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May 4, 2007

New faces among 2008 five stars

Rivals.com spent the week reviewing notes, tape and reviews from the national events from the spring and restructured the 2008 rankings.

The five-star players (the nation's top 25 prospects) have a few new faces while the top five welcomes a new name. Eight new players crack into the top 25.

After looking at No. 25 to 17, Rivals.com breaks down No. 16 to 9 in the second part of a three-part series leading into next week's release of the updated Class of 2008 Rivals150.

Ask the experts about the new rankings | Vote: Who is the best of the newly released five stars?

2008 Five Stars: 16-9
16. Tyler Zeller
6-11, 215, C, Washington (Ind.)
Zeller in action
Few players have the impact that Zeller does on a game. The 6-foot-11 center from Washington (Ind.) High School is efficient and effective. He picked up a number of offers after his strong Kingwood Classic performance and Real Deal on the Hill showing. He's picked up a dozen offers (or more) on top of the dozen he was already holding.

Jerry Meyer on Zeller: "What a spring Zeller has had for himself. He stabilized the middle on both ends of the court during Indiana Elite's run to the championship at the Kingwood Classic. An efficient scorer, Zeller scores on quick moves in the post and has a soft touch on his face-up jumper. His skill level and athleticism are remarkable for a near 7-footer."

15. Tony Woods
6-11, 215, C, Rome (Ga.)
Rome (Ga.) big man Woods is one of the most coveted centers by SEC coaches. He shined in Houston at the Kingwood Classic and played a big role in the Georgia Stars' run to the title at the King James Shooting Stars Classic. Florida is tops on his list, while Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia and Connecticut are also under consideration heading into the summer.

Jerry Meyer on Woods: "There aren't many 7-footers playing at any level with the athleticism of Woods. Certainly he needs to refine his offensive game, but he is a dominant presence around the basket as a rebounder and shot blocker. We only expect the rest of his game to continue to mature."

14. Tyreke Evans
6-5, 205, PF, Aston (Pa.) American Christian
Evans in action
Evans has long been a member of the five-star club for the class of 2008. He is still one of the best players in the country. His offensive skills continue to be his staple. The Big East is heavily involved with Evans. Louisville, Connecticut and Villanova are high on his list while Texas, Memphis and North Carolina are in the fold.

Jerry Meyer on Evans: "Evans has always been a talented prospect, and still is. However, some players are improving and catching up to him. A terrific ballhandler with length, we'd like to see Evans become a more efficient player. He needs to involve others and lead his team rather than put up big scoring numbers on excessive attempts."

13. Howard Thompkins
6-8, 225, PF, Lithonia (Ga.) Oak Hill Academy
Thompkins in action
Looking much more comfortable than he did at Oak Hill, Georgia native Thompkins is playing at a high level and looking more like his old self. The 6-foot-8 skilled forward has Georgia and Florida on top of his list. The SEC schools have had him on campus several times this year.

Jerry Meyer on Thompkins: "A skilled power forward, Thompkins has been the most impressive player on the Atlanta Celtics this spring. He is not going to overwhelm opponents with his athleticism, but Thompkins seems to always be around the ball and consistently makes positive plays. His skill set is impressive."

12. Brandon Jennings
6-0, 170, PG, Los Angeles (Calif.) Oak Hill Academy
Jennings in action
Jennings, the nation's top point guard, doesn't have the weapons around him like he did last AAU season. That hasn't slowed the Oak Hill floor general down though. He helped his Southern California All-Stars to a Las Vegas Easter Classic title and re-opened his recruitment. He will still consider USC, but Connecticut and Arizona are on the short list.

Jerry Meyer on Jennings: "Extremely talented with the basketball, Jennings has taken on more of a scoring role for this year's SoCal All Star team. He has extended his shooting touch to NBA range, and is making shots off the dribble. The key for Jennings is to consistently find the right blend between his scoring and passing."

11. Devin Ebanks
6-8, 185, SF, Oakdale (Conn.) St. Thomas More
Ebanks in action
Ebanks, a 6-foot-8 wing from St. Thomas More (Conn.), is tapping into his inner Kevin Durant this spring. Ebanks is showing glimpses of big things to come at the next level. Miami and Indiana are on his visit list this month, while Rutgers and Texas are hoping to have him on campus as well.

Jerry Meyer on Ebanks: "Ebanks is one of those wing players who really catches your attention with his length and fluidity with the ball. When you watch the NBA playoffs, you see more and more players who fit his profile. He is a multidimensional player who is athletic and highly skilled."

10. Delvon Roe
6-8, 215, PF, Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward
Roe in action
Recent Michigan State commitment Delvon Roe filled his tank with high-octane fuel prior to the April AAU season. He left it all out on the court, and he had to be happy with the way he played. Tom Izzo, who trailed him in Houston and Akron, was certainly grinning because of Roe's great month.

Jerry Meyer on Roe: "Roe is still a bit of a hybrid between the two forward positions, but he plays with impressive energy and is gradually improving his skill game. We anticipate him becoming a solid outside shooter, and there is no doubt that he will run the floor, rebound, defend and score in the post with his jump hook."

9. Terrence Jennings
6-10, 250, C, Durham (N.C.) Mt. Zion
Get ready to hear a lot about Terrence Jennings. The 6-foot-10, 250-pound California native is across the country at Mt. Zion in North Carolina trying to fine tune his skill set, his body and his academics. The late bloomer is picking up recruiting interest on a daily basis. Cal, Arizona, Nebraska, Maryland, Iowa State, Oklahoma and Old Dominion are in hot pursuit.

Jerry Meyer on Jennings: "It's hard to look past a prospect who reminds you of Amare Stoudemire. Jennings runs the floor as well as any big man in this class and is a proficient and powerful finisher at the rim. He also has a solid jump hook, and can make shots from behind the arc. As you'd expect, he is tough to score against on the other end."



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