College Basketball: Ranking the Next 10 Likely One-and-Done Players
Over the past five years, college basketball has had a constant crop of players who come to college, stay one year and then bolt for the NBA. These players are commonly known as "The One-and-Dones."
Some fans love it, others hate it, but the fact is that college basketball has gotten used to these one-year athletes.
With the 2011-12 season slowly creeping up, it's time to look at the next group of kids who will likely stay on campus for only a season.
Typically, there are between five and 10 freshmen who leave early, and because of this, I will be including a few players who are not due to arrive on campus until the 2012-13 season as I don't see there being 10 freshmen who will be declaring for the NBA draft next season.
At least, I hope not.
10. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia
6'4", 190 pounds, No. 23 overall on ESPNU top 100, No. 6 Shooting Guard
When Georgia Bulldog stars Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie left a year early for the NBA (a questionable decision on both parts), the door opened for a player to come in an take care of the scoring load.
Enter Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, a wing player who can score as well as anyone in the 2011 class aside from maybe Austin Rivers.
I expect Caldwell-Pope to contend for Freshman of the Year honors in the SEC and most likely lead the Bulldogs in scoring.
He's a bit of a sleeper, and I'm not sure declaring after one year would be a wise decision on his part, but there have been more than a few freshmen who made poor decisions regarding their draft status (I'm looking at you, Jeremie Richmond).
9. Quincy Miller, Baylor
6'9", 210 pounds, No. 6 overall on ESPNU top 100, No. 3 Power Forward
Quincy Miller arrives at Baylor as one of the most highly regarded recruits in the program's history. A versatile forward, Miller is going to be one of the most difficult matchups in the country for opposing teams to handle.
With Miller, and the return of Perry Jones, Baylor has the talent to be one of the best teams in the country. If they're able to make a solid run in the NCAA tournament, I could definitely see Miller being satisfied with his accomplishments and moving on to the NBA as a potential top 10 pick.
8. Isaiah Austin
7'0", 200 pounds, No. 2 overall on ESPNU Top 100 (2012), No. 2 Center
The first of three 2012 recruits, Isaiah Austin has verbally committed to Baylor, but because he's not been allowed to sign yet, I'm leaving his future college destination open.
Austin is part of a 2012 class that is loaded with big men. With the NBA severely lacking in that department, Austin will likely be a top 10 pick when he declares for the draft because of his height and versatility to play on the outside as well as down low.
Obviously, at just 200 pounds, he needs to put on a ton of weight, but NBA teams are notorious for taking long-term projects in the lottery.
7. Marquis Teague, Kentucky
6'2", 175 pounds, No. 7 overall on ESPNU top 100, No. 1 Point Guard
For the past four years, coach John Calipari has brought in an elite point guard, and each year that player has left after one season to become a top 10 pick. Marquis Teague will be no different.
Teague is possibly the quickest player in the 2011 class and is at his best going up-tempo and getting into transition. He'll remind some people of John Wall in that aspect, though maybe not quite as explosive.
6. LeBryan Nash, Oklahoma State
6'7", 230 pounds, No. 9 overall on ESPNU top 100, No. 3 Small Forward
LeBryan Nash comes to Oklahoma State as one of the top recruits in the program's history. He's arguably the most physically imposing perimeter player in the 2011 class, and possibly, the country. The kid is an absolute tank and has elite athleticism as well, making him pretty much impossible to contain in transition.
Nash could end up being somewhat like a miniature DeMarcus Cousins because while he has all the physical tools to be a dominant force, his maturity has been a major question mark.
Assuming he keeps his head on straight, Nash should be a major impact player for the Cowboys and could translate that into a lottery pick selection after his freshman campaign.
5. Shabazz Muhammad
6'6", 205 pounds, No. 3 overall on ESPNU Top 100 (2012), No. 1 Small Forward
Shabazz Muhammad is viewed as the far and away best perimeter player in the 2012 class.
His ability to dominate opposing defenders with his strength and athleticism make him almost impossible to stop if he's not being double teamed. Defensively, he's shown flashes of being a lockdown perimeter defender.
It's uncertain if he's more of a shooting guard than small forward as his outside jumper isn't the greatest, but his competitiveness is so strong that he'll continue working on that aspect of his game.
He's currently considering UCLA, Duke, North Carolina, Texas and Kentucky and while all those programs are national powers, Muhammad will most likely start from day one regardless.
4. Andre Drummond
6'10", 275 pounds, No. 1 on ESPNU Top 100 (2012), No. 1 Center
Andre Drummond is the top rated player in the 2012 class—and for good reason. I've heard people compare him to Amar'e Stoudemire because of his combination of size, athleticism and skill level on the offensive end.
A guy that big and athletic will have NBA teams salivating for his services. His biggest issue right now is that he doesn't play hard all the time, which could be due to the fact that he doesn't get challenged by guys as good as him too often.
Once he plays at the college level, where guys are at least around his level, he could have one of the most dominating freshman seasons of recent memory.
Drummond has yet to verbally commit anywhere, though I've read that Connecticut is the favorite at the moment.
3. Michael Gilchrist, Kentucky
6'7", 210 pounds, No. 3 overall on ESPNU top 100, No. 1 Small Forward
Michael Gilchrist was part of the three-headed monster that spent the past year vying to be regarded as the top-ranked player in the country.
The first thing most scouts think of when it comes to Gilchrist is his competitiveness, which has been compared to the likes of Kobe Bryant. The kid just can't stand losing, which is something I think every coach covets in a player.
Combine that with him being one of the best defenders to go along with his crazy athletic ability, and we have the blueprint to almost every coach's ideal player.
It will be a shocker if Gilchrist doesn't end up starting for Kentucky from the get-go. While I don't envision him putting up a ton of points every night, I think he'll stand out defensively and may end up being one of the leaders for the younger Wildcats.
2. Austin Rivers, Duke
6'4", 190 pounds, No. 2 overall on ESPNU top 100, No. 1 Shooting Guard
Arguably the purest scorer in the country (college included), Austin Rivers is entering a perfect situation for him to showcase his abilities when he arrives at Duke in the fall.
The Blue Devils lose their top three scorers from last season in Kyle Singler, Nolan Smith and the injured Kyrie Irving, meaning Coach K is going to need some new players to score the ball. Lucky for him, Rivers is just the man for the job.
I'd compare him to a more athletic version of JJ Redick who's much more capable of getting into the lane.
If there was any incoming freshman who I thought had the best chance to average over 20 points per game next season, it's Austin Rivers.
1. Anthony Davis, Kentucky
6'10", 200 pounds, No. 1 overall on ESPNU top 100, No. 1 Power Forward
I wanted to be unconventional and pick someone like Gilchrist to man the top spot, but Anthony Davis is simply too highly regarded among scouts for me to go against their thinking.
The story of Anthony Davis' meteoric rise up the rankings over the past year is well documented, but for those unfamiliar to it, he was a 6'2" guard being recruited by the likes of Cleveland State, grew eight inches in a year while maintaining his perimeter skills and became arguably the most versatile player in the country.
What's scary is that scouts don't believe he's even scratched the surface on his talent level as he's still getting used to his body. Offensively, he's got perimeter skills and can score inside despite his lack of strength. Defensively, he's a top notch shot-blocker and will probably be the starting center for Kentucky next season.
I wish I could offer up a comparison to Davis, but he's an incredibly unique player. I might say he's like Tracy McGrady offensively and that he may take a few years to put it all together in college and the NBA, but he's taller and a better defender.
I'm not entirely sure whether he'll dominate the college game or not, but he has more talent than any other collegiate player in the country, and considering the 2012 draft is expected to be loaded, that's saying something.