Leading the way is No. 1 Andre Drummond. A prospect with all the tools, we’ve slid him over from the center slot to the power forward role. Drummond is working on diversifying his offense. To stay No. 1, he’ll need to drop the hammer more often because he’s getting stiff challenges from what could be a banner year of bigs.
Isaiah Austin was arguably the top overall long-term prospect at last month’s NBA Top 100 Camp. He measured out freakishly long and defended the basket like few others can. We know his offense is coming and when his strength hits, he’s got the makings of a short-term impact guy in college.
What’s there to say about Dajuan Coleman that we haven’t said already? He’s a beast. His touch, power and presence in the lane take us back to the days of dominance from Zach Randolph. Of the elite bigs, Coleman is the guy who brings it consistently and winds up being a load to deal with on the circuit and beyond.
Finally, a wing makes the list at Shabazz Muhammad checks in at No. 4. The son of a former USC standout, Muhammad brings a winning resume in both high school and AAU to the table. The owner of lightning quick reflexes, he’s expanded his game this year.
Like with the 2013 class, competition for the No. 5 spot was intense. We went with Brandon Ashley, a power forward out of Oakland, because he seems to get taller and beef up his game each time we catch him.
Canadian Khem Birch made the cut for the Top 10. He’s got a lot of Derrick Favors in his game. Amile Jefferson, a forward we fell hard for last summer remains entrenched in our Top 10. We welcomed newcomers Ricardo Ledo, Daniel Ochefu and Gary Harris this time around.
In terms of star ratings, we’ve gotten stingy. Our Top 10 players earned five star status. They were followed by 45 players we dubbed as four stars and then another 35+ in our database tabbed as 3-star guys. Our philosophy with the younger group is founded in patience. As guys prove themselves, their ratings will reflect the advances in their game.
If you want an overview of the class, we can do that too. From our standpoint, the bigs are the strength of this group. The center list appears to be the deepest we’ve seen the position in recent years. We’re very fond of the power forwards and their potential.
The group seems to be right about average on the wings in terms of shooting guards and small forwards. We’re we’d like to see the class gain depth is at the point guard position. L.J. Rose, Marcus Paige, Kevin Ferrell and Ryan Arcidiacono have proved themselves and guys like Nino Jackson and J-Mychal Reese have the talent to rise.
It’s July 1. Who’s ready to take the next step? We’ll be out there in full force patrolling the hardwood for the movers and shakers from the Class of 2012.