The Incredible Derrick Williams and the Curious Case of College Basketball Recruiting

It’s been a while since I’ve used the most cliched title gimmick in blogging. Ahh…feels good.

Before I begin this post, let me state something right off the bat: I’m not going to break any new ground here with my overall point. We all know that recruiting, in both basketball and football and everything else, is an inexact science at best.

The history of big time college sports – where boatloads of time, effort, and money are spent by universities and “gurus” to scout and recruit high school players – is littered with highly ranked players who have flopped and lowly ranked players who have flown to the top. It is what it is and it always will be.

If you’re looking for some kind of profound statement about recruiting, you’re not going to find it here. But, with the furor that my fanbase and I whipped ourselves up into yesterday with the commitment of Jeremy Hollowell (top 40 prospect!) to play his college basketball in Bloomington, I think a quick recruiting reality check is worthwhile.

So here goes: how in the samhell did everyone (but Arizona, obviously) miss on Derrick Williams – who was rated lower than, wait for it…wait for it…Bawa Muniru.

Cue: facepalm.


GIFSoup

In case you need a refresher about the great Derrick Williams, who is pushing himself to the top of NBA Draft charts with each scintillating Tournament performance, just look at his exploits against Duke last night:

  • 35 points on 11-17 shooting (including 5-6 from downtown, where he is shooting 60.3% on the year!)
  • 13 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals
  • Scored the majority of his points in the first half when Arizona was on the ropes before they blew Duke’s doors off in the second half

For the season, Williams is averaging 19.5 points per game, 8.4 rebounds, and his field goal percentage, like his 3-pt percentage, is an other-worldly 60.2%.

Needless to say, he won’t be playing for Arizona next year. He’ll be coming to an NBA city near you.

derrick-williamsGiven the incredible athletic ability, all-around basketball skill, obvious killer instinct, and leadership qualities that he is exhibiting just two years removed from his senior year of high school, you would think that Williams was probably a pretty highly rated player right?

Wrong.

Here is the Rivals Top 150 for the class of 2009. Scroll through there and look for Derrick Williams name. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

He is nowhere to be found. Derrick Williams was nothing more than a 3-star player coming out of high school. In related news, Shelvin Mack of Butler was also a 3-star player.

Here are a few local names you might have heard of who were ranked higher than Williams, and who, theoretically, you would have been more excited about your team signing:

  • Garrick Sherman, Michigan State (#75)
  • D.J. Byrd, Purdue (#102)
  • Derek Elston, Indiana (#103)
  • Bawa Muniru, Indiana (#112)
  • Mike Bruesewitz, Wisconsin (#118)

There are others, but I think the point has been made, and I think it’s a good one to remind ourselves of from time to time.

One reason why I am trying to exercise caution when it comes to Indiana’s impending recruiting classes is that you just never know how good a guy is going to be until he shows up on campus. Just because Jeremy Hollowell is ranked in the top 40 and Ron Patterson isn’t, doesn’t mean that Hollowell will be the better player. Just because Derek Elston was ranked in the top 150 and Derrick Williams wasn’t, doesn’t mean that Arizona got a stiff and Indiana got a future star or even contributor – obviously.

Also, it bears mentioning that on ESPN’s final top 100 list for 2009, Derrick Williams did make it. Granted, he was at #72, behind names such as Christian Watford and Royce White, but it goes to show that in addition to sometimes being inaccurate, recruiting rankings are always fluid. Just because a junior is a top 20 or top 100 player now, doesn’t mean he still will be in a year when he’s a senior. High school kids are growing and maturing rapidly; as athletic ability and physical maturity evens out, it can shuffle up the recruiting lists. Perhaps this is what happened in the case of Williams.

So, to my fellow Indiana fans and to everyone else whose teams are landing commitments from big time recruits: get excited, but maintain perspective. Not only will it make you a smarter and more sane sports fan, but more importantly it will help you to maintain realistic expectations for these 18- and 19-year old kids once they’re on campus.

This is not say that recruiting is irrelevant; no, not at all. College sports are still ruled by recruiting, and always will be. So unless you have a mastermind coach like Brilliant Brad Stevens you have to bring in highly ranked classes consistently to have the horses to win on a yearly basis. But, stories like Derrick Williams’ just go to show that superstars can come from anywhere on a recruiting rankings list – and sometimes even off the list altogether.



About Jerod Morris

I love words. I write for Copyblogger and founded MSF, The Assembly Call, & Primility. I practice yoga, eat well, & strive for balance. I love life. Namaste. Say hi on Twitter, Facebook, & G+.

Comments

  1. MidWest Fan says:

    Derrick Williams was a USC recruit before he and two others left for Arizona when the OJ Mayo sanctions hit the program. He was not unknown in LA, just not a realistic recruit as he'd been a Trojan fan since he was a child.

    • Ah, gotcha. Thanks for the insight. That makes some sense. Still, you'd think that considering the skill and athleticism he is showing now, that he'd have been a slam dunk top 10 guy. Just shows that some guys take longer to manifest their true potential.

  2. centigrade
    http://www.geheimorden.com/ [url=http://www.geheimorden.com/]http://www.geheimorden.com/[/url]

  3. sometime
    bogner shiva

  4. This paragraph is actually a nice one it assists new the web people, who are wishing in favor of blogging.

  5. With my endometriosis, does it mean I can never have children. Endometriosis cysts are an ovarian abnormality that grow faster than simple cysts or what are called Dermoid. Dysmenorrhea may involve sharp, intermittent pain or dull, aching pain.

  6. Good post. I learn something totally new and challenging on blogs I stumbleupon every day. It will always be exciting to read through articles from other authors and practice a little something from other websites.

  7. Every after inside a while we select blogs that we read. Listed beneath are the most recent sites that we pick out

  8. Very good written article. It will be useful to anybody who employess it, including yours truly . Keep up the good work for sure i will check out more posts.

  9. Excellent blog here! Also your site loads up very fast! What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host? I wish my web site loaded up as fast as yours lol

  10. I think this is among the most significant information for me. And i’m glad reading your article. But should remark on some general things, The website style is great, the articles is really excellent : D. Good job, cheers

  11. Hi there are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you require any html coding expertise to make your own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  12. Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your content seem to be running off the screen in Safari.

  13. This is what can be done with silicones that would be surgically put in under the breast. Plenty of Leopard Sharks in the deeper parts, schooling Chevron Barracudas, Batfish and hunting Tunas. Ferrari was going through a slump, the Delorean was made of tinfoil and no disrespect to the French, but the Venturi was hardly a supercar thoroughbred.

  14. Hello, yup this article is in fact pleasant and I have learned lot of things from it on the topic of blogging. thanks.

  15. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  16. If you are concerned to learn Web optimization strategies then you have to read this article, I am sure you will take much more from this post on the topic of Search engine marketing.

  17. Everyone loves what you guys are up too. This sort of clever work and exposure! Keep up the very good works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll.Feel free to surf to my blog cheap jordans

  18. Link exchange is nothing else but it is only placing the other person’s website link on your page at proper place and other person will also do similar for you.

  19. Do you have a spam problem on this site; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to know your situation; we have developed some nice procedures and we are looking to trade solutions with other folks, why not shoot me an email if interested.

  20. Please let me know if you’re looking for a article author for your blog. You have some really good posts and I feel I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love to write some material for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please shoot me an e-mail if interested. Thanks!

  21. Real superb info can be found on web site.

  22. Hey! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I genuinely enjoy reading through your articles. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same subjects? Thanks for your time!|

  23. I think the admin of this web site is truly working hard for his web site, as here every data is quality based material.

  24. Exceptional post however I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more. Thank you!

  25. I would like to thnkx for the efforts you’ve put in writing this site. I’m hoping the same high-grade site post from you in the upcoming as well. In fact your creative writing skills has encouraged me to get my own site now. Actually the blogging is spreading its wings quickly. Your write up is a great example of it.

Speak Your Mind