Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

June 19, 2009

A Matter of Age

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 8:15 pm

Next week, Basketball Prospectus will be all-draft, all the time. As I’m preparing my own portion of the draft coverage, I was struck by some of the ages I entered in for this year’s prospects. There can be a wide discrepancy between even players of the same year of eligibility. Especially for lottery picks being counted on to develop over the next several seasons, this is not an inconsiderable factor. In this Gilbert Arenas column six years ago, I showed in a quick study the enormous difference in future development depending upon at which age a player enters the NBA.

Older Than You’d Think

– Lester Hudson, Tennessee-Martin (24.7 as of the end of the NBA regular season)
The mid-major standout was already 20 when he started community college, then sat out a year to establish his academic eligibility before starting his career at Tennessee-Martin.

– Jack McClinton, Miami (24.3)
McClinton turned 20 during his freshman season at Siena before losing a year when he transferred to Miami.

– Lee Cummard, BYU (24.1)
This should come as little surprise, as BYU traditionally boasts the NCAA’s oldest teams due to two-year LDS Missions. Cummard served his before starting college.

– Sam Young, Pittsburgh (23.9)
Young is an extra year older because he spent a season at Hargrave Military Academy between graduating high school and arriving on campus at Pitt.

– Taj Gibson, USC (23.8)
Gibson is a bizarre case, since he is actually an early entrant to this year’s draft. I’m not quite sure why he started college so late; apparently he was home-schooled prior to starting high school.

– Chris Johnson, LSU (23.8)
Johnson went the prep-school route before enrolling at LSU.

– Goran Suton, Michigan State (23.7)
A strike against a BP fave. Suton started high school late after coming to the U.S. from Bosnia and Herzegovina.

– Tyler Hansbrough, North Carolina (23.5)
Here’s one I wasn’t aware of that limits Hansbrough’s future value. I’m not sure why Hansbrough, who was nearly 20 already when he first set foot on campus in Chapel Hill, is behind his class by a year.

Younger Than You’d Think

– Jrue Holiday, UCLA (18.9)
The youngest NCAA player in the group of nearly 60 players I’m considering, Holiday just turned 19 last week. That’s a point in his favor.

– James Harden, Arizona State (19.7)
Harden is very much on the young side for a sophomore; he won’t be 20 until August. Harden is two and a half weeks younger than Demar DeRozan, his Pac-10 rival who is entering the draft after his freshman season. For, the record, B.J. Mullens (20 in February) is the oldest of the freshmen in the draft.

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