How many times have we seen this before?
All-Americans in college turn into huge busts in the NBA. It happens every year, without fail. The two guys pictured, J.J. Redick and Shelden Williams, tore up the college landscape in 2006 as seniors, were both top 11 picks...and haven't remotely lived up to their expectations in the NBA.
(Redick is only beginning to emerge as a potential NBA starter; Williams' wife, Candace Parker, is legitimately a better basketball player than he is.)
In 2007, the debate between drafting Greg Oden or Kevin Durant with the No. 1 overall pick lasted until draft day. Oden's missed more than a full season with injuries in his three seasons; Durant was Rookie of the Year and currently ranks second in scoring in the NBA, behind only LeBron James.
2008 brought us a similar guard vs. big man No. 1 pick debate between Derrick Rose and Michael Beasley. Rose, who the Bulls selected first overall, won Rookie of the Year and nearly led his team to a playoff upset over the heavily-favored Boston Celtics; Beasley's yet to achieve anything close to his dominant college numbers and still struggles on defense.
Meanwhile, the top 10 has been littered with guys brimming with "NBA potential" in the past few years, only for teams to discover that their "potential" guys never live up to their lofty draft status (See: Joe Alexander, more recently Hasheem Thabeet).
For guys like John Wall and Evan Turner, expected to be the top two picks in the draft, you won't find 'em on this list.
But read on to see 10 of the NCAA's biggest stars that won't end up translating to the NBA (including a projected top five pick!).
You always have to start a list like this with a "gimme," and Harangody's the biggest bust "gimme" in the NCAA.
'Gody could win four back-to-back Big East Player of the Year awards, for all I care. His game—overly reliant on plowing his doughy body right near the rim to gather offensive rebounds and putbacks—won't translate when he's trying to plow through Shaquille O'Neal and Dwight Howard instead of college players.
Harangody's been a terrific college player and was well-deserving of his Big East POY last season.
But as his team has shown in their past few games while's he's been sidelined with a foot injury, they appear to be better without him. 'Gody had clogged up ball movement on a team that's lived and died by the three for years.
Look for 'Gody to follow in Aaron Gray's footsteps in the NBA, if he manages to get drafted in the second round this season. (If he gets drafted in the first round, the team that drafts him will be the NBA draft donkey of the year.)
After watching Lucas lead his Spartans all the way to the NCAA title game last season, it might be hard to imagine the floor general of an NCAA finalist not becoming an NBA star.
Lucas, who's undersized at 6' and 180 lbs, certainly comes to the NBA with some red flags. He's always been a prolific scorer in college. He's averaged double-digit scoring figures every year at Michigan State, but there's no guarantee Lucas will be anything more than a one-dimensional scorer in the NBA.
His scoring figures are the only thing to jump off the page. His assist per game average has dropped from 4.6 to 4.1 this season, and his defensive scrappiness translates into surprisingly few steals.
Against Ty Lawson in that NCAA championship game last season, Lucas was abused. He shot 4-of-12 and turned the ball over six times.
Lawson went on to become the 18th pick of the draft and has become a revelation for under 6' guards in the NBA. Lucas returned to school and may be privy to do so for his senior year.
Lately, Lucas appears mired in a late-season swoon; he scored only eight points and committed eight turnovers in a 53-44 win over Purdue (sans Robbie Hummel) yesterday.
Lucas will likely develop into a solid backup point guard in the NBA, but not much more than that.
For most fans in the Big East, it feels like Scottie Reynolds has been in college for the past seven years. Fear not, Big East fans: Reynolds is in fact a senior this season and will be graduating this spring, never to return in a Villanova uniform again.
Unfortunately for Reynolds, his likely Big East Player of the Year award won't result in success at the next level.
Reynolds' name had been tossed around in the lottery conversation as a freshman, and he's been flirting with the NBA draft process ever since.
Reynolds' seems to have forgotten the draft mantra: "Give scouts more time to scour your game, and they'll pick you apart until you're down to nothing."
Now, he'll be fighting to squeak into the first round of the draft, despite leading Villanova to a top-10 ranking for the entire season.
Much like Lucas, questions abound regarding Reynolds' ability to do anything besides score at the next level.
Reynolds has been regarded as a volume shooter with a solid three-point stroke at the college level. Despite displaying better shot selection this season, he's still got the reputation of taking questionable shots.
Some team is likely to take a chance on Reynolds this June, but it's hard to imagine him as having a higher ceiling than being a solid sixth man.
Would you believe that Jon Scheyer has the sixth highest offensive rating in Division I basketball this season?
Would you believe that it won't matter at all when it comes to his NBA career?
Scheyer's a solid three-point shooter, knocking down over 40 percent from downtown this season. But as evidenced by Reynolds and Lucas, shooting ability only takes a player so far in the NBA.
Meanwhile, fair or not, Scheyer's Duke pedigree will give him the reputation of being soft defensively, especially as he enters the league.
It's taken Redick four years to show signs of truly committing on defense. Will a defensive mentality click faster for Scheyer, or will a coach grow sick of him first?
At 6'5", 190 lbs., Scheyer's a bit of a tweener of the guard positions—he's got the height of a two-guard but lacks the side-to-side foot speed to allow him to guard shooting guards effectively.
Any player in the NBA can knock down open shots. Can Scheyer get free and create his own routinely? Which role does he play in the backcourt for a team? Can he do anything besides score?
These are all questions Scheyer will have to answer to prove his worth at the next level.
This writer's best guess: He won't get very far.
Much like MSU's Lucas, it may be hard for some to imagine Sherron Collins, one of the heroes in Kansas' national championship run two years ago, as an eventual NBA bust.
To that, I'd have one thing to say: calling Derrick Coleman?
Coleman, much like Collins, came into the league with major conditioning concerns. Unlike Coleman, Collins doesn't have the physical gifts to compensate for those conditioning problems.
Collins has a history of gaining 20 to 30 pounds each offseason, then starting off slow before getting it going late in the season.
An 11-4-6 performance in the championship game two years ago gave Kansas fans hope that he and Cole Aldrich could ease the transition between losing seniors and NBA players.
Collins can deal damage offensively in a number of ways, but his diminutive height (listed at 5'11", likely an inch or two shorter) will certainly give GMs some pause.
He's got the brawn to bully scrawny point guards, but the fact that his field goal percentage has dropped each year won't help his draft stock any.
Besides Chris Paul, there are very few point guards in the NBA below 6'0" who make a nightly impact. It'd be a mistake to expect Collins to be the next great one.
When you post the worst vertical leap at the NBA draft combine, it's never typically a great sign for your NBA chances.
Welcome to Greivis Vasquez's world. After turning some heads in the NCAA tournament last year, Vasquez managed to jump only 26.5 inches off the ground at the combine, bringing up a number of questions about his athleticism.
There's no question Vasquez can ball at the college level. Vasquez is a combo-guard who'll kill you shooting, passing and rebounding. He's averaging Tyreke Evans-esque numbers this season. He's also shooting a career-high 38 percent from behind the three-point line.
But it's easier to go for triple-doubles in the ACC than it is in the NBA, and there's legitimate concern over whether Vasquez has the strength and/or athleticism to compete with guys on the next level.
The fact that he can barely jump two feet off the ground suggests that he'll likely remain a dribble-drive guard, not a guy with the ability to knock down jump shots from anywhere on the court.
But Vasquez is listed as a hair under 200 pounds and he's 6'6", raising questions about whether or not he'll ever be able to be as strong defensively as he is offensively.
Vasquez can make plays on a basketball court, there's no doubt about that. The doubts only come when considering Vasquez as a potential NBA starter, as it's hard to imagine a guy like Vasquez not being ritualistically abused on defense every night.
And speaking of guards who will get ritualistically abused on defense...Devan Downey from South Carolina, come on down!
In all seriousness, Downey likely popped up on people's radars after leading South Carolina to an upset win over then-undefeated Kentucky earlier in the season.
Downey, the 5'9" lightning bolt of a point guard, managed to score 30 points to guide the Gamecocks to a 68-62 win just one month ago.
But that game also indicated one of Downey's biggest red flags: He's a volume shooter who lacks accuracy from long range.
In the Kentucky game, Downey only knocked down 9-of-29 shots, earning 10 of his 30 points from the free throw line.
Combined with 33 percent shooting from downtown, sub-40 percent shooting overall, and a Nate Robinson-esque body, Downey will cause some serious heartburn for whichever team drafts him.
He's got the ability to score, but he's also a turnover machine. If he's jacking up 20-25 shots a game, he can lead a team to victory, but can he slide into a complementary role? Is he a proficient enough shooter to carve a niche in the NBA?
Based on his four years in college, it's unlikely that Downey will be able to follow in Nate Rob's tiny footsteps.
This picture is worth more than a thousand words.
I'll admit. I have an unnatural hatred for Kyle Singler. I think his goofy, E.T.-looking self has zero place in the NBA.
Largely, this comes from the fact that Singler seems to shrink away in bigger games and against tougher opponents, which has to leave GMs skeptical about his night-in, night-out NBA ability.
He's also adopted Coach K's "flop like a wet fish" defense with great amounts of success, as any four-year Krzyzewski player should.
When Coach K betrayed his favorite alien player by moving him from the 4 to the 3 this year (putting him at the position he'll play in the NBA), Singler managed to largely choke in his new responsibilities.
Despite being a long-range aficionado (he's shooting over 40 percent from three this season), his overall FG percentage has plummeted over the year, and he's barely shooting above 40 percent overall from the field.
He's got decent size for his position (6'8"), but he needs to start drinking protein shakes from now until October to have a chance against NBA forwards.
His absolute ceiling strikes me as a [very, very, very] poor man's version of Rashard Lewis, a stretch 3 or 4 who favors offense far more than defense.
No one reasonably expected North Carolina to remain in the upper echelon of the NCAA this season after losing its three best players to the NBA draft after last season.
No one could have imagined a drop off this dramatic. The senior who was expected to step up in Hansbrough and Lawson's absence, Deon Thompson, has been so relatively quiet that he likely won't sniff the NBA draft this season.
He and Marcus Ginyard were expected to be the senior leaders who stepped up and kept the Tar Heels at least NCAA-worthy.
While Thompson's leading the Tar Heels with 13.8 ppg, he's only averaging 6.2 rebounds per game in only 26.2 minutes.
That's been good for all of four wins in the ACC, which is going through a down year itself.
With Ed Davis sidelined by a broken wrist that will almost certainly keep him out the rest of the season, the suffering is nearly over for UNC. They'll get knocked out in the ACC tournament early and that will be all she wrote for the season.
For Thompson, that spells the end of an NCAA career. If a team takes a risk on drafting him, they likely won't reap many rewards from their decision.
Of all the players in this slideshow, Johnson's easily got the best shot at settling into an NBA starting lineup.
He's being projected as a top-5 overall pick, but the franchise that selects him that high will regret their decision for years to come.
Johnson's going to fall in the "Andre Iguodala" category of NBA players—guys who get paid No. 1 money when they're really a solid second or third option on a team.
Johnson's a great defender, has shown intensity on the glass this season and has surprising consistency on his jumper from nearly any range.
But he's already 22-years-old, which is reminiscent of Al Thornton from 2007 and his unreached potential.
The big fear about Thornton, who was then 24 at the time he got drafted, was that he'd already come close to peaking, basketball-wise.
The same fears should apply to Johnson. Will Johnson be able to create his own shot in the league next year? He'll absolutely need to add 20-30 pounds of muscle to stay competitive.
Again, he's got a better chance than any of these guys to make it to the NBA and stick for a long time.
But if I'm a GM choosing third this year, I'm picking DeMarcus Cousins over Wesley Johnson, with Cousins' character questions and all.
It's not that I'm not sold on Cole Aldrich in general. In fact, I'm fully convinced some GM will find a way to plug Aldrich into his lineup productively.
I am skeptical, however, if a GM decides to force Aldrich into the wrong front court situation.
At 6'10", 245 lbs, Aldrich has the size of an Al Horford-esque center. If Horford got picked up by a team in the East, and he'd have to bang around with guys like Shaq and D-Howard, it's hard to see him not getting dominated in those matchups.
Aldrich definitely has a high NBA ceiling. He's a great rebounder and shot blocker with a solid jumper on offense. To me, his ideal situation seems similar to what Pau Gasol's got going on with the Lakers.
If a team could plug Aldrich in as their starting 4, alongside a legitimate 7-footer in the post, that team would have a terrifying front court.
But if Aldrich, who's projected to go as a top-10 pick this season, is expected to be the backbone of a franchise revival for a crappy team lacking a center next season (hello, Sacramento), then he could find himself struggling more than expected in the NBA.
[Worst case scenario: D-Wade leaves Miami, Heat pick Aldrich, Beasley and Aldrich form "front court of the future" and get rocked for the next three seasons.]