Often, a college basketball team is composed of diverse pieces. There are the one-and-done "blue chip" recruits, the blue-collar guy who develops into a solid player over four years, an occasional walk-on, maybe a fifth-year senior or two and of course, the junior college player.
The success rate of the junior college player is a mixed bag, but every season there are at least around 20 or so who really stand out and have a positive impact at the Division I level.
Below are 20 junior college prospects whom I feel will have an immediate impact on their schools this upcoming season.
Anthony Hubbard, SF (Iowa): If you like second chance stories, this is your guy.
Hubbard spent nearly four years in prison from 2004 to December 2007 for burglarizing a house, robbing and beating a man when he was a teenager. He earned a high school diploma following his prison stay and had trouble finding employment due to his convict status.
A couple friends talked him into playing basketball, and Hubbard eventually gained a tryout in Odessa. He stayed there for a year, then transferred to Frederick CC to be closer to home.
The 6'5" Second-Team JUCO All-American averaged 20.7 points and 10.1 rebounds on 65 percent shooting for Frederick and in return, drew the attention of around 50 schools.
In the end, the 26-year-old chose the Hawkeyes over Nebraska.
Carl Hall, PF/C (Wichita State): Lured by the fact that he'll get to play for nearly 11,000 basketball-crazed fans, Hall committed to play for Gregg Marshall in November 2010.
After averaging 18.6 points and 11.6 rebounds at Middle Georgia College in 2009-2010, Hall was rated the top 2010 JUCO prospect in the country, according to several recruiting services. He then transferred to Northwest Florida State where he faced stiffer competition in the Panhandle Conference and posted similar numbers.
With Wichita State losing three post players from last season, Hall will be a welcome addition to the Shockers.
Nurideen Lindsey, PG (St. John's): Anyone who can be mentioned in the same sentence as Wilt Chamberlain in regards to basketball is definitely worth mentioning.
The 6'3" scoring point guard was on pace to challenge Chamberlain's high school scoring record before taking a break from basketball after his junior season following the murder of his younger brother and death of his best friend from cancer.
After a three year layoff and foregoing his commitment to LaSalle, Lindsey emerged as one of the top junior college prospects last season at Redlands Community College in El Reno, Okla. The soon-to-be Johnnies starting point guard averaged 22.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 2.5 steals on 57 percent shooting for Redlands.
Robert Goff, PF (Marshall): After being released from his letter of intent to Okahoma this past April, the former Jeff Capel recruit has signed with Tom Herrion and the Thundering Herd.
Several media outlets reported new coach Lon Kruger was uncomfortable with Goff's academic situation and wanted to go in a different direction.
The 6'9" power forward was one of the top big men in the 2011 JUCO class, and is extremely skilled and athletic for his size. If he can academically qualify, Goff should make an instant impact for a rising Marshall team desperate for frontcourt bodies.
Sam Grooms, PG (Oklahoma): Powerhouse Chipola Junior College (Fla.) continues to spit out Division I impact players as the speedy 6'1" guard should find his way into the starting lineup for coach Kruger.
Grooms is a natural point guard who led Chipola to a No. 2 ranking most of the season while averaging 11 points and six assists on the year. The North Carolina native makes everyone around him better and often draws comparisons to Ty Lawson given his speed in the open court and ability to finish around the rim.
Pierre Jackson, PG (Baylor): Overshadowed by heralded high school teammates Quincy Miller and Deuce Bello, along with transfers Gary Franklin and Brady Heslip, Jackson may just be the most important newcomer out of the group.
Jackson was rated the top 2011 JUCO prospect by JucoRecruiting.com after averaging 18.6 points and 4.4 assists at College of Southern Idaho. The 5'10" scoring point guard has drawn comparisons to former South Carolina standout Devan Downey.
Scott Drew lacked ball-handlers and depth at the point guard position, so Jackson will immediately provide help in that area.
De'End Parker, SG (UCLA): The talented combo guard out of City College of San Francisco (Calif.) de-committed from Cal and signed with in-state conference foe UCLA.
Parker is the No. 4 rated prospect by JucoRecruiting.com and nearly averaged a triple-double last season with 13 points, eight assists and seven rebounds per game. With Malcolm Lee moving on to the NBA, Parker will battle it out with Tyler Lamb and Norman Powell for playing time out on the wing.
Keith DeWitt, PF (Southern Miss): Teammate of Grooms at Chipola (Fla.), the No. 5 rated JUCO prospect was formerly part of Missouri's 2009 class, but failed to qualify academically.
Rumor has it DeWitt may ask for his release so he can follow the man who recruited him, Greg Heiar, an assistant coach who left Southern Miss to join Marshall's staff at Wichita State. The 6'10" multi-talented forward can handle the ball, pass and has a nice stroke for a player his size.
Chris Evans, SF (Kent State): The versatile 6'7" combo forward averaged 19.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists at Wabash Valley CC, earning a spot on the First-Team NJCAA Division I All-American team.
The athletic high-flyer had two dunks featured on ESPN's top 10 plays of the day and has worked hard to turn himself into a multidimensional wing player. He's developed a deadly stroke from long range and could play as a "stretch-four" who can score out on the perimeter, as well as in the paint.
Kent State will be a scary team when you add this guy in with Justin Greene and the rest of the returning cast.
Philip Jurik, C (Oklahoma State): Known for annually snagging top JUCO talent, Travis Ford brings in the former Tennessee redshirt who averaged 10.5 points, 12.6 rebounds and 9.5 blocked shots for Chattanooga State last season.
The No. 5 rated prospect and Second-Team JUCO All-American will help fill the void left behind by Matt Pilgrim and Marshall Moses. Standing 6'11" and 265 pounds, Jurik is one of the premier shot-blockers in the country and will give the Cowboys a much-needed physical presence in the paint.
Moussa Gueye, C (Alabama): Considered one of the top centers in the JUCO ranks, the seven-footer has a chance to be an immediate impact player for the Tide.
Geuye is a typical African post player whose defense is ahead of his offense, but he's slowly progressing at the offensive end. After de-committing from Valparaiso, the Lake Land College (Ill.) standout committed to Grant in October 2010. Gueye's size and shot-blocking ability make him very tough to score over and will fit in nicely on a team that stresses defense.
Cheikh Mbodji, PF (Cincinnati): The 6'10" Grayson County CC standout averaged 14.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocked shots, earning himself a No. 8 ranking on the JUCO top 100 list.
He has a similar game to fellow Dakar Senegal native Ibrahima Thomas, whom he will replace in Cincinnati's frontcourt. Given the closeness of Senegalese players, Thomas was instrumental in getting the big man to commit to Mick Cronin.
Mbodji's versatility projects him to be more of a hybrid four at the college level, and he will battle Justin Jackson for playing time. He can pass, shoot, handle the ball, rebound and uses his length well on the defensive end.
Carlos Emory, SF (Oregon): The No. 10-ranked JUCO prospect out of Howard College (Texas) appears to be a perfect fit for Dana Altman's up-tempo system.
Emory is an athletic combo forward with great size, and uses his quickness and strength to thrive in transition. Despite losing more than 30 pounds while battling colitis, Emory still managed to average 16.4 points and 7.9 rebounds and was named MVP of the Western Junior College Athletic Conference.
The Minnesota native chose Oregon over Utah back in mid-March.
Jeremy Jones, PG (Kansas State): Having to fill the shoes of All-American point guard Jacob Pullen will certainly be no easy task, but the Chicago native seems ready for the challenge.
Jones was named Jayhawk Conference Player of the Year after averaging 18.9 points and 4.6 assists at Seward CC (Kan.) last season and was one of the big guns left on the recruiting board in late April before committing to Frank Martin.
The head coach had plenty of stiff competition, as Jones chose the Wildcats over Arizona State, Marquette, Oklahoma and West Virginia.
God's Gift Achiuwa, PF (St. John's): The 6'9" Nigerian native and First-Team JUCO All-American averaged 22.3 points, 13.1 rebounds and 2.2 blocks for Lake Erie CC (N.Y.).
Gift possesses tremendous strength, speed and skill—an ideal fit for Lavin's baseline-to-baseline attacking style of play. He'll add some much-needed size to a wing-heavy recruiting class and will have two years of eligibility with the Red Storm.
Stan Simpson, PF/C (Memphis): Josh Pastner went out and addressed the Tigers' frontcourt issues by landing Simpson, the No. 9-ranked JUCO prospect in the nation.
Standing 6'11" and 235 pounds, the former John Logan College (Ill.) standout will provide Memphis with a much-needed post presence and frontcourt depth. He's a big, physical, bruising-type player and excellent athlete who runs the floor very well.
Dylan Talley, SG (Nebraska): Talley will provide the Huskers with another scoring option as they get ready to join the Big Ten Conference.
The No. 11-rated JUCO prospect averaged 23 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.5 steals, as well as shooting at a 40 percent clip from beyond the arc during his sophomore season for Blinn College (Texas).
Talley spent his freshman season at the Division I level playing for Binghamton University, where he was named the America East Conference Rookie of the Year. The 6'5" guard chose Nebraska over a host of schools, including LSU, Gonzaga, Colorado, Seton Hall, Tennessee and USC.
Chris Colvin, PG (Arizona State): Name sound familiar?
The Chicago native began his career at Iowa State before transferring to the junior college ranks. At Palm Beach State, he averaged 17.9 points, 4.3 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 2.0 steals on 55 percent shooting, while also connecting on 40 of his 74 attempted three-pointers (54 percent).
With the departures of Jamelle McMillan and Ty Abbott, the Sun Devils and Colvin appear to be a perfect match.
Kevin Foster, PF (Fresno State): The Bulldogs secured one of the nation's premier junior college frontcourt players back in November 2010.
Foster showed flashes of promise when he played for George Mason during the 2009-2010 season, scoring 22 points on 11-for-16 shooting and two blocks in a February Colonial Athletic game versus Williams & Mary.
Foster left for College of Central Florida, where he averaged 17 points, 8.3 rebounds on 53 percent shooting during his sophomore season. The Lakeland, Fla. native is a physical, hardworker who is strong with the ball and will also provide Fresno a presence on defense.
Landing Foster looks even bigger now after former standout center Greg Smith decided to pursue his professional career.
Tyrus McGee, SG (Iowa State): The No. 15-ranked prospect was named First-Team NJCAA All-American after averaging 20.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 2.1 steals and converting on 115 three-pointers at a 49 percent clip in 33 games.
Prior to his outstanding two-year junior college career, the 6'2" sharpshooter averaged 34 points during his final two years of high school.
McGee is known to be a gym rat and said in a recent interview with Cyclones.com that he works on his shot for about four hours a day. With shooting guard Scott Christopherson returning, and Michigan State transfer shooting guard Chris Allen eligible after sitting out last season, the Cyclones should be one of the top three-point shooting teams in the country.
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