Steve Megargee Rivals.com Basketball Recruiting Staff Writer
Rivals.com is the only recruiting service that lists Michael Beasley as the No. 1 basketball prospect in the Class of 2007.
Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer was in Louisville for the 30th McDonald's All-American Game and the practice sessions leading up to the event.
Beasley's performance in the McDonald's All-American Game backed up our faith in the Kansas State recruit.
The 6-foot-9 forward collected 23 points and 12 rebounds to earn MVP honors after leading the West team to a 114-112 victory.
Rivals.com moved Beasley to the No. 1 spot in its class ratings last August. Beasley's performance Wednesday guaranteed he will remain in the top position when the final Rivals150 list comes out next month.
"We've always felt great about Michael Beasley being No. 1 coming out of the summer because we knew he was the most talented player on the circuit," said Jerry Meyer, a national recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. "People have criticized Beasley because they don't feel like he consistently produces, but we understand that players go through a development process. We're dealing with young prospects here.
"At the end of the day, we were certain he was the best. His performance (Wednesday) solidified for the country what we've known about him since the summer."
Shooting guard Eric Gordon cemented his status as the No. 2 prospect and point guard Derrick Rose locked up the No. 3 spot with their performances Wednesday. The rest of the top six remains subject to change.
"We're certain there won't be any movement in the top three," Meyer said. "We try to project how good these prospects are coming out of the summer and before their senior seasons. It's a balance between how good they are at the time and what kind of players we think they can be in the future.
"One reason we feel like we're doing so well ranking players right now is we have a strong team effort that goes into our player evaluation. Tim Watts, Mark Reeves, Justin Young and I work very well together and approach the rankings with a team effort."
Here's a look at how Rivals.com's top six players in the Class of 2007 fared in the McDonald's All-American Game.
Statistics: Beasley shot 10 of 13 and collected 23 points and 13 rebounds. He finished as the game's top scorer and rebounder. The power forward even went beyond the arc to shoot 2-for-3 from 3-point range.
Meyer's take: "He showed he has the best package of size, athleticism and skill of anyone out there. He was a man amongst boys. He was playing above the rim and with a level of athleticism that far surpassed anyone else out there. He's the new breed of power forward who's extremely skilled and athletic. He can guard multiple positions and is effective anywhere on the court offensively."
Statistics: Gordon shot 5-for-13 and collected 13 points. He also grabbed three rebounds and two assists while also defending highly touted O.J. Mayo for much of the night.
Meyer's take: "What was impressive with Gordon was the way he guarded O.J. Mayo. Everyone knows Eric Gordon's a prolific scorer. We like his competitiveness and overall game. And he certainly made a statement going head-to-head with O.J. Mayo.
Statistics: Rose collected five points, six rebounds and a team-high five assists for the West squad. He shot 2-for-5 from the floor.
Meyer's take: "We've been convinced that he's the best point guard in the class with his mix of size, athleticism and skill. He showed last night his willingness to set up his teammates. He can take over a game scoring-wise when he needs to, but he's the type of point guard that everyone loves to play with because he's focused on getting players the ball at the right time."
Statistics: Singler shot 4-for-7 from the floor (0-for-3 from 3-point range and 4-for-4 from inside the arc). He scored 10 points and pulled down four rebounds.
Meyer's take: "Kyle played the type of game you expect him to play. He made great decisions. He showed he can guard anywhere on the court, which is one thing we've always liked about him. A couple of times he matched up with O.J. Mayo and did a nice job guarding him. He showed flashes of athleticism."
Statistics: Love scored 13 points and shot 6-for-10. He also collected six rebounds and three assists.
Meyer's take: "The thing with Kevin Love is you know what you're going to get. He's not the most athletic guy, but he plays with great strength. He's very skilled and has a great mind for the game. He did a great job passing the ball, and he knows how to get the tough rebound. He could have a Tyler Hansbrough-type freshman year. You would expect him to come close to being a double-double guy next year as a freshman. I don't know if he'll average 10 rebounds, but he should be close to that."
Statistics: Mayo shot 4-for-17 (1-for-9 from 3-point range) and scored 12 points. He also contributed three steals, three rebounds and one assist.
Meyer's take: "Some day those shots go in. He did have trouble getting good looks, and that's always been why we've had those other guards (Gordon and Rose) ranked ahead of him. We feel like they're a notch better athletically than Mayo. O.J. is certainly a great player. I think right now – and it showed last night – he's just a little too focused on proving himself. Hopefully when he gets to USC, he'll relax some and just try to mesh with his team and be a catalyst for a great team instead of playing to set records and to show how good he is."