Derrick Favors survived the summer. Barely.
The big fella out of Atlanta who journeyed to Africa in late June, averaged a triple-double in high school and participated in camps and AAU events during July. Favors, with not much room to spare, kept his spot atop the Scout.com individual rankings.
Pushing 6-foot-9, Favors demonstrated his unique shot blocking talents. He’s a block player right now. His ceiling is high, with room to make another jump if he can round out his skill package and produce a reliable mid-range option. His shining moment the last few months remains a dominating MVP performance at the May Tournament of Champions.
Favors, because of his athletic attributes and success despite limited touches in the summer, kept his spot. Challenges to his spot await and positions 1-10 are extremely debatable. Favors didn’t have the best summer of all the guys on this list. Our reasoning for keeping him at No. 1 deals with his resume, ceiling and what we deem to be a dominating performer when he becomes a consistent focal point in a structured style of play.
John Wall turned in the most scintillating summer of any guard. He has the ‘wow’ factor to his game. The Raleigh guard also added a winning component to his resume and was the single most difficult defensive assignment we saw all summer long in the backcourt. While still needing a perimeter boost, Wall’s passing game was exceptional. Wall has ascended up this list every time we’ve cranked out a new Top 100 in the past 12 months.
Five years from now, John Henson (No. 3) could stand alone as the best prospect in this class. If there were one guy we’d like to peer into the crystal ball and see his physical progress, it’d be Henson. Put on the pounds, round out the frame and he’s multi-million dollar man.
A healthy Xavier Henry could very well sit on top of this list. A nagging foot injury never allowed him to be at his best. An injured Henry was more than enough to be considered elite and tops at his position. Watch him trim off some extra upper body pounds and turn in one of the best senior campaigns in the country because its about to happen.
Quick, reach into your pocket and grab a quarter. Flip it best out of seven and see who wins between Renardo Sidney and DeMarcus Cousins. At times, each was dominant. Sidney held court at Reebok with a special run of games. Cousins, well, he picked his spots too. Both large men could stand to keep their focus on the court but each remains a huge talent.
Lance Stephenson’s summer didn’t go as planned. Snipped from the USA under-18 team, Stephenson has undeniable ability. A body that was sculpted for contact drives the engine. He’s competitive as all get up. If he can channel his emotions then he’ll take the next step.
Is there a more clutch wing in America than this guy? Kenny Boynton is the man when the pressure is on. Alongside 2010 stud Brandon Knight, he turned Team Breakdown into a winning machine. Simply put: he impacts not only the school but the league he signs with because of his ability to dish it out on offense. Plus, we saw him take a few matchups personally on defense as well.
Many will tell you that Abdul Gaddy wasn’t the best player on his AAU team last summer. That may in fact be true, but in evaluating Gaddy its important to understand he’s the youngest player in the Top 25 and what he does well he’ll only improve on with experience and physical maturity. This guy is a team captain who runs the show. Smooth as can be, only Boynton and Knight slowed down he and his backcourt partner.
Whether Gaddy was Batman and Avery Bradley was Robin is debatable. What wasn’t is that Bradley (No. 10) was the best defensive guard last summer. Taking epic matchups with Team Breakdown almost too personally, Bradley had moments of brilliance. His evolution as a player began with the mid-range jumper, extended on the defensive end and all he did was transform himself into one of the most respected players in America.
In terms of the Scout.com Top 10, the prospects we strongly considered for the spots were Ryan Kelly and Daniel Orton.
Merely a year ago, Kelly was on the verge of receiving mid-major offers. Now, he’s told some of America’s national basketball powers that he’s not interested. His performance in Las Vegas, a day after returning from Argentina with USA Basketball, was laced with skill, style and meaningful improvement.
Orton’s always been a favorite. He’s too big and talented not to pan out. When he’s justly motivated, look out. The challenge for Orton is to ratchet up the intensity on more occasions because frankly, he’s too good not to be a Top 10 player in this class.
Where’d They Come From?
Before the month of July began, it wasn’t likely Thomas Robinson, Tyler Honeycutt and Tommy Mason-Griffin would be five-star players. At least to us, it wasn’t.
Robinson, a beastly four man, stole the spotlight from the guards at Reebok’s All-American Camp. A guy who lives above the rim and feeds on traffic rebounds, if he continues to add offensive elements the sky is the limit. A super athlete.
You can call Honeycutt an Austin Day or Tayshaun Prince clone in terms of his body. We’re still wondering how he blocked all those shots in Vegas? We were aggressive with his ranking because his play and body language dictated such. With the markers of a consummate late bloomer, he slides in at No. 21.
Mason-Griffin owned the Peach Jam. It was his event from the point guard slot. While struggling in camp settings through June and at times in July, when he re-connected with his team it was a different story. This is a leader, an intangibles guy. Frankly, he’s the same strongman he was as a freshman. Now, entering his senior year he’s become a superb passer and a huge winning factor. He earned his spot.
Scout.com Top 5s
Point Guards - 1) John Wall 2) Abdul Gaddy 3) Tommy Mason-Griffin 4) Maalik Wayns 5) Junior Cadougan
Shooting Guards - 1) Xavier Henry 2) Kenny Boynton 3) Avery Bradley 4) Dexter Strickland 5) Michael Snaer
Small Forwards - 1) Lance Stephenson 2) Jordan Hamilton 3) Dominic Cheek 4) Tyler Honeycutt 5) Rodney Williams
Power Forwards - 1) John Henson 2) Renardo Sidney 3) Ryan Kelly 4) Wally Judge 5) Dante Taylor
Centers - 1) Derrick Favors 2) DeMarcus Cousins 3) Daniel Orton 4) Alex Oriakhi 5) Keith Gallon
The following are newcomers to the Scout.com Top 100: Junior Cadougan (No. 50), Kyryl Natyazhko (69), Vander Joaquim (71), Kevin Parrom (74), Arsalan Kazemi (84), Angus Brandt (86), Jordan Williams (99) and Matt Vogrich (100).
Vogrich's inclusion is a lesson learned for Scout.com. After watching Lee Humphrey set the all-time record for 3s made in the NCAA Tournament and then seeing Terrence Oglesby destroy zones as a freshman at Clemson, it was time to act. Last year we cleared a spot for Rotnei Clarke and now Vogrich moves in as one of the deadliest shooters evaluated this year.