- Paul Biancardi, Basketball Recruiting
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Here is a breakdown of the top 10 players in the 2011 class, including what makes them so good and how they can improve.
Austin Rivers (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park)
Player rank: 1 | SG rank: 1 | Grade: 98 | Stars: 5
Height: 6-foot-4 | Weight: 189 pounds | Evaluation
Breakdown: The Duke signee is the most prolific offensive player in the 2011 class who displays a full package of offensive weapons to create his own shot at will. Rivers is dangerous nailing 3-pointers in transition without hesitation. He executes the floater in the lane with exceptional poise and he knows when to use it. Plus, he moves well without the ball to free himself up and makes his free throws. More importantly, he possesses the swagger needed to dominate the game from a scoring perspective.
Area of growth: Rivers must utilize his left hand more, showing the ability to finish going to his left. Plus, he needs to become a more committed defender in all phases of the game.
Anthony Davis (Chicago, Ill./Perspectives Charter)
Player rank: 2 | PF rank: 1 | Grade: 98 | Stars: 5
Height: 6-10 | Weight: 200 pounds | Evaluation
Breakdown: He is a unique prospect who combines excellent athletic ability with incredible versatility at 6-10. The Kentucky signee impacts the game with his rebounding and active shot blocking on a consistent basis, as well as continuing to impress on the offensive end. Davis has a knack for using his perimeter skills to create a shot for himself off the dribble and is deadly inside the arc.
Area of growth: He is a strength coach away from enhancing his overall game, which is scary. As his body gets stronger and he gains weight, it will allow him play low to high on both ends of the floor because right now he struggles to finish through contact.
Michael Gilchrist (Somerdale, N.J./St. Patrick)
Player rank: 3 | SF rank: 1 | Grade: 98 | Stars: 5
Height: 6-7 | Weight: 210 pounds | Evaluation
Breakdown: The sign of a great player is that he can produce and make his team win. Gilchrist is an everyday player who can score in the transition game or the half-court set. He beats defenders off the bounce by attacking the basket with a low, tight first step and has excellent body control to finish. The future Kentucky Wildcat also can post up against most and score with efficiency. The glass is where he dominates the stat line on both ends. His jumper off the catch has improved a great deal. His tremendous work ethic is his calling card while his desire to win is unmatched.
Area of growth: Gilchrist needs to work on his consistency from beyond the arc and develop a floater, for when he gets into the lane against opposing bigs. Adding a pull-up jumper from 15-feet wouldn't hurt either.
Quincy Miller (North Chicago, Ill./Westchester Country Day)
Player rank: 4 | PF rank: 2 | Grade: 98 | Stars: 5
Height: 6-9 | Weight: 210 pounds | Evaluation
Breakdown: The Baylor signee has a dangerous blend of super athletic ability, size, skill and basketball IQ making him a matchup nightmare. Miller is a polished post player with advanced perimeter skills who will punish smaller defenders inside or drive on bigger defenders who are less mobile. Plus, he can rebound and block shots.
Area of growth: With all his potential, the ability to make his team win is still in doubt. Miller has to take his talent and translate it into wins to reach his full potential.
James McAdoo (Norfolk, Va./Norfolk Christian)
Player rank: 5 | PF rank: 3 | Grade: 98 | Stars: 5
Height: 6-8 | Weight: 216 pounds | Evaluation
Breakdown: The future Tar Heel is a highly-skilled and fundamentally-sound player who produces at both ends of the floor. McAdoo has really shored up his midrange jumper and understands how to score from the short corner, while also flashing to the middle to attack. Defensively, his anticipation, length and athletic ability allow him get into passing lanes and score in transition.
Area of growth: He still struggles beyond the arc, but with time and preparation he will improve. McAdoo also needs to improve his free throw shooting routine by eliminating his his hitch and using a more fluid motion, which will help his consistency.
LeBryan Nash (Dallas, Texas/Lincoln)
Player rank: 6 | SF rank: 2 | Grade: 98 | Stars: 5
Height: 6-7 | Weight: 230 pounds | Evaluation
Breakdown: Nash may be the most physically gifted player in the class. What sets him apart from his peers is his combination of explosiveness, power, strength and athleticism making him a difficult matchup for opponents. When he is living in the lane, he dominates opponents and impacts the game by scoring and being a tenacious rebounder on the offensive glass. When attacking the rim in transition or on hard straight-line drives in the half court, Nash will finish through contact at a high percentage. Watch him score in the low or mid post by overpowering defenders and displaying a soft touch. Plus, the distance on his jumper is improving.
Area of growth: When the young man is fired up and focused, he is a tremendous asset. For now he needs to commit to playing at 15 feet and in, while working his way out over time -- not the other way around.
Bradley Beal (St. Louis, Mo./Chaminade)
Player rank: 7 | SG rank: 2 | Grade: 98 | Stars: 5
Height: 6-3 | Weight: 177 pounds | Evaluation
Breakdown: Beal is one of the most outstanding jump shooters in all of high school basketball, reminiscent of Ray Allen. To be a good shooter one must get open and he understands that concept. The future Gator moves well with out the ball to create time and space for himself and does an excellent job of utilizing screens as he reads his defender and then makes his cut. His shot preparation leads to his consistent range and accuracy, while his passing and driving have noticeably improved as well.
Area of growth: With his great shot, he must incorporate a strong fake to help create space and drive the ball. Beal must also develop going to his left because now he does everything -- drive, finish and pass -- to the right.
Marquis Teague (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike)
Player rank: 8 | PG rank: 1 | Grade: 98 | Stars: 5
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 175 pounds | Evaluation
Breakdown: Teague is a one-man fast break who is physically gifted with strength and speed. He takes an outlet pass and goes coast to coast with great pace and is almost unstoppable in transition. He is always putting defenders on their heels with a burst of speed in the open court or a quick first step on his dribble drives. Once in the paint, he can use his strong body and concentration to finish or kick it out. His lateral quickness also allows him the potential to be a shutdown defender because he can influence strong ball pressure and anticipate passing lanes.
Area of growth: Teague must be more vocal as a point guard, more consistent from beyond the arc, learn how to attack zone defense and make better decisions.
Myck Kabongo (Toronto, Can./Findlay Prep)
Player rank: 9 | PG rank: 2 | Grade: 98 | Stars: 5
Height: 6-2 | Weight: 170 pounds | Evaluation
Breakdown: Kabongo exudes great leadership skills has a good basketball IQ and plays with great energy. Blessed with elite level athleticism and quickness, he sets the tempo for his team's ability to convert from defense to offense. The future Longhorn gets into the lane at will and has a strong drive, draw and kick game. What makes him special is that he is a facilitor and creator first with the ability to score at a moments notice. Defensively, he is dominant as an on-ball defender.
Area of growth: He plays the game so fast, he has unforced turnovers that should not happen to elite point guards. Also he tries to make the big play too often when the simple pass or play will work. His thirst to improve makes him coachable, which will help as he continues to master the point guard position.
Adonis Thomas (Memphis, Tenn./Melrose)
Player rank: 10 | SF rank: 3 | Grade: 98 | Stars: 5
Height: 6-6 | Weight: 210 pounds | Evaluation
Breakdown: The Memphis signee has the body of a chiseled small forward with the speed, quickness and power to fill up the stat sheet. He plays the game with such a high motor with and is a constant producer. Thomas is a matchup nightmare who is too strong and athletic for like-size opponents to guard, but is also too skilled and quick for power forwards to handle. When he is inside against bigger opponents and can't use his athlethism, he depends on his intelligence and instincts to score around defenders. He is also a relentless rebounder at both ends.
Area of growth: He must continue to refine his skills and shooting range, but not to the point that he goes away from where he is most effective. As he moves to the next level, he can't rely on his athletic ability as often as he does now.
Paul Biancardi, who has been a head coach and assistant on NCAA tournament teams, is the national director of basketball recruiting. He is also one the voters for the McDonald's All-American Game and Gatorade Player of the Year. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.
Even the best player in the country can still improve. Austin Rivers must go left more often and Anthony Davis must get stronger, writes Paul Biancardi.