Julius Randle leading the way in 2013
On the surface, the recruiting class of 2013 looks like a fun class. It has a little personality in the form of No. 5 Chris Thomas (Denver/Westwind Prep) and No. 4 Chris Walker (Bonifay, Fla./Holmes). It's also flush with top-tier talent.
Julius Randle (Dallas/Prestonwood Christian) began the season as our No. 1 player and has maintained his spot through this spring. Randle needs to be on his game because in the rearview mirror and charging fast is the son of a former NBA player, Jabari Parker (Chicago/Simeon).
The race for No. 1 could turn into a three-man competition by summer's end, or maybe an even bigger contest. Nerlens Noel (Everett, Mass./Tilton School) should be included in the conversation, as his offense is quickly catching up to his defensive prowess.
For now, we've tabbed Randle. The Texan is a cross between Caron Butler and Marvin Williams. He's a driven young man, the type who doesn't seem content to rest on his ranking. Parker is the same way. He's the most cerebral elite player we've seen. His changes in diet and workout have allowed his body to tone up and, in turn, his game to expand. Do not be shocked if he becomes No. 1 in this class. Our staff needed a straw poll to settle the score this time around; it was that close.
If you like twins, meet the Harrisons. Andrew Harrison (Houston/Travis) is the top-ranked point guard in the class. His brother, Aaron Harrison, is the No. 5 shooting guard; both are top-20 prospects.
Andrew Harrison's running mates at the point are talented players. Anthony Barber (Hampton, Va./Hampton) is a jet. If it's a speedy game, there might not be a player in his class who is faster. Nate Britt (Washington/Gonzaga) is cut from the mold of a classic point guard. How's this for lineage? He's the fourth D.C. Assault starter who will be a high-major player. Nolan Smith (Duke), Tyler Thornton (Duke) and Quinn Cook (Duke) were his predecessors.
The shooting guard position is exciting. Thomas is the best bucket-maker in the class. Keith Frazier (Irving, Texas/Irving), Jabari Bird (Richmond, Calif./Salesian) and Brannen Greene (Monroe, Ga./Mary Parsons) round out the top five.
Right behind Parker at the small forward position is Troy Williams (Hampton, Va./Kecoughtan). Like Parker, he's a thinking man's forward with a stroke and balanced floor game.
The bigs aren't too shabby, either. Randle, Noel and Walker would rate high in any class. Will this group be able to rally and follow in the footsteps of its 2012 counterparts? Stay tuned.
Dave Telep is the senior basketball recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. His college basketball scouting service is used by more than 225 colleges and numerous NBA teams. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.
With the 2011 class in the books, it's never to early to look ahead to 2012, 2013 and 2014.