Change is indeed good.
There is a new No. 1 player in the Rivals.com Class of 2010 rankings.
The rankings are bigger. There are a handful of new five-star prospects. There are a number of big jumpers.
It is a new day for the class of 2010.
HEAD OF THE CLASS
Move over, Jeremy Tyler. There is a new player sitting atop the junior rankings. Seattle-area big man Josh Smith (6 feet 10/270 pounds) takes over the No. 1 spot in the class of 2010 rankings. He improved each tournament and finished the summer as one of the elite big men in the nation, regardless of class.
"Smith is just such a naturally gifted basketball player," national recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer says. "His size, strength and explosiveness around the rim are unparalleled in the class. Beyond that, he has one of the best set of hands I've seen on a big guy and has great shooting touch - if he's not dunking the ball on somebody.
"If he grows to be 7 feet tall, as expected, he has a chance to be a truly special big man."
Smith was outstanding in Cincinnati at the adidas It Takes 5ive Classic. He shined against senior five-star standout Derrick Favors. Later in the summer, he was the pillar of consistency and production in Las Vegas.
The Seattle area has become one of the best basketball hotbeds in the nation, and Smith has the tools to be the best of them all at the end of the day.
ROUNDING OUT THE TOP FIVE
As good as Kenny Boynton was in July, he didn't do it all on his own. Boynton, a star at Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage who is one of the top players in the class of 2009, leaned heavily on running mate Brandon Knight. Knight, a 6-3 point guard from Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Pine Crest, was just as dynamic and dangerous to the teams that lined up against him.
"The first thing that stands out to me about Knight is his competitiveness," Meyer said. "Like all great players, he rises to the occasion and is willing to do whatever it takes to win. Whether he needs to shoot the ball, get to the rim, create a shot for a teammate or come up with the ball on the defensive end, Knight is capable of making the play."
If there is a more steady and productive player in the class of 2010 than Ohio State-bound Jared Sullinger, he hasn't been seen by Rivals.com analysts.
"If I needed two points and I could choose any player in the 2010 class to go to, I'd post up Sullinger," Meyer said. "When he gets the ball in scoring position, you can practically count on a bucket or him getting to the foul line. I fully expect Sullinger to be that type of scorer in college and also to rack up rebounds as well."
College coaches from coast to coast have Iowa wing Harrison Barnes on speed dial. He's one of the most recruited players in the class of 2010 for a reason.
"Beyond being a high-character kid and a strong student, Barnes is also sought after by practically every school in the country because he is a big-time talent," Meyer said. "As a physical small forward, Barnes has a quality inside/outside scoring game, can defend both forward positions, rebounds at a high level and has a strong understanding of the game."
Rounding out the top five is Texas-bound forward Tristan Thompson, a Canadian who continues to be one of the more intriguing players in the junior class. He will play at Newark (N.J.) St. Benedict's Prep.
"Upside is the key word for Thompson," Meyer said. "He is a springy athlete who doesn't shy away from contact despite his thin frame (6-8/210). Offensively, he attacks the body of his defender and pursues the ball off the glass with vigor. His length, athleticism and motor are his greatest asset."
WELCOME TO THE CLUB
There are five new five-star prospects in the latest set of rankings.
Luke Cawthorne (6-8/195) was one of the top post players at the Reebok Summer Championships in Las Vegas with his Southeast Elite team. He shined in every matchup and followed up his efforts in Orlando, Fla., with the Alabama Terriers. Cawthorne, an Alabama native, now is at the Patterson School in North Carolina and he debuts in the rankings at No. 17.
Cincinnati Princeton shooting guard Jordan Sibert (6-4/180) was one of several high-level prospects on the All-Ohio Red 16 and under team. He helped his club win nearly 70 games in a four-and-a-half-month period. Sibert took his game to another level and checks in at No. 18 in the rankings.
Illinois commitment Jereme Richmond, a 6-5, 185-pound wing player from Waukegan (Ill.) High, is a familiar name in the class of 2010. He is back in five-star range after proving himself in the July period. He's now No. 19 overall.
New York guard Doron Lamb (6-4/175) will take his big reputation and new No. 21 ranking with him to Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill Academy for his junior season. And wing Anthony Brown (6-5/165) of Huntington Beach (Calif.) Ocean View makes the climb to No. 25 after displaying an improved perimeter game as well as overall confidence in his ability.
JOINING THE PARTY
There are a dozen new players inside the top 100 who weren't previously ranked. Cawthorne, the highest-rated new face in the five-star rankings, leads the charge. The other newcomers:
Point guard Jordin Mayes (6-1/170) from Los Angeles Westchester is No. 48.
Shooting guard Cameron Ayers (6-3/170) from Philadelphia Germantown Academy is No. 55.
Power forward Patric Young (6-8/207) from Jacksonville Paxon is No. 59.
Power forward Tarik Black (6-7/230) from Memphis Ridgeway is No. 61.
Shooting guard Moses Morgan (6-4/200) from Las Vegas Palo Verde is No. 68.
Combo guard Mardracus Wade (6-2/160) from Memphis Mitchell is No. 71.
Forward Jonathan Graham (6-8/210) from Baltimore Calvert Hall is No. 77.
Combo guard Lavonte Dority (6-0/180) from Chicago Foreman is No. 83.
Wing Preston Purifoy (6-4/210) from Conway (Ark.) High is No. 95.
Shooting guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. (6-3/200) of Zion (Ill.) Zion-Benton Township is No. 97.
Shooting guard Stacey Poole (6-3/185) of Jacksonville Raines is No. 100.
ODDS & ENDS
• The class of 2010 rankings has been extended from 100 prospects to 150.
• There are 45 power forwards, the most of any position. Shooting guard is next with 34, followed by point guard with 33, small forward with 26 and center with 12.
• Where is the beef? The class of 2010 appears to have a size deficiency as a whole. Of the ranked 150 players, only 57 are power forwards or centers. There are 68 combined point guards or shooting guards. Meyer said he is impressed by the scorers in the class. "The position that stands out to me is shooting guard," he said "Eight shooting guard prospects are five-stars guys and 20 more are in the four-star range. There are a number of guards who can get the ball in the basket in this class."
• The Big Ten leads all conferences with nine commitments within the new rankings. The ACC has seven. The Big East and Big 12 are tied with four each, the Pac-10 has three and the SEC, Atlantic 10 and Colonial each have one.