As any coach will tell you, the most valuable position on the court is the point guard spot. Finding a true floor general is never easy, and one of the best in the 2011 class is Marquis Rankin. The Vance High School (N.C.) point man had an excellent junior season is one of the most sought after players in the nation.
Standing at 5-foot-11 and 170-pounds, Rankin doesn't cast the most imposing shadow, but when the ball is in his hands he can be a terror. Not only does he know how to score, but Rankin is an expert at getting his teammates involved.
After proving his worth over the summer on the AAU circuit, Rankin even took another step forward during the high school year according to his dad Lamar Rankin.
"He had a real good season this year," said Rankin. "They did get beat in the state playoffs, but overall he had a good season. The focus areas going into the season were his outside shoot, improving his ball handling, and getting more speed with the ball. I think he did a good job of getting better in those areas."
With Rankin healthy and playing well, numerous colleges made sure to stay in touch with him and continue in his recruitment.
"We are hearing from Wake Forest, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Clemson, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Florida International, and Charlotte," said Rankin of the schools showing interest.
At this point only North Carolina hasn't offered a scholarship to Rankin off that list. Despite no offer, there continues to be significant communication between Rankin and the Tar Heels.
"The conversation with them hasn't changed since day one," Rankin explained about North Carolina. "They have been up front with him, and they just want him to continue to play well."
While Rankin is sorting through the pile of offers already in front of him, he is beginning to take a close look at each school and how they will fit skill set. For Rankin, finding the style of play is as important as anything.
"He is just looking for somewhere where he will contribute, help run the team, have the ability to play as a freshman, and somewhere where they like to get the ball up and down the court and let their point guard make plays," said Rankin of the factors going into the decision.
At the moment Rankin is in no hurry to make any kind of decision, and no visits have been set up to any schools. Instead he is focused on his play, and on making an impression on the AAU circuit. Last June Rankin hurt his ankle, and was never 100 percent during July in front of the college coaches. Now he is looking forward to showing everyone who is and what he is capable of when healthy.
"He's very anxious to get on the circuit," said Rankin. "Last year he went through that nagging ankle injury, but now he is recovered 100 percent. He is just real anxious to get back on the court."
Currently Rankin is seen as the No. nine point guard in the country, and the No. 26 prospect overall.