Blog Entry

Race to the Top: Looking at the elite recruits

Posted on: May 2, 2011 11:44 am
Edited on: May 12, 2011 4:22 pm
Posted by Jeff Borzello

The book is just about closed on the class of 2011. 
Sure, there are still players like DeAndre Daniels, Trevor Lacey, Joseph Uchebo, Kevin Ware and others dragging out their recruiting process, but it’s almost time to put the senior class in our rearview mirror.

There was no clear-cut number one player in the class, with different rankings placing Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers or Michael Gilchrist at the top of the class. Davis came out of nowhere in the spring of his junior season, making his case for No. 1 on the AAU scene. Rivers simply kept lighting it up no matter whom he played, while Gilchrist was steady and solid and probably held the No. 1 spot for the longest of anyone in the class.

But that’s all in the past. The final rankings are out, and it’s time to look at them as incoming college freshman, not high school players. As for the high school players, who’s got next? With only one month of the AAU circuit in the books, there is still plenty of spring and summer ball to be played.

This is the first in a summer-long “Race to the Top” feature at where we gauge which players helped their case as the top player in the class and which players might have dropped a bit in the eyes of observers. We will likely update it after each major event we attend. To start, here’s a look at the candidates for the No. 1 ranking in the classes of 2012, 2013 and 2014.


Photo: Lonnie Webb/MaxPrepsAndre Drummond (pictured): 6’10”, C, St. Thomas More (Conn.) 
Why No. 1: When motivated, he’s unstoppable; combo of size and skill is unparalleled. 
Why Not: Doesn’t dominate consistently; disappears and fails to play hard at times.

Shabazz Muhammad: 6’6”, SF, Bishop Gorman (Nev.) 
Why: Outstanding lefty scorer and unstoppable in the mid-range; good size and build. 
Why Not: Perimeter shooting is inconsistent right now; not as effective going to his right.

DaJuan Coleman: 6’10”, C, Jamesville-Dewitt (N.Y.) 
Why: Has the ability to dominate the interior with his size and bulk; beginning to score in other ways. 
Why Not: Needs to become more toned and get in better shape; does not dominate consistently.

Cameron Ridley: 6’10”, C, George Bush (Tex.), committed to Texas 
Why: Late bloomer continues to improve and has a high ceiling; scores and rebounds effectively. 
Why Not: Needs to develop interior offense more; doesn’t have a wide variety of post moves.

Isaiah Austin: 7’0”, C, Grace Prep (Tex.), committed to Baylor 
Why: Absolute match-up nightmare due to his size and skill; tremendous inside-outside option. 
Why Not: Needs to add weight; spends too much time on the perimeter for a 7-footer.

Brandon Ashley, Ricardo Ledo, Rodney Purvis, Grant Jerrett (Arizona), Kaleb Tarczewski, Amile Jefferson


Julius Randle: 6’9”, PF, Prestonwood Christian (Tex.) 
Why: Unbelievably versatile, can score and defend in different ways; motivated to be No. 1. 
Why Not: Could improve his outside jumper; tends to force drives at times against bigger players.

Jabari Parker:
6’7”, SF, Simeon (Ill.) 
Why: Coming on strong for the top spot; can score inside and out and is becoming quicker. 
Why Not: Struggles defensively to guard quicker or bigger players; working on his handle.

Nerlens Noel: 6’10”, C, Tilton (N.H.) 
Why: Defensively ability is out of this world in terms of blocking shots and rebounding; developing offensively. 
Why Not: Has to add weight to his frame; still somewhat raw on offense and struggles with contact.

Kuran Iverson:
6’8”, SF, Northwest Catholic (Conn.) 
Why: Very high ceiling due to his skill and size; very versatile and knows how to score in different ways. 
Why Not: Takes possessions off and does not play hard all the time; needs to dominate like he can.

Chris Thomas:
6’5”, SG, Westwind Prep (Ariz.) 
Why: Outstanding offensive player; he can shoot from the perimeter, score inside and rack up assists. 
Why Not: Jump shot can disappear at times; defense takes a backseat to his offense in terms of effort.

Others: Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Aaron Gordon, Keith Frazier


Andrew Wiggins: 6’7”, SF, Vaughan (Can.) 
Why: Multi-skilled and can play a variety of positions; has the ability to score on the perimeter or at the rim. 
Why Not: Needs to develop a mean streak; not at the point where he takes over games.

Wayne Selden: 6’4”, SF, Tilton (N.H.) 
Why: Powerful body and an imposing player for his age; is unstoppable going to the rim and can shoot. 
Why Not: He’s simply more physically developed than his peers; has to be more explosive as he ages.

Theo Pinson:
6’5”, SG, Oak Ridge (N.C.) 
Why: Long and athletic, very tough matchup; has excellent passing ability and can finish at the rim. 
Why Not: Needs to add weight to his frame and get stronger; ball-handling is getting better.

Jahlil Okafor:
6’8”, PF, Whitney Young (Ill.) 
Why: Already has good post moves and back-to-the-basket game; finishes at the rim and likes contact. 
Why Not: Not an explosive athlete right now; tends to play below the rim despite his size.

Dakari Johnson: 6’8”, C, St. Patrick (N.J.) 
Why: Dominant space-eater with great skill for his age; very difficult to stop once he gets the ball. 
Why Not: His athleticism needs work; struggles at times against taller players as a result.

Trey Lyles: 6’7”, PF, Arsenal Technical (Ind.), committed to Indiana 
Why: His mix of size and skill is tough to match; can run the floor and scores inside and out. 
Why Not: Doesn’t dominate against inferior opponents; could add strength and weight to his frame.

Others: Justin Jackson.

Photo: Lonnie Webb/MaxPreps

Since: Dec 6, 2006
Posted on: May 9, 2011 3:32 pm

Race to the Top: Looking at the elite recruits

Please keep counting UNLV out, it will make it that much better when you Dookies and Kentucktards see Bazz stay in Vegas. UCLA shouldn't even be mentioned, UCLA is a joke.

Since: Apr 4, 2011
Posted on: May 9, 2011 11:37 am

Race to the Top: Looking at the elite recruits

Anyone know who the Buckeyes are looking at for 2012? I have been searching online but havent found any information.

Since: Sep 21, 2010
Posted on: May 5, 2011 11:33 am

Race to the Top: Looking at the elite recruits

Dajuan Coleman is a BEAST

Since: Nov 6, 2007
Posted on: May 4, 2011 11:45 am

Race to the Top: Looking at the elite recruits

I am guessing a stong majority of the kids don't get on websites like this and if they do i doubt they spend much time reading the comments. they are 18 year old kids with a ton of stuff going on in their lives, I doubt they find the time to look up what some idiot on a webpage thinks. i think they are more concerned with what the coaches and scouts are saying than some 12 year old or some fat 50 year old guy that never played basketball.

Since: Nov 23, 2009
Posted on: May 3, 2011 11:46 pm

Race to the Top: Looking at the elite recruits

Shabaaz will be at Zona this weekend for an un-official visit.   


“We’re just concerned with Arizona right now,” said Ron Holmes, Muhammad’s father. The original visit “wasn’t long enough. We’re going to come Saturday late because coach Miller is doing something with Nike, and then we’ll spend the evening with him and Sunday with the guys…whatever they want us to do we’ll do.”

Holmes said his son will begin to narrow down his options after the summer circuit. Duke, Memphis, Kentucky, Washington and UNLV are among his other suitors so far, though Holmes said there is no finalist list yet.

“The list is kind of weeding itself out,” Holmes said. “He knows who he likes and who he really likes – and Arizona would definitely be one of them.”

Holmes said the Wildcats are among Muhammad's favorites because of “what they did in the tournament, their style of play and his relationship with coach Miller.” It also helped when Josiah Turner played before Muhammad during a high-school all-star game in Houston during the Final Four weekend.

Holmes said Turner’s play intrigued Muhammad, who “is really interested in who the point guard is going to be.”

Since: Mar 6, 2011
Posted on: May 3, 2011 6:43 pm

Race to the Top: Looking at the elite recruits

CUSE I think we agree that in no way is Fab a bust just not developing as fast as some would like. I usually only read the Syracuse boards, anybody else out their think their fans are sometimes overzealous in their commentary  on whatever schools they root for.

Since: Mar 22, 2009
Posted on: May 3, 2011 12:59 pm

Race to the Top: Looking at the elite recruits

Floridasteve is a chronic moron on the boards but I doubt that will impact Colemans decision.

Syracuse isnt the only fanbase that is brutal on busts, it is just sports fans nature. I assume this was a lead into Fab Melo but just give Bernie some time with him .Melo needs a little more quickness and a little more strength and he will be as good as originally advertised.

The only way Coleman doesnt come is if he sees a log jam at the position. If he believes he is a one and done he will go to Kentucly. If he wants to develop for a year or 2 then he comes to Syracuse.

Since: Mar 6, 2011
Posted on: May 3, 2011 8:36 am

Race to the Top: Looking at the elite recruits

CUSEYOURSELF As much as I would love for Coleman to come here I can't help but worry that he has seen how brutal the local fans are on the message boards to any player who fails to dominate like they think should. Maybe he might be better off getting awway from the likes of floridasteve and his kind.

Since: Mar 22, 2009
Posted on: May 2, 2011 10:22 pm

Race to the Top: Looking at the elite recruits

Dont  mind the mick he is just angry his parole officer doesn;t let him within reach of kids in the 2014 class.

Trey Lyle already committed to Indiana, i don't think him or his parents are complaining.

No Top 5 recruit is going to UNLV. I just hope Coleman goes to Cuse and not with Grimey over there in Kentucky.

Since: Aug 1, 2007
Posted on: May 2, 2011 7:43 pm

Race to the Top: Looking at the elite recruits

Yet do you carry on like this during the Olympic "womens" gymnastics? THOSE athletes are children, here we are talking about recruits, what they might be able to offer when they graduate. They will compete after they turn 18, talking about them is nothing like you insist.Have you ever coached a little League team or a soccer team or CYO basketball team? You evaluate the talent there and split the teams based on that talent, I have taken part in actual drafts for these young KIDS to make for the most balanced teams, this is what we do in sport, to try and call this a problem is foolish, time to put your glasses on and see what you yourself have been doing yourself all these years, why is this so different?

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