Ticker
{{ timeAgo('2018-12-05 06:34:45 -0600') }} basketball Edit

Bossi's Best: Impact of No. 1 players on programs they chose

RANKINGS: 2019 Rivals150 | 2020 Rivals150 | 2019 Team Rankings


Fiagnmj3alne2siaflr0
R.J. Barrett
AP

On Thursday, 2019's No. 1-ranked player Vernon Carey Jr. chooses between Duke, Michigan State and North Carolina.

So, the question is: what type of impact should fans of the Blue Devils, Spartans and Tar Heels expect if they land Carey? In this week's edition of Bossi's Best, Eric Bossi looks back at the last 10 players to finish No. 1 in the Rivals.com rankings. How did their recruitments go down? How did they play? Did they ultimately help take a team to the next level?

If history tells us anything, getting a No. 1 player is great, but it doesn't necessarily bode well for making a Final Four or National Championship.

MORE: Twitter Tuesday takes on Vernon Carey Jr., more | Three-Point Play on Fred Hoiberg, Nassir Little, Anthony Edwards


*****

Recruitment: One of two Canadians to finish ranked No. 1 overall in the Rivals150 (Andrew Wiggins in 2013 was the other), Barrett selected Duke over Kentucky and Oregon during the fall of his senior year.

Impact analysis: So far so good in Durham. Barrett has been every bit as good as he was hyped up to be while leading a freshman-dominant team in scoring. Duke did slip up against Gonzaga, but Barrett has been a big part of the Blue Devils looking like one of the top two or three teams in the country and legitimate contenders to cut down the nets in Minneapolis come April.

*****

Recruitment: A tall and skilled wing player, Porter Jr. could have gone anywhere he wanted. But, when his father Michael Porter Sr. was hired as an assistant coach at Washington, Porter Jr. followed. In the spring of 2017, Lorenzo Romar was fired at Washington and Porter Sr. was hired at Missouri and Porter Jr. followed along.

Impact analysis: Due to a back injury, Missouri fans never got to see what Porter was capable of doing. After getting hurt in the regular season opener, he returned for the SEC Tournament and a first-round NCAA Tournament loss, but didn't look anywhere near 100 percent. Though he never played much, Porter Jr. has had a pretty significant impact at Missouri. His recruitment -- and that of his five-star younger brother Jontay Porter, who is out with injury after a very promising freshman year -- combined with the hiring of Cuonzo Martin breathed new life into a Tigers program that was in desperate need of a jump start. Porter is now a member of the Denver Nuggets and is recovering from back surgery.

*****

Recruitment: An athletic, playmaking wing, Jackson waited all the way until mid-April of his senior year to commit. Arizona, Kansas and Michigan State were all thought to be leaders at one point or another, and up until the late stages each felt very good about its chances before he picked Kansas.

Impact analysis: Jackson was a do-it-all forward during his one season in Lawrence, where he often played as matchup problem four man. He was the Big 12's Freshman of the Year, a first-team All-Big 12 selection and a third-team All-American according to the Associated Press and helped lead Kansas to a Big 12 title and No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Jackson's foul troubles in the Elite Eight against Oregon probably played a big role in Kansas being upset. A top 5 NBA Draft pick after his lone season of college, Jackson currently plays for the Phoenix Suns.

*****

Recruitment: A native of Haiti who moved to the United States after a devastating 2010 earthquake, Labissiere picked Kentucky over Georgetown, Memphis and Tennessee on the second day of the Early Signing Period. He also had an interesting situation in which he was home-schooled by his legal guardian and played his senior season on what amounted to a traveling team, Reach Your Dreams Prep.

Impact analysis: The mistake of ranking Labissiere ahead of Ben Simmons is one that will haunt Rivals.com for a while, but that's another subject for another day. At Kentucky, Labissiere always looked like a square peg that John Calipari tried to fit into a round hole. Cal wanted him inside, and Skal wanted to float and never appeared comfortable while only averaging around 7 points and 3 rebounds per game during a season that ended with a second-round NCAA Tournament loss to 14th-seeded Indiana. Labissiere is currently a member of the Sacramento Kings.

*****

Recruitment: Though he also considered and visited Arizona, Baylor, Kansas and Kentucky and waited until the Early Signing Period to announce his commitment, Duke was always considered to be the heavy favorite to land Okafor and his good friend, five-star point guard Tyus Jones.

Impact analysis: Okafor is the only prospect to finish ranked No. 1 in the Rivals150 and win a National Championship during his freshman season. He didn't lack for individual honors either, winning ACC Freshman and Player of the Year, being named the national Freshman of the Year and making first-team All-America. After a promising rookie year in Philadelphia, things have gone downhill for Okafor, who is currently fighting for his NBA life in New Orleans.

*****

Recruitment: Another No. 1 player who had a long and drawn-out recruitment, Wiggins was expected to pick either Florida State (where his parents were athletes) or Kentucky, but he surprised everybody when he picked Kansas.

Impact analysis: Wiggins led Kansas in scoring while being named the Big 12's Freshman of the Year, first-team All-Big 12 and a second-team All-American while Kansas won a Big 12 title. However, he and the Jayhawks had a much-earlier-than-expected exit from the 2014 NCAA Tournament, getting knocked out by Stanford in the second round. The No. 1 pick in the 2013 Draft, Wiggins was named NBA Rookie of the Year during his first season in Minnesota.

*****

Recruitment: Despite rumors throughout the majority of his recruitment, Muhammad extended things out until the spring of his senior season. He finally picked UCLA over Duke and Kentucky during the late signing period.

Impact analysis: Muhammad was the subject of an NCAA investigation into improper benefits, but after missing three games the NCAA basically punted on investigating further due to some problems on its end that became public. During his lone season at UCLA, he was the Pac-12's co-Freshman of the Year, All-Pac-12 first team and a second-team All-American selection by the Sporting News while leading the Bruins in scoring. UCLA lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to 11th-seeded Minnesota. After playing five years in the NBA, Muhammad is currently out of the league.

*****

Recruitment: The son of NBA coach Doc Rivers, Rivers first committed to Florida early in the process. After backing away from his commitment to the Gators, Rivers picked Duke over Kansas and North Carolina.

Impact analysis: Rivers averaged over 15 points a game during his one season in Durham and was the ACC's Freshman of the Year and made All-ACC first team. He was also part of one of the biggest upsets in NCAA Tournament history, when Duke fell in the first round of the 2012 tourney to 15th-seeded Lehigh. Now in his seventh season in the NBA, Rivers plays for the the Washington Wizards.

*****

Recruitment: Selby's recruitment was a pretty wild one. He first committed to Tennessee as a junior. After backing away from the Volunteers, his recruitment had plenty of twists and turns before he ended up picking Kansas over Arizona, Indiana, Kentucky, UConn and others.

Impact analysis: Selby missed the first nine games of his freshman year due to NCAA suspension over improper benefits received from a business associate of Carmelo Anthony. Selby returned triumphantly by scoring 21 and nailing a game-winning three in overtime of his first game against USC. That would prove to be his high point in a Kansas uniform, as he averaged less than 8 points per game and made less than 40 percent of his shots. Kansas was knocked out by VCU in the Elite Eight, and Selby was a second-round NBA Draft pick who appeared in only 38 games before washing out of the NBA.

*****

Recruitment: Wall was part of John Calipari's first class at Kentucky. He considered others, such as Louisville, Miami and Kansas, but for the most part figured to be a lock to end up with Calipari, whether the coach had stayed at Memphis or taken the Kentucky job.

Impact analysis: One of the most individually successful players to ever finish No. 1 in the Rivals150, Wall was a first-team All-American and the SEC Player of the Year while leading Kentucky to the Elite Eight. The No. 1 pick of the 2010 Draft, Wall has played his entire career for the Washington Wizards, and has been named to the NBA All-Star Team five times.