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May 14, 2008

New No. 1 in Rivals150 for 2009 class

MORE: The 2009 Rivals150 | Chat with the experts about the new Ranking | Rivals.com Hoops Tour

There's been a shakeup in the class of 2009 basketball recruiting rankings. There is a new No. 1 player, a few new five-star prospects and the overall list has expanded to include 150 players.

After a busy high school season, our crew of evaluators hit the road and made stops at all of the top grass-roots tournaments. There also have been countless hours of evaluating video and chasing down information.

BY THE NUMBERS
The Rivals150 by position:
Point guard24
Shooting guard36
Small forward32
Power forward41
Center17
Where they are going:
Big Ten15
Big East11
ACC10
SEC6
Big 125
Pac-104
CUSA2
Big West/MAC/WCC1 each
Where they are from:
California23
Texas13
Georgia12
Illinois10
Maryland9
Virginia8
New York6
Indiana, Minnesota5 each
North Carolina point guard John Wall is the new No. 1 player in the Class of 2009. He takes over the top spot from California forward Renardo Sidney.

With his speed, good size and a "wow factor" that is the best in the country, Wall always seems to have something up his sleeve.

"John Wall is a unique talent in the 2009 class," national recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer said. "His speed, deft ballhandling and court savvy make him nearly impossible to guard. With the game getting faster and becoming more guard-oriented, a point guard with the talent of Wall is invaluable.

"Wall does need to improve his outside shooting, and I expect it to get better. I see him following a similar progression as Derrick Rose with his shooting. To continue the comparison, Wall doesn't have Rose's leaping ability, but he does have the same speed - if not better. Wall is more advanced at this stage than Rose was as a ballhandler and finisher around the basket."

Wall is joined by Xavier Henry and Derrick Favors in the top three. Henry, a strong-bodied guard from Oklahoma, and Favors, an Atlanta native who is the top big man in the nation, held their positions in the rankings.

Sidney, a 6-foot-10 forward from Los Angeles, dropped to No. 4. North Carolina-bound forward John Henson, a Texas native, climbs to No. 5.

The Rivals.com basketball rankings have grown from 100 players to 150. The top 25 are considered five-star players. Players ranked 26-100 are four-star prospects, and there are 50 ranked three-star prospects. The top 25 also has a new look, with 11 new five-star players.

For clarification's sake, Meyer says the five-star prospects are ranked with their NBA potential in mind. The rest of the rankings aren't necessarily graded on the same scale.

"What type of player these prospects are going to be in the NBA is the top concern when we break down the elite prospects in a class," Meyer said. "These elite prospects are likely one-and-done on the college level, anyway. Throughout the five-stars and into the top four-star prospects, NBA potential is looked at closely. But the bulk of the four-stars and the three-stars are evaluated as college players."

Of the 150 ranked players, 56 already have made commitments to schools. Nineteen of the commitments are from power forwards, the most of any position. The Big Ten is the leading conference for commitments, with 15 already pledged to play in that league.

The Rivals.com staff will continue to travel the country to see the nation's top players this summer. To access the summer hoops tour schedule, click HERE.

MORE: The 2009 Rivals150 | Chat with the experts about the new Ranking | Rivals.com Hoops Tour



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