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Why 6 High-Level Basketball Recruits Chose Small Colleges

By 01.09.12
Seth Curry

Seth Curry (photo. Jon Gardiner, Duke Photography)

Anthony Booker – Anthony Booker was a top-100 power forward in the class of 2008 but chose to team up with Kevin Dillard to start a movement at Southern Illinois. Booker’s production at Southern Illinois was wildly inconsistent, which prompted him to transfer to Iowa State. At Iowa State, he is currently averaging a mere 4.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per game.

Aaric Murray – Murray had two great years at La Salle averaging 13.7 points per game. So how is this a lack-of-success story? Well, after his two years at La Salle, Murray decided to transfer to West Virginia, a school that had offered him in high school. This situation is different from Curry’s because he wasted two years in college playing for a lower-level school when he could have been playing for a higher-level team. And now, he will have to sit out a year before playing again. That is a lot of time wasted. Had Murray chosen West Virginia or another high-major school, perhaps he would have already been drafted. Now that he will be older, Murray will be less appealing to NBA teams. It also doesn’t help that Murray has already gotten off to the wrong start at West Virginia. Recently, reports came out that he was arrested for possession of narcotics.

Jabari Brown – Brown played in two games at Oregon and suddenly decided that it was not the place for him. Reports came out that said Brown was not happy with his role on the team, which prompted him to leave the team. Brown was a top-25 player in high school last year. He could have gone basically anywhere he wanted to but he chose Oregon because he thought he would be the featured player right away. Brown is now transferring to Missouri where he will have to sit out a year before he can touch the floor.

Turning down high-major offers to build up a lower-level school is a high-risk, high-reward proposition. It takes a certain type of player to do it. It takes a leader and it takes someone who is willing to put the team first.

In all three failure cases, none of the three showed any type of leadership qualities. On the other hand, all three of the success stories showed leadership. Kyle Casey chose Harvard because he knew he could help them turn the program around, and he has. Thompson and Curry both helped their respective teams have success while they were there.

Being a trailblazer and helping a program turn itself around is not for everyone. Some players should go to the already-established programs because they are not capable as players to do so. In my opinion, however, players who can help turn around a program by themselves are the players that scouts should keep an eye on. Not only does it take a special type of player, but it takes a special type of person too.

Would you rather go to a smaller school and be a star, or a bigger school and be a role player?

Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucashapiro.

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TAGSAaric MurrayAnthony BookerCOLLEGEDuke UniversityHarvard Universityhigh schoolJabari BrownKlay ThompsonKyle CaseyLa Salle UniversityLiberty UniversityRay McCallumSeth CurrySouthern Illinois UniversityUniversity of Detroit MercyUniversity of MissouriWashington State University

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