Eight former one-and-dones who found pro success overseas
In 2006, the NBA changed its eligibility rules, increasing the minimum age to 19 and requiring all players, except for internationals, to be at least one year removed from the graduation of their high school class. High school kids could no longer make the jump straight to the pros, and the one-and-done era of college basketball began, with a number of top prospects heading to school for one season before entering the NBA draft.
Some of the NBA's biggest stars, such as 2015-16 All-NBA selections Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan, declared for the NBA draft after only one year of college hoops. This year, top prospects like Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram attended one year of college before declaring for the draft. But while the decision to turn pro as a freshman obviously worked out for players like Durant and Jordan, not every one-and-done player goes on to have a successful NBA career.
Lack of NBA success doesn't necessarily mean a player can't find success elsewhere. Here are eight former one-and-dones, sorted chronologically by year turned pro, who have crafted careers overseas since the 2006 rule change.
Daequan Cook, Ohio State, 2007
Cook went one-and-done along with freshman teammates Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr. The sharpshooting 6' 5" guard was 41.5% from behind the arc during his freshman season, and Ohio State went all the way to the NCAA tournament finals, where the Buckeyes lost to repeat champs Florida.
Though he wasn’t hyped like Oden and Conley, who went No. 1 and No. 4 in the 2007 draft, respectively, Cook was still a hot prospect and was selected 21st overall by the 76ers. Philadelphia shipped Cook to Miami, where he spent the first three seasons of his pro career.
Cook averaged 8.9 points in his first two years with the Heat and won the 2009 Three-Point Shootout, but his role diminished in the 2009-10 season as Miami's backcourt got deeper. Cook spent two years in Oklahoma City and then split the 2012-13 season between Houston and Chicago before taking his career to Europe.
Cook played in Ukraine, Germany and France before settling in Portugal last season. He played the 2015-16 campaign with S.L. Benfica, which had won four straight championships in Portugal's top league. Cook is leading Benfica with 17.8 points per game. He dropped 36 points in the league semifinals earlier this month as the team advanced to the finals, and he averaged 23 points in a championship series defeat to FC Porto.
Donte Greene, Syracuse, 2008
Greene tore it up for a mediocre Syracuse team with 17.7 points and 7.2 rebounds and, for a while, it appeared his decision to leave school after one year was a good one. After being considered a potential lottery pick, Greene snuck into the first round when the Grizzlies drafted him with the 28th pick. The 6'11" small forward was traded twice that summer to the Rockets and then the Kings, where he played four seasons.
Greene dropped 40 points in a summer league game prior to his rookie season and then broke out in 2009-10, when he started 50 games, averaged 8.5 points and shot 37.7% from three-point range. Sacramento finished with a 25-57 record.
After missing the 2012-13 season with an injury, Greene signed a contract in Puerto Rico’s BSN but played only one game before signing with the Memphis Grizzlies that April. Greene was then traded to Boston over the summer, but the Celtics waived him in September prior to the season's start.
Greene played the 2013-14 season in China and averaged 19.6 points and 7.7 rebounds.
During the summer of 2014, Greene got into a fight with NFL linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar in Miami and was tasered by police. Greene was arrested and charged with battery.
He played the last two seasons in the United Arab Emirates.
Davon Jefferson, USC, 2008
Jefferson entered USC in the same class as O.J. Mayo. The California native teamed up with future first-round pick Taj Gibson on the Trojans’ front line and averaged 12.1 points and 6.3 boards.
Jefferson was considered a top prospect, but scouts worried about character issues and his conditioning during pre-draft workouts. He measured 12% body fat at the NBA combine. After going undrafted, he signed with Maccabi Haifa in Israel that summer.
Although Jefferson never appeared in an NBA game, he has had a very successful career overseas. Jefferson won MVP in Russia’s top league in 2012. He then played a few years in South Korea and led the league in scoring but was released in 2015 after listening to his iPod and stretching during the national anthem.
“I did not ignore Korean culture or any culture at all,” Jefferson said at the time at a news conference. “I just felt pain while the Korean national anthem was playing, so I did some stretching.”
Jefferson also posted a photo on Instagram shortly before the news conference of him flipping the double bird, although he then deleted the post.
Jefferson has since returned to Russia’s top league with BC Krasny Oktyabr and averaged 18.4 points and 8.6 rebounds last season. However, he is no longer listed on the team’s roster.
Jefferson has been implicated in other off-court issues since turning pro. He was suspended in 2011 for an altercation with Lithuanian police after leaving a nightclub intoxicated, when he and a teammate were tasered and taken into custody before being released without charges. In 2012, the NCAA investigated USC after reports that Jefferson and football player Joe McKnight received cash and benefits.
Anthony Randolph, LSU, 2008
Randolph walked into a great situation at LSU, where the Tigers had lost three of their top frontcourt players. Randolph likely would have found playing time anyway as one of the nation's top recruits, but he became a centerpiece along with guard and future second-round pick success story Marcus Thornton. The 6' 10" forward averaged 15.6 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 32.8 minutes.
Randolph seemingly made a great decision coming out of college. The Warriors selected Randolph with the final lottery pick in 2008, and he started 22 games as a rookie. Over the final 12 games of the season, he averaged a double-double.
Randolph's numbers improved during his second season to 11.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game, but he missed the second half of the season with an ankle injury. That off-season, the Warriors traded him to the Knicks, and from there Randolph bounced around to Minnesota, Denver and Orlando, which waived him one day after receiving him via trade. After starting 30 games in 1.5 seasons with the Warriors, Randolph started only 13 more games before leaving the NBA in 2014.
Since 2014, he has played for Lokomotiv Kuban in Russia's top league. He led Lokomotiv in scoring last season in the VTB United League with 16.8 points per game, and the team placed third at this year's Euroleague Final Four.
Byron Mullens, Ohio State, 2009
Mullens had a respectable year with the Buckeyes, tallying 8.8 points and 4.7 rebounds in 20.3 minutes per game. That was enough to get selected late in the first round by Dallas. The Mavericks sent him to Oklahoma City for Rodrigue Beaubois, who was drafted right after Mullens, and a future second rounder.
After barely seeing the floor for the Thunder, Mullens resurfaced with Charlotte in 2011 and had two strong years as a part-time starter. He averaged career-highs of 10.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 26.9 minutes during the 2012-13 season.
The former No. 1 recruit, who once scored 62 points on 28-for-34 shooting in high school, played 45 games the following season for the Clippers and 76ers. Since then, he played in China, Turkey and the D-League.
Mullens averaged 30.8 points and 14.5 rebounds during a four-game stint in China at the end of the 2013-14 season.
In March, he signed with Torku Konyaspor in Turkey's top-tier league through the end of the 2016-17 season. Mullens appeared in nine games for Torku Konyaspor last season and averaged 9.8 points.
Keith “Tiny” Gallon, Oklahoma, 2010
A McDonald’s All-American in high school, Gallon filled the frontcourt void left by Blake Griffin, averaging 10.3 points and 7.9 rebounds as a freshman.
He also shattered a backboard on an alley-oop attempt, which can happen when you’re 6’ 9” and 300 pounds.
Gallon was drafted 47th by the Bucks. Milwaukee had used its first round pick on VCU big Larry Sanders and signed Drew Gooden during the summer, moving Gallon down a frontcourt depth chart that already included Andrew Bogut, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Ersan Ilyasova. The Bucks released Gallon after their first preseason game.
Gallon played one D-League season before taking a two-year break from basketball to care for his daughter. He returned to the D-League in 2013 and averaged 18.9 points and 9.1 rebounds for the Delaware 87ers. He’s since moved on to China’s second-tier league and is dominating for Henan Shedianlaojiu with 36.2 points and 13.8 boards per game.
Josh Selby, Kansas, 2011
Between a nine-game suspension and a lingering ankle injury, Selby's freshman season at Kansas was underwhelming, even though he still won Big 12 Freshman of the Year with 7.9 points and 2.2 assists per game.
The former top-five recruit fell to the 49th pick in the 2011 draft and played 38 games with the Grizzlies over two seasons before heading to the D-League.
While riding the bench, Selby considered retirement. “I went through a time where I was depressed with basketball,” Selby said in 2014. “I got depressed because things weren't going my way.”
Selby shared 2012 NBA Summer League MVP honors with Damian Lillard and played for three different D-League teams during the 2012-13 season. After playing for five teams in five months between the NBA and D-League, Selby signed a one-month, $40,000 deal in China, but he said in 2014 he had not received all the money he was owed. He moved on to Croatia with a $15,000 per month contract but was released after one game.
Since then, he has had success playing in Israel and Turkey. He made $110,000 in Israel's top league during the 2014-15 season and was one of the country's top scorers. Last season, he averaged 23.4 points and 3.7 assists for Socar Petkim in Turkey’s second-tier league.
Quincy Miller, Baylor, 2012
Miller had an impressive freshman campaign, averaging 10.6 points and 4.9 rebounds with a 110.1 offensive rating.
He was drafted 38th overall by the Nuggets. After a respectable second season in Denver where he started 16 games and averaged 4.9 points, Miller played only 10 games the following year for the Kings and the Pistons.
In his first season overseas, Miller played for Crvena Zvezda in the Adriatic League and Basketball League of Serbia. The team won the 2015-16 Adriatic League title and fell one round short of the Euroleague Final Four. Miller averaged 14.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in Euroleague play and earned All-Euroleague Second Team honors.