Though they are becoming more of a rarity for some programs, there’s not much substitute for reliable seniors. It may be even better when those seniors are the type who outplay expectations and get better on a yearly basis. Here is a look at 10 seniors who entered college as three-stars or less and landed outside the final Rivals150, but have grown into key players as seniors.
This season: 22 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.
Bossi’s take: I only got to see Aldridge a time or two during the spring of his senior season with his club team, Team Work. I liked his skill, his size and the way he would compete. He wasn’t a bad athlete either. When he committed to Davidson, I thought he would do well there, but I couldn’t have anticipated a career where he’s going to finish with somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,000 points and 900 rebounds while earning All-A10 honors.
This season: 19 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game.
How he got here: West Virginia was the only high-major school to seriously pursue Carter and beat out Lehigh, Toledo, Indiana State, Valpo and Wisconsin-Green Bay among others.
Bossi’s take: We listed Carter as a point guard out of high school but that was more wishful thinking than based on his actual game. He was tough as nails, but questions about his shooting and ability to run a team scared some away. Not Bob Huggins, though. He saw a guy who fit what he needed for his system and helped to develop him into the best perimeter defender in America and a serious candidate for Big 12 Player of the Year. I’m not sure what the guidelines are to get a jersey hung in Morgantown, but Carter’s career may justify it. Bottom line, outside of Huggins, a lot of people (myself included) whiffed on Carter’s evaluation.
This season: 15.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game.
Bossi’s take: I didn’t get to see a lot of Farrell, but he seemed like a tough and solid all-around point guard who would fit at a mid-major when I saw him. Many in New Jersey following his recruitment would say behind the scenes that most of his recruiting attention was due to coaches trying to package him with teammate Dominique Uhl (who ended up at Iowa). As it turns out, Farrell has far outperformed Uhl and clearly merited the attention he got in high school.
This season: 18.4, 2.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game.
Bossi’s take: I’ve said it many times, but Foster was one of the final cuts from the Rivals150 his senior year and it was due to him being out of shape. When he got to college and got into shape, he became one of the college game’s more explosive scorers. As it turns out, even a ranking at the bottom end of the Rivals150 would have been a miss.
This season: 21.5 points, 2.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game.
How he got here: Gray was well traveled in high school before spending a few years (one as a redshirt) in junior college where Kelvin Sampson found him and lured him to Houston.
Bossi’s take: If I ever saw Gray as a high school or junior college player, then I didn’t notice him because his time prior to Houston is mostly a mystery to me. He’s been a stud since his arrival there and while he’s a little unorthodox, he can score as easily as he breathes and has really improved as a playmaker. Gray is a feather in the cap of Sampson and his staff when it comes to finding, recruiting and developing an under-the-radar star.
This season: 23.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
How he got here: Hervey had heavy mid-major attention in the state of Texas and had started to get some high-major looks but tore his ACL in the summer before his senior year. By sticking with him and offering the chance to make an early impact, UT-Arlington won him over.
Bossi’s take: I was just starting to get familiar with Hervey and liked him as a long and versatile combo forward with a nice jump shot. I thought he was one that could eventually end up at a high major. When UT-Arlington got him, I figured he would be good there, but man I didn’t see these type of numbers coming. He’ll have a chance to play in the NBA.
This season: 15.0 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game.
Bossi’s take: One of these days I’m going to learn to take a closer look at kids coming out of San Antonio. I don’t know what’s in the water down there, but the city seems to consistently produce prospects who didn’t have big reputations but turn into great players. Jordan Clarkson, Andre Roberson, Ben Uzoh. Perhaps King isn’t quite on the level of those guys, but the tough senior has become a dangerous three-point shooter and one of the better rebounders in the Pac-12.
This season: 14.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.4 blocks per game.
Bossi’s take: Here we go again with another San Antonio product outperforming expectations. Like Marcus Foster listed above, Lammers was one of the final cuts to the Rivals150 when he graduated and like Foster even ranking him in the bottom end wouldn’t have been good enough. Lammers is the reigning ACC Defensive player of the year and has developed a nice offensive game as well.
This season: 15.2 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game.
Bossi’s take: For much of his high school career, Mason was in and out of the rankings and my counterpart Dan McDonald wasn’t happy with me for electing to leave Mason out of the final 2014 Rivals150. He thought he was too good of a scorer, and I worried he was a bit small and had too wild of shot selection to be an effective Big Ten player. Dan was right, I was wrong. Mason has improved each year in Minneapolis and has also become a dramatically better playmaker for others. He’ll go down as one of the most important recruits of Richard Pitino’s tenure at Minnesota.
This season: 17.6 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.
How he got here: Another who was a bit of a late-bloomer, Maten really took off his senior year. UGA fought off local power Michigan State and Indiana late in the process to land a commitment during the spring of Maten’s senior year.
Bossi’s take: Maten was a slightly undersized but pretty athletic four-man who could shoot. However, I never saw any consistency. I heard big things about him his senior year in Michigan (where he was Gatorade Player of the Year), but when I tuned in for the state title game, he had a rough outing before fouling out in the third quarter. Going to Georgia allowed him the chance to develop at his own pace and he’s had a tremendous career for the Bulldogs. He is another of the former non-ranked three-star prospects in this senior class who has a chance of playing in the NBA.