College success is not necessarily indicative of success in the NBA. Players like Tyler Hansbrough, Dee Brown, and Kevin Pittsnogle all werestars in college, but never (or have not yet) reached that level of stardom in the NBA. In fact, out of that trio, only former North Carolina star Hansbrough still plays in the NBA. Former Illinois star Brown plays overseas, while former West Virginia Mountaineer Pittsnogle is now a teacher in West Virginia.
Cavs forward Luke Harangody is in the same class as Hansbrough. A four-year member of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish basketball program, Harangody was a three-time AP All-American in college, as well the Big East Player of the year in the 2007-08 season. The year he won Big East Player of the Year, Harangody averaged 20.4 points and 11.8 rebounds with 45.9 percent shooting from the field. When he was a senior, he was the third-best scorer in all of college basketball per 40 minutes, putting him in Michael Beasley territory when Beasley was thought be the next big star.
Even with an outstanding college career, Harangody fell to the second round of the 2010 NBA Draft, being selected No. 52 overall by the Boston Celtics. He only played 28 games as a rookie, averaging 8.6 minutes and scoring 2.3 points. In February of 2011, he was traded to the Cavs alongside foreign prospect Semih Erden for a second round draft pick in the 2013 Draft. He started his Cavs career playing for the NBA D-League affiliate the Canton Charge. He was recalled in early February, but then re-assigned in March. After his rookie deal ran out after the 2011-12 season, Harangody signed a one-year, $1.1 million dollar deal that will at least keep him in Cleveland through this season.
Harangody has never played more than 28 games in an entire NBA season, and his career high points average is 6.8 points. Part of the reason why his stats are so much lower than they were at Notre Dame is that he just isn’t big enough nor athletic enough to play the power forward spot in the NBA for a long stretch of minutes. He’s also built like an NFL tight end at 6-7, 240 pounds, and coupled with his lack of a consistent outside shot, makes a move to small forward highly unlikely. He’s your stereotypical college athlete who can’t make it professionally on the same scale: undersized, not very athletic, but works very hard and plays even harder.
To me, Harangody seems to be a roster filler on this Cavs team. His future isn’t secure long term, as he is only on a one-year deal, and at the four position he is behind Tristan Thompson, Samardo Samuels, and Anderson Varejao for playing time. With all that considered, it wouldn’t even surprise me if Harangody is let go or sent to the D-League at some point. It’s doubtful that he is in the Cavs plans long term. So while the jury has declared that Harangody isn’t exactly an NBA starter, that same jury is still undecided whether or not he will be Cav for the long term.