November 13, 2002

Top 25 Recruiting Classes for 2003

The following is a list of the RivalsHoops.com Top 25 recruiting classes for 2003. This is a first look but is by no means the final list. There are many programs still recruiting and there are some players that are mentioned with certain schools that have not yet signed a letter of intent. This story will be adjusted once the signing period is over.

TOP TEN:

Duke's Lou Deng is rated the No. 2 overall prospect in the nation.

1. Oklahoma: The Sooners landed the best point guard in the country in Andrew Lavender, who had a red-hot summer during AAU competition. His AAU teammate, Brandon Foust, also had a solid July and will join Lavender at Oklahoma. Lawrence McKenzie is a scoring guard who can drop down long-range jumpers and Longar Longar has plenty of upside to elevate the excitement for Oklahoma fans about the Sooners' basketball future.

2. Arkansas: Olu Famutimi is an exciting, athletic guard who can hammer you in transition. Ronnie Brewer, who signed yesterday, is another player who will have a great impact on Stan Heath's program in the future. Brewer can handle himself around the basket offensively. Big man Julius Lamptey adds power and strength to the Arkansas middle and Vincent Hunter should also provide help in the interior.

3. Maryland: Landed five players who will be impact players for several years in College Park. Mike Jones is an outstanding shooting guard while Hassan Fofana will be a force inside when he fully progresses in his offensive game. When you add in big man Will Bowers, talented forward Ekene Ibekwe, and D.J. Strawberry, Gary Williams has five players that will be a part of the Maryland future for at least three years and possibly four.

4. Duke: Luol Deng is the best recruit available in 2003. He is also a winner, a player who will elevate the play of the other four Blue Devils on the court with him. In addition, Kris Humphries is a top 20 player and should be a significant impact player for Duke in the low post.

5. Pittsburgh: Chris Taft is a major inside player who can crush you with his offensive skills and his strength. Walter Waters is and underrated big man who moves smartly inside for baskets. Dante Milligan is a very flexible player and has nice size. Milligan can shoot it from the perimeter while Aaron Gray adds more muscle and power to the inside of the Pitt system.

Maryland's Mike Jones is rated five-stars.

6. Michigan State: Shannon Brown has the ability to play three different positions. His primary position is the shooting guard slot where he can score plenty of points. Brandon Cotton is another player who can score from anywhere on the court. Big man Drew Naymick is a hard worker who has a fine touch around and facing the basket. Drew also has a solid low post game with his back to the basket.

7. Arizona: Mustafa Shakur is one of the best lead guards in the 2003 class. He has great court vision and can also score. Ndudi Ebi is another player who can dominate a game on the offensive end while Kirk Walters is a great find.

8. LSU: Tac Minor is an exciting guard who can score bunches of points. Regis Koundjia can get to the basket with his dribble or shoot the jumper. Darnell Lazare is a fine forward who has quick hands and Ross Neltner should add some size to the future of the LSU program.

9. Syracuse: Demetris Nichols has improved is game to be a consistent threat from the perimeter while Terrence Roberts should have a great career on the college level since he can shoot the medium range jumper or make his living along the baseline. Louis McCroskey is a solid player too who can play several different positions.

10. DePaul: Wesley Green is a tough, strong inside player who throws a terrific outlet pass. On the receiving end of those passes is likely to be Sammy Mejia and Tyler Smith, both capable players of scoring many points in transition. Marcus Heard and Lorenzo Thompson are also two very capable forwards who will be impact players at DePaul.

NEXT 15:

Michigan's Dion Harris is rated five-stars.

11. Kansas: David Padgett is a top 20 player and J.R. Giddens has the ability to put up plenty of points with his athletic skills. Omar Wilkes is a player who should also have some impact at Kansas while Jeremy Case could be a player that puts in valuable minutes down the road for the Jayhawks.

12. Mississippi State: Gary Ervin is a great guard who can speed past any defender. Travis Outlaw and Jackie Butler are two players with big reputations. If they live up to those reputations, the positioning of this class needs to be elevated in the top five.

13. Michigan: Courtney Sims has a great summer and should be a player who stays around a while to help the Wolverine inside game. Bret Petway is a player RivalsHoops.com liked a lot last summer because of his ability to play both forward positions. He is long and athletic. Dion Harris moves well side to side and possesses quickness. This will help him score plenty of points on the college level from the swing position.

14. South Carolina: Brandon Wallace was one of the better players RivalsHoops.com saw all last summer. He is smooth, big and athletic enough to handle himself at any spot on the court. Renaldo Balkman thrives in transition and Tre Kelly is a solid gain also for South Carolina.

15. Memphis: Sean Banks is a player who has the skills to drop in 20 a game on the college level. He can score on the drive and hit the jumper. Kendrick Perkins is a load to handle inside. He should be a major contributor right away for John Calipari's program.

16. California: Leon Powe is a warrior inside who battles for every loose ball. Ayinde Ubaka is a smart lead guard with good size. Marquis Kately is a big favorite of RivalsHoops.com. He is well-built and has the ability to get to the basket and battle inside with big bodies.

17. Illinois: This class would be rated higher if we knew what Charlie Villanueva was going to play college basketball. But we have to be honest here and tell you that Charlie is going to look at his NBA options hard next spring. If Villanueva comes aboard, this class is a top 5 caliber. Richard McBride, Brian Randle and Warren Carter will all be great Big Ten players someday.

James Lang, the No. 4 overall prospect, is the nation's top uncommitted and unsigned prospect.

18. Florida State: Von Wafer might be the best offensive player from the wing position. He has a great first step and has a long-range game. Russ Blake of JUCO Junction claims that Antonio Griffin and Diego Romero are high quality pickups.

19. Wake Forest: Chris Paul is an outstanding lead guard who can drain long distance jumpers. Kyle Visser, Jeremy Ingram, and Todd Hendley are all solid pickups that give Skip Prosser's program a bright future.

20. Louisville: This ranking will go MUCH, much higher if James Lang, perhaps the best big man in the 2003 class, decides on where he is heading. But the talents of Nate Daniels, Brandon Jenkins, and Noah Diakite are good enough to keep this in the top 20.

21. Cincinnati: Robert Whaley should put up big numbers for Bob Huggins' program. Nick Williams is also a tremendous pickup (see story on him today at RivalsHoops.com. Mike Pilgrim has given a verbal commitment but has not yet signed. There is speculation that Florida transfer James White might be playing in a couple of years at Cincinnati.

22. Oregon: Aaron Brooks is a wonderful lead guard with the ability to make the others along side him even better. Mitch Platt is rapidly developing into one of the better big men in the 2003 class while Ray Schafer is another big body whose best days are ahead of him. Most don't know about Schafer because he injured himself before the July evaluation period.

23. Kansas State: Cartier Martin is a talented forward who should be able to produce some points on the college level while Lance Harris is a favorite of RivalsHoops.com. Harris loves to play along the baseline to score his points. He is a very bouncy athlete. Dez Willingham runs a smart floor game from the guard position while big man Tyler Hughes should provide some inside help.

24. Alabama: The Tide picked up three big men in Shawn Taylor, Jemareo Davidson and Akini Adkins. These three players have great upside to their games. If they continue to make improvements in their individual games, the ranking of this class deserves to be much higher.

25. Boston College: Sean Marshall was one of the better small forwards RivalsHoops.com saw this past summer. Marshall showed us he has versatility in his game. Dan Coleman played well at the end of the July evaluation period. He has some nice size and a soft touch. Steve Hailey has the upside to be a major player in Boston College's future while Devon Evertsen is a solid player who can use the glass for his jumpers or find open teammates with his passing skills.


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