Top ten package deals since 2002

Greg Oden

Few aspects of recruiting get fans more excited than the possibility of a package deal. The problem is, they rarely actually come to fruition and when they do, the results are disappointing.

If you follow college basketball recruiting closely, you're well aware of the term "package deal." When two highly touted prospects say they plan on going to the same school together, fans of that program immediately get excited about the possibility.

This recruiting season, the words "package deal" are as relevant as ever, being that two of's top four 2014 prospects, Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones, have stated publicly that they plan on going to the same college and today, at 4:00pm ET, they will announce their decisions.

It's not a recent phenomenon, as the last decade has seen dozens of highly touted college basketball prospects announce their intentions of being a package deal with a good friend of theirs on the circuit. Most of the time those plans never came to fruition.

"If you're going to take one us, you have to take both of us." - 2009 five-star prospect Abdul Gaddy to on a package deal with fellow five-star Avery Bradley. Gaddy went to Washington, Bradley to Texas.

`"Something drastic would have to happen right now for us not to go to the same school. I don't even know what it could be." - 2005 five-star prospect C.J. Miles to on a package deal with four-star Kevin Rogers. Miles committed to Texas and declared for the NBA Draft out of high school, Rogers went to Baylor.

The list of prospects who have talked about being a package deal far exceeds the ones who have actually gone through with it.

O.J. Mayo and Bill Walker were long expected to go to the same college, until Mayo chose USC and Walker ended up at Kansas State.

Last recruiting season, Anthony Barber (North Carolina State) and Troy Williams (Indiana) discussed going to the same school.

It happens almost every year and while most often those package deals disintegrate, since 2002 -'s first year ranking basketball prospects - there have been a handful of package deals that have in fact materialized.

While researching this subject, it was important to set a couple ground rules for what is and isn't a package deal. At the end of the day, there were two guidelines that had to be fulfilled:

1. The players had to commit to the same school within 24 hours. If it's a true package deal, there is no reason for a delay further than that.

2. The prospects - and/or their parents or coaches - had to admit at some point during or after the process that they were planning on going to school together.

Brothers weren't allowed into the discussion, so all the twin duos who have ended up at the same school are disqualified.

The year 2002 was chosen as a start date because that began the modern era of recruiting. It was the first year of's rankings, making fact checking and research much easier than the years prior.

With all those criteria in mind, was able to rank the top package deals since 2002, judging the duo for what they accomplished on the court at the school they committed to rather than after transferring or going pro.

10. Willy Kouassai and Bernard Morena, Auburn - 2011

Willy Kouassi

Commitment Date: Kouassai and Morena committed together on Aug. 18, 2010.

Package Deal Confirmation: "I know they are serious about wanting to play together in college," said Darien Knox, the duo's AAU coach. Kouassai and Morena were high school and AAU teammates.

Results: It was a short stay at Auburn for Kouassai and Morena, who announced their departure from the program after their freshman season. Kouassai averaged 1.6 points in 10.2 minutes and Morena redshirted. The two transferred to Kennesaw State and sat out last season due to transfer rules.

9. Grant Jerrett and Eric Cooper, Arizona - 2012/2013

Jerrett and Cooper

Commitment Date: Jerrett and Cooper committed together on Nov. 27, 2010.

Package Deal Confirmation: "They wanted to stay somewhat close to home and wanted to go together." - Jerrett and Cooper's Belmont Shore AAU coach, Dinos Trigonis, told me. Jerrett and Cooper were high school and AAU teammates.

Results: Jerrett, a Top 10 prospect in 2012, and Cooper, a highly touted player upon his early commitment, never ended up playing together. After coming off the bench to average 5.2 points and 3.6 rebounds in 17.8 minutes as a freshman, Jerrett made the surprising decision to declare for the NBA Draft, where he was selected in the 2nd round. Cooper, whose status as a prospect was hurt due to knee injuries, reclassified from 2013 to 2014 and decommitted from Arizona. He ended up signing with Nevada.

8. David Padgett and Omar Wilkes, Kansas - 2003

Omar Wilkes

Commitment Date: Padgett and Wilkes both committed on Oct. 2, 2002. Wilkes committed to Kansas during the afternoon at a press conference at his high school and Padgett committed to KU later that night.

Package Deal Confirmation: "We've talked about it seriously and I really want it to happen," Wilkes told on March 4, 2002 regarding a package deal with Padgett. Wilkes and Padgett were AAU teammates and close friends.

Results: Padgett and Wilkes originally committed to Roy Williams, who ended up leaving KU for North Carolina, but neither opted out of their Letter of Intent after Bill Self replaced Williams in Lawrence. Padgett was's 4th ranked prospect in 2012, while Wilkes came in at 59th, making this one of the top package deals, on paper, ever. Both players had quick stays in Lawrence, however. Padgett averaged 6.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in 19.2 points before transferring to Louisville after his freshman season. Wilkes averaged 1.4 points in 3.5 minutes before transferring to California after one year at Kansas. The Jayhawks made the Elite Eight that season, which was Bill Self's first at Kansas.

7. Quincy Miller and Deuce Bello, Baylor - 2011

Quincy Miller

Commitment Date: Miller and Bello announced their commitment together on Oct. 21, 2010.

Package Deal Confirmation: "Me are Deuce are definitely going to play together," Miller told on Sept. 9, 2010. Miller and Bello were high school and AAU teammates.

Results: Miller,'s 4th ranked prospect in 2011, averaged 10.6 points and 4.9 rebounds in 24.4 minutes as a freshman before declaring for the NBA Draft, where he slipped to the 2nd round. Bello,'s 53rd ranked prospect in 2011, averaged 2.8 points in 10.6 minutes in two seasons at Baylor before transferring to Missouri. Miller was a starter on Baylor's 2011-12 Elite Eight squad.

6. Michael Dunigan and Matthew Humphrey, Oregon - 2008

Michael Dunigan

Commitment Date: Dunigan and Humphrey committed together on July 16, 2007.

Package Deal Confirmation: Dunigan told that the AAU teammates made their decision together. Dunigan: "We had some of the same schools that wanted us and figured why not go together?"

Results: This one actually got off to a pretty good start, although it ended roughly. Dunigan had a pretty big impact for Oregon in his two seasons, averaging 8.4 points and 4.6 points as a freshman and then 9.0 points and 4.9 rebounds as a sophomore. After being investigated for receiving extra benefits, he signed with an agent and went pro. Humphrey was a role player in his two years at Oregon, averaging 4.4 points as a freshman and then 5.4 points as a sophomore. He transferred to Boston College and finished his career at West Virginia.

5. Danuel House and Chicken Knowles, Houston - 2012

Danuel House

Commitment Date: House and Knowles committed together on Sept. 11, 2011.

Package Deal Confirmation: The Houston natives had a press conference together announcing their commitment to UH. According to The Arena Pulse, when asked if they always planned on going to school together, House responded, "yes, we did."

Results: There's only been one full season total of actual results between House and Knowles but because there remains the upside for success, whereas we already know many of the other package deals were busts, this one for now lands higher than maybe it should.'s 31st ranked prospect in 2012, House had a very successful freshman season, averaging 12.4 points and 4.9 rebounds.'s 76th ranked prospect in 2012, Knowles was ruled ineligible last season but will take the court this year.

4. Drew Lavender and Brandon Faust, Oklahoma - 2003

Drew Lavender

Commitment Date: Lavender and Faust committed together on Sept. 16, 2002.

Package Deal Confirmation: Lavender and Faust were high school teammates and Foust told the Columbus Dispatch that the two made their decision together. "We were on the same page all along," Faust said.

Results: While Lavender and Faust ultimately ended up having pretty good college careers, the bulk of their success came after transferring. Lavender,'s 29th ranked prospect in 2003, had a nice start at Oklahoma, averaging 11.3 points and 3.9 assists as a freshman, before scoring 9.7 points with 3.2 assists as a sophomore. He improved on those numbers after transferring to Xavier, ending his career by leading the Musketeers to an Elite Eight. Faust struggled a little more than Lavender at Oklahoma, averaging 4.1 points as a freshman and then 2.8 points as a sophomore. He then transferred to Southeast Missouri State, where he averaged double digits in scoring both seasons.

3. Demar DeRozan and Romeo Miller, USC - 2008

Miller and Derozan

Commitment Date: Derozan and Miller committed together on Nov. 20, 2007.

Package Deal Confirmation: Close friends and AAU teammates, multiple schools recruiting Derozan were informed that the school that lands him will have to take Miller as well. "A lot of people don't get the opportunity to do that, especially to go to college and play together. You can't ask for anything better than that," Derozan told

Results: Derozan,'s 6th ranked prospect in 2008, only played one season at USC before declaring for the NBA Draft, but it was successful enough to make this package deal more valuable than the ones ranked lower. Playing 33.4 minutes a game, Derozan averaged 13.9 points and 5.7 rebounds, took home Most Valuable Player of the 2009 Pac-10 Tournament and led the Trojans to the second round of the NCAA tournament before going pro and being selected 9th by the Toronto Raptors. Derozan had his best season in the NBA in 2012-13, averaging 18.1 points and 3.9 rebounds. Romeo Miller, better known as Lil Romeo and the son of hip-hop mogul Master P, played in just nine games at USC, averaging .6 points in 2.1 minutes before leaving the team.

2. Marcus Smart and Phil Forte, Oklahoma State - 2012

Marcus Smart

Commitment Date: Smart and Forte committed together on Sept. 9, 2011.

Package Deal Confirmation: "I just felt me and Phil started this ride together in third grade and we decided it was right to finish it together at Oklahoma State," Smart told

Results: While Smart and Forte only have played a season each, it's clear that this package deal has been strong enough to be the second best on this list. Smart,'s 13th ranked prospect in 2012, averaged 15.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists as a freshman, leading Oklahoma State to a 5-seed in the NCAA tournament. Smart spurned the NBA lottery to return to Oklahoma State as a sophomore. Forte has also been solid, as he averaged 10.2 points in 25.3 minutes as a freshman, while being expected to have a bigger role as a sophomore.

1. Greg Oden and Michael Conley, Ohio State - 2006

Greg Oden

Commitment Date: Oden and Conley committed together on June 29, 2005.

Package Deal Confirmation: Conley told ESPN's Outside the Lines that he could not see Oden and him going to different schools. The two were widely known to be a package deal.

Results: Oden and Conley only played a season apiece in Columbus but both had big roles on a team that ended up in the national championship game, making this the top ranked package deal on the list. Oden,'s top ranked prospect in 2006, averaged 15.7 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.3 blocks as a freshman before becoming the #1 pick of the 2007 NBA Draft. Conley,'s 28th ranked prospect in 2006, averaged 11.3 points and 6.1 assists as a freshman before becoming the #4 pick of the 2007 NBA Draft. Oden's pro career has been severely marred by injuries, while Conley has had a successful career with the Memphis Grizzlies, where he averaged 14.6 points and 6.1 assists last season. Recommended Stories


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