top 10 pick in high school.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Everybody has questions about the NBA Draft. I have questions, too.
Why did Nerlens Noel slide from the first pick to the sixth? His knee. His interviews. His percentage of body fat.
Did Sacramento get the best value by grabbing Ben McLemore of Kansas with the seventh selection? I vote, "Yes." Who is Livio Jean-Charles and did the Spurs draft him simply because Gregg Popovich wanted to take a trip to Europe? I vote, "Yes," again.
To all those, add one more: How do the recruiting rankings correspond to the way the names went on the board?
I can't answer the first three, but I'll take a whack at number four:
You'd be surprised.
Think about this: I looked at the final high school rankings over the last five seasons from Scout and Rivals. I wanted the numbers for where all the first-round picks were ranked when they left high school.
This is what I found:
Top 10 guys: Four (Nerlens Noel, Shabazz Muhammad, Steven Adams and Anthony Bennett). Those are the Scout rankings. If you use Rivals, you can also add Reggie Bullock, who was ranked 10th in 2010.
Unranked guys: Six (Victor Oladipo, C.J. McCollum, Shane Larkin, Tony Snell, Tim Hardaway Jr, Andre Roberson. NOTE: A typo in my chart lists Oladipo in the 2011 class. He was 2010.)
Foreign guys: Nine. I won't bore you with all the names.
Three more guys were taken who were not ranked in the Top 50 in their classes.
Remember that when your favorite school either lands – or whiffs – with the next Must Have Prospect. Some guys peak when they're 17 years old. Others live in the gym or weight room and improve. Follow the rankings. Don't obsess over the rankings.
The recruiting guys do their best. They nail most of the good players. When you look at the Top 10 guys over the last four years, many are already in the NBA – seven from 2009, nine from 2010 and seven from 2011. You know the names. Anthony Davis, John Wall, Harrison Barnes, Kyrie Irving, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
But there are also three guys from 2009 who have not made the league yet. Adonis Thomas of Memphis and Myck Kabongo – a pair of Top 20 recruits in 2011 – put their names in this draft and didn't get a return phone call.
It happens. It will continue to happen.
It gives the Draft – and college basketball – plenty of fiber and sizzle. It makes for a fun chart, like the one I put together with this story.
It's easy identifying the Nerlens Noels and Anthony Bennetts. It's more enjoyable watching the Victor Oladipos and Shane Larkins push a long line of the Top 50 guys out of the way. They do it every year.