College Basketball : LeBron and the Top 10 Recruits from the Class of 2003
If you are a college basketball junkie, you love discovering the latest recruiting info on the top high-school talent in the nation.
This year, it's Julius Randle, Jabari Parker, the Harrison twins and many, many more young players who have been labeled as "can't miss" prospects.
It's also interesting to let a few years pass and check in to see how those phenoms panned out.
Here is a quick review of the Top 10 recruits from the Rivals 150 Class of 2003...10 years later.
As you will see, there is a ridiculously wide range of results in how these players' careers turned out.
Other Players of Note Outside the Class of 2003 Top 10
Here are a few recognizable players from the 2003 recruiting class that were not in the Top 10, but have still made a name for themselves in the NBA:
No. 11 Brandon Bass
No. 13 Travis Outlaw
No. 14 Chris Paul (pictured)
No. 15 Kris Humphries
No. 17 Linas Kleiza
No. 18 Trevor Ariza
No. 34 Aaron Brooks
No. 130 Paul Millsap
10. Leon Powe
Leon Powe, a 6'8" forward out of Oakland, CA, had an eventful three-year collegiate career at Cal.
As a freshman, he was selected as the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and was named to the All Pac-10 first team.
He missed his entire sophomore season due to a serious knee injury, but came back with a vengeance for his junior season.
Powe led the Pac-10 in both scoring (20.5 ppg) and rebounding (10.1 rpg). He was not only named again to the All Pac-10 first team, but he was also selected as an AP second team All-American.
Powe was originally drafted in the second round of the 2006 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets.
Before playing for Denver, he was traded to the Boston Celtics, where he played from 2006-2009.
Powe next played for the Cleveland Cavaliers for a season-and-a-half before being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Over the course of five NBA seasons, he averaged 6.2 ppg and 3.8 rpg while playing around 14 minutes per game.
In March 2012, Powe signed with the Atleticos de San German of Puerto Rico.
9. Brian Butch
Brian Butch, a 6'11" McDonald's All-American from Appleton, WI, made a unique decision for a high-major recruit upon arriving at the University of Wisconsin: he redshirted.
Butch's career with the Badgers was one of incremental growth and development.
It was not until his junior season that he began to consistently show the kind of potential that everyone anticipated upon his arrival in Madison.
As a junior, he averaged 8.8 points, 5.9 rebounds per game and was selected as an All Big Ten honorable mention.
As a senior, it all came together for Butch, averaging 12.4 ppg and 6.6 rpg.
He was not, however, selected in the 2008 NBA Draft.
Since then, he has played professionally in China, Germany, Greece and currently for the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA D-League.
8. James Lang
James Lang was drafted straight out of Central Park Christian High School in Birmingham, AL.
The former McDonald's All-American was selected by the New Orleans Hornets in the second round of the 2003 NBA Draft though he never played a single game for them.
The 6'10" 325 lbs center played for a series of NBA D-League teams before signing two 10-day contracts with the Atlanta Hawks early in the 2006 season but did not see any game action.
Lang played in 11 games in the 2006-07 season for the Washington Wizards, playing 55 minutes, scoring 11 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
In 2008, he again played for the now-defunct Utah Flash (NBADL) before playing overseas in Israel.
It was reported in 2009 that Lang had suffered a life-threatening stroke on the day after Thanksgiving that has him paralyzed on the left side of his body.
7. David Padgett
David Padgett committed originally to play for Roy Williams at Kansas. However, during Padgett's senior year in high school, Williams decided to leave KU and take the head coaching job at North Carolina.
Padgett played his freshmen season at Kansas before transferring to Louisville where he had a solid career as a three-year starter that culminated in a trip to the Elite Eight as a a senior.
Even though the 6'11" 245 lbs center from Reno, NV was undrafted out of college, he was signed by the Miami Heat in the summer of 2008, only to be waived before the beginning of the 2008-09 season.
After Padgett played two years in Spain, he returned to to Louisville as the team's assistant strength coach.
After spending the '10-11 season in that position, he became a full-time assistant coach at IUPUI.
6. Kendrick Perkins
Kendrick Perkins is another player from the Class of 2003 who was drafted straight out of high school.
The 6'10" 270 lbs center out of Beaumont, TX was selected in the first round by the Memphis Grizzlies, and then promptly traded to the Boston Celtics.
After playing marginally his first two NBA seasons, Perkins filled a starting role for the Celtics for the next five seasons.
In the middle of the 2011 season, Perkins, a defense and rebounding specialist, was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he continues to be a starter.
Going into his tenth NBA season, Perkins has career averages of 6.2 ppg and 6.2 rpg.
5. Charlie Villanueva
Charlie Villanueva played two quality years out of high school at UConn.
During his freshman season, he was a key player off the bench for the Huskies' 2004 NCAA Championship team.
The 6'11" 235 lbs forward came into his own as a sophomore, averaging 13.6 ppg and 8.3 rpg.
After two seasons at UConn, Villanueva entered the 2005 NBA Draft and was selected in the first round by the Toronto Raptors.
He delivered a strong first season where he was the league's No. 2 scorer and rebounder among rookies and was named to the All-NBA Rookie first team.
Villanueva was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, where he had three more solid seasons.
In 2009, Villanueva found himself starting all over again with the Detroit Pistons, where he continues to play.
He has posted respectable numbers (12.5 ppg; 5.5 rpg) in his seven years in the Association.
4. Ndudi Ebi
Ndudi Ebi originally committed to play for the University of Arizona, but he changed his mind and entered the 2003 NBA Draft instead.
Ebi was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round.
After playing sparingly his first two years for the T-Wolves, Ebi began to play overseas in Israel, Italy and Lebanon.
He is currently under contract to play the upcoming season for Sidigas Avellino in Italy.
3. Shannon Brown
Shannon Brown has had more ups than downs in his hoops career..
After being a McDonald's All-American selection out of Proviso East H.S. in Maywood, IL, Brown starred for three seasons at Michigan State.
Brown was second team All-Big Ten as a junior before he entered the 2006 NBA Draft, where he was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
After a promising rookie season, Brown bounced back-and-forth between the Association and the D-League for the next two years.
The 6'4" 210 lbs SG played briefly during the 2008 season for the Chicago Bulls, before he was signed by the Charlotte Bobcats.
In the middle of the 2008-09 season, Brown was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers where he played through the 2010-11 season and won two NBA Championships.
Brown currently plays for the Phoenix Suns, where he scored a career-high 11 ppg last season.
2. Luol Deng
Luol Deng has overcome some significant circumstances on his way to being an NBA star.
Deng and his family left their home in the Sudan to go to Egypt before settling in England.
At the age of 14, Luol moved to the United States where he attended Blair Academy in New Jersey, the same school for which Charlie Villanueva played.
Deng decided to play for Coach K at Duke where he averaged 15.1 ppg as a freshman.
The 6'9" 220 lbs forward entered the 2004 NBA Draft where he was selected with the seventh overall pick by the Chicago Bulls.
Deng has continued to play for Chicago ever since, where he has averaged 16 ppg, 6.4 rpg ad 2.3 apg over his eight years in the Association.
He was selected as an NBA All Star this past season.
1. LeBron James
LeBron James is one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
His NBA career, which started by being the No. 1 overall 2003 draft pick right out of high school, has been exceptional in numerous ways.
As of this past season, he has been an NBA champion, the NBA Finals MVP, a three-time NBA MVP, a two-time Olympic goal medalist and an eight-time NBA All Star.
And he is only 27 years old.
His regular season career averages are amazing (27.6 ppg; 7.2 rpg and 6.8 apg).
But his postseason averages are even better (28.5 ppg; 8.7 rpg and 6.7 apg).
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