Junior Rankings Released

Thu, 10/23/2008 - 9:53am

NCAA Junior Rankings - Class of 2010

The 2010 “Oden/Durant class” which was the first ever to be affected by the NBA 19-year-minimum age rule, continues to be one of the strongest on the college level. After putting 6 players in the lottery, and 8 in the first round in their first year eligible, the Class of 2010 got 8 more into the first round as sophomores. The talent level remains strong with 14 Juniors currently projected to be taken in the first round on the current 2009 mock draft.

2011's Rose/Beasley class is widely considered the best high school class from top to bottom of alltime. But it will likely have a hard time matching the number of first rounders produced by the class of 2010.

Starting with UConn's Hasheem Thabeet who has passed up being a surefire first rounder twice to continue his development under one of the premiere college coaches in Jim Calhoun. While Thabeet still has moments where he loses focus and appears to lack a great feel for the game, his all around skill level has shown steady improvement.

His passion for the game and willingness to work hard to improve are real positives and the coaches at UConn are raving about his improvement over the summer saying he will even get consideration for the top overall pick and should end up in the top 3.

Regardless of whether he develops a legit offensive game, which still shows promise, he's going to be a force defensively at the next level capable of patrolling the paint and becoming a premiere shot blocker. His agility and foot speed is excellent for a 7-3 center and his reaction speed and timing continue to improve.

Damion James
Texas small forward Damion James is an elite level athlete with a high motor and developing skills. His jumpshot off the dribble and range have shown solid improvement over his two seasons at Texas, and in his 3rd year he appears ready to step his game up a level.

With long arms and good strength, James is a solid defender with the potential to be a great one. Playing alongside another elite level forward Connor Atchley, James should get solid opportunities to score both inside and out as defenses won't be able to key on him.

Aside from North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough, Davidson's Stephen Curry might be the most recognizable face in college basketball. His heroics in the NCAA tournament have made him a household name. And aside from the fact that he's a tremendous college player with his clutch play and terrific shooting, he's an excellent pro prospect.

This season he will set out to show that he's got playmaking ability, taking over the point guard duties for Davidson. If he proves that he can hold his own creating offense for others as well as himself, it will only enhance his standing as a pro prospect. Curry's great speed and deep shooting range give him a shot to be a late lottery pick in 2009.

Chase Budinger is another player who has turned down millions in the quest to become a more complete and NBA ready player upon entering the league. He's got standout athleticism and a pure jumpshot and shows a lot of promise, granted his stock has taken a slight hit over the past year.

Most had Earl Clark pegged as a mid-late first rounder had he decided to leave last year. The Louisville small forward is a multifaceted small forward who battled inconsistency, particularly shooting, as a sophomore.

His ability to pass and handle combined with his lenth and athleticism make him very intriguing, and developing consistancy and better confidence offensively will vault him into mid-late lotto status.

The son of a former pro, Gerald Henderson is ready to take his game to the next level and become a first team All American. He's got the freakish quickness and athleticism to dominate the college game, but his jumpshot thus far has not been consistent.

If he can improve upon his shooting, he could help the Blue Devils get back to the final four for the first time in years and in the meantime ensure a high draft position.

In each of his past two seasons he has had a terrific start only to hit a wall and trail off as the season progressed. He will need to look for improved defense and overall consistency throughout the season this year.

Xavier's Derrick Brown is an exciting, athletic wing with excellent length and explosiveness. He still needs to improve his handle and midrange game, but continues to impress with his development. Look for an expanded with him becoming one of the elder statesmen on the Musketeers roster.

A story of perseverance, Tyler Smith has overcome the loss of his father, a well documented story, to become the Vols most integral piece. His game has shown a great deal of maturing in his two years on campus and he has the ability to set teammates up for baskets and make good decisions passing the ball from the 3 position.

If he can show improvement offensively, particularly shooting range and consistency, he'll stand a great chance to hear his name called in the mid-late first round of the 2009 draft.

While teammate Ty Lawson had the better 2008 NBA predraft camp performance, his sweet shooting wing teammate Wayne Ellington has the offensive skills to have greater success at the next level.

With a pure shooting stroke and an effortless pull up game, Ellington should parlay an excellent tournament and a potential UNC National Championship into becoming a top 20 pick.

Rounding out the list is Raymar Morgan, another power conference guy who is sure to benefit from a strong tournament, which his team figures to factor heavily into.

Another case of a player who is sure to assume a larger role with former teammates (Drew Neitzel in this case) moving on. Morgan needs to continue doing more of the same pressuring opponents defensively, hitting the boards and getting out on the floor for baskets as well as expanding his offensive repertoire and range.


Edwin Ubiles
Siena's Edwin Ubiles is flying under the radar nationally but it shouldn't be long before the entire nation knows all about him. As this youtube clip can attest, he's got athleticism rarely found at the mid-major level. He's also an excellent shooter. Sienna should be a dangerous team come March and Ubiles will be their go-to guy.

A late bloomer, Ubiles needs to add strength and develop offensively, and tighten his ball handling. He will have two years to improve, make a name for himself and show off his NBA athleticism and shooting ability.

Mississippi State's rail thin power forward Jarvis Varnado still needs to add a good deal of bulk but that doesn't stop him from battling with anyone inside. At the Amare camp over the summer, while other forwards such as Jeff Pendergraph were putting up the white flag when going up against Blake Griffin, Varnado showed the willingness to fight and battle with the he-man inside.

A Theo Ratliff type, Varnado has a freakishly long wingspan and explosive leaping ability making him a bigtime shot blocker. With a great attitude, look for him to develop into a mid-first rounder over the next two seasons.

It's easy to get lost in the shuffle when you're backing up the best floor general in the nation as Willie Kemp was last year. But the Tennessee native has pro potential in his own right and despite the hype surrounding Tyreke Evans, Kemp is ready to take over as the team's floor general.

He has excellent quickness and a solid offensive and point guard package. After practicing against Derrick Rose for a full season, everyone else he faces on the college level should be a breeze.

Though just 6-7, Clemson's Trevor Booker is a Brandon Bass type of explosive power forward who has a shot to make it despite his lack of traditional height for the position.

Similar to Bass, Booker has a high octane engine giving solid effort every time out, and his long wingspan allows him to play bigger. If he were a legit 6-9 you would be looking at a sure-fire lottery pick.

NCAA Junior Rankings - Class of 2010
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