ST. LOUIS - It's not exactly a regular thing for the city of St. Louis to produce three five-star talents in the same class. But, the class of 2011 in St. Louis is exceptional at the top and the city had a chance to showcase two of those top talents when Brad Beal and B.J. Young locked up in a game at Lindenwood College. The previous night another in-state star - Otto Porter - made a pretty compelling case for a significant bump in the rankings. Rivals.com was on the road to see it all.
Beal, Young, Porter shine in Missouri
Brad Beal, SG, Chaminade- A McDonald's All-American and the nation's seventh ranked player in the 2011 Rivals150 was brilliant in his Chaminade team's ESPNU televised victory over B.J. Young and McCluer North. A complete model of efficiency, Beal went off for 40 points on 15-21 field goal shooting (5-8 3PT) while adding seven rebounds, six assists, four steals and three blocks.
Physically impressive, Beal is a strong and broad-shouldered two guard who is very strong with the ball. While his ball-handling and athleticism have both improved resulting in better ability to create his own shot, it's still Beal's work away from the ball and overall polish that set him apart. His jumper is textbook, he forces his defenders into screens and turns sharply (and shoulder to shoulder) off of screens for catch and fire opportunities. He defends, doesn't take bad shots and has unlimited range. Florida has a stud.
B.J. Young, PG/SG, McCluer North- Skinny and quick, the 6-foot-3 combo guard who signed early with Arkansas is most effective attacking off the dribble and looks to do so as often as possible. His first step is a huge weapon and he's pretty good at contorting his body and finishing through contact. His jumper is going to remain a work in progress and he relies a lot on the space that defenders give him in respect of his dribble to get shots off from beyond 17 feet.
An emotional player, there's no question that Young wants to win and he's going to compete the entire time. He will eventually add strength and improve his left hand a bit which will really open up his total game. Had his teammates let him down some when they didn't convert on slick dishes but he fought off poor start to eventually finish with 24 points on 7-16 field goal shooting (2-6 3PT) to go along with a pair of assists and a rebound.
Otto Porter, SF/PF, Scott County Central- A little bit over ten years ago on the other side of the state, JaRon and Kareem Rush were making a mockery of over matched small-school competition while playing for Pembroke Hill. The 6-foot-8 Porter is similar to them in that he's racking up video game type numbers while playing against guys who can't come close to matching him physically.
The fact of the matter, though, is there probably aren't many levels where Porter wouldn't still hold a significant skill and ability advantage against almost any player he's faced up with. He's long, runs the floor incredibly well, is beyond disruptive in the press, shoots jumpers with ease and seems to just be scratching at his potential. Because he chose not to play summer ball and plays for a 1A program in Southeast Missouri his exposure has lacked some, but he's impressed when matched with better competition. He was good for 31 points on 13-17 field goal shooting (1-1 3PT), snatched 11 rebounds and came up with 11 steals without breaking much of a sweat in three quarters of action.
A candidate for a pretty significant rankings increase from his current #97 spot in the 2011 Rivals150, Porter said that he's down to Missouri and Georgetown. Like Brad Beal, he's been invited to play in the Jordan Brand Classic in April.