The book is just about closed on the class of 2011.
Sure, there are still players like DeAndre Daniels, Trevor Lacey, Joseph Uchebo, Kevin Ware and others dragging out their recruiting process, but it’s almost time to put the senior class in our rearview mirror.
But that’s all in the past. The final rankings are out, and it’s time to look at them as incoming college freshman, not high school players. As for the high school players, who’s got next? With only one month of the AAU circuit in the books, there is still plenty of spring and summer ball to be played.
This is the first in a summer-long “Race to the Top” feature at CBSSports.com where we gauge which players helped their case as the top player in the class and which players might have dropped a bit in the eyes of observers. We will likely update it after each major event we attend. To start, here’s a look at the candidates for the No. 1 ranking in the classes of 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Andre Drummond (pictured): 6’10”, C, St. Thomas More (Conn.)
Why No. 1: When motivated, he’s unstoppable; combo of size and skill is unparalleled.
Why Not: Doesn’t dominate consistently; disappears and fails to play hard at times.
Shabazz Muhammad: 6’6”, SF, Bishop Gorman (Nev.)
Why: Outstanding lefty scorer and unstoppable in the mid-range; good size and build.
Why Not: Perimeter shooting is inconsistent right now; not as effective going to his right.
DaJuan Coleman: 6’10”, C, Jamesville-Dewitt (N.Y.)
Why: Has the ability to dominate the interior with his size and bulk; beginning to score in other ways.
Why Not: Needs to become more toned and get in better shape; does not dominate consistently.
Cameron Ridley: 6’10”, C, George Bush (Tex.), committed to Texas
Why: Late bloomer continues to improve and has a high ceiling; scores and rebounds effectively.
Why Not: Needs to develop interior offense more; doesn’t have a wide variety of post moves.
Isaiah Austin: 7’0”, C, Grace Prep (Tex.), committed to Baylor
Why: Absolute match-up nightmare due to his size and skill; tremendous inside-outside option.
Why Not: Needs to add weight; spends too much time on the perimeter for a 7-footer.
Others: Brandon Ashley, Ricardo Ledo, Rodney Purvis, Grant Jerrett (Arizona), Kaleb Tarczewski, Amile Jefferson
Julius Randle: 6’9”, PF, Prestonwood Christian (Tex.)
Why: Unbelievably versatile, can score and defend in different ways; motivated to be No. 1.
Why Not: Could improve his outside jumper; tends to force drives at times against bigger players.
Jabari Parker: 6’7”, SF, Simeon (Ill.)
Why: Coming on strong for the top spot; can score inside and out and is becoming quicker.
Why Not: Struggles defensively to guard quicker or bigger players; working on his handle.
Nerlens Noel: 6’10”, C, Tilton (N.H.)
Why: Defensively ability is out of this world in terms of blocking shots and rebounding; developing offensively.
Why Not: Has to add weight to his frame; still somewhat raw on offense and struggles with contact.
Kuran Iverson: 6’8”, SF, Northwest Catholic (Conn.)
Why: Very high ceiling due to his skill and size; very versatile and knows how to score in different ways.
Why Not: Takes possessions off and does not play hard all the time; needs to dominate like he can.
Chris Thomas: 6’5”, SG, Westwind Prep (Ariz.)
Why: Outstanding offensive player; he can shoot from the perimeter, score inside and rack up assists.
Why Not: Jump shot can disappear at times; defense takes a backseat to his offense in terms of effort.
Others: Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison, Aaron Gordon, Keith Frazier
Andrew Wiggins: 6’7”, SF, Vaughan (Can.)
Why: Multi-skilled and can play a variety of positions; has the ability to score on the perimeter or at the rim.
Why Not: Needs to develop a mean streak; not at the point where he takes over games.
Wayne Selden: 6’4”, SF, Tilton (N.H.)
Why: Powerful body and an imposing player for his age; is unstoppable going to the rim and can shoot.
Why Not: He’s simply more physically developed than his peers; has to be more explosive as he ages.
Theo Pinson: 6’5”, SG, Oak Ridge (N.C.)
Why: Long and athletic, very tough matchup; has excellent passing ability and can finish at the rim.
Why Not: Needs to add weight to his frame and get stronger; ball-handling is getting better.
Jahlil Okafor: 6’8”, PF, Whitney Young (Ill.)
Why: Already has good post moves and back-to-the-basket game; finishes at the rim and likes contact.
Why Not: Not an explosive athlete right now; tends to play below the rim despite his size.
Dakari Johnson: 6’8”, C, St. Patrick (N.J.)
Why: Dominant space-eater with great skill for his age; very difficult to stop once he gets the ball.
Why Not: His athleticism needs work; struggles at times against taller players as a result.
Trey Lyles: 6’7”, PF, Arsenal Technical (Ind.), committed to Indiana
Why: His mix of size and skill is tough to match; can run the floor and scores inside and out.
Why Not: Doesn’t dominate against inferior opponents; could add strength and weight to his frame.
Others: Justin Jackson.
Photo: Lonnie Webb/MaxPreps