BOZICH | Game drain: Ranking the all-stars who left college bask - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Game drain: Ranking the all-stars who left college basketball early

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Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker and D'Angelo Russell (from left) top the list of local former McDonald's all-Americans in the NBA who could be in college basketball. Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker and D'Angelo Russell (from left) top the list of local former McDonald's all-Americans in the NBA who could be in college basketball.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – There are 96 former McDonald’s all-Americans who could be playing college basketball this season.

But that would be terrible for their reputations and even worse for their W2 forms. It’s all about The League. College has becoming a connecting flight.

Freshmen, all 24 of them, don’t have a choice unless they want to play overseas. The 72 guys who played in the 2012, 2013 and 2014 McDonald’s all-American games did have a choice. Half of those players – 36 in all – no longer play college basketball.

They’re pros. I didn’t said they were in the NBA. I said they were getting paid.

This is more than an update on what they are doing today. It’s also a fresh, 1-to-35 ranking of how their careers have unfolded. (One player was advised to stop playing the game for health reasons.)

Play ball.

1. Karl-Anthony Towns, 2014 game, Kentucky, 15.8 ppg, Minnesota Timberwolves, $5.7 million.

He still looks like the next great big man in the NBA. Towns is shooting 53 percent from the field and a more dazzling nearly 86 percent from the line. The Timberwolves are on track to increase their win total from last season by 50 percent.

Kevin Durant recently said that Towns was destined for the Hall of Fame. You can fuss at Durant. I’m not.

2. Jahlil Okafor, 2014 game, Duke, 17.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg, Philadelphia 76ers, $4.58 million.

Yes, he is the leading scorer in the group but he’s made as many headlines off the court as he has on the court. And, Philadelphia is 7-40. I prefer Towns.

3. Andrew Wiggins, 2013 game, Kansas, 16.9 ppg, 4.6 rpg, Minnesota Timberwolves, $5.76 million.

There must be days when the Cavaliers wonder what they were thinking when they made the deal that allowed Minnesota to have Wiggins so Cleveland could have Kevin Love. Like a lot of days. Like every day. Like all the time.

4. D’Angelo Russell, 2014 game, Ohio State, 16.3 ppg, 4.4 assists, Los Angeles Lakers, $5.1 million.

Google Russell’s name as well as the word “criticized.” You’ll discover that both Lakers coach Bryan Scott and Kobe Bryant have fussed at the former Louisville Central star in the last two weeks. They might be cranky old men, but they have their reasons.

5. Jabari Parker, 2013 game, Duke, 12.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg, Milwaukee Bucks, $5.15 million.

He’s giving the Bucks a solid 28 minutes per game, which deserves a salute considering Parker missed most of last season with a serious leg injury.

6. Emmanuel Mudiay, 2014 game, SMU, 11.1 ppg, 5.7 apg, Denver Nuggets, $3.1 million.

He’s fifth overall, and first among rookies, in turnovers, which can happen when you handle the ball all the time on a bad team.

7. Gary Harris, 2012 game, Michigan State, 11.3 ppg, Denver Nuggets, $1.59 million.

He’s getting more than double the minutes he earned last season and will likely get even more time if he keeps making 37 percent of his shots from distance.

8. T.J. Warren, 2012 game, North Carolina State, 10.9 ppg, Phoenix, Suns, $2.04 million.

Look beyond the scoring average. The Suns expect a 6-foot-8 power forward to average more than 3.2 rebounds.

9. Marcus Smart, 2012 game, Oklahoma State, 9.0 ppg, Boston Celtics, $3.43 million.

Now that he’s healthy, Smart is getting 27 minutes per game, but Brad Stevens uses him off the bench.

10. Myles Turner, 2014 game, Texas, 8.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg, Indiana Pacers, $2.36 million.

The Pacers had enough faith in Turner that they sent Roy Hibbert to Los Angeles. No reason for regrets.

11. Shabazz Muhammad, 2012 game, UCLA, 10.0 ppg, Minnesota Timberwolves, $2.06 million.

That’s correct. The Timberwolves have three former McDonald’s all-Americans who could still be playing college ball.

12. Devin Booker, 2014 game, Kentucky, 9.2 ppg, Phoenix Suns, $2.1 million.

You could make the argument Booker belongs in the top 10 because he’s getting more time lately and averaging 20 points over the Suns’ last five games.

13. Stanley Johnson, 2014 game, Arizona, 8.2 ppg, Detroit Pistons, $2.8 million.

I’m not sure why more than a third of his field-goal attempts have been three-pointers, but that’s what Johnson is doing, chucking.

14. Aaron Gordon, 2013 game, Arizona, 7.3 ppg, Orlando Magic, $4.2 million.

His shooting percentage and rebound totals are improving but he’s not close to a $4 million player. Not close at all.

15. Bobby Portis, Arkansas, 2013 game, 6.5 ppg, Chicago Bulls, $1.39 million.

There aren’t a lot of minutes for a rookie on a winning team, but Portis has delivered six double-figure games when he’s had a chance to perform.

16. Archie Goodwin, Kentucky, 2012 game, 6.8 ppg, Phoenix Suns, $1.2 million.

You rarely hear his name around Rupp Arena any more, but the Suns are playing Goodwin 16 minutes as his scoring average keeps improving.

17. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, 2013 game, Arizona, 5.2 ppg, Brooklyn Nets, $1.3 million.

I confess. I’m surprised he is playing this well.

18. Justise Winslow, 2014 game, Duke, 5.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg, Miami Heat, $2.48 million.

I wonder if he got paid by ESPN because his name is mentioned in that commercial with Mike Krzyzewski and his two grandsons.

19. Trey Lyles, 2014 game, Kentucky, 5.0 ppg, Utah Jazz, $2.2 million.

 For $2.2 million, he had to leave after one season, but Lyles would have been a top five pick in the 2016 draft.

20. Kelly Oubre, 2014 game, Kansas, 4.4 ppg, Washington Wizards, $1.9 million.

I’ve never been gaga about his game. I’m not sure the Wizards are either, considering he’s averaging less than 14 minutes.

21. Kyle Anderson, 2012 game, UCLA, 3.7 ppg, San Antonio Spurs, $1.14 million.

The kid is a second-year pro earning a few more minutes from Gregg Popovich, a guy who prefers that his guys have 10 or more years of experience.

22. Noah Vonleh, 2013 game, Indiana, 3.7 ppg, Portland Trailblazers, $2.64 million.

The Hornets gave up on him after one season and so far they have no reason to second-guess the trade for Nicolas Batum.

23. James Young, 2013 game, Kentucky, 3.4 ppg, Boston Celtics, $1.75 million.

I had to check if Young has spent any time with the Maine Red Claws in the NBA Developmental League. Yep, five games.

24. Tyus Jones, 2014 game, Duke, 3.0 ppg, Minnesota Timberwolves, $1.28 million.

He’s played nine games for the Timberwolves and six for the Idaho Stampede, hardly a glamorous ratio.

25. Rashad Vaughn, 2014 game, UNLV, 2.3 ppg, Milwaukee Bucks, $1.73 million.

You didn’t realize he was in the league? Neither did I.

26. Anthony Bennett, 2012 game, UNLV, 1.5 ppg, Toronto Raptors, $947,276.

Third season. Third team. Same results.

27. Cliff Alexander, 2014 game, Kansas, 1.4 ppg in 31 total minutes, Portland Trailblazers, $525,093.

Anybody remember when this guy punked Illinois when he announced he was going to Kansas? Who’s laughing now?

28. Aaron Harrison, 2013 game, Kentucky, 0.7 ppg, Charlotte Hornets, $525,093.

The Hornets like him enough that he’s only played one game in the D-League, and he’s gotten on the court in Charlotte’s last three games.

29. Kevon Looney, 2014 game, UCLA, 8.0 ppg, Santa Cruz Warriors (D-League) $1.13 million.

He was getting paid to watch the best team in basketball until he was shipped to Santa Cruz at the beginning of the month.

30. Andrew Harrison, 2013 game, Kentucky, 17.7 ppg, Iowa Energy (D-League), $30,000 (est.).

Until his shooting percentage climbs over 40.7 percent, don’t expect to see him in The Association.

31. Jarrell Martin, 2013 game, Louisiana State, 12.8 ppg, Iowa Energy (D-League), $30,000 (est.)

The poor guy is missing the Ben Simmons Show in Baton Rouge.

32. Dakari Johnson, 2013 game, Kentucky, 12.2 ppg, Oklahoma City Blue (D-League), $30,000 (est).

The poor guy is missing the wall-to-wall coverage he would have received at UK during Green Room Week. Should have stayed in Lexington.

33. Brandon Ashley, 2012 game, Arizona, 10.9 ppg, Texas Legends (D-League), $30,000 (est).

It’s not difficult to recite his NBA statistics: zero, zero, zero, zero, zero.

34. Chris Walker, 2013 game, Florida, 10.7 ppg, Rio Grande Valley Vipers (D-League), $30,000 (est).

My advice would be do not take him for your NBA Fantasy League team.

35. Grant Jerrett, 2012 game, Arizona, waived by Utah Jazz, $947,276.

If you have any information where this guy is playing today, please let me know. Former Baylor Isaiah Austin had 10 points in the 2012 McDonald’s all-American game and had a nice career at Baylor. But doctors advised Austin to stop playing basketball after he was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome.

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