With the school year wrapping up, ESPN RISE gets its crystal ball out to see what will be the big stories in 2010.
The Class of 2009 Will Produce Three No. 1 Draft Picks
The party will get started in 2010 with John Wall, who's now a senior at Word of God (Raleigh, N.C.). He'll dominate in college for a year, then NBA teams will be clamoring to pick the second coming of Derrick Rose. A couple years later, Roger Goodell will kick off the NFL Draft by calling Matt Barkley, who has already enrolled at USC and nearly won the starting QB job as a true freshman. Barkley has the size, arm strength and mental makeup to be the next great Trojans' signal-caller and eventually a No. 1 NFL draft pick. Brittney Griner out of Nimitz (Houston, Texas) is a no-brainer future top pick for the WNBA. A ferocious dunker and shot blocker, the 6-foot-8 center is unlike anything the women's game has ever seen.
Bryce Harper Will Be The Most Hyped High School Baseball Player Ever
Harper, who's only a sophomore at Las Vegas High, would probably be the No. 2 pick in this year's MLB Draft. The only reason he wouldn't go No. 1 is because of San Diego State's once-in-a-generation hurler, Stephen Strasburg. Harper might not get the attention of elite basketball or football recruits, but he'll garner buzz unlike any prep baseball player before.
Findlay Prep Becomes The West Coast's Oak Hill Academy
In the past, West Coast basketball stars (and there were plenty) looking for a fresh start or a small private school needed to look east. Programs like Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) thrived thanks in part to Cali natives like Marcus Williams and Brandon Jennings. But with Findlay Prep's (Henderson, Nev.) arrival -- and its triumph over Oak Hill in the championship game of the inaugural ESPN RISE National High School Invitational -- those players can stay a lot closer to home and get the same experience. Findlay's NHSI win gave the program enormous ink. Expect it to start paying dividends immediately.
The A-11 Offense Makes A Comeback
Some people say the NFL stands for the No Fun League due to its crackdown on end zone celebrations. Compared to the people at the National Federation of State High School Associations, the NFL is run by college kids on Spring Break. The inventive A-11 is an offensive formation that makes all 11 players potentially eligible receivers. For some reason the NFSHSA found it "unethical" and "unsportsmanlike." Don't expect the A-11 to be on the sidelines for long. With the success of the Wildcat in the NFL and the spread offense in college, innovation on the football field won't be kept down.
Jeremy Tyler Won't Start A Tidal Wave
Tyler's decision to skip his senior year of high school at San Diego High School and play professionally in Europe for two years made a lot of headlines. It seems like the natural progression after Brandon Jennings' decision to forego a year of college to play in Italy and then declare for the NBA Draft. This move will probably make Tyler a better basketball player, but he's going to have to grow up fast. He's had maturity issues in the past and now he'll be playing against 30-year-old professionals when his peers are getting ready for prom. While Tyler will get paid, don't expect too many ballers to follow in his footsteps. Going to Europe is a huge leap and most top ballers show no desire to leave the comforts of home to disappear off the radar for a season or two. Tyler won't be the last to go this route, but don't expect his decision to affect the college game much.