The Trail Blazers re-entered the 2021 NBA Draft to select Texas forward Greg Brown III in the second round. Prior to his time at Texas, Brown was tabbed as a consensus top 10 recruit. In the aftermath of Thursday’s events, several pundits have pointed to Brown’s former recruiting status. But what does the last decade of say about players that have followed a similar path?
Before we jump into the list, let’s go over the criteria. The players on this list were inside the top 10 of ESPN’s 100, departed after a single season in college, and they were selected in the second round of the NBA Draft.
Josh Selby | Recruiting Rank: 5 (2010) | 2011 Draft: No. 49 | NBA Games: 38
Selby, who landed just behind fellow point guards Kyrie Irving and Brandon Knight in the 2010 recruiting class, made just 11 starts in his brief career at Kansas. The Grizzlies selected Selby with the No. 49 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. He lasted two seasons in Memphis before he was traded to Cleveland. Selby went on to play in the G League and in several overseas leagues after departing the NBA.
Quincy Miller | Recruiting Rank: 7 (2011) | 2012 Draft: No. 38 | NBA Games: 69
Miller was the third-ranked power forward in the 2011 recruiting class behind Anthony Davis and James McAdoo. He appeared in just seven games as rookie. During his second season, Miller made 16 starts and earned minutes in 52 outings. Regardless of his extended run in his second season, he was waived by the Nuggets before the start of the 2014-15 campaign. Miller went on to make two brief stops with the Kings and Pistons before exiting the NBA.
Grant Jerrett | Recruiting Rank: 9 (2012) | 2013 Draft: No. 40 | NBA Games: 8
Anthony Bennett and Jerrett were the only two power forwards inside the top 10 of the 2012 recruiting class. The Blazers selected Jerrett on draft night, but immediately traded the pick to the Thunder for cash. He appeared in eight games over two stints with the Thunder and Jazz. In the lead up to the 2016-17 season, Jerrett participated in training camp with the Blazers. He was waived at the conclusion of the preseason.
Diamond Stone | Recruiting Rank: 6 (2015) | 2016 Draft: No. 40 | NBA Games: 7
The top 10 of the 2015 recruiting class included three centers: Skal Labissiere, Stone and Caleb Swanigan. Stone was selected by the Pelicans and traded to the Clippers on draft night. The former Maryland big man made his seven NBA appearances in the 2016-17 season.
Cheick Diallo | Recruiting Rank: 7 (2015) | 2016 Draft: No. 33 | NBA Games: 180
Diallo slotted one spot behind Stone in the 2015 recruiting class. Of all the players mentioned so far, Diallo has the best resume. During his second and third years with the Pelicans, he averaged double-digit minutes per night. Diallo was not on a NBA roster for the 2020-21 season.
Too Soon to Tell
Frank Jackson | Recruiting Rank: 10 (2016) | 2017 Draft: No. 31 | NBA Games: 160
Lonzo Ball, De’Aaron Fox, Markelle Fultz, and Jackson comprised a quartet of point guards inside the top 10 of the 2016 recruiting class. Jackson started his career with the Pelicans, but injuries and shifting timelines halted his progress in New Orleans. He signed a two-way deal with the Pistons for the 2020-21 season and appeared in 40 games (six starts).
Bol Bol | Recruiting Rank: 4 (2018) | 2019 Draft: No. 44 | NBA Games: 39
Bol was slotted just two spots behind Zion Williamson in the loaded 2018 recruiting class. He appeared in just nine games with the Ducks in the lead up to the 2019 NBA Draft. The Nuggets jumped into position to select the agile 7-footer in the second round. Bol possesses a rare blend size and touch on the offense end. There is still time for him to carve out a spot in the NBA. Last season, Bol averaged 2.2 points per game in 32 outings with the Nuggets.
Gary Trent Jr. | Recruiting Rank: 8 (2017) | 2018 Draft: 37 | NBA Games: 134
Buoyed by his NBA-ready shooting, Trent Jr. is the unquestionable success story of this entire list. In the lead up to his lone season at Duke, Trent Jr. slotted between Collin Sexton and Jaren Jackson Jr. in the 2017 recruiting class. Trent Jr. was tasked with a reoccurring role in his second season in Portland. He appeared in 61 games and connected on 41.8 percent of his three-pointers.
Trent Jr. was traded to the Raptors prior to the 2021 trade deadline for Norman Powell. He is set to enter this offseason as a coveted restricted free agent.
The Road Ahead for Brown
Of the eight players on this list, Trent Jr. is the only player in clear position to sign a second contract that exceeds the value of his first NBA deal. Coach Terry Stotts’ staff had an established record of developing second-round talent in the last decade. Moving forward, we will see if it was Stotts’ guidance or Neil Olshey’s eye for talent. In reality, it is probably a mix of the two.
When it comes to Trent Jr. and Brown, it is worth noting that Trent entered the league with an NBA-ready outside shot. Brown’s calling card is his athleticism and dunking ability. In regard to the latter, Brown converted a pedestrian 14 of his 21 dunks during his only season at Texas.