Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Congrats .... now what?

With no games going on at all last night due to the NCAA Championship, I thought that today it might be interesting to look back at the last 5 champions to see how much NCAA success translates into NBA success.

2000
Michigan State
Mateen Cleaves DETROIT, 14th Overall 2000
Andre Hutson MILWAUKEE, 52nd Overall 2001
Morris Peterson TORONTO, 21st Overall 2000
Jason Richardson GOLDEN STATE, 5th Overall 2001

Jason Richardson clearly has the brightest future in the NBA out of all these players. He’s established himself as a guy who can be a star on a bad team – now he just has to find out what sort of role he can play on a good team. Nonetheless, he’ll probably be at least an early-to-mid-round fantasy pick for the next 5 years or so. Morris Peterson should enjoy a long if unspectacular career in the NBA as well, but nobody else on the roster made much of a dent in the L.

2001
Duke
Jason Williams CHICAGO, 2nd overall 2002
Shane Battier MEMPHIS, 6th overall 2001
Carlos Boozer CLEVELAND, 35th overall 2002
Mike Dunleavy GOLDEN STATE, 3rd overall 2002
Chris Duhon CHICAGO, 39th overall 2004

C’mon – back in 2001, nobody would have believed you if you said that the best NBA player on this team would be Carlos Boozer, but that’s what seems to have happened. Now while nobody agrees with what he pulled in Cleveland, ditching them for the Jazz, he’s a double-double every night with terrific FG% and is the surprise of this class. Battier has carved out a nice role for himself in Memphis despite the stat-killing rotation, but the combo of Jason Williams and Mike Dunleavy taken 2/3 in 2002 has been a total bust. Chris Duhon has actually found a nice niche for himself as well in Chicago this year and 10 years down the road it could be that he and Boozer had the best NBA careers out of this championship team.

2002
Maryland
Chris Wilcox – LA CLIPPERS, 8th overall 2002
Lonny Baxter – CHICAGO, 44th overall 2002
Juan Dixon – WASHINGTON, 17th overall 2002
Steve Blake – WASHINGTON, 38th overall 2003

While it’s still early, the Terrapins may end up being a team that wins an NCAA championship without producing a single double-digit scorer in the NBA. Wilcox might be that guy if he ever gets out of Elton Brand’s shadow, but that’s a big if. Dixon has had nice spurts in Washington but doesn’t appear to be anything terribly special. Steve Blake might enjoy the longest career of any of these players – he’s turned out to be a very reliable backup PG.

2003
Syracuse
Carmelo Anthony – DENVER, 3rd overall 2003

Talk about top-heavy. Anthony’s trials and tribulations since coming into the league have been well-documented, but he can score for sure, and will be a big name in the L for quite awhile. Of the rest of the squad, only Hakim Warrick appears to be NBA-worthy.

2004
Connecticut
Emeka Okafor – Charlotte, 2nd overall 2004
Ben Gordon – Chicago, 3rd overall 2004

Well here are two guys that have certainly lived up to expectations so far. On a cruddy team in Charlotte, Okafor has been as promised, if not better – his offensive abilities are much stronger than expected. Gordon, on the other hand, has been one of the more incredible stories this year, becoming a 4th-quarter stud and giving Okafor a run for his money in the Rookie of the Year balloting. And UConn isn’t done yet – Charlie Villanueva has announced he’s entering the draft this year and he should be a first round pick, while Josh Boone could also end up playing some in the big leagues.

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