There's a lot of trusted advisors out there who we routinely call upon when putting a list together of this nature. You're an extra set of eyes and ears. Thanks for your insight, time and counsel over the years!
While Monroe sat atop the heap, the big question everyone had was could he remain there? After watching Monroe battle from April thru July, it's our assertion that – for now – he did just enough to remain on top.
Like his elite peers in the Class of 2008, Monroe at times left you wanting more. Why? Because there's so much natural ability to work with. He's a tantalizing prospect and at this stage remains Scout.com's pick for the top slot.
Most assume that because you're rated that high, the lottery pick status will follow but it's not always the case. We've contended from the beginning that being a Top 10 player in 2008 doesn't carry the same tag it does for the 2006 class. Each crop of kids is different and we can only hope the expectations can be adjusted.
Right now, there are no guarantees when it comes to staying in school or leaving for the NBA. In our opinion, the Class of 2008 is a year in which kids will have to develop strong collegiate resumes to make their marks on future drafts or elite impacts in high level conferences.
Having said that, let's get into the remainder of the discussion in regards to the elite players.
Mullens, well his size and skill set are quite impressive. Frankly, barring his own straying from the path Thad Matta will lay out for him, he should be a money maker. That begs the question: why aren't they 1-2-3 in the class?
Our approach to breaking down the class isn't based solely on what kind of NBA player the kid will be. We'd like to think our highly ranked recruits will have impressive collegiate careers and head off and make lots of money. Some will, some won't. However, our studies have shown that if you are a Top 10-ranked player by Scout.com, you stand an 88% chance of landing an NBA paycheck.
Still, the reason why Monroe-DeRozan-Mullens aren't the 3 top ranked players in the class is simple: there's work to be done and others are making it happen, often more consistently.
Take Samardo Samuels for example. Let's say he rolls into Louisville, is an All-American as a sophomore and turns in a career with similar accolades as Tyler Hansbrough? That's a mighty fine effort. Even if he doesn't become a Top 5 pick he's getting it done. For now, there isn't a more productive post player in the nation.
Ditto for Jrue Holiday on the wing. Heck, in two years he may be an NBA level point guard. Still, others are likely to be better long term NBA prospects. While guys are leaving after a year and making ill-advised decisions, he'll still be getting W's for the Bruins.
There are good players in this class. Tyreke Evans had a heckuva summer and he gets credit for recovering nicely from a subpar spring by his standards. There are enough talented players in this group that the top spot could chance a few times during the year in our minds. What there isn't room for with this group is complacency.
Early commitments took an edge off of player's games. In the late 1990's when the players weren't as "friendly" with each other, the rivalries were intense. You think Donnell Harvey and Carlos Boozer traded cell phone numbers after they played? Heck no, they got nasty with each other on the floor and went to separate corners when it was all over. They didn't like one another (from what we could tell) but there was a mutual respect that existed and the competitive fire each displayed was awesome.
Sorry for the digression. After a lot of moving, reshuffling and analysis, we settled on the current Top 100. There are new faces, fast risers and some guys we'll label as late bloomers.