NBA Finals: A look back at recruitments of Heat players
The NBA Finals begin Wednesday night as the Miami Heat face the favored Los Angeles Lakers. Here is a breakdown of the Heat roster and how the players were recruited.
Ranking: Five-star, No. 7 overall in the class of 2016
Recruitment: A five-star prospect at High Point Christian Academy in North Carolina, Adebayo committed to Kentucky in November of his senior season. He chose the Wildcats over offers from a number of major programs, including Kansas and North Carolina. NC State and Auburn were among Adebayo’s finalists.
Ranking: Three-star in the class of 2015
Recruitment: Alexander was a late addition for the Vols in 2015, as Rick Barnes was able to snag the NBA-bound center shortly after accepting the Tennessee job. Alexander chose Barnes’ upstart program over offers from Arkansas, Missouri and Pitt, among others.
Ranking: Unranked in the class of 2008
Recruitment: Butler was virtually unrecruited as a high school prospect. He actually didn’t make a name for himself until he arrived at Tyler (Texas) Community College, where a long list of schools took notice of his talent. Still, the future NBA star elected to sign with Marquette and did so without ever visiting campus, He chose the Golden Eagles over Iowa State and Mississippi State, both of which he actually visited. At the time, he cited his relationship with then-head coach Buzz Williams as the reason he picked the program sight unseen.
Ranking: Three-star in the class of 2010 (JUCO)
Recruitment: Crowder chose the Golden Eagles out of junior college. His Rivals profile shows no other major scholarship offers, but he was receiving interest from Baylor and a handful of other programs.
Ranking: None (international prospect)
Recruitment: As an international prospect, Dragic did not attend college. He was drafted out of his home country of Slovenia by the Phoenix Suns in 2008.
Ranking: None (high school career predated Rivals)
Recruitment: The 40-year-old Haslem predates Rivals rankings and he doesn’t have a profile on the site. Haslem actually played for current South Carolina head coach Frank Martin when Martin was the coach at Miami Senior High School in the late ‘90s. He signed with Florida after helping Martin and Miami High win a pair of state titles. He also played football for part of his high school career before suffering a knee injury and deciding to focus on hoops.
Ranking: Four star, No. 36 in the class of 2018
Recruitment: Herro was originally committed to in-state Wisconsin but re-opened his recruitment before eventually signing with Kentucky. Herro was also interested in Kansas, but never visited Lawrence. Schools such as Oregon and Villanova were also involved down the stretch.
"We wanted to make sure we were making the right decision," Herro told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the day he chose the Wildcats. "I didn't want to go up to Madison next year with any regrets, so I had to make what I thought was the best decision and that's what I just made.”
Ranking: Four-star, No. 27 overall in the class of 2009
Recruitment: Hill actually committed to Arizona twice. He backed off his original pledge after Lute Olsen’s retirement and briefly committed to USC before re-entering the Wildcats' fold in April of 2009. He was a member of Sean Miller’s first recruiting class at Arizona.
Ranking: Four-star, No. 13 overall in the class of 2002
Recruitment: Iguodala actually signed a letter of intent with Arkansas, choosing the Razorbacks over Kansas, but changed his mind after Akansas head coach Nolan Richardson was forced from his post. Iguodala was released from his letter of intent after his family suggested Iguodala would sit out the season if need be. He eventually signed with Arizona and was permitted to play as a freshman in Tucson.
Ranking: Four-star, No. 49 in the class of 2015
Recruitment: UNLV bested UConn for Jones, who announced his choice with virtually no warning in November of 2014. The legitimacy of Jones’ ACT score was investigated prior to his freshman year in Las Vegas, but he was cleared to play shortly thereafter. Months later, the NCAA canceled Jones’ ACT score, which forced him to sit out a handful of games at the end of the season. He declared for the NBA Draft shortly thereafter.
Ranking: Four-star, No. 31 in the class of 2010
Recruitment: Leonard was a late-emerging prospect, only popping up on the national radar a few months before signing with Illinois. He also attracted offers from Indiana, Iowa and Purdue, but he chose the Illini over the Boilermakers on decision day.
Ranking: Four-star, No. 60 overall in the class of 2013
Recruitment: Nunn, who was briefly committed to Texas A&M, signed with Illinois and then-head coach John Groce out of Chicago’s Simeon High School. He played three seasons at Illinois before being dismissed from the team following a misdemeanor battery charge. He played his senior season at Oakland, where he was named Horizon League Player of the Year.
Ranking: Four-star, No. 33 overall in the class of 2017
Recruitment: Okpala chose Stanford over Utah as well as a number of mid- and low-major offers. The Cardinal were one of the first programs to recruit the California native, and an official visit sealed the deal without much fanfare or hesitance.
Ranking: Unranked in the class of 2009
Recruitment: A Canadian prospect, Olynyk signed with Gonzaga over an offer from Rhode Island. And while he only attracted a pair of scholarship offers, schools such as Syracuse and NC State had passing levels of interest. Olynyk did not attend a United States High School and received exposure mostly through AAU events.
Recruitment: Robinson signed with Division III Williams College and, following his sophomore year, became one of the only players in history to transfer from D-III to D-I with a full-ride scholarship. After announcing his decision to leave Williams, he visited Davidson before landing in Ann Arbor.
Ranking: Three-star, No. 134 overall in the class of 2015
College: South Carolina
Recruitment: Silva moved to the United State from Gabon as a 16-year old. His choice of South Carolina was seen as a bit of an upset. Most expected the New Jersey product to stay in the Northeast and ultimately land at Seton Hall. South Carolina head coach Frank Martin actually closed the deal following a workout the night before Silva’s announcement.
Ranking: Thee-star in the class of 2014
College: UC Santa Barbara
Recruitment: Vincent had a number of offers from low-major programs and chose UC Santa Barbara in August of 2013, where he became the school’s ninth all-time leading scorer. He signed with the G League’s Stockton Kings before agreeing to a two-way contract with the Miami Heat.