Analyzing the top recruits
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Rebounds per game for Top 10 recruits (2007-present)
|2007||Michael Beasley (4)||Kansas State||12.4|
|2007||Kevin Love (2)||UCLA||10.6|
|2011||Anthony Davis (1)||Kentucky||10.4|
|2010||Jared Sullinger (3)||Ohio State||10.2|
|2009||DeMarcus Cousins (3)||Kentucky||9.9|
|2007||J.J. Hickson (t9)||N.C. State||8.5|
|2009||Derrick Favors (1)||Georgia Tech||8.4|
|2008||Al-Farouq Aminu (7)||Wake Forest||8.2|
|2009||Tiny Gallon (10)||Oklahoma||7.9|
|2010||Tristan Thompson (9)||Texas||7.8|
|2007||Patrick Patterson (t9)||Kentucky||7.7|
|2011||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (3)||Kentucky||7.5|
|2010||Tobias Harris (5)||Tennessee||7.3|
|2007||Donte Greene (8)||Syracuse||7.2|
|2008||Ed Davis (9)||North Carolina||6.6|
|2008||Greg Monroe (6)||Georgetown||6.5|
|2011||Cody Zeller (10)||Indiana||6.4|
|2011||Bradley Beal (4)||Florida||6.0|
|2010||Harrison Barnes (1)||North Carolina||5.8|
|2007||Kyle Singler (5)||Duke||5.8|
Leading the way
Anthony Davis is in line to become the third straight freshman under John Calipari and the fourth in the last five years to lead the Cats in rebounding. The others who have done it are Terrence Jones (2010-11), DeMarcus Cousins (2009-10), Patrick Patterson (2007-08), Chris Mills (1988-89), Sam Bowie (1979-80) and Rick Robey (1974-75).
Headed to the top
If Davis continues to rebound at his current rate, he would finish this season with the fourth best average among any freshman from a major conference in the last 10 years. Only Michael Beasley (12.4), Kevin Durant (11.1) and Kevin Love (10.6) would have higher totals. While Beasley is probably out of reach (Davis would need to average more than 14 per game to catch him), it’s certainly possible that Davis could surpass Love and Durant, both of whom have gone on to become NBA All-Stars.
Beasley’s a beast
Beasley isn’t just the only freshman in the last five years to lead the NCAA in rebounding, he’s the only one to finish in the Top 5 in that category. Davis, who leads this year’s newcomers, is currently tied for 16th in the country.
Assists per game for Top 10 recruits (2007-present)
|2009||John Wall (2)||Kentucky||6.5|
|2007||Derrick Rose (t5)||Memphis||4.7|
|2011||Marquis Teague (7)||Kentucky||4.5|
|2010||Kyrie Irving (2)||Duke||4.3|
|2010||Brandon Knight (4)||Kentucky||4.2|
|2007||Jerryd Bayless (7)||Arizona||4.0|
|2008||Tyreke Evans (3)||Memphis||3.9|
|2008||Jrue Holiday (2)||UCLA||3.7|
|2007||O.J. Mayo (1)||USC||3.3|
|2010||Will Barton (10)||Memphis||2.8|
|2009||Kenny Boynton (9)||Florida||2.7|
|2008||Greg Monroe (6)||Georgetown||2.5|
Point Guard U
There’s a good reason John Calipari has the reputation as the coach for college point guards. Not only does he recruit the best, he makes sure they live up to their potential. Of Calipari’s nine Top 10 recruits in the last five years, five have been point guards. And those players make up five of the top seven spots on this list, including the top three. As you’ll see on the next page, all four of Cal’s former point guards went on to become lottery picks and two so far have been named the NBA Rookie of the Year.
John Wall‘s average of 6.5 assists is the most by any freshman since Texas point guard D.J. Augustin dished out 6.7 assists in 2006-07. Wall is also the only freshman to finish in the top three in the NCAA since T.J. Ford, another Longhorn, led the nation with 8.3 assists in 2001-02. Wall left Lexington with every major short-term assists record, including total assists in a season (241), assists per game in a season (6.5) and assists in a single game (16). His 16-assist game against Hartford was the highest total of any player in the country that season, and remains the most from a major conference player since Alabama’s Ronald Steele dished out 18 in 2004.
The kid is all right
Though he’s been criticized for his play so far this season, Marquis Teague actually ranks behind only Wall and Derrick Rose in assists per game among the players on this list. His assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4) also trails Rose (1.8) and Wall (1.6), but it’s better than both Brandon Knight (1.3) and Tyreke Evans (1.1). Through his first 19 games, Teague’s numbers (85 assists, 60 turnovers) are almost identical to Rose’s (84 assists, 57 turnovers) over the same span. Among the top five point guards in the class of 2011, only Texas’ Myck Kabongo (2.0) has a better assist-to-turnover ratio than Teague. Kabongo (5.5) and Michigan’s Trey Burke (4.8) are the only freshmen from major conferences averaging more assists per game than Teague.
Steals per game for Top 10 recruits (2007-present)
|2008||Tyreke Evans (3)||Memphis||2.1|
|2009||John Wall (2)||Kentucky||1.8|
|2008||Greg Monroe (6)||Georgetown||1.8|
|2011||Cody Zeller (10)||Indiana||1.7|
|2008||Jrue Holiday (2)||UCLA||1.6|
|2011||Anthony Davis (1)||Kentucky||1.5|
|2010||Will Barton (10)||Memphis||1.5|
|2009||Xavier Henry (6)||Kansas||1.5|
|2010||Kyrie Irving (2)||Duke||1.5|
|2007||O.J. Mayo (1)||USC||1.5|
|2011||Bradley Beal (4)||Florida||1.4|
|2007||Michael Beasley (4)||Kansas State||1.3|
The two players at the top of this list were also coached by John Calipari. Tyreke Evans led all freshmen in steals during his only season at Memphis, and John Wall led all freshmen from major conferences in 2009-10. This season’s leader so far among freshmen from major conferences is LSU’s Anthony Hickey (2.4 spg), who was Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball last year after leading Christian County to the state title.
Blocks per game for Top 10 recruits (2007-present)
|2011||Anthony Davis (1)||Kentucky||4.7|
|2010||Tristan Thompson (9)||Texas||2.3|
|2009||Derrick Favors (1)||Georgia Tech||2.1|
|2009||DeMarcus Cousins (3)||Kentucky||1.8|
|2008||Ed Davis (9)||North Carolina||1.7|
|2007||Michael Beasley (4)||Kansas State||1.6|
|2007||Donte Greene (8)||Syracuse||1.6|
|2009||John Henson (5)||North Carolina||1.6|
|2007||J.J. Hickson (t9)||N.C. State||1.5|
|2008||Greg Monroe (6)||Georgetown||1.5|
|2011||Cody Zeller (10)||Indiana||1.4|
|2007||Kevin Love (2)||UCLA||1.4|
Get it out
Anthony Davis‘ unearthly ability to block shots is easily the most impressive stat on this list. His current average of 4.7 blocks per game is more than double that of the next best Top 10 recruit in this group. In the last 10 years, the closest freshman from a major conference is Hasheem Thabeet, who averaged 3.8 blocks in 2006-07. If Davis stays in the No. 1 spot, he will join Marshall’s Hassan Whiteside (2010) as the only freshman since 1995 to lead the nation in blocked shots. He would be the first freshman from a major conference to do it since Georgetown’s Alonzo Mourning in 1989.
In just 19 games, Davis managed to break the UK single season record for blocked shots held by Andre Riddick (34 games) and Melvin Turpin (31 games). He’s already become just the second player in UK history to block seven or more shots in multiple games. Davis has done it four times in 19 games; Riddick did it five times in 125 career games. If Davis plays 40 games for the Cats (which means UK would have to advance to the SEC and NCAA title games) and continues blocking shots at the same pace, he would rank fifth all-time on the school list with 187 blocks. The top four: Jamaal Magloire (268 blocks), Turpin (226), Sam Bowie (218) and Riddick (212). Bowie holds the UK blocks per game records for a career (2.3) and a season (2.9), both marks that will be obliterated by Davis once his time in Lexington is over.
Best of the best
Davis has the highest blocks per game average of any Top 10 recruit since the beginning of the RSCI in 1998. Other Top 10 recruits with the highest totals: Seton Hall’s Eddie Griffin (4.4 bpg in 2000-2001), Ohio State’s Greg Oden (3.3 bpg in 2006-07), Minnesota’s Joel Przybilla (3.0 bpg in 1998-99), Texas’ Tristan Thompson (2.3 bpg in 2010-11), Georgia Tech’s Chris Bosh (2.2 bpg in 2002-03) and LSU’s Stromile Swift (2.2 bpg in 1998-99).
As crazy as it sounds, there’s a chance that Davis’ school record for blocked shots might not stand for long. Nerlens Noel, a certain Top 10 recruit in the class of 2013, has UK at the top of his list and many recruiting analysts believe he’s the best shot-blocker to come out of high school in years. If Noel picks the Cats, there could be a new name at the top of the UK record books just two seasons from now.