- Bob Gibbons, Scouts Inc. Basketball Recruiting
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We have analyzed our ESPN 150 ratings for the Class of 2008 and have updated our list to reflect player performances during the 2007-08 high school season. There have been a number of changes, additions, deletions and players ascending and descending. All of these updated ratings are based upon player evaluations made by our staff during this basketball season.
A fixture at the No. 1 spot is 6-1 PG Brandon Jennings (Los Angeles/Oak Hill Academy), our choice as the National High School Player of the Year. A McDonald's All-American, Jennings has averaged 36 points and eight assists for Oak Hill and helped them maintain a high national ranking (currently No. 7 in the ESPN HIGH Elite 25). He signed in November with Arizona.
Moving from No. 3 to No. 2 is the nation's best big man, 6-9 PF Samardo Samuels (Newark, N.J./St. Benedict's). This Louisville early signee was the key player for his team's outstanding 24-1 season and No. 3 national ranking. A member of the East team in the McDonald's All-American Game, Samuels is almost unstoppable powering to the hoop.
At No. 3 is the "Best in the West" player, UCLA-bound, 6-4 2G Jrue Holiday (North Hollywood, Calif./Campbell Hall). We rate this McDonald's All-American West team player (he will likely team with Brandon Jennings in a super backcourt combo) as the best wing player in America. He is a lethal 3-point shooter and has excellent guard skills and athletic abilities.
Rated No. 4 is prolific scoring 6-6 2G Tyreke Evans (Aston, Pa./American Christian), a member of the McDonald's All-American East team who will likely be matched against Holiday. Evans excels at slashing to the hoop and scoring off the dribble. He has not been a consistent outside shooter this season, as was the case in American Christian's recent loss to St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.) in an ESPN televised game.
Jumping from No. 13 to No. 5 is Wake Forest signee, athletic 6-9 WF Al-Farouq Aminu, (Norcross, Ga.). Aminu is having a terrific senior season and is the leading candidate for Mr. Basketball honors in Georgia. A member of the McDonald's All-American East squad, Aminu has the size, athleticism, and, if he continues to work on his perimeter game, the basketball skills to become an exceptional wing forward for Dino Gaudio's Demon Deacons next season. He could team with James Johnson to give Wake Forest a dynamite duo of forwards next year.
Rounding out our ESPN super six is 7-0 C/F Tyler Zeller (Washington, Ind.). Zeller, a North Carolina recruit, was previously rated No. 10. He has had a phenomenal senior season, averaging 33 points. Zeller was named to the McDonald's All-American East team and will likely be the starting center in the game. He runs the floor as well as any seven-footer we have observed and has quick hands and a remarkable ability to catch the ball in transition. He has a bright future with Roy Williams' Tar Heels.
Completing the ESPN dandy dozen is No. 7-ranked USC signee, 6-6 WF Demar DeRozan (Compton, Calif.), a member of the McDonald's All-American West team; No. 8-ranked Ohio State signee, 7-1 C B.J. Mullens (Canal Winchester, Ohio), named to the McDonald's All-American West squad and slated to go head-to-head with Tyler Zeller; No. 9-ranked Connecticut recruit, outstanding team leader and playmaker, 6-0 PG Kemba Walker (New York/Rice), who was selected to the McDonald's All-American East team; No. 10-ranked North Carolina recruit, 6-9 PF Ed Davis (Richmond, Va./Benedictine), also picked for the McDonald's All-American East squad; and No. 12-ranked Georgetown recruit, 6-10 PF Greg Monroe (Harvey, La./Helen Cox), chosen to the McDonald's All-American West team.
Making the biggest jump into the top 25 to No. 18 is Virginia signee,
6-6 G/F Sylven Landesberg (New York/Holy Cross). Landesberg is a classic example of why rankings should be periodically updated. Previously rated at No. 45 after a less than spectacular summer, he has achieved an excellent senior season at Holy Cross and was named to the McDonald's All-American East team. Landesberg has the versatility to play three positions, is an accurate outside shooter and will be a most valuable addition to Virginia next year.
Another making a significant upward move to No. 21 is Oregon bound, 6-10 C Michael Dunigan (Chicago/Farragut Academy). Dunigan, the leading candidate for Mr. Basketball honors in Illinois, is the top prospect in Chicagoland and a dominator in the low post. He earlier was rated No. 41. Dunigan was selected to the McDonald's All-American West team.
Two other additions to the Top 25 6-9 PF Chris Singleton (Dunwoody, Ga.) at No. 22 and 6-1 PG Larry Drew (Woodland Hills, Calif./Taft) at No. 24. Singleton, a Florida State signee, was at No. 29. He is a member of the McDonald's All-American East team. Drew, a future floor leader at North Carolina, had been rated No. 31. He was named to the McDonald's All-American West squad.
Others making big jumps include 6-6 WF DeQuan Jones (Marietta, Ga./Wheeler), who was No. 49 and is now No. 28; 6-6 WF Terrelle Pryor (Jeanette, Pa.), ESPN's No. 1 rated football quarterback, jumps to No. 33 after leading Jeannette to the WPIAL Class AA championship. Pryor had 39 points, 24 rebounds and 10 blocks in the title game against arch-rival Beaver Falls. Pryor had been rated No. 79.
Improving from No. 46 to No. 29 is Georgetown recruit 6-10 C Henry Sims (Baltimore/Mt. St. Joseph), a potential high school All-American.
Michigan State signee Draymond Green (Saginaw, Mich.), the leading candidate for Mr. Basketball in Michigan, rose from No. 80 to No. 35 after a strong senior season.
Overpowering low post operative, unsigned 6-9 C Rashanti Harris (New Hope, Miss./Columbus) has made a quantum leap from No. 107 to No. 36. Harris is being courted by many high level programs but reportedly may have to attend a junior college.
Rising from No. 57 to No. 38 is one of the hottest players in Texas, New Mexico recruit, 6-5 2G Phillip McDonald (Cypress, Texas/Cypress Springs).
Washington State signee 6-6 WF Klay Thompson (Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif./Santa Margarita), who is having an outstanding senior season, and has sky-rocketed to No. 45 from No. 127.
Another big mover is incredible Arkansas-bound scorer 6-0 PG Rotnei Clarke (Claremore, Okla./Verdigris), who will soon become the all-time career leading scorer in the state of Oklahoma. He lands at No. 51
New additions to the Top 150 include No. 82, 6-8 PF Anthony Booker (Southern Illinois); No. 85, 6-5 2G Terrico White (Mississippi); No. 98, 6-4 2G Scottie Haralson (Connecticut); No. 106, 6-4 2G Sean Kilpatrick (undecided); No. 109, 6-7 PF Toby Veal (Colorado); No. 112, 6-1 PG Paul McCoy (undecided); No. 113, 6-8 C/F Darius Morrow (South Carolina); No. 121, 6-8 PF Latavious Williams (undecided); No. 123, 6-1 PG Jordan Taylor (Wisconsin); No. 124, 6-5 1/2G Grant Gibbs (Gonzaga); No. 125, 6-1 1/2G Frank Sullivan (Auburn); No. 139, 6-5 G/F Travis Leslie (undecided); No. 140, 6-5 2G Freddie Riley (undecided); No. 141, 6-4 2G Max Kenyi (Harvard); No. 144, 7-1 C/F Catalin Baciu (Clemson); No. 145, 6-3 2G Matt Roth (Indiana); No. 149, 6-1 PG Lorne Jackson (undecided); and No. 150, 6-8 P/WF John Shurna (Northwestern).
This list also includes some highly gifted players who have been injured or are no longer playing this season. The top player is former No. 7 rated 6-8 PF Delvon Roe (Michigan State), who suffered a knee injury in his first game this season and was out for the rest of his senior year. Roe is now ranked No. 11.
Another top-rated prospect with an injury shortened season is UCLA signee, 6-8 Drew Gordon (San Jose, Calif./Archbishop Mitty). Gordon is rated No. 19. At No. 81 is future Ohio State Buckeye, 6-3 2G Walter Offutt (Indianapolis) who also unfortunately had an early season-ending injury.
Also out of action but still rated is No. 53 6-3 1/2G J'Covan Brown, who was suspended in December from his Memorial (Port Arthur, Texas) team for disciplinary reason. Brown has made a verbal commitment to Texas.
Bob Gibbons is the editor and publisher of the All Star Sports Report and is widely regarded as the recruiting guru of college basketball. Drop Bob a line in his mailbag.
Taking into account performances from senior seasons, Bob Gibbons reworks the Class of 2008 ESPN 150.