Flashback: Class of 2004
Top 20 boasts what will be 16 players already in NBA by June's draft
May 2, 2007
By Van Coleman
CSTV & Hoopmasters.com
Van is one of the nation's premier recruiting experts.
This is certainly one of the deepest classes at the top when you look at the amount of NBA players in such a short period of time since finishing the high school/prep level.
After three years out of high school, all of the Top 10 will be in the NBA and been first-round draft picks (Glen Davis expected to be one) while some others outside the top of the class are already there! That's not something many classes can say.
1 - Dwight Howard (
Dwight reminded me of a young Shawn "Rain Man" Kemp in high school. He was extremely long and explosive, playing in the stratosphere at times (Note: Kemp was a svelte 6-10, 220-pounder as a senior).
He caught a couple alley-oop dunks at the
His athleticism and explosiveness to go with his size, skills and how he absolutely played hard every minute made him our No. 1 player in the class. Greg Monroe, our current No. 1 in the Class of 2008, has a chance to be like Dwight if he becomes a 100 percent, every-minute type player.
2 - Shaun Livingston (Committed to Duke -
He came to my FutureStars camp as a fifth grader and dominated the junior high league with his passing and scoring. From that point forward, he's been destined for the NBA.
He's gained 15 pounds since high school and is up to 195, but a lot of injury problems have plagued him. He's been a solid NBA player, but durability has been the big question so far, not talent.
There was no doubting his great ability to pass and see the court and we knew he could deliver it at any level - he always showed tremendous court sense.
3 - Josh Smith (Committed to Indiana -
Like Howard, Smith could go get the oop off the ceiling, but it was his ability to create the highlight off the dribble that caught my eye in Vegas. The crowd just oohed and ahhed!
Already a star averaging 16 points and nine rebounds. A high-flying player and dunk champ at both levels, Smith put on more highlight films than his AAU teammate Dwight Howard on the Atlanta Celtics.
4 - Al Jefferson (Committed to
I heard all the hype about Big Al, but what solid me was a 42-point performance at the Nike Peach Jam. He hit the elbow J, dunked over mere mortals and dominated the glass like he owned it. No question on my part - the hype was right!
A solid player who has developed in the league,
He's a great offensive talent that we knew could score at the NBA level. He's showed improvement defending and that's what makes him a long term potential all-star.
5 - Marvin Williams (North Carolina -
I watched him nail four threes in a row in a game in Vegas, and when the opponent tried to double him, he exploded to the hoop for a windmill dunk. `Nuff said!
Had a great freshman year and was a big reason the Tar Heels made the run to the national title. He was a great ball handler for his size and is showing he can be a guy who can make a difference on a ball club, averaging 13 and 5 already.
6 - J.R. Smith (Committed to
At 6-foot-6, he's a jumping jack who had a solid year after dealing with a trade and torn cartilage in his knee but is on the road to becoming a really good NBA player.
7 - Sebastian Telfair (Committed to Louisville -
A player with immense talent who may have had the limelight all a little too soon. A phenomenal handler and passer, the ball was always like an extension of the hand for him. A lot of us felt he might have been better than his cousin Stephon Marbury because he also shot it well and had the same charisma. But maybe he was made too much of too early and people didn't realize the effects it was or would be having on him. Not quite a Leon Smith but unfortunately he's leaning towards that. Let's hope Sebastian can get it together and move on with his career as a pro.
8 - Glen Davis (LSU): He always drew comparisons to Robert "Tractor" Traylor because of his size and quick feet. He doesn't have the bounce of the "Tractor," but he has a huge heart!
I was at the City of
Give him credit for re-shaping his body and going from 320 to 290 pounds between high school and college. He's now ready physically to make the move to the NBA and has not disappointed in college as he got LSU to the final four as a sophomore. He's on track for being a solid NBA player, but still has some work to do conditioning wise. However, you've got to love how he knew how to use his body since a young age and made the decision to concentrate on basketball after his sophomore year of high school. He spurned football and now looks like a first-round NBA draft choice.
9- LaMarcus Aldridge (
Aldridge was a first-round pick after his freshman season, but the Blazers don't know where his future is after being diagnosed with a heartbeat problem. He started 22 games before being sidelined with the condition and looked like he was starting to become the player we thought he was.
This young big man had a littler Kevin Garnett and a little Jonathan Bender in high school that made for an impact face-up forward in college. Hopefully he returns to 100 percent and finishes his game off in the NBA.
10 - Rudy Gay (UConn -
Gay went to
11 - Robert Swift (Commited to USC -
12 - Dorell Wright (Committed to DePaul -
13 - Malik Hairston (
15 - Jordan Farmar (UCLA -
16 - Rajon Rondo (
17 - Joe Crawford (
18 - Juan Diego Palacios (
19 - D.J. White (
20 - Arron Afflalo (UCLA)
Notable Top 20-100...
31 - JamesOn Curry (
36 - Nick Young (USC)
37 - Corey Brewer (
75 - Joakim Noah (
Tyrus Thomas (LSU -
Patrick O'Bryant (Bradley -
Roy Hibbert (Georgetown)
Jeff Green (
Al Horford (
Taurean Green (