Past results when Arizona Wildcats land two Five-Star recruits not favorableby Javier Morales on Apr. 28, 2011, under Sports
So Josiah Turner and Nick Johnson are Five-Star recruits as rated by Rivals.com in its most recent rankings released Wednesday. Is that good news or bad for UA coach Sean Miller?
Turner, a point guard from Sacramento who finished his season at Winston-Salem (N.C.) Quality Education Academy, and Johnson, a guard-wing from Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep, become the third Wildcat duo to be listed as Five-Star prospects in the same year.
In 2003, forward Ndudi Ebi of Houston was rated the No. 4 prospect overall and guard Mustafa Shakur was rated No. 12. In 2007, guard Jerryd Bayless of Phoenix was the No. 13 prospect and forward Jamelle Horne was rated No. 21.
Turner is rated No. 11 by Rivals.com in the Class of 2011 and Johnson is at No. 18. Generally, the top 25 or 26 recruits garner Five-Star status.
Bayless, who only played one season at Arizona, has enjoyed the most success in his career, compared to Ebi, Shakur and Horne.
Of course, these rankings are always suspect. Keep in mind that former UA forward Derrick Williams, a potential No. 1 NBA draft pick, was not among the Rivals.com Top 150 prospects in 2009.
Ebi never played for Arizona, opting for the NBA draft instead. He was the 26th overall pick in the 2003 draft but his career never flourished at Minnesota, which waived him after two seasons. He was subsequently waived by Dallas in the next preseason camp and has only played in Europe since.
Shakur started all but two of his games at Arizona during his four-year career, but he was not drafted by NBA clubs in 2007. A point guard with decent height at 6-4, Shakur was co-MVP of the 2003 EA Sports Roundball High School Classic. The other MVP? LeBron James.
Shakur toiled in Europe for a couple of years and played in the NBA Developmental League before signing a 10-day contract with Oklahoma City at the end of last season. He returned to the D-League this season, playing for Tulsa and Rio Grande, before Washington signed him to a 10-day contract on Jan. 22. He played in his first NBA game that day, almost four years after leaving Arizona.
He finished the season with the Wizards, averaging 7.2 minutes a game in 22 games.
Bayless’ only season at Arizona in 2007-08 was tumultuous personally as he felt let down when Lute Olson took a leave of absence and was replaced by interim coach Kevin O’Neill. The 2007 McDonald’s All-American still averaged 19.7 points and four assists per game in the Wildcats’ 18-13 season. He was the 11th pick overall in the 2008 NBA draft, taken by Indiana, which traded his rights to Portland.
The Blazers traded him to New Orleans in October, and a month later, he was shipped to Toronto in a five-player trade.
Olson was openly disappointed that Bayless did not stay in Tucson for at least two years. Olson ultimately retired, however, in what would have been Bayless’ second season. When I asked Bayless during the 2009 NBA Summer League if he would attend Olson’s retirement ceremony that August, Bayless, with disdain on his face, shook his head and told me “Nope.”
“Jerryd said all along he wanted to stay here two years,” Olson said at the time. “But then you get the agents working on the kids and parents all year. You might have the kid in your controlled environment for some time, but when (outsiders are) on the parents, you have no idea what’s going on.”
Horne completed his four-year career at Arizona last month, struggling to find his niche during most of his time in Tucson. He ultimately became a bench player as a senior, relinquishing his starting role to junior-college transfer Jesse Perry. Horne will likely go undrafted by the NBA in June, but will probably have a chance to play overseas.
Arizona’s other Rivals.com Five-Star recruits last decade did not flourish in Tucson as they expected.
Jawann McClellan (2004) went undrafted after suffering through personal problems and injuries during his four-year career. J.P. Prince (2005) transferred to Tennessee after his freshman season. Chase Budinger (2006) left for the NBA after three years but was not selected until the second round.
Brandon Jennings (2008) signed a national letter of intent but never qualified academically. He played in Italy for a season before being selected in the first round of the 2009 NBA draft
NOTES: Kentucky is the only school with four signees ranked in Rivals’ top 25, and only two other programs have more than one. Arizona has Johnson and Turner. North Carolina also has two (No. 8, forward James McAdoo; No. 13, forward P.J. Hairston). … Other UA recruits Angelo Chol of San Diego Hoover and Sidiki Johnson, who finished the school year at Brooklyn (N.Y.) Wadleigh, are Four-Star prospects by Rival. Chol is rated No. 73 overall in the Class of 2011 and Sidiki Johnson is at No. 84.