May 8, 2007

New Rivals150 deep with talented big men

The nation's top basketball players from the class of 2008 spent the spring fine-tuning their games, playing against top competition and showcasing their skills in front of college coaches.

With the busy evaluation period now over, Rivals.com is proud to release the newest set of rankings for the rising senior class with the updated 2008 Rivals150.

Rivals.com spent the spring in gyms across the country. Our staff covered all of the major events, making stops at the Boo Williams Invitational, Real Deal on the Hill, Kingwood Classic, Pitt Jam Fest, Las Vegas Spring Showcase, King James Shooting Stars Classic and the Jayhawk Invitational.

New faces join the 5-stars

The class of 2008 welcomes nine new five-star players.

Five players made significant jumps into the top 25 rankings. California native Terrence Jennings jumped from No. 102 all the way to No. 9. Indiana center Tyler Zeller climbed from No. 105 to 16th. DeAndre Liggins, a Chicago-area point guard, jumped from 90th to No. 18. Demar Derozan, a Southern Cal pledge, bounced up from No. 55 to No. 17. Houston native Anthony Jones moves from 60th to 23rd.

"The ranking process is truly a process, and it's exciting to have your eyes opened up to talents like Jennings, Derozan, Liggins, Zeller and Jones," Rivals.com National Basketball Recruiting Analyst Jerry Meyer said.

"Either we haven't seen enough of a prospect, or a lot of times guys improve their games a great deal over a short period of time. However it worked out for these five prospects, they all had great springs and their best ball is still ahead of them."

Ohio State-bound guard William Buford, Florida center Kenny Kadji, Memphis combo guard Elliot Williams and Georgia center Tony Woods also joined the top 25.

From unranked to four-star status

Eleven players made a strong enough impression to climb into the top 100 after being unranked prior to the spring evaluation period.

California guard D.J. Seeley shined in Las Vegas, and proved his worth as a high-major guard. Louisiana big man Terrance Henry is the latest bayou surprise. Syracuse-bound wing Kris Joseph moved from Canada to the D.C. area and played well this spring. California big man Tyreese Breshers has a blue-collar approach to the game, and has a handful of high-major offers to go with it.

Michigan forward Draymond Green continued his productive play after a strong junior year. Illinois post Stan Simpson emerged after showing improvement from week to week. Mississippi combo forward Latavious Williams is on the rise after playing well with the Birmingham Raptors.

Iowa combo guard Grant Gibbs brings great size to the point guard position, and is a coveted player in America's heartland. Josh Crittle, another Illinois big man, was a big part of Mean Streets great spring run. Canadian shooting guard Devoe Joseph was one of the biggest surprises of the spring. Wisconsin commitment Jordan Taylor proved his worth against the top point guards in the country.

Power surge

After seeing the country's best players again over the last month, it became apparent that the strength of the class is found inside the paint or on the blocks. Eight of the top 10 players in the class of 2008 are 6 feet 8 or taller. Of the nation's top 25 players, 13 are power forwards or centers.

College coaches have made it a priority to land big men early. Of the top 29 ranked commitments, 19 are big men.

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