Tuesday, July 26, 2011

High School Basketball: EARLY Top 5 per Position for Class of 2012!!!


Written by: Prospect-Central

(1) Rodney Purvis6'4'' 185Raleigh, NC
Since the class of 2012 is relatively weak at the point guard position, I decided to include Rodney Purvis into this group to add some depth and flair.  Even though Rodney is listed as a shooting guard, he is more than capable of handling point guard duties as was seen at the 2011 Peach Jam tournament where he was third in assists with 6.8 a game.  Rodney is a scorer by nature due to his elite athleticism and respectable jumper, but his ball handling skills and ability to create for others will allow him to play the point guard position (if he and his coaches choose to go that route) at the collegiate level and beyond.

(2) Marcus Paige6'1'' 160Marion, IA
Marcus Paige made a verbal commitment to play for the University of North Carolina in 2012 and head coach Roy Williams couldn't be more pleased.  Paige is a left handed guard capable of scoring by creating his own shot or off the catch and shoot.  He has great accuracy from downtown and a sweet spot up jumper from mid-range.  Paige has excellent court vision and a great sense of court awareness.  He knows how to get his teammates involved by passing on time and on target.  Defensively he is quick enough to stay in front of any other pg in the country and has very active hands.  Needs to add more strength to truly take his game to the next level.

(3) D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera / 6'3'' 215Indianapolis, IN
D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera is another combo guard ala Rodney Purvis.  Since he has a tremendous basketball IQ, great ball handling abilities, excellent court vision and nice passing skills, I feel Rivera will be able to transition quite nicely into the pg position at the collegiate level.  Rivera is built like a fullback in football and he uses that strength to bully his way to the rim for easy buckets.  He also has shown a nice touch from mid-range.  Once he gets to college however, his lack of ideal size for the two guard position might hinder his game, thus moving him to the the point guard spot might allow him to be more effective.  There is no question however, that he has the skill and talent to continue to play basketball well past the high school level.

(4) Yogi Ferrell / 5'11'' 160Greenfield, IN
Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell is verbally committed to play basketball for Indiana University in 2012.  The Hoosiers should be delighted with what Yogi brings to the table (and I'm not talking about picnic baskets Boo Boo...lol).  Ferrell is a true point guard that has great strength for his size.  Extremely fast and clever with the ball in his hands, Yogi has the ability to get to wherever he wants on the basketball court and find the open teammate.  Good mid-range shooter with the ability to stroke the 3 ball, Yogi still needs a little more consistency in that department.  Shows great effort on the defensive end by constantly applying good ball pressure.  Because of his tremendous basketball IQ, it is quite clear Yogi is smarter than your average bear and point guard.

(5) J-Mychal Reese / 6'2'' 170Bryan, TX
Reese is a southpaw who has the ability to score points in a flurry.  With a super quick first step, Reese is able to get to the basket at will and finish with a variety of creative shots including runners and floaters.  Has a nice pull up jumper and range out to about 20 feet.  A good passer with a knack for finding the open man, Reese can create for his teammates quite easily because of his nice handles and blazing speed.  Defensively, he has good foot movement and pestering hands.  Since Reese is able to score points in a hurry, he has a tendency to force the issue at times.  He needs to take what the defense gives him and not try and make the "hero" play as much.  Overall, J-Mychal Reese has a very polished skill set and enough natural talent to be a very promising player at the collegiate level and possibly beyond.

Honorable Mention: Kris Dunn / 6'3'' 180New London, CT --- Braxton Ogbueze /  6'1'' 185Charlotte, NC

(1) Shabazz Muhammad / 6'6'' 210Las Vegas, NV 
Along with Andre Drummond, Shabazz is considered the best prospect in the class of 2012.  Listed as a small forward, it is clear Shabazz will spend the majority of his time at the shooting guard position in college. This well built lefty is the best scorer in high school basketball.  He can fill it up in a variety of ways.  Able to blow by his defender and finish at the rim with authority, or knock down jumper after jumper, there is no defender in high school that can contain him.  Some things Shabazz needs to work on is developing a better right hand and getting his teammates involved in the game more.  Blessed with tremendous athleticism and a relentless work ethic, there is no question Shabazz has all the makings for potential super stardom.

(2) Ricardo Ledo / 6'6'' 180Providence, RI
Ricardo Ledo is a pure scorer, there is no other way to put it.  He is able to score points quicker than Paris Hilton finds boyfriends.  No matter where Ledo is on the floor, he is able to put the ball in the whole (which is similar to the boyfriends of Paris Hilton now that I think about it...lol).  He possess great size for the shooting guard position, as well as elite athleticism and a full offensive repertoire.  While his offensive game is quite polished, he needs to develop a little more sense of urgency on the defensive end.  He has a tendency to become lackadaisical on that side of the ball at times.  He should only improve as he gets older however, so don't be surprised if you hear the name Ricardo Ledo being talked about for years to come.

(3) Archie Goodwin / 6'5'' 181Little Rock, AR
Archie Goodwin has been compared by many scouts to Joe Johnson when he was the same age because of the smooth way he plays the game, as well as being from the same home state of Arkansas.  Goodwin is very versatile with his offensive game.  He can play with his back to the basket, has a nice mid-range stroke, can shoot with good accuracy from the 3 point arch, or take it to the hole and finish with authority.  Basically you have to pick your poison when guarding Archie Goodwin.  Goodwin needs to improve his defense if he truly wants to become an elite player at the next level.  He can also benefit from adding more muscle, but natural maturity should help him pack 15-20 pounds onto his long frame.  Goodwin has played extremely well this spring and summer, which really has catapulted him onto the recruiting radar of major college programs.  Look for Archie to carry this terrific play into his upcoming senior season and further establish himself as one of the best shooting guards in the nation.

(4) Rasheed Sulaimon / 6'4'' 180Houston, TX
Coach K. and the Duke Blue Devils will be thrilled that Rasheed Sulaimon has committed to play for them in 2012.  Sulaimon brings a contagious energy and consistent effort to every game.  He is always one or two dribbles away from creating an explosive play.  Has nice handles, a great first step and respectable range, so he is a very difficult cover for any 2 guard at the high school level.  Sulaimon is a good defender, but tends to loose concentration at times which leads to him picking up cheap fouls.  He also tends to force the issue too often, which leads to unforced turnovers.  Overall, Rasheed Sulaimon is a stupendous talent who posses excellent athleticism and a polished skill set.  There is no question that he has a tremendous amount of potential and all the tools necessary that to be a special college player.

(5) Garry Harris / 6'5'' 200Indianapolis, IN
Garry Harris has great physical strength and excellent length for a young guard.  Harris is a fantastic slasher going towards the rim and is able to finish with an assortment of moves.  Since Harris has such a nice touch and terrific body control, he is able to make difficult shots look routinely easy.  Garry is a hard nose defender who uses his strong body to keep his opponents out of the lane.  He is also quite good at playing the passing lanes and creating turnovers.  While he is a decent shooter right now with range as deep as 20 feet, he still needs to be more consistent when it comes to his jump shot.  Bottom line, Garry Harris is an impressive prospect with a very bright future.

Honorable Mention: Katin Reinhardt / 6'5'' 190 / San Juan Capistrano, CA --- Gabe York / 6'1'' 170 / Orange, CA

(1) Kyle Anderson / 6'8'' 215Fairview, NJ 
Kyle Anderson's game is quite unique to say the least.  His game is kind of like a riddle, wrapped around a paradigm, trapped inside a paradox.  Basically what I'm getting at is it's unorthodox.  Anderson is a multi-skilled forward who can play ever position on the basketball court, excluding center of course.  Because of his excellent court vision, deft passing skills, good ball handling abilities and overall high basketball IQ, Anderson is not only able to handle point guard duties, he is able to actually excel at the position.  Kyle has nice form on his jumper as well and a consistent stroke from around 17 feet.  Not the most athletic player as his nickname "slow-mo" would indicate, Anderson is still able to use his craftiness and solid fundamentals to blow by would be defenders with relative ease.  He is the definition of a "match-up nightmare" because of his unique skill set, but needs to play with a little more energy to really take his game to an elite status.  

(2) Devonta Pollard / 6'7'' 200De Kalb, MS 
Devonta Pollard has some things to be embarrassed about, his basketball skills are definitely NOT part of it.  As Jay-Z would say, "He's got 99 problems, but his GAME ain't one!!!"  Pollard is long and lean with super quick hops.  At this stage in his development, Devonta relies allot on his superior athleticism to score most of his points.  The athletic lefty is able to finish at the rim with spectacular dunks or use some finesse and a soft touch to score with ease.  He is also quite capable of using both hands and a nice handle to get to wherever he wants on the court.  Pollard has a deadly pull-up jump shot as well.  Defensively he uses his length, great leaping ability and tremendous timing to block shots at a high rate.  As of right now, Devonta Pollard is best in transition.  If he wants to truly fulfill his potential, he needs to work on his half court offense, moving without the basketball and shooting off the catch.  Despite these flaws, Pollard is an exceptional basketball player with a very rare opportunity to be great. 

(3) Alex Poythress / 6'7'' 215Clarksville, TN 
Alex Poythress is one of the better athletes in the class of 2012.  He uses his great athletic ability to relentlessly attack the rim and finish with thunderous jams or beautiful floaters.  Poythress ability to run the floor, coupled along with his nice hands, makes him a point guards dream.  He is an excellent rebounder at both ends of the floor and is able to start the fast break because of his above average handles.  His tremendous length makes him a defensive problem for anyone he guards at the high school level and usually helps him get a couple steals a game.  Polythress needs to hone his overall skill set as well as continue to add muscle to his frame.  Time and practice will help add polish to Polythress game, but there is no denying that he is a high-level athlete right now.

(4) J.P. Tokoto / 6'6'' 190Menomonee Falls, WI
Roy Williams and UNC must be delighted that J.P. Tokoto has committed to play for them in 2012.  When watching J.P. Tokoto play, it is clear he is an elite level athlete.  He runs the floor like a deer and is one of the best finishers around the rim in all of high school.  He uses his soft touch and tremendous leaping ability to make "highlight" type plays at the rim.  He has a good all around skill set in all facets of the game.  Can rebound very well on both ends of the ball and start the fast break.  Tokoto needs to become more consistent with his jump shot and work on tightening up his handle because he can be turnover prone at times.  He also needs to continue to get stronger if he wants to be a dominant small forward in the ACC.  One thing is clear, J.P. Tokoto will have a very bright future as he continues to develop his game throughout the upcoming years.

(5) T.J. Warren / 6'7'' 215Durham, NC
T.J. is a multi-dimensional wing capable of putting his team on his back and taking over a game.  He is a natural scorer who can get it down in a variety of ways.  Warren is a big, skilled forward who moves well without the ball and is a very good spot up shooter.  He has a knack for drawing contact and getting to the foul line where he has shown the ability to shoot a good percentage.  Like all young players, T.J. can loose focus during games at times.  He needs to develop a sense of urgency when he plays as well as becoming more aggressive on the defensive end.  There is no question that T.J. is high level talent.  His game has continued to improve throughout his high school career and he should be a first or second tier recruit for major D1 schools.

Honorable Mention: Danuel House / 6'6'' 190 / Sugar Land, TX --- Justin Anderson / 6'6'' 210 / Spotsylvania, VA

(1) Mitch McGary / 6'10'' 240Chesterton, IN
Mitch McGary was born June 6th, 1992.  This of course makes him more than a year older than the majority of the 2012 class.  This age discrepancy might explain McGary's rise from relative obscurity to a top 5 player in the class of 2012.  None the less, there is no denying that Mitch McGary is a tremendous talent and more than likely will only continue to get better.  He is a physical presence in the paint with good size, great strength and terrific athleticism.  Perhaps the "coup de grace" of McGary's game however, is his relentless energy, non-stop motor and physicality in which he plays with every time he steps on the floor.  The lefty also has a very nice skill set to go along with his outstanding physical attributes.  McGary has a very effective jump shot out to 17 feet, good handles for his size and nice court vision.  Combine this with his will and determination to out work his opponents, and it appears he will be a serious problem for any opposition for years to come.

(2) Isaiah Austin / 7'0'' 200Mansfield, TX
Whenever a basketball player is listed at 7 feet, they are automatically labeled as a center and rightfully so, they are 7 foot tall after all.  While Austin is listed as a center, I feel he might actually be better suited at the power forward position due to his excellent perimeter skills and 3 point accuracy.  Austin kind of reminds me of a younger version of Andrea Bargnani, albeit not nearly as polished as the Toronto Raptor.  I have to believe that Raptor fans will agree with me that Bargnani does not play like a center.  Anyways, Austin's lack of strength really seemed to effect his post play in recent tournaments.  None the less, Isaiah Austin is a very intriguing talent because of his unique skill set, tremendous length and excellent athleticism.  Regardless of his position, he will certainly make fans of Baylor University very happy because he is committed to play for the Bears in 2012.

(3) Brandon Ashley / 6'8'' 220Oakland, CA
Ashley has a very impressive frame and nice length despite being so young.  He is extremely athletic showing excellent quickness, bounce and timing around the basket.  Ashley's overall skill set has improved leaps and bounds since last year.  He is starting to develop a nice touch from around 17 feet and is even showing signs of possibly playing a little at the small forward position, which with his size is any coaches dream.  Defensively, he is very smart and uses his incredible reach and quick hops to block shots at an alarming rate.  Ashley's game is by no means perfect.  He has a tendency to lose focus at times and play in spurts.  He also needs to bring a little more physicality to his game.  It's safe to say that what Brandon Ashley has shown thus far in his short basketball career may in fact only be the tip of the iceberg.  The future potential this young man possess is down right scary.

(4) Shaquille Goodwin / 6'8'' 245Decatur, GA
Shaq Goodwin is really starting to come into his own.  He has been playing very well this summer and has impressed numerous scouts.  Goodwin is blessed with all the attributes that you love to see in a prototypical power forward.  He possess great athleticism, tremendous size, brute strength and agile feet.  Along with his physical gifts, he has a nice basketball skill set as well.  He is developing a nice back to the basket game as well as showing the ability to hit from around 15 feet.  While Shaquille is a good offensive rebounder, he needs to work on becoming a better rebounder on the defensive glass.  Despite a few areas of his game that need some polish, Shaquille Goodwin is a fabulous talent.  Goodwin is also a highly coveted football recruit, so it has yet to be determined if he will continue to dominate on the hardwood or trade it in for the pigskin.  Whatever sport he decides to play in the future, it is clear he has a chance to possibly make a career out of it.

(5) Anthony Bennett6'8'' 230Brampton, Ont., CAN
Perhaps no player has burst onto the scene this summer more than Anthony Bennett, excluding Mitch McGary of course.  When watching highlights of recent events that Bennett played in, it's hard to imagine a time when he wasn't a highly coveted D1 recruit.  His diesel physique, along with his ungodly power and athleticism has made him a one man highlight show whenever he steps on the court.  He plays with a "pep" to his step that allows him to beat his opponents down court and finish at the rim with outlandish windmill and tomahawk jams.  Along with his great athleticism he has shown he possess solid fundamentals and a nice touch around the rim.  He can be a match up problem because of his ability to stroke it from the outside as well.  Bennett needs to show more effort on defense as well as continue to hone his overall skill set.  Anthony Bennett has a very bright future and is just one of the many talented young ballers that have been emerging out of Canada these past couple years.  Pretty soon Canada is going to be known for their basketball instead of hockey...well...let's not get ahead of ourselves eh.

Honorable Mention
* The 2012 class is so deep at the power forward position, I needed to make it eight!!!
Jarnell Stokes / 6'8'' 250Memphis, TN --- Robert Carter / 6'8'' 250Thomasville, GA
Perry Ellis / 6'8'' 220Wichita, KS --- Grant Jarrett / 6'9'' 220La Verne, CA
Hanner Perea / 6'8'' 210La Porte, IN --- Tony Parker / 6'9'' 260Lithonia, GA
Amile Jefferson / 6'7'' 190Philadelphia, PA --- Ricardo Gathers / 6'6'' 240Laplace. LA

(1) Andre Drummond / 6'10'' 270Middletown, CT
Don't tell Andre Drummond the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon, because if he lives up to the hype and expectations, then that's where he's headed, the MOON!!!  Besides Amare Stoudemire and Dwight Howard, I can't remember another player with the size and athleticism Andre Drummond possesses.  I would include Shaq, but he is in another stratosphere all together.  Drummond's overall skill level coupled with his incredible physique and athleticism, is one of the reasons he is considered a future star.  Drummond's game is not perfect however.  He sometime plays with a lack of energy and looks disinterested on the floor.  He also needs to work on his foul shooting.  I am not sure the exact policy of the NBA as far as players being draft eligible, but Drummond will be 19 when the 2012 NBA season starts and subsequently might be able to enter the draft.  There have been substantial rumors that he will go that route.  If that's the case, he is a near certain lock to be the #1 selection.

(2) Kaleb Tarczewski / 7'0'' 220Claremont, NH
Tarczewski is a legit 7 footer and a true center.  He will not be dancing on the wing with the ball.  He operates down on the block, where he plays with a fiery attitude and tremendous desire.  Tarczewski is a good athlete with nice length and great mobility.  He is an explosive and powerful finisher, who is more than capable of running the floor, catching a quick pass and BOOFING it on a defender.  Kaleb also has some skill to go along with his physical prowess.  He has a nice go-to-move with a right handed hook shot over his left shoulder and has shown signs of developing a left handed hook as well.  Kaleb needs to show more effort on the defensive side of the ball because he does not block as many shots as a 7 footer should.  He also needs to work on the mental aspect of his game because he can let his frustration get the better of him at times.  Bottom line, Kaleb Tarczewski has a chance to be only the second person ever from the state of New Hampshire to play in the NBA.  If he continues to develop at his current pace, he should make that statement come true.  

(3) DaJuan Coleman / 6'10'' 280Dewitt, NY
DaJuan Coleman is a gigantic human being.  Coleman's size and strength allow him to create a nice post presence where he is able to operate quite effectively.  He is very capable of finishing through contact because of his tremendous body strength and strong hands.  Coleman is slowly beginning to create for himself off the dribble as well as starting to develop a decent jumper from close range.  He is an absolute monster on the glass, where he routinely gobbles up double digit rebounds.  Coleman's biggest issue has to be his conditioning.  While he has made significant strides in keeping his weight at bay, it is still a concern.  If Coleman wants to have a successful basketball career, he will need to make a conscious effort throughout his entire life to watch his diet.  If he his able to curb his hunger and continue to work on his overall game, he has a chance to be a dominating force for years to come.

(4) Cameron Ridley / 6'10'' 240Fort Bend, TX
Ridley is a true big man who has shown significant improvement throughout his high school career.  He is a relatively mobile center with great size and length.  His super strong hands, agile feet and good positioning allow him to be a dominating force on the glass.  Ridley also has shown the ability to score on the low post with a baby jump hook over his left shoulder.  Defensively he is an above average shot blocker and usually shows a consistent effort on that side of the ball.  Cameron has a few areas he needs to improve on.  He needs to develop more of an offensive repertoire as well as becoming a better passer out of the post.  Cameron also needs to make a consistent effort in watching his diet along with working on his conditioning.  Overall, if Cameron Ridley is able to keep his weight from fluctuating and he puts in the time and effort needed to improve, I don't see any reason why he can't be a solid big man well into the future.  

(5) Daniel Ochefu / 6'10'' 225Westtown, PA
Daniel Ochefu has verbally committed to play for the Villanova Wildcats in 2012.  He is a very skilled post player for his size and age.  He is a multi-skilled big man who is capable of doing many things on the the floor.  Offensively he is a good face up shooter with range out to about 17 feet.  Daniel has shown a nice touch around the rim and he is a good free throw shooter as well.  He has good handles for a big man and is an excellent passer out of the post.  He is a great rebounder on both the offensive and defensive glass and plays with a great motor.  Defensively he is an above average shot blocker who seems to understand the concept of team defense.  Ochefu needs to work on getting stronger as well as his flexibility.  He looks to be "too stiff" at times, which can lead to turnovers.  He also needs to work on being a stronger finisher at the rim.  He has a tendency to lay the ball up, when he should be throwing it down with authority.  Overall, Daniel Ochefu has a tremendous upside and should be an immediate impact player at the next level.

Honorable Mention: Robert Upshaw / 6'11'' 250 / Fresno, CA --- Shaquille Cleare / 6'9'' 270Houston, TX

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