Junior Rankings Updated

Mon, 03/09/2009 - 10:34pm
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The junior class features a lot of talent with two projected top 3 picks in Hasheem Thabeet and Jordan Hill and another seven currently projected in the first round. A strong case could be made that the juniors are the strongest class in college basketball. The Durant/Oden class has already placed 16 first rounders and has a good chance to reach 30 by the 2010 draft. This is, without question, an unusually strong class of prospects.

Top 5 Juniors

Gerald Henderson

UConn's mammoth in the middle Hasheem Thabeet remains at the top of the junior list, although not by a wide margin over hard charging Jordan Hill. Thabeet's potential to change the game on the defensive end of the court at the next level makes him extremely intriguing. He has shown steady improvement throughout his college career and although he's never going to be an offensive star, his progress is encouraging. He is now showing the ability to post up and make moves, utilizing his solid touch. Although Pitt got the win, he had a much better game in their recent rematch with DeJuan Blair and Pitt. His 13.6 ppg, 10.8 rpg and 4.5 bpg show the phenomenal progress he has made in his college career.

Jordan Hill has made as big a leap in development between his sophomore to junior seasons as anyone. Hill is a guy who picked up the game late and has been on a sharp learning curve. He torched the Pac-Ten night in and night out battling through various injuries all season. His ability to step out and knock down jumpers combined with his dominant interior play makes him a very possible top 3 pick on draft night.

Duke's Gerald Henderson has been one of the biggest risers in recent weeks. He has carried Duke back into prominence, and in the process has virtually assured himself a top 10 selection on draft night with his tremendous second half of the regular season. Henderson's relentless drives to the rim, combined with his clutch shooting in late game situations has him in position to challenge James Harden as the top shooting guard prospect for this year's draft.

Though still a potential-based pick, Earl Clark is finally beginning to round out his game with better outside shooting and consistency. He's still not as NBA ready as others despite being a junior, and some feel he's too unassertive. But his combination of size, athleticism and skills are extremely intriguing to scouts, who feel he will have a shot to be a top 10 pick on draft night.

Chase Budinger still catches flack for being soft and not strong enough on the defensive end, but this season he's proven himself
as one of the top juniors and overall players in the country. His ability to knock down outside shots, as well as his all around feel for the game give him a strong outlook for the next level. He's hovering around the end of the lottery and a strong Pac-Ten tourney followed by a quality performance or two in the Big Dance should cement a lottery spot. The NBA always loves shooters, and Budinger brings size and athleticism to boot.

Class of 2010 Junior Rankings

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