With No. 2 overall basketball recruit Jabari Parker expected to announce his college destination today during a news conference at Chicago’s Simeon Career Academy, we look at the current whereabouts of the Top 50 prospects from the Class of 2003 based on Rivals.com.
As with any batch of highly-touted recruits, several players on this list have followed through on their immense potential. Others? Not so much, as only 14 players are currently in the NBA (designated with a *).
1. LeBron James* (No College): Heard of him? James skipped college and has become the NBA’s consensus best player as an eight-time All-Star, three-time MVP, and now finally an NBA champion. (pictured)
2. Luol Deng* (Duke): After averaging 15.1 PPG in one season at Duke and leading the Blue Devils to the Final Four, Deng has spent his entire career with the Chicago Bulls, averaging a solid 16.0 PPG.
3. Shannon Brown* (Michigan State): Brown played three years in East Lansing before bolting for the 2006 NBA Draft. Best known for his highlight reel dunks at the next level, Brown is now a starter for the Phoenix Suns (12.6 PPG).
4. Ndudi Ebi (No College): The Nigerian big man bailed on his commitment to Arizona to enter the ’03 draft. After two disappointing seasons with the Timberwolves, Ebi has spent his entire career overseas. The biggest bust of the ’03 class currently plays in Italy, averaging 10.5 PPG for Sidigas AV.
5. Charlie Villanueva* (UConn): A key reserve on UConn’s 2004 national championship team as a freshman, Villanueva spent one more season in Storrs before being selected seventh overall by the Raptors in the 2005 NBA Draft. He is a bench player for the Pistons.
6. Kendrick Perkins* (No College): The big man from Nederland, TX, originally committed to John Calipari and Memphis but opted for the preps-to-pros route. His interior defense powered the Celtics to the 2008 NBA title, and he is now the Thunder’s starting center.
7. David Padgett (Kansas): Padgett spent his freshman season with the Jayhawks as they made the 2004 Elite Eight, immediately after which the Reno, NV, native transferred to Louisville and helped them make the ’08 Elite Eight. After a two-year pro career in Spain, he’s now an assistant basketball coach at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).
8. James Lang (No College): The big man from Mobile was a second-round selection by the Hornets in the 2003 NBA Draft but never fully caught on with a team either in the NBA, D-League or overseas. Lang’s playing career essentially ended in 2009 after a stroke sadly left him partially paralyzed.
9. Brian Butch (Wisconsin): The skilled, homegrown center redshirted his freshman year despite his status as a consensus Top 10 prospect. Butch was a part of an Elite Eight (2005) and Sweet Sixteen (2008) team in Madison and is currently a starter for the D-League’s Bakersfield Jam.
10. Leon Powe (Cal): After overcoming a trauma-filled childhood in Oakland, Powe became one of the better Cal players in recent memory despite dealing with injuries throughout his time in Berkeley. Powe won an NBA title with the Celtics in 2008 but hasn’t seen action since playing in Puerto Rico this past spring.
11. Brandon Bass* (LSU): Bass became the second of four LSU stars to earn SEC Player of the Year honors in the 2000s when he earned the award in 2005. A second-round selection of the Hornets in 2005, Bass is currently a bench player for the Celtics.
12. Mustafa Shakur (Arizona): Shakur was a starter for Lute Olson from Day One in Tucson, guiding the Wildcats to the 2005 Elite Eight and serving as a co-captain during his senior season in 2006–2007. A veteran of the European circuit, the Philly native is currently a member of Italy’s Sidigas Avellino.
13. Travis Outlaw* (No College): A native of Starkville, MS, Outlaw was initially destined for hometown Mississippi State but opted to enter the ’03 NBA Draft, where the Trail Blazers selected him 23rd overall. He’s been solid if unspectacular in 10-plus seasons. He’s been a member of the Kings since 2011.
14. Chris Paul* (Wake Forest): Other than King James, Paul is the most accomplished player on this list. He enjoyed two stellar seasons at Wake Forest, which has carried over into an NBA career with the Hornets and Clippers highlighted by five straight All-Star Game appearances (2008–2012). (pictured)
15. Kris Humphries* (Minnesota): Humphries put up big numbers in his lone season with the Gophers, but the team didn’t win (12–18). Now a starter for the Brooklyn Nets, he’s been solid but not great in the NBA and is more famous for his brief marriage to reality TV star Kim Kardashian.
16. Olu Famutimi (Arkansas): The Canadian’s athleticism was impressive, and it allowed him to earn Freshman All-SEC honors in 2004. Inexplicably, he entered the 2005 draft and was not selected. He’s played in the D-League and five foreign countries but is currently a free agent.
17. Linas Kleiza* (Missouri): While the Tigers never fulfilled the expectations they had upon signing Kleiza, the Lithuanian enjoyed a successful two years in Columbia and was a 2005 first-round NBA selection. He’s now a bench player for the Raptors.
18. Trevor Ariza* (UCLA): Ariza ushered in a new era of the Bruins owning the Southern California recruiting ground, even though he only stayed for one year in Westwood. He’s now on his sixth NBA team (Wizards) and is a starter when healthy.
19. J.R. Giddens (Kansas): Gidden’s KU career was supposed by as high-flying as his dunks, but it came to an ignominious end following a 2005 bar fight and stabbing that led to his transfer to New Mexico. The 2008 Mountain West Conference Co-Player of the Year, Giddens now plays professionally in Italy.
20. Mike Jones (Maryland): The sweet-shooting Massachusetts native set a Terrapins record for three-pointers made in a game (9) but never made it past the second round of the Big Dance. Since 2007 he’s played overseas in six countries and is currently in Romania with CSU Asesoft Ploiseti.
21. Von Wafer (Florida State): Wafer was a dangerous three-point shooter with the Seminoles, but his academic troubles in Tallahassee proved his undoing. He was drafted in 2005 after his sophomore year and has embarked on a journeyman career that currently has him playing in China.
22. Regis Koundjia (LSU): Koundjia started 20 games for the Bayou Bengals as a freshman but finished out his final two seasons at George Washington. Now a pro basketball free agent, Koundjia has previously seen time with the PBL’s Vermont Frost Heaves and three separate French teams.
23. Alexander Johnson (Florida State): Johnson’s toughness and athleticism (40-inch vertical leap) on the inside set the template for a typical Leonard Hamilton player with the Seminoles. Now 29, Johnson is in his first season with China’s Liaoning.
24. Darryl Watkins (Syracuse): Watkins ended his four-year career in Syracuse fifth in the school’s record book for all-time blocked shots (263) but scored little. The center is in his first season with Bulgaria’s Lukoil Academik.
25. Rodrick Stewart (USC): Stewart started 17 games as USC’s point guard in 2003–2004 but left Troy in December 2004 for Kansas. He was a role player on KU’s 2008 national championship team and recently completed his first season in Australia.
Pages: 1 2