Last week, we examined the top 150 high school basketball prospects from the class of 2011. This week, we move on to the class of 2012 and there's a familiar face at the top. Connecticut big man Andre Drummond holds on to the top spot in our post-summer rankings for the junior class which have now been expanded from a top 100 to the top 150 players in the class of 2012.
While he's still at No. 1, Drummond is starting to feel a little heat from the nation's second and third rated prospects, Isaiah Austin and Shabazz Muhammad.
"With his impressive combination of size, athleticism and skill, Drummond has a pretty good hold on the No. 1 spot," said Rivals.com's director of high school basketball scouting Jerry Meyer. "Isaiah Austin and Shabazz Muhammad, however, are looking over his shoulder. "
A thin and gangly big man from Texas, Austin has immense upside.
"Austin has a tremendously high ceiling," said Meyer of the early Baylor pledge. "But, the question is whether or not he will add the physical strength and toughness to be a consistently dominant player. "
Based out of Las Vegas, Muhammad is a rock-solid wing with a work ethic that matches his impressive productivity and athleticism.
"With Muhammad you have a tremendous wing prospect with athleticism and all the intangibles," said Meyer of the 6-foot-5 lefty. "It will be interesting to see if he develops the off-the-dribble scoring game, that could possibly propel him to the top spot."
Checking in at No. 4 is Canadian import Khem Birch. Although he's still a little raw on the offensive end, the 6-foot-8 power forward has explosive athleticism, plays with heart and is improving rapidly.
"Birch has a high level motor and athletic ability that you rarely see in a prospect," said Meyer. "If he grows a couple more inches and refines his skill game he could certainly put pressure on the guys ahead of him."
Rounding out the top five is one of the most unique players in the country, Kyle Anderson. Standing a legit 6 feet 8, he's most often deployed as a point guard and is capable of effectively playing all five positions on the floor.
"Anderson is one of the more intriguing prospects that I've scouted," said Meyer. "He is the type of player who will register a lot of triple-doubles in his future. His game is all about intelligence, skill and length."
Energetic California big man Brandon Ashley checks in at No. 6. Back across the country, high-scoring and athletic shooting guard Ricardo Ledo holds down the seventh spot. The owner of perhaps the best hands in high school basketball, New York big DaJuan Coleman, slides into the eighth spot while Memphian Jarnell Stokes and Colombian power forward Hanner Perea round out the top ten.
2012 Rivals150 by the numbers
In total, there are six new five-star players, Alex Murphy, Cameron Ridley, Kevin Ferrell, Archie Goodwin, Perry Ellis and Shaquille Goodwin. Amongst that group, Shaquille Goodwin made the biggest jump into five-star territory rocketing 40 spots up the rankings from No. 60 to No. 20. Ridley also made a big jump, climbing 20 spots from No. 34 to No. 14 while Murphy was just behind them climbing an impressive 17 spots from No. 28 to No. 11.
Given the expansion of the rankings from 100 to 150, there are a lot of newcomers to the rankings. So, we'll focus on the 18 prospects who made their debut in the top 100 and earned four-star status. Leading that charge was California shooting guard Gabe York who debuts all the way up at No. 41 after an impressive summer with the Compton Magic. Other four-star entrants include Steven Adams (46), Matt Costello (57), T.J. Warren (71), Sherron Dorsey-Walker (74), Jordan Goodman (76), Kenny Kaminski (77), Montay Brandon (80), Brandon Bolden (81), Ismaila Dauda (82), James Robinson (85), Jarmal Reid (90), Anthony Bennett (91), Mitch McGary (92), Martavious Newby (94) and Denzel Valentine (95).
As usual, there were also a few big climbers in the rankings and nobody made a more impressive leap than noted high flyer Torian Graham who flew up 57 spots from No. 83 to No. 26. Other impressive risers were Marcus Smart (+25), Shaquille Cleare ( +34), Devonta Pollard (+45), Damien Wilson (+19), and Jelon Hornbeak (+24).
Finally, it's a banner year for talent in the state of Georgia as a whopping 16 natives from the Peach State are included among the nation's top 150 in 2012. Other states placing double-digit prospects in the rankings include Texas (12), Indiana (12), North Carolina (11) and California (11).