He's got some skill to go along with his impressive physical gifts as well. He's a gifted rebounder, patient shot blocker and is developing a nice mid-range jumper to go along with his dunks around the basket. He's got to work on his back to the basket footwork and avoid dropping the ball below his chin -- where guards can poke it away -- and turn up his intensity. Like many other big men in the class of 2006, a direct jump to the NBA may be a possibility.
Bryan Davis, 6-9 BF, Grand Prairie (TX) High- While Darrell Arthur has received a lot of the hype, Davis has quietly developed into one of the most sought after big men in the country himself. A strong kid who runs the court well, Davis is a big man capable of thriving in a up-tempo or halfcourt style offense.
While he probably hasn't spent that much time in a weight room yet, Davis is naturally strong and uses that strength to establish low post position. Once there he sits down on his defender and catches the ball deep in the post before making surprisingly quick spins to the basket for easy baskets. He's an above average passing big man and has good feet while lacking a true go to move. Defensively he is susceptible to ball fakes and has to guard against foul trouble when playing against other.
Ray Hall, 7-0 C, Denver (CO) Mullen- A true seven footer, Hall made a name for himself last summer traveling with Colorado Pump ‘N Run. Not only is he tall, Hall has plenty of bulk packed onto his frame and should be ready to compete physically on the next level after some work in the weight room.
While he's no jackrabbit in terms of quickness, Hall does run the floor better than you might think and is fairly light on his feat around the hoop. He's got soft hands and good touch to 10 feet and is a reliable free throw shooter. Despite his size, Hall isn't a banger and has to become more physical and aggressive in pursuing rebounds. He'll also need to improve his overall quickness and athleticism in order to turn the high major interest into offers.
Spencer Hawes, 6-10 BF/C, Seattle (WA) Prep- You aren't going to find a more fundamentally sound or skilled big man in the class of 2006 than Hawes. He scores with either hand around the basket, has excellent footwork and runs the court very well.
There may be some big men who jump better or are a little more fleet of foot, but Hawes is no slouch athletically. Around the rim he looks to dunk on defenders and has the ability to turn and score over either shoulder and he's got a soft jump hook. What really sets Hawes apart from the others is his ability to face the basket from 15-20 feet and drain natural looking jump shots. As he continues to add muscle, he should cement his place as a top 10-15 prospect nationally.
Josh Lomers, 7-0 C, Boerne (TX) High- Another true seven footer, Lomers isn't the most well known guy among recruitniks. However, college coaches certainly know all about him. Lomers burst onto the scene last summer as he led his club team to a consolation bracket championship at the Las Vegas Big Time.
Basically he's a big guy who runs the court well, blocks shots and takes care of the glass on both ends of the court. Offensively he looks to have fairly good feet but hasn't developed a go to scoring move and is a bit raw overall. This spring and summer there are going to be a lot of schools taking long looks at Lomers just because so little is truly known about his game.
Alex Stepheson, 6-9 BF, North Hollywood (CA) Harvard-Westlake- Because of his quickness, length and overall athleticism, Stepheson has already been very impressive in stretches. However, the engaging and intelligent Californian still hasn't shown that he can be productive on a consistent basis.
The good news is that inconsistency is a trait shared by virtually every young big man in the country and Stepheson certainly has plenty of positive traits to work with. He races up and down the court like a much smaller player and gets into position very quickly. He's a good stand-still leaper and has soft touch around the rim and does an effective job of tapping the ball to areas where he can control it if he can't snare a rebound right away. Because he is on the slender side, Stepheson struggles against physical big men and can get discouraged when his shots don't go down. If he adds strength and a little more confidence he could develop into the type of big man who could contribute at an elite high major program.
Bryce Webster, 6-10 BF/C, Mendota Heights (MN) St. Thomas- After showing flashes of promise on the club circuit and at Nike camp, Webster is developing into a very reliable big man. He's got a 235 pound frame that can carry much more weight and muscle to go along with his height and has already proven to be a very hard worker willing to attack his weaknesses.
Perhaps Webster's biggest strength is that he is already fairly skilled on the offensive end. Unlike other young big men who rely on athleticism or bulk, Webster relies on solid footwork, deft touch and patience to do his damage around the basket. Much like Sean May at the same stage, Webster isn't the most explosive player and makes up for it with his intelligence and ability to softly bank home 12-15 footers at will. He isn't quite as skilled as May was, but he doesn't suffer the same weight problems that May did and with Webster it is always important to point out that he's just a pup could be a member of the class of 2007 by age.
This is by no means a complete list and as the summer recruiting season develops more players will surely be added. Some of the bigger names we'll cover later on include: Kevin Durant, Lance Thomas, Daniel Deane and Taj Gibson.