TOP 10 TRAVELING TEAM POLL
1) Spiece Indy Heat – They were No. 2 in the land a year ago and they won’t lose a beat. Not with the top-ranked player, Greg Oden, returning along with two other elite rising seniors – point guard Mike Conley (No. 19) and shooting guard Daequan Cook (No. 8). We haven’t even talked about one of the best in 2007 – Eric Gordon (No. 6). All the pieces are in place. Now Spiece just has to get it done.
2) D.C. Assault – When you have a quartet of the elite players in the Class of 2007, you’re going to be tough to beat. Sure, these guys may not be as experienced as some of their opponents, but they have size with 6-9 Michael Beasley (No. 2) and 6-8 Herb Pope (No. 17) – as well as strong guard play in Nolan Smith (No. 7) and Austin Freeman (No. 26).
3) Boo Williams – Ridiculous depth up and down the roster. It starts with elite rising senior Vernon Macklin (No. 5), but Boo also has Maryland-bound floor leader Eric Hayes (No. 68) as well as big-time shooters Stefan Welsh (No. 83) and Scott Reynolds (No. 42) in the backcourt. Add athletic wing L.D. Williams and youngsters like Chris Wright and Kenny Belton and this group can challenge anyone.
4) EBO/EA Sports – It starts with the Lopez twins, Brook (No. 23) and Robin (No. 38), but it doesn’t end with the Stanford-bound big man. Derrick Jasper (No. 53) and Tre’Von Willis, along with Quincy Pondexter and rising juniors Tyrone Shelley and Darshawn McClellan, should make this group one of the most talented in the nation.
5) Playaz Basketball Club – Wayne Ellington (No. 6) and Gerald Henderson (No. 12) will team together once again to form the nucleus of the team and when you add versatile Earl Clark (No. 37) into the mix, it’s a potent threesome. Kraidon Woods (No. 99) has already committed to Villanova and the Playaz boast one of the nation’s elite guys from the Class of 2007 in Corey Stokes (No. 13).
6) Southern Cal All-Stars – James Keefe (No. 22) and Taylor King (No. 9, Class of 2007) have already committed to UCLA and athletic two-sport star Chase Budinger (No. 45) could join them in Westwood. Pat Barrett also has a young, talented point guard in Class of 2008’s Brandon Jennings. Taj Gibson and Daniel Hackett will also see major time for the west coast power.
7) Team Texas – Everyone knows about the frontline of Darrell Arthur (No. 4) and Bryan Davis (No. 29), but the boys from the Lone Star State have a pretty good wings in Jermaine Beal and Donald Sloan. The key will be the point guard play with Lionel Booker expected to receive the majority of the minutes.
8) Houston Hoops – Nic Wise will run the show and the Arizona-bound floor leader in coming off a state crown. He’ll be surrounded by plenty of talent, including arguably the best player in the state – rising junior Gary Johnson (No. 18). Damion James (No. 18), Darris Santee and Isaiah Rusher (No. 37, Class of 2007) give the team size while Jai Lucas (No. 48, Class of 2007) and Mike Singletary will also contribute.
9) Athletes First – This outfit doesn’t get all the hype of some of the east and west coast teams, but they have a trio of guys who will make some noise. It starts with 6-3 guard Obi Muonelo (No. 63) and 6-8 forward Keith Clark (No. 27), but don’t be surprised if 6-8 Ekpe Udoh makes plenty of noise.
10) D.C. Blue Devils – When you’ve got one of the top frontcourt guys in the country in Kevin Durant (No. 3) and you add in arguably the best point guard in the nation in Tywon Lawson (No. 17). The Blue Devils have more talent to add to that, but Durant and Lawson could be as potent a 1-2 punch as there is in the country.