[rl]Determining the top player in the class of 2007 has been much more difficult than in previous classes.
However, at this point in the season we are making few changes near the top of the Rivals.com Class of 2007 basketball rankings.
Future Kansas State forward Michael Beasley held onto his top spot, but it wasn't easy. Indiana signee Eric Gordon and Derrick Rose, a Memphis recruit, have played very well this season. They were also able to show off their skills and versatility in nationally televised games.
The gaps between the elite players in the class of 2007 are very small. A number of players can make a strong case for the No. 1 ranking this year. Beasley, Gordon, Rose and future Duke forward Kyle Singler were all considered for the top spot. O.J. Mayo and Kevin Love can also make an argument for the No. 1 position.
"There might not be a LeBron James type player at the top of the 2007 rankings, but the talent at the top is very solid," Meyer said. "There is no reason to believe that each of the five-stars shouldn't be NBA players. Several of those guys could eventually be very, very good pros. There are also a bunch of upper four-star players who have a very good chance at making a living playing the game."
There are few changes to the top 25, but two players - Chandler Parsons and Austin Daye - cracked the list and became five-star recruits. Meyer said the lanky wing forwards will only improve as they add weight and bulk to their 6-foot-9 frames.
"Both Parsons and Daye caught our eye last spring with their high skill level as tall wing players," he said. "They are tremendous shooters who can create shots for themselves or teammates off the dribble. Our hesitation in ranking them too high after the summer was the lack of physicality in their play," Meyer said.
"Similar to what Kevin Durant has done this year in becoming a better rebounder and defender, we are convinced that Parsons and Daye are on track to become more physical players. Combine that with their length and basketball skill, and they are on track to be NBA players."
There were a few big jumps in the Rivals150. DeJuan Blair, Jeff Robinson, Justin Holiday and Jenirro Bush made solid climbs up the rankings.
Blair, a 6-foot-7 big man from Pittsburgh, moved up nearly 50 spots after a strong senior campaign with his Schenely squad. Blair now checks in at No. 78 in the latest rankings.
Robinson, a Memphis signee, climbed up 60 spots after showing off a much improved game at St. Patrick's this year. The 6-foot-6 athlete is showing a knack for knocking down the perimeter shot. He'll shine in John Calipari's system. Robinson moved up to No. 35 nationally.
Holiday, a rangy wing from Southern California, committed to Washington with little fanfare back in the fall. Since then, the versatile 6-foot-7 forward is becoming a more complete player. He should fit in nicely in Washington's up-tempo style. Holiday is the No. 77 ranked senior in the country.
Fresh off of a pledge to Arkansas, Bush cracks the Rivals150 at No. 79 overall. The rangy point forward can handle, pass, score and projects into a solid SEC performer in Fayetteville.
"You have to love the passion and leadership that Blair brings to his team," commented Meyer. "His knee braces are off and he's playing a much more athletic game than he did this summer.
"Robinson has been one of the most pleasant surprises this year. He is playing a more disciplined and confident game. He has NBA athleticism as a defender and wing rebounder. Now, he is consistently making shots and rounding out his game.
"Similar to Robinson, Holiday is matching his length and athleticism with scoring and stats across the boards. And Bush has a special skill set for a player at his size."
After spending the majority of their high school career in the class of 2007, Bill Walker and Daniel Hackett accelerated their academic courses in order to enroll as college freshmen in 2006. However, both players graduated after the final 2006 rankings were released. Because of these unusual circumstances, they are counted in the 2007 class.
"Walker and Hackett's situations are an odd, and there is no perfect way to deal with them," said Meyer. "We didn't want to go back and insert them into the 2006 class and we didn't want to leave them unranked, so we kept them in the 2007 class."
After re-evaluating his academic situations, Oklahoma State-bound Marshall Moses moves into the 2007 rankings from the 2008 class.
Moving out of the 2007 graduating class to the 2008 group are Clemson pledge Laron Dendy, Washington committment Isaiah Thomas, Indiana recruit Eshaunte Jones and uncommitted players Terrell McKenzie and Teeng Akol - who will likely move into the 2008 class after this season.
Rivals.com will have one more ranking of the 2007 class after the spring all-star games.