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Looking Back: An Introduction

Jul 1, 2013, 9:00 AM EDT

Oladipo from the UNLV greets NBA Commissioner Stern on stage after being selected by the Magic as the second overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft in Brooklyn

Starting on July 10th, the first of three five-day live-recruiting periods kicks off.

What that means is that from July 10th-14th, the 17th-21st and the 24th-28th, anywhere that a high school-level basketball event is taking place, Division I head coaches are allowed to be in attendance scouting. Since all the coaches are allowed to be out on the road, the companies that run AAU tournaments and exposure camps load those 15 days up with as much basketball in as many places as possible. And the media entities that cover recruiting, as well as the ones that cover college basketball, will be forced to be there as well.

What does that all mean?

That 19-day stretch in the middle of July is one of the most important months for hoopers in the Class of 2014. If you want to play college ball, that’s as good of a time as any to get yourself noticed and convince programs to track your progress throughout your senior year. If you want a scholarship, that is when they are earned.

It’s also when the top 100 lists for the Class of 2014 will more or less be finalized.

To read through the rest of our Looking Back posts, click here.

I respect the amount of work that goes into crafting those lists. I know most of the guys that put them together, and, generally speaking, they have a pretty good grasp of what those players can do and can’t do. They put in the hours in the gym and travel across the country to watch these kids grow and develop over the course of their high school careers. They know the players, their coaches and, in a lot of cases, their parents or guardians.

But it’s also important to remember that those top 100 lists are based in large part on long-term potential and not necessarily on who they would take on their team to try and win Peach Jam.

And here’s the tricky thing about potential: players don’t always live up to it.

Which is why the only thing that these players should be concerned about it where they’ll be getting their next workout in, not where they’re ranked in Rivals top 150.

Case in point?

Victor Oladipo was unranked when he graduated high school. He went No. 2 in last Thursday’s NBA Draft. Otto Porter wasn’t ranked until his senior season, largely because he was unknown due to the fact that he didn’t play AAU. He went No. 3 on Thursday. Alex Len was an afterthought when Maryland brought him in from the Ukraine in August of 2011. In June of 2013, he was the No. 5 pick in the draft. Trey Burke, a Columbus native and AAU teammate of Jared Sullinger, was passed over by Ohio State for Shannon Scott and nearly ended up at Penn State before being brought in by Michigan as a safety net in case Darius Morris went pro. He was the No. 9 pick on Thursday after being the consensus 2013 National Player of the Year.

The best story is that of CJ McCollum, who was a non-entity as a recruit, ending up at Lehigh before he grew a couple inches and developed into an All-American and the No. 10 pick in the 2013 Draft.

I could keep going. Kelly Olynyk, the No. 13 pick, redshirted as a junior in 2011-2012 because he wasn’t good enough to get minutes. Shane Larkin, the No. 18 pick, decommitted from DePaul and went to Miami instead, neither of which is a basketball powerhouse. Tony Snell, the No. 20 pick, played at New Mexico. Andre Roberson, the No. 30 pick, was a three-star recruit from Texas that would up at Colorado. They all have guaranteed contracts.

But Myck Kabongo? CJ Leslie? They were McDonald’s All-Americans. They went undrafted on Thursday night.

This isn’t the only season where this happened, either.

Over the course of the next week, we’ll be taking a look at each recruiting class from 1999-2008, doing our best to show that your recruiting ranking is not a guarantee.

Nothing is a guarantee when it comes to making the NBA.

You can bookmark this link to read through each recruiting class breakdown when it is posted.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

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