College Basketball: The 10 Worst One-and-Done Players in the Last 10 Years
The "one and done" has become the trendy decision for elite talent no longer able to bypass the NCAA to make the jump to the league.
They storm college basketball for a single, often stellar season and then choose to make themselves eligible for the NBA draft after their freshman season, hence the term "one and done."
There has been a fair share of successes in Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant, Tyreke Evans and Kevin Love, but you don’t often hear about the guys who didn’t pan out. They become cautionary tales of how leaving college play prematurely can hinder your potential development and NBA impact.
This could very well become a critical issue in the next NBA collective bargaining agreement, as it has been rumored the league might push for a two-season minimum before eligible.
Guidelines for the List
To clarify before I get jumped on by some readers for leaving certain players off this list that they may feel deserving, here are some key guidelines for it.
In order to qualify for the list, players had to:
-Be true "one and done" players with a lone NCAA season as true freshman (disqualifying Tyrus Thomas who redshirted a year at LSU)
-Be selected in an NBA draft between 2001 and 2010 (Jereme Richmond went undrafted)
-Not recently drafted (Cory Joseph, Josh Selby, etc.)
-Limited to only NBDL play (Daniel Orton, Tiny Gallon)
-Been available for over 100 NBA games for their career outside of injury (Greg Oden)
The jury is very much out on some of these guys, more or less, but they still have time to make their NBA careers.
That said, SwishScout.com presents “The 10 Worst One-and-Done Players in the Last 10 Years.”
10. Shawne Williams (Memphis)
5.9 pt., 2.9 reb., 17 career starts for NBA career
13.2 pt., 6.2 reb., 1.4 blk., 1.4 stl. at Memphis
17 overall pick in 2006 NBA draft
I don’t really like to even have Williams on this list because I think he’s become a relevant player for the Knicks, and his style of play doesn’t really show up on the stat with his D and hustle play, but it’s a shallow pool to choose from.
Nonetheless, it took him a few seasons and teams to find his role, which appears to be defending in the paint and stretching the floor with his three-point shooting on offense. Clearly though, he never quite lived up to what many expected from him after a standout season at Memphis.
9. Donté Greene (Syracuse)
6.3 pt., 2.3 reb., 32 three-pt. percentage for NBA career
17.7 pt., 7.2 reb., 1.6 blk., 1.3 stl. at Syracuse
28th overall pick in 2008 NBA draft
I watched Green play in high school as a dominant low-post scorer and then watched him turn into a perimeter gunner at Syracuse, which seemed like an odd change to go through, and the NBA hasn’t been much easier for him.
He’s a tremendous talent who can get hot and light it up but really hasn’t hit his stride on the floor for the Kings, nor does he appear to be a great fit with players who command the ball.
For being a “shooter,” his percentages have been below par, but that potential still lingers.
8. Dajuan Wagner (Memphis)
9.4 pt., 1.9 ast., 32.1 three-pt. percentage, 28 starts in NBA career
21.2 pt., 3.6 ast., 1.2 stl. at Memphis
Sixth overall pick in 2003 NBA draft
It’s almost unfair to have Wagner on this list because of his ailments and injuries that deterred his career prematurely, but technically, he qualifies. He dropped 100 points in high school ball, was stellar at Memphis, produced as a rookie in half a season, but afterwards, it went downhill.
Gets frowned upon because of the expectations placed upon him being the sixth pick, but being injured to the extent he was is something outside of any player's hands. Unfortunately, Wagner is now out of the league and basketball altogether less than a decade later.
7. Omar Cook (St. John’s)
1.7 pt., 2.1 ast., 0 starts in NBA career
15.3 pt., 8.7 ast., 2.3 stl. at St. John’s
31st overall pick in 2001 NBA draft
Cook lit up the Big East, dropping numerous dimes in his single season at St. John’s but didn’t get NBA scouts to bite on his playmaking until the second round. Even then, he was traded and failed to make the team that traded for him shortly afterwards, instead signing as a free agent and received little run.
While he never had great expectation placed upon him, Cook was an abysmal shooter who just didn’t have the NBA game or the opportunity to shine but killed it in the NBDL and even led the league in assists.
6. Brandan Wright (North Carolina)
5.4 pt., 3 reb., 31 starts for NBA career
14.7 pt., 6.2 reb., 1.8 blk., 1 stl. at North Carolina
Eighth overall pick in 2007 NBA draft
Another player who has caught the injury bug, Wright’s productivity has been set back by a number of injuries that have kept him on the bench. There’s no denying his physical gifts, talent and NBA potential, but it really hasn’t emerged during his time in the league.
He showed so much promise with his play for the Tar Heels but just hasn’t adjusted the way many teams had hoped. At 210 lbs, he’s at a less than ideal mass for a true post player at the power forward position, but you would think his length and athleticism might help make up for it.
He still has a lot of learning and experience to make him a successful pro, and not saying it’s not possible for him to be a good player, but history suggests it's an uphill battle.
5. Kosta Koufos (Ohio State)
3.3 pt., 2.3 reb., nine starts for NBA career
14.4 pt., 6.7 reb., 1.8 blk. at Ohio State
23rd overall pick in 2008 NBA draft
Even playing at the prep level, Koufos looked destined for the NBA eventually, but maybe, he pulled the trigger too quickly. He’s played three NBA seasons for three different teams already in his short career and is averaging 8.7 minutes of run per game over that span, which is less than ideal for a developing player.
He has some NBA post moves and skill in the paint, but he’s a black hole with the ball, doesn’t play great D or understand how to play within the team game yet. He needs experience, and it appears being a "one and done" too soon could be the downfall in his potential development or even NBA career.
4. Jamal Sampson (Cal-Berkeley)
2 pt., 3.4 reb., five starts in NBA career
6.4 pt., 6.5 reb., 1.7 blk. at Cal
47th overall pick in 2001 NBA draft
Sampson was a "potential" pick that became an NBA project from the get go but clearly never produced the desired results. He had prototypical big man size at 6’11”, 235 lbs but never quite understood how to play at the NBA level or understoodd how to be effective on the floor.
He left school for the money and immediate shot to play in the league, but leaving Pac-10 play too soon was a big reason he’s playing overseas now. Never had great expectations as a second-rounder to begin with, but it’s classic case of "one and done" gone wrong.
3. Javaris Crittenton (Georgia Tech)
5.3 pt., 2.4 reb., 1.8 ast., 10 starts for NBA career
14.4 pt., 5.8 ast., 3.7 reb., 2 stl., 3.9 TO at Georgia Tech
19th overall pick in 2007 NBA draft
Crittenton was an uber talented athletic point guard who had a high ceiling but his career suffered from injuries and an obscure off-the-court incident involving Gilbert Arenas and handguns. Another player who may have "jumped the gun" (bad joke) in leaving Georgia Tech too early, as he looked and produced like an inexperienced guard, turning the ball over an eye popping 3.9 times per game as a freshman.
While gifted in terms of athleticism, creating ability and ability to set up his teammates, it was all offset by poor decision-making, inexperience and lackluster perimeter shooting that made him a career backup during his three NBA seasons.
May scare some Knicks fans into thinking Iman Shumpert could end up becoming the next Crittenton, as he inherited the role as the next GT point guard, has a similar type game and does have that "fool's gold" look to him.
He is currently playing overseas but don’t rule out seeing him on an NBA court in coming years.
2. Rodney White (Charlotte)
7.1 pt., 2.2 reb., 21 starts in NBA career
18.7 pt., 6.5 reb., 1.2 stl. at Charlotte
Ninth overall pick in 2001
There haven’t been many "one and done" players from mid-majors that didn’t scream NBA in their games to get drafted high (outside of Memphis during John Calipari’s tenure) in recent years, and White may be a reason.
Usually you see guys with more tenure, experience and more proven play get a good look like Kenneth Faried, Jimmer Fredette, Gordon Hayward and Larry Sanders to name a few. He dominated the Atlantic 10 conference for Charlotte, and his stock rose greatly leading up to the draft because of his potential and athleticism.
He possessed some NBA post play but never buckled down on D and failed to impress the Pistons as a rookie. It’s tough to blame White for making the jump early based on his ability to make the best of the situation as he did, but he sure did fool the NBA that year as a "hot commodity," which is why he is now playing overseas.
1. Byron Mullens (Ohio State)
1.5 pt., 1.3 reb., 0 starts for NBA career
8.8 pt., 4.7 reb., 1.1 blk. at Ohio State
24th overall pick in 2009 NBA draft
If ever there was a player who could fool teams with a combination of tantalizing size, length and athleticism, then Mullens is it.
He produced 26 points and 15 rebounds as a high school senior and proved himself worthy of being an elite recruit with his talents, but it was very clear in his single season for the Buckeyes he was not quite ready for the league.
Despite the inexperience, developing basketball IQ, unpolished offensive play and numerous red flags surrounding his game, the potential to be drafted was clearly too much for him to ignore. Mullens would have been taken even higher if he would have stuck around and refined his NCAA play and may have even been a top pick in a class like the 2011 draft.
In Oklahoma City, he’s a project that has seen the floor in only 26 games over two seasons, and it's not expected to get any easier for him. Behind the likes of Kendrick Perkins, Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison, Nazr Mohammed and Cole Alrdich, minutes are going to be tough to come by. He is still a tremendous talent with big-time gifts and upside, but there is a lot to figure in the way of if he will ever learn how to play within the team game, develop his talent or even become a factor in the league.
It's calling him a bust early, but I don’t see where he ever gets the opportunity in an ideal situation in the league to ever be more than a sparsely used backup because of his inexperience, lower basketball IQ and lack of polish.