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July 6, 2011

Ask the experts: Closer look at 2012

MORE EXPERTS: June 22 | June 9 | June 1 | May 25

Rivals.com basketball recruiting analysts Jerry Meyer and Eric Bossi weigh in on four current topics.

On Friday, the Rivals150 for the class of 2012 was updated. As the July open evaluation period begins, what player looks to have the most room to move up and what unranked player has the best shot of entering the rankings?

Bossi: We are constantly looking at the rankings and evaluating anybody that we might have missed. Point guard Jerome Hairston is in line to make the next rankings and probably should be in there now. I would expect the sharp-shooting floor general from Virginia to earn multiple high-major offers before his summer with the East Coast Fusion is done. Looking at players already in the rankings, there are two that stand out to me as having room to climb. First would be Michigan native Ray Lee. Currently ranked No. 124 nationally, Lee has outstanding size (6-foot-3) and high level athleticism. He's always shown potential, but lately he's taken his game to a new level and still has plenty of room to expand what he does through the summer and as he takes his game to Huntington (W.Va.) Prep for his senior season. Next in line for me is 6-foot-7 small forward Kale Abrahamson from Iowa. He's already moved up from unranked to No. 119 throughout the spring and four-star territory could be his next stop. He has size, is a fine athlete and can really strip the nets from deep.

Meyer: Typically the prospects who are most likely to move up are the ones who just recently made big jumps in the rankings and still have room above them. For instance, a jump from No. 22 to No. 7 is a significant jump for Anthony Bennett, but there isn't a whole lot of room above him for him to move up further. Prospects such as Danuel House, Sam Dekker, T.J. Warren, Kris Dunn, Adam Woodbury, Joel James, Tyler Lewis, Jordan Price, Andrew White, Dominic Artis and others made big jumps but still have room ahead of them to move up.

Rivals.com has yet to rank the class of 2014 but there have been several prospects in that class who have already made noise playing against older competition. What five prospects in that class do you see as potentially elite prospects?

Bossi: The thing that has stood out early about the class of 2014 is the abundance of high-level wing prospects. Andrew Wiggins, Emmanuel Mudiay, Wayne Selden all stand out on the wings while point guard Tyus Jones and center Jahlil Okafor have also impressed. A Canadian, Wiggins has super size (6-foot-7) for a young wing and is a freak athlete and transition finisher. A Texan, Mudiay also blends athleticism and power with his 6-foot-4 size. He can also slide over and play some point. As for Selden, the Boston area product is as athletic as anybody in the country - regardless of class - and has the strength that would allow him to compete in college basketball, physically at least, right now. Hailing from the Minneapolis area, Jones displays a deft feel for the game and is arguably the top pure point guard in the country between the classes of 2012, 2013 and 2014. Finally, Okafor isn't a high riser, but the Chicago product has excellent size, strength and good skill around the basket.

Meyer: Andrew Wiggins, Wayne Selden, Theo Pinson, Justin Jackson and Emmanuel Mudiay are five of the best ones that I have seen. Wiggins is an athletic and talented wing with a great pedigree. Seldon is a beast of a power guard. Pinson is long and athletic with a high, high ceiling. Jackson has the making of being an elite wing scorer. And Mudiay is a do-everything, powerfully athletic perimeter player.

Currently, Andrew Harrison sits atop the rankings in the class of 2013. Which prospect has the best chance of overtaking him and why?

Bossi: If we were to revamp the class of 2013 rankings at this point, my personal favorite for the top spot would be Chicago native Jabari Parker. Taking it a step further, one could argue Parker as the top prospect in the country regardless of class. At around 6-foot-7, Parker reminds of a young Paul Pierce with his outstanding skill on the offensive end, ability to rebound, sneaky athleticism and all-around polish. Power forwards Julius Randle from Texas and Chris Walker from Florida are also in discussion and on the heels of an outstanding performance with USA Basketball. California product Aaron Gordon is working his way into the conversation as well.

Meyer: Jabari Parker is the most likely candidate to take over the No. 1 spot. His game has developed dramatically from last year. Now he is an explosive athlete who has the ability to make all the plays. His game is still developing, but he plays with a competitive intensity and has the work ethic that can get the most out of his potential.

July is obviously an important month for college coaches because they have a chance to evaluate players in person. However, from the standpoint of a recruiting analyst, has the importance of July been overrated?

Bossi: July wouldn't seem to be quite as important for the recruiting analyst/evaluator as it is for the college coach. As it is, we've already been traveling around and watching these kids play just about every weekend since the McDonald's All-American game in late March. However, there are so many events to choose from that July is excellent for getting better looks at guys that we haven't evaluated and also provides a chance to get a look at younger prospects. Probably the most important aspect of the month, at least for me, is that I like to see if players change their approach or perform differently as college coaches watch from the sidelines, looking to make scholarship offers. So to get back to the original question, of course July is important but from my side of things the importance has probably been overhyped to some extent.

Meyer: It is just another month for us to see these guys compete and track their development. I do like the see how they play under the pressure of having the coaches in the crowd. Certainly from a recruiting analysis perspective, the month is the most important one on the calendar. From an evaluation perspective, it probably is a little overrated.



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