College Basketball Stars Stuck in the G-League

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March 14, 2015 - Georgia State Panthers guard R.J. Hunter (22) during the game between Louisiana Lafayette Ragin Cajuns and Georgia State Panthers at the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, LA. Georgia State Panthers defeated Louisiana Lafayette Ragin Cajuns 83-79 (Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire/Corbis via Getty Images)
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College Basketball is a place where modern day teens and twenty-somethings become immortals. Think of Juan Dixon carrying Maryland to its only National Championship in 2002 or Jimmer Fredette turning an entire country into BYU fans with his impossible three point range. Guys like this are a dime a dozen, and will surely never pay for another drink on their respective campuses.

But for every Michael Jordan, who lights the college world on fire and carries it over in to NBA stardom, there are a hundred more guys who do not enjoy such a flawless transition. Now while most of those players go on to successful careers overseas, some still plug away stateside in the NBA’s developmental G-League. It is there that they hope for another shot at professional stardom. Here is a list of four household college names who are still stuck in the G-League.

*Players must have entered the NBA during/or before the 2015 season to be considered. (Apologies to Melo Trimble and Ryan Arcidiacono)

College Basketball Stars Stuck in the G-League

Perry Jones III (Iowa Wolves)

Throughout Perry Jones’ 2010-11′ Freshman season at Baylor, many experts had him pegged as a top 5 pick in the following NBA Draft. The 6’11’, 230lb. forward was a five-star recruit by the Bears and turned in a Second Team All-Big 12 season. As an 18 year old he averaged just under 14 PPG and 7 RPG. He had the length and all the intangilbes that NBA scouts drool over. Unfortunately for the big man, the NCAA ruled him ineligible for his first Big 12 Tournament after an investigation uncovered that he had received improper funding from an AAU coach while he was in high school.

Rather than cutting his losses and entering the draft as a projected top 5 pick, Jones opted to bet on himself and return for his sophomore season. This decision would prove to be a costly one for the young star. He would do nothing to improve his stats from the previous year, despite being a pre-season All-American.

As a result of his mediocre play, Jones fell to the Thunder with the 28th pick in the 2012 draft. After three seasons with the teams and scarce playing time, he was shipped to the Celtics who promptly waived him. Since then, he has played in both the G-League and Moscow, but currently has a home with the Iowa Wolves, where he has played in only 21 games this season averaging just 11 PPG and 5 RPG. This is certainly not what was expected from a once promising talent.

RJ Hunter (Rio Grande Valley Vipers)

Who could forget Georgia State’s miraculous upset over Baylor in the 2015 NCAA tournament? State, the 14 seed, pulled off the impossible when they stormed back from 12 down to shock the Bears on a bomb three-pointer from RJ Hunter with just over 2 seconds to go. The shot floored the junior’s father, the head coach of the squad, who was seated during the shining moment due to a recent surgery. It was the stuff they make movies about.

But Hunter’s success started long before that heroic walk-off. The three year starter had a trophy case that any athlete would be envious of. He was 2x Sun Belt Player of the Year, CAA Rookie of the Year and 2x First-Team All-Sun Belt honoree. There is no doubt he left the mid-major as one of the most successful athletes in the conference’s storied history.

The NBA, however, has been a different story. Hunter has been on three different teams throughout his three-year professional stint, playing in only 41 games as a result. Now he finds himself on the Houston Rockets G-League roster, where he averages 20 PPG in 39 games played. If he can keep the scoring up and develop in to a solid 3-and-D player, the 24-year-old could work his way back in to the primetime spotlight.

Quinn Cook (Santa Cruz Warriors)

Quinn Cook is certainly the most decorated G-League player on our list. He has been a two time All-Star, Rookie of the Year and First & Second team All-League selection. Despite going un-drafted in 2015, Cook has been able to grab a few 10-day NBA contracts and has appeared in 30 games with three different teams. As of today he has been splitting time between the Golden State Warriors pro club and their G-League squad the Santa Cruz Warriors.

With Santa Cruz, he has been able to put in another stellar season. The former second-team All-ACC point guard is averaging 25 PPG, 8 APG and 5 RPG in 28 appearances. Currently he is among the league’s list of two-way players, who are allowed to travel back at forth between both leagues.

But prior to all that G-League success, Cook was the dynamic senior leader of Duke’s 2015 National Championship team. The veteran team captain led the Blue Devils to a 28-3 regular season before running the table in the NCAA tournament and defeating Wisconsin to take home the title. With Cook’s proven leadership and terrific numbers, it would not be a stretch to imagine him making the Warriors post-season roster this season.

Anthony Bennett (Maine Red Claws)

Perhaps the poster child for NBA Busts, Anthony Bennett is still doing everything in his power to chase down his NBA dream. Bennett, who was taken with the number one overall pick in the 2013 draft, never found his footing once he made the transition to the league. But that does not change the fact that he was a stellar collegiate athlete.

Spending only one year at UNLV, the 6’8′ forward was able to impress scouts and coaches alike. He averaged 16 PPG and 8 RPG in his lone season with the Rebels and took home the honor of Mountain West Player of the Year, along with being selected as an AP honorable mention All-American. Despite his team being bounced in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by Cal, Bennett still impressed the Cavaliers enough to be selected with the top pick in the NBA draft.

Unfortunately for the youngster, that is where his luck would run out. Since entering the NBA he has only appeared in 151 total games in four seasons, never averaging more than 15 MPG or 5 PPG. Due to his struggles on the court and with his weight, Bennett has been bounced around to five different clubs since 2013. Currently, he is with the Boston Celtics G-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, where he is putting up moderate numbers (14 PPG and 7 RPG) but struggling with his consistency shooting the ball. Certainly a far cry from being the top selection.

 *Also considered: Jack Cooley, Terrance Jones, Dakari Johnson

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