Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Class of 2013-16: NBA Comparisons of #1 Recruits!!! (Ivan Rabb)


Written by: Prospect-Central

Making player comparisons is the nature of the business. The majority of the time these comparisons are way off base, but it's fun none the less. There are many things to take into consideration when comparing high school standouts to NBA stars, but even if they share similarities in their game, that doesn't necessarily mean they'll have the same type of success.

While a players size, handles, jumper, vision, athleticism, strength, work ethic, and even facial features are all used in making comparisons, there's really no concrete way to determine if they'll end up with the same type of NBA career or not. How far these four high school hoopers go in the game of basketball will ultimately be up to their desire and passion, and there's no measuring stick for that.

Since only one of these players is eighteen years old, they obviously have a lot of time to mature physically as well as mentally. With that being said, you should take these comparisons with a grain of salt.

Whether they live up to the hype, or crumble under the pressure, they will certainly have the opportunity to showcase their skills at the highest level. You already know what they say about opinions, but here's Prospect-Central's NBA comparisons for the #1 recruits in the Class of 2013-16. * Below is the NBA comparison for Ivan Rabb; #1 recruit Class of 2015.

Rabb with a vicious throw down for Bishop O'Dowd 
Ivan Rabb pf / 6'9'' 210 / Oakland, CA
Let me start out by saying this. The top spot in the Class of 2015 is wide open. You can make a legitimate case for about ten players who deserve the #1 ranking, and since they're only sophomores in high school, don't be surprised if it changes a number of times over the next two years.

For the time being however, it's hard to disagree with California native Ivan Rabb as the #1 recruit in the Class of 2015. Back in September, Prospect-Central said Rabb was on the verge of a breakout sophomore year, and he obviously lived up to the hype. As I stated before, it's definitely debatable if he's the top overall player in the class or not, but don't get it twisted, Ivan Rabb's future is in the NBA.

Born February 4th, 1997, the newly turned 16-year old is the definition of potential. He's long, athletic, skilled, and motivated, and if he continues developing his game at his current pace, he's probably a top 10 player in the country regardless of class. There's obviously no guarantees in life, but Ivan Rabb has a chance to be a very special basketball player.

Before we compare Rabb's game to some NBA players, lets look at his physical attributes first. Standing 6-foot-9, with a 7'0'' wingspan and wiry 210 pound frame, Ivan Rabb's clearly still growing into his body. He obviously needs to get stronger, but that should come with time. In all honesty though, I won't be surprised if he's pushing 7-feet by the time he graduates high school, and that's a scary thought.

When it comes to athleticism, you can place Ivan Rabb into the elite category. He's an explosive leaper that gets off the ground in a hurry, and shows no remorse when attacking the rim. Add this to his impressive length, and it's easy to see why he's such a force inside the paint. Despite the fact he's still growing, he's extremely coordinated for his size, and gets up and down the court in a blur.

While Rabb gets most of his buckets inside the paint, his jumper is far from broken. You won't get him confused for a stretch 4, but he has a nice looking stroke, with range out to about 15-feet. With his size and length, Rabb's step-back jump shot is slowly becoming a deadly weapon, and that could be a serious problem for the rest of the country. Hopefully he becomes a more consistent shooter over time, because that'll probably be the final piece to his puzzle. The most underrated aspect of his game though, might just be his passing. He has excellent vision for a big man, and shows the willingness to find the open teammate.

Of all the attributes that make Ivan Rabb such a great basketball player, it has to be his non-stop motor that's the most impressive. He's extremely active on both sides of the ball, and is an absolute beast on the boards. He rebounds well in traffic, gives multiple efforts on the glass, and shows excellent timing when blocking shots. Once he adds some muscle to his frame, Rabb should be a lock down defender at the power forward position.

As we all know, there've been a number of high school stars over the years that simply never pan out. One of the main reasons for this is due to complacency. Since everyone is constantly telling these kids how good they are, they begin to feel a false sense of entitlement, when in reality they haven't proven anything.

Kemp was a highlight reel waiting to happen
Ivan Rabb is definitely not one of these players. He's a very humble young man and knows that in order to reach his full potential, there's no substitute for hard work. If he continues this way of thinking, it's more than likely he'll go very far in the game of basketball.

Because Ivan's so young, and he's still growing into his body as well as developing his game, it was somewhat difficult trying to find an adequate NBA comparison for him. A quick rundown of some players considered for the selection; LaMarcus Aldridge, Larry Nance, Tristan Thompson, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Kenyon Martin, Drew Gooden, Juwan Howard, Tim Thomas, Darius Miles, Eddie Griffin, and Brandan Wright.

These comparisons were based mainly on size and body type, but there are a few similarities as far as athleticism and skill level is concerned. Outside of LaMarcus Aldridge, Larry Nance, & Tristan Thompson however, I can easily see Ivan Rabb surpassing everyone of these players.

Which brings us to the two players who were actually chosen; Shawn Kemp & Derrick Favors. I'm not totally in love with this comparison, but I guess you could do worse. At 6-foot-10, 230 pounds, with a 7'1'' wingspan and 44-inch vertical leap, it's safe to say Shawn Kemp was a freak of nature. Even though he was a 6 time all-star and had a pretty solid NBA career, I can't help but think how much better he could have been if it wasn't for drugs and alcohol.

Regardless of his substance abuse problems, Shawn Kemp was a beast throughout much of the 90's, and in my opinion one of the top 10 players of all-time to make the jump directly to the NBA from high school. He might've had a better transition game than Ivan, but the comparison is not too off base. Some similarities between Rabb & Kemp; size, athleticism, rebounding, shot blocking, and overall star potential. Lets not forget, Kemp also had the ability to put people on posters (Alton Lister), something Ivan Rabb is quite accustomed to.

Now obviously there's some differences as well. For starters, Kemp's work ethic was horrible, as was evident by his rapid weight gain later in his career. There's no signs of that from Ivan Rabb at the moment. Kemp was also a turnover machine, constantly trying to force the issue. On the contrary, Rabb appears to have an excellent basketball IQ. And last but not least, Kemp had numerous off the court issues. Don't quote me on this, but I'm pretty sure Ivan Rabb has yet to father 7 children by 6 different women, something the Reignman is quite famous for.

While Rabb is somewhat similar to Shawn Kemp on the offensive side of the ball, it might be Derrick Favors who he resembles more from a defensive and physicality standpoint. Even though Favors is 6-foot-10, 250 pounds, with a huge 7'4'' wingspan, he was basically the same size as Rabb in high school. Like Rabb, Derrick Favors was a top 3 recruit coming out of the Class of 2009 and considered by many a future NBA star. In his first 3 years in the league, Favors is putting up some modest numbers for the Utah Jazz, but he's yet to truly have a breakout season. He's only 21-years old though, and there's no question the potential is still there.

Some similarities between Rabb & Favors; running the floor, quick leaping ability, rebounding in traffic, good help side defense, attacking the rim, and overall physical presence. They also both need to work on developing a more consistent stroke. As good as Derrick Favors was in high school however, Ivan Rabb could end up being even better. His game is certainly more developed than Favors was at the same stage of his career. All in all, the comparison between the two players seems pretty "Favorable" to me :)

Favors is an absolute physical specimen
Ivan Rabb recently finished up his sophomore season with Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland, CA), and despite having an excellent year, the Dragons were bounced out of the first round of the CIF State Championships. Rabb had a decent game with 12 points and 7 rebounds, but Modesto Christian was clearly the better team that day. Regardless of the loss, Rabb almost averaged a triple-double this season, including a ridiculous 40 point, 18 rebound, 10 block performance back in February.

Since Ivan plays his high school ball for Bishop O'Dowd, he's beginning to receive comparisons to former alumni Brandon Ashley. While there's definitely some similarities as far as body type & athleticism is concerned, Rabb's ceiling is probably higher than the Arizona Wildcat freshman. Last summer he also played for the same AAU team as Ashley, the Oakland Soldiers, but he's rumored to be joining a new squad this spring. He'll have his choice of colleges to attend two years from now, but I don't see him leaving the West Coast.

In May, the 12-member USA 16U National Team will be selected, and the following month they'll compete at the FIBA Americas 16U Championships from Maldonado, Uruguay. There's no guarantees, but Ivan Rabb is basically a lock to make the team. As we all know, once he enters the USA Basketball pipeline, his name is on the shortlist of future stars.

NBA Comparisons of #1 Recruits
2013 / 2014 / 2016

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