Ranking the big men

Arizona has Alex Jacobson in the fold for 2007, but will likely add another big man. It is still very early in the process and the Wildcats are still evaluating players, but here are my favorite big men in the class.

These rankings are based on only players I have seen over the summer, and do not take into account performances during the high school season. My rankings are mostly based on summer performances, but also take into account future potential and how well they would fit in on the Wildcat roster.

1. Kevin Love, 6-9, 265, Lake Oswego, OR
I almost did not include Love on the list as recent reports have not had him listing the Wildcats among his top teams, but as recently as August he had the Wildcats in his top-three. Love has amazing footwork, a great build and is very skilled.
The Good: Love has the potential to be a dominating big man at the college level. May be the best true low post big man in the class, who can also shoot the three.
The Bad: May not be best suited for the Wildcats' system. Has had trouble with injuries, which has led him to carry extra weight. Recently he has slimmed down, but his ability to run may not be a real strength.
Arizona's Chances: Slim. Right now the Cats have a lot of work to do and rumors are rampant that UCLA leads.

2. Gary Johnson, 6-7, 205, Houston, TX
Think Shawn Marion on this one. Johnson has a similar wing span and great athleticism. May be athletic enough to see time on the perimeter, but he's best inside hitting the glass. In April Johnson looked like one of many Houston Hoops combo-forwards, but by late July he was a man among boys and really stood out.
The Good: Long, athletic and talented. He rarely gets outhustled and has a knack for rebounding.
The Bad: Sort of a tweener. Not a very good ball handler at this stage. Can shoot it, but needs more consistency.
Arizona's Chances: Very good. He lists the Cats as a "top school" but has a fairly lengthy list. He has taken an unofficial to Tucson and ties to the three Houstonians on the team.

3. Alex Tyus, 6-8, 200, Cincinnati, OH
Johnson gets the nod over Tyus because I got to see more from Johnson. I saw Tyus play quite a bit, but he is on a team with O.J. Mayo and Will Walker, so he does not get the touches that Johnson gets. He's another athletic power forward, sort of in the Lance Thomas mode, who could see time on the wing down the line.
The Good:A terrific athlete, who plays with a lot energy. Very athletic and quick. He can knock down mid-range shots, but is better down low.
The Bad: Like Johnson, he is a tweener. His game is constantly getting better, but you get the feeling that he is still developing on offense.
Arizona's Chances: Good. Right now the Cats are in the top five, but Tyus says that the Cats and Syracuse are recruiting him the hardest. He also took an unofficial visit to Kansas recently, so they should be a player.

4. Darnell Gant, 6-8, 200, Los Angeles
Another long, athletic, hard working forward. Cut from the same cloth as Tyus and Johnson, but maybe currently better on the wing than the other two. Can score, rebound and even handle the ball in the open court.
The Good: Gant has a great body, terrific athlete and pretty good instincts. He's very quick, can jump and can shoot the ball.
The Bad: A very raw player who did not play varsity basketball last season. He is still developing as a player and was been inconsistent over the summer. May be better off as a three. Was not on a great AAU team, so he has not played a ton of top post players.
Arizona's Chances: Fair. At one time his aunt was pushing for him to get out of Los Angeles and loved Arizona and Washington, but as of late UCLA has really taken control. He is also intrigued by East Coast schools.

5. DeAndre Jordan, 6-10, 210, Houston, TX
Jordan has the most potential in the class, but upside is not enough. A legit 6-10, yet he's very athletic and mobile. He really burst on the scene at the Kingwood Classic last spring.
The Good: Athletic and very tall. 6-10, mobile power forwards don't come along very often. He has some nice offensive moves and can run the floor.
The Bad: He doesn't always play hard. I've seen him disappear from games too often. Is not as good a rebounder as he could be, or likely will be.
Arizona's Chances: Okay. The Wildcats are on Jordan's list, but he's wide open. It doesn't look like any early decisions will be made and a lot of things can still happen.

6. Anthony Randolph, 6-10, 210
Big, long and tall. Randolph is mobile and athletic, but very raw. He is a legit post player, but mobile enough to give less agile big men fits.
The Good: Like Jordan, he's a huge upside guy. He has barely scratched the surface of his ability. Very long, he has an inside presence, while still being effective on the outside.
The Bad: He's still very raw. It remains to be seen just how good of a feel for the game he has. Has a tendency to float and does not always play real hard, despite being very competitive. Could be better on the glass and needs to do more away from the ball.
Arizona's Chances: Okay. Cats seem to be in his upper tier of schools, but he is wide open. He does seem to prefer the West Coast, but it looks like his recruitment will be a long process.

I have seen both Clint Amberry and Sean Williams play, but not enough to form a very good opinion. Williams has a nice build and seems athletic, but I'm not sure how skilled he is. I have not seen any of the other big men the Cats are looking at.

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