When is it too early to quit on a prospect?
When Scout.com ranked Andrew and Aaron Harrison 5th and 6th in the 2013 recruiting class, respectively, it wasn’t met with too much debate. Those who had watched the Harrison twins in high school pretty much unanimously rated them as Top 10 prospects.
However, during the first two months of the 2013-14 basketball season, when Kentucky was in the midst of a disappointing year relative to preseason expectations, the twins – and those who ranked them – received the bulk of the criticism, with several writers claiming they were overrated in high school.
Everyone is always welcome to an opinion on whether or not a player has met expectations and no one is out of line for having been disappointed by the twins’ performance at the time, but using the word overrated to describe a college freshman never made sense, even if the Harrison twins didn’t eventually lead Kentucky to the national title game.
Players develop at different rates. Sometimes, in cases like Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker, you can see the talent in day one of their college career. But not everyone is ready to perform from day one and it doesn’t mean they were overrated.
In 2005, Scout.com ranked Gerald Green – who, like the twins, comes from the Houston area – 2nd nationally and it’s been a ranking that has received a great deal of criticism over time.
Green committed to Oklahoma State but went pro out of high school, getting drafted 18th overall in the first round by the Boston Celtics. After his first season in Boston, Green played on different NBA teams in seven straight seasons in the league, with a three-year stint in-between from 2009 to 2011 when he played for three different international teams.
Finally, at 28 years old, Green has found success for the first time in his professional basketball career, as he’s averaging 15.7 points in 28.6 minutes a game in Phoenix, playing a key role on a team that is right in the mix to make this season’s playoffs.
Green has spent a long life being called overrated but he’s now coming into his own, almost a whole decade after being touted as one of the top prospects in his recruiting class.
There’s a long list of examples of players who take more than a year before realizing their potential, but Green’s 2013-14 season should have served as a great lesson to those who called the Harrison twins overrated two months into their college careers.
Sometimes players don’t come into their own until year two and sometimes players don’t come into their own until decade two. Either way, the word overrated should never be used to classify a 19-year old kid.
Next time a highly touted college freshman isn’t meeting expectations in year one, how about we wait just a little bit longer before slapping them with the word overrated?