A lot has been made, and rightfully so, of the top eight players in the class of 2013 and how they seem to be a step ahead of the rest of the class. While that is still the case, there is a strong group just on their heels trying to crack that list.
Leading the way right now in the next tier of players is Anthony Barber. “Cat” as he is known, has taken his game to an entirely new level. He was probably the best overall performer at the NBPA Top 100 Camp, and his combination, of size, athleticism, speed, and scoring ability from the point guard position has him as one of the most unique and impressive talents in the class.
If Barber can continue to improve, and shows more signs of development as a half court point guard, there is a chance he could crack into that lead group and make the top eight and a top nine.
Beyond Barber some other players are really making a strong charge as well. Rondae Jefferson, Jarrell Martin, Isaiah Hicks, and Keith Frazier are all having good springs, and all bring a little something different to the table.
Jefferson is the warrior of this class. There isn't a position he hasn’t played and played successfully, he never takes a possession off, and always is doing something positive for his team. With his skill level off the bounce, athleticism, and elite toughness, Jefferson makes things happen at the highest level.
Martin and Hicks are both athletic forwards who can do it all. When it comes to rebounding Martin is one of the best in the class, while Hicks finishes well above the rim and has a nice touch out to 15 feet. Both of them have the ideal athleticism, size, and strength at the power forward spot, and with a little more consistency it wouldn’t be a shock for either of those guys to make a run into the top 10.
Then there is Frazier. Frazier is simply one of the best scorers in the class. He has the length and athleticism to profile at the highest level. However it is his shot making ability that stands out with him. One of the best shooters in the country, Frazier can absolutely catch fire, and when he does that he is nearly impossible to guard.
Those are the guys mostly likely to make their way into that top group of players, but still even a few more have flashed that potential. Prospects like Jermaine Lawrence, Bobby Portis, and even Robert Hubbs all do things that garner significant attention.
Lawrence and Portis are athletic power forwards who can do a little bit of everything. Portis is an elite level rebounder and someone who scores well down low. Lawrence can hit threes at an impressive clip, and then has that feel for how to attack the offensive glass.
Hubbs, a kid who hasn’t been seen a ton, has athleticism, the ability to score going to the rim, or from deep, and the size to be a matchup nightmare for opponents.
Overall at one point this class looked like it had a lot of star power at the top with little depth behind it, but now that is clearly not the case. There is a second tier of players that have improved their game in a huge way and now are knocking on the door of that elite status.