Rivals.com is more than half way through December's Mid-Atlantic Hoops Tour with stops in Washington, D.C., New Jersey, and Pennsylvania completed, and now is as good a time as any to review some of the outstanding underclassmen that we've observed over the past couple of weeks.
Here are some outstanding Class of 2006 prospects who've impressed us recently.
6-foot-7 228 pound P/WF from DeMatha Catholic. Allen has always been a freakish athlete in terms of running the floor and finishing above the rim. However, in the half court set he'd always been primarily a power forward. This season has brought about a transformation in Allen's game as he's added a very reliable jump shot that extends to the arc and has shown a dramatic improvement in his ball handling capabilities. With these added perimeter skills Allen is likely to move up considerably from his current #96 ranking in the Class of 2006. Recruiting interest from Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Connecticut, Purdue, Illinois, NC State, Georgetown, and Maryland.
6-foot-5 195 pound W/PF from Paterson Catholic. Barrett is the man who does the dirty work inside for Paterson Catholic. When they were down to St. Raymond's late in the game, Barrett established himself as their go to guy in the paint, and he delivered. Excellent hands and makes smart decisions with the ball. Needs to improve his work off the dribble and his outside shooting to take the next step as a prospect. Projects as a wing forward in college and looks like a mid-major steal, who'll get a long look from high majors as well.
6-foot-5 229 pound PF from Mount Saint Joseph. Birdsong is an undersized power forward who's a very tough matchup for most high school big men due to his strength and quickness around the basket. Does a terrific job positioning himself for rebounds, and catches everything thrown in his direction. Doesn't shoot it very well from outside of 8-10 feet. Compares favorably to current Pitt standout Chevy Troutman, though we'd like to see him grow another inch or two before making him a bonafide high major prospect. Wagner, George Mason, Richmond, and Old Dominion are recruiting him, with Maryland and Florida State also taking a peek.
6-foot-6 190 pound G/F from Bloomfield Tech. Butler struggled at times this summer when we saw him at ABCD Camp, and our feeling was that the youngster probably wasn't quite ready for the big stage. In a more comfortable, familiar setting playing with his high school squad he's a smooth confident wing player capable of taking over a game when necessary. Butler has a sweet perimeter stroke and a solid handle. Seems comforatble in the catch and shoot role, as well as off the dribble. His lateral quickness is a question mark at the high major level, and that's why schools like Saint Josephs and Richmond are making their pitch along with Seton Hall, St. John's, Kansas, Miami, and Florida State.
6-foot-8 215 pound P/WF from Raritan. Calhoun told us that he's headed to prep school next year to improve his core grades. He's a naturally talented combo-forward who's probably destined to play on the wing at the next level. Excellent leaper with the ability to stroke shots from the perimeter. Tends to disappear in games, and doesn't always play with the instensity that we'd like to see, but there's no doubt that he's a high major prospect. Currently rated #121 by Rivals.com as a member of the Class of 2006. Arizona, Connecticut, Missouri, St. John's, and Virginia Tech are the schools on his list.
5-foot-11 168 pound PG from St. Benedict's. David's ability to make perimeter shots and his newfound aggressiveness at both ends of the floor have catapulted him onto the national stage. The native of Venezuela defers to St. Benedict's PG Eugene Harvey and plays mostly off the ball for the Grey Bees, but we've seen him take over the reins at the point and excell as well. He doesn't have great size but he more than makes up for it with his toughness and tenacity. Oh, and did I mention that he can just flat-out shoot the ball? Villanova, Rutgers, and DePaul are involved early, but the list may get a lot longer before it's all said and done.
6-foot-10 275 pound center from Bloomfield Tech. Drummond this past weekend is the same Casiem Drummond that we've become accustomed to seeing over the last couple of years. He shows flashes of being a big time offensive threat at the next level, as he's got excellent hands and is a very good shooter from 16' and in. However, he does not appear to play with much desire, and often does not make smart basketball plays. If Casiem can get it together in his head, he certainly has the talent to be a terrific college player who has NBA potential. St. John's leads Rutgers, Seton Hall, Wake Forest, Miami, Connecticut, and Cincinnati.
6-foot-1 170 pound 2G from Mount St. Joseph. Coming back from a knee injury is not always just a matter of sitting out the required amount of time and waiting to heal. DeJuan Goodwin can attest to that. The one-time top prospect in his age group in the Baltimore region suffered an ACL tear in his left knee that has been slow to heal. However, with the injury now, as Goodwin puts it "about 85% back to normal," we're starting to once again see the big time player emerge. Schools are definitely taking a wait and see attitude, but he's shown flashes of his dynamic athleticism and sweet perimeter touch in recent games and we wouldn't be the least bit surprised if high majors started getting a little more serious in the spring.
6-foot-8 200 pound PF from Gonzaga College HS. Going from 6-foot-3 as a freshman to 6-foot-8 as a junior puts you in a whole different category of recruiting interest, as Jacob Green has discovered. Green, a rapidly improving forward, has shown flashes of becoming a big-time scorer. However, it's not always easy to shed point guard sensibilities, and Gonzaga coach Steve Turner would like him to be even more assertive at the offensive end of the floor. Green's best attribute right now may be his passing, but rebounding and shot-blocking aren't far behind. Not really a fluid natural athlete, and that's what prevents him from being an elite recruit. Still, Xavier, Maryland, Georgetown, St. Bonaventure, George Mason, American, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Clemson, Fordham, Georgia, and Florida State are intrigued. He's also a very good student.