We’ve got a change at the top of our individual rankings for the Class of 2011. Anthony Davis, the fastest-rising senior in the class, laid claim to the title. The big question is can hold onto it?
Davis’ meteoric rise to the top began in April and culminated when he was named the top overall prospect at the NBAPA Top 100 Camp in June. July was just as impressive and it was at the Peach Jam when Scout.com made the decision to change at the top.
Davis’ story is unique. A year ago, while playing at a small charter school in Chicago, his growth spurt began. Davis essentially went from being an unknown wing to a still-below-the-radar big man. In the history of Scout.com, we can’t think of a prospect who ascended to the top faster than Davis. Now, instead of flying under the radar, he’s the guy with the bulls-eye on his back. Going from unknown to the standard bearer for an entire class is a big jump. His competition for the top spot is licking their chops.
Davis committed to Kentucky. John Calipari is getting a hungry, impact shot blocker and a guy who runs the floor with size, speed and grace. Davis can play inside and facing the basket. What he’s got on the others is hunger and his status as a late bloomer. We’ve made no secret at Scout.com in terms of the value we place on late bloomers, especially when they continue to improve as Davis obviously has. It’s a roll of the dice to go No. 1 with him but a move we became increasingly comfortable with while watching his quick evolution.
There is a legitimate argument that can be made for Quincy Miller as the top prospect in this class. Athletically and size-wise, he’s a difficult matchup for fours and threes alike. A bolstered perimeter game to go along with a measure of explosiveness at the rim are his signatures. The next step is putting the pieces together, making winning a necessity and sharpening up an already diverse package of skills.
Checking in at No. 3 is Austin Rivers, arguably the safest pick in the class. Rivers is going to have a short, but strong career in college where he’ll play some two guard and point. Down the road in the league, we think his career will mimic that of Tyreke Evans once he gets the ball in his hands for good. High school basketball’s most skilled and advanced perimeter player is a safe pick to remain in the top three.
It looks like James McAdoo’s injuries are behind him and he’s ready to continue his ascent. After putting off enrolling early at North Carolina, McAdoo is locked in and intent on finishing strong. Last summer, he led Team USA to the gold medal at the World Championships in Germany. We’ve said it about him all along: he’s a big time player with a winner’s resume and the skill package to back it up.
Speaking of winners, Michael Gilchrist was also on Team USA’s U17 world championship squad. Come to think of it, Gilchrist is always on a squad that wins; its in his DNA. Gilchrist entered the summer as our choice for the No. 1 spot and while some view his placement at No. 5 as a demotion, allow us to explain.
There is nothing Michael Gilchrist currently does that one has issue with. His motor runs hard, non-stop most of the time. He plays with a reckless disregard for his body and is superb in transition. Now, for him to keep pace with what we think is an elite top five in just about any year, he’ll need to continue adding elements to his game. His jumper has improved but it remains an area he can strengthen from the small forward position. Overall, he was an easy choice for top small forward in America.
No. 6 Marquis Teague is the top point guard in the country. He’s receiving heat from Myck Kabongo who himself is being pushed by B.J. Young, Quinn Cook and Josiah Turner. Teague is a burner, maybe the hardest guard to check in the class.
Brad Beal was USA Basketball’s No. 1 scorer for the summer and not only is he economical, he’s ultra competitive. The Florida Gators have themselves a major program guy in Beal.
No.’s 8-10 slotted themselves. Kabongo earned his spot over time and Adonis Thomas draws nothing but rave reviews from anyone and everyone who watches him. Rakeem Christmas is going to Syracuse where he length is a match for the Orangemen.
You’ll notice a lot of familiar names in our Top 25, led by No. 11 LeBryan Nash. A newcomer is Josiah Turner whom we’ve finally figured out. Yes, it took us a while but Turner made believers out of us at the point with the Oakland Soldiers.
To save you time in scanning our Top 100, the newcomers to the list include: Erik Copes (No. 45), Jonathan Holmes (69), Patrick Connaughton (75), Antwan Space (76), Jarrod Uthoff (77), Dominique Pointer (81), Malcolm Brogdon (87), Daniel Gomis (95), Austin Etherington (98) and Jermaine Sanders (100).
Among the biggest risers were Maurice Harkless and Nick Faust. We love what we saw out of Harkless in July and he’s a testament to putting your head down, working hard and realizing what’s important: winning. His play in July was exponentially better than it was in the spring.
There you have it, from Anthony Davis to Jermaine Sanders, the new, refreshed Scout.com Class of 2011 Top 100.