This time last year, Tristan Thompson made his debut at No. 1 on the Scout.com 2010 Top 75. Nearly 365 days later, Thompson's still holding strong but a fast riser out of Ames, Iowa, bumped him down a spot this time around.
Harrison Barnes, the player of the year from his state and a state champion, asserted himself in a big way so far this spring. Each facet of his game has seen a noticeable improvement. From his physicality as a wing player to his silky smooth arsenal of offensive moves, not only is the top prospect he's also one of the country's most improved players.
Thompson, who was the top prospect at last week's adidas Nations workout, is No. 2 through no fault of his own. Like Barnes, Thompson has improved. For starters, his body has begun to fill out. His competitive edge, even sharper than a season ago, is strong. Bumping him off the top line would have been difficult which speaks to what we think of both Thompson and Barnes.
Rounding out the Top Five are three prospects, each who has seen big time moments this spring. Brandon Knight, always a name included in the conversation for the No. 1 slot, was tremendous at the Real Deal In The Rock. His high school season wasn't too shabby either as he packed on another state title to go with his Gatorade National Player of the Year hardware.
No.'s 4 and 5 are very familiar. Armed with a larger than life personality, Jared Sullinger continues to punish kids inside. DeShaun Thomas, a fixture with Spiece, earned our final slot in the Top 5 but he's got fierce competition barreling down on himself and his four elite peers.
No. 6 Jereme Richmond has big game. Always has. So far, No. 7 Josh Smith has been slow to get out of the gates but its difficult to forget about what he did last Vegas when his conditioning was excellent.
When Kevin Boyle hypothesized that Kyrie Irving "might be the best guard to ever come out of Jersey," everyone respected his opinion but wondered if his guy would be able to walk the walk. So far, Boyle's not looking too bad. Last summer, while sitting down to lunch in Akron, Ohio, we first heard Boyle speak glowingly of Irving. The coach knew before anyone and student is making teacher look pretty smart.
Dominique Ferguson seems to have spent time in the gym working on his jumper and should he find the balance between post and perimeter, he too could make a jump on the list. Speaking of jumps: Will Barton.
Maybe everyone should have seen this coming? Either way, his state championship at Lake Clifton was legit and so was his exhilarating performance at the Boo Williams earlier this month.
Our initial thought was to bear down and hammer out a Top 100. Frankly, it's better to keep the list tight at 75 for now and survey what the on the court competition looks like the remainder of the month.
Two players cracked the Top 25 this time around, one of which we didn't see coming at all. Brazilian Fab Melo didn't play last year at Sagemont. However, a parade of big time head coaches found their way to watch him workout and the reviews were scintillating. Last weekend in Akron, he was the talk of the event. We're bringing him along slowly at No. 25 as we continue to learn details of his game and what makes him tick. Don't be surprised if his debut leads to bigger and better things.
Luke Cothron's debut at No. 16 is warranted. He spent the year trading paint with C.J. Leslie at Word of God. He proved that last year's summer buzz was no fluke and now the Pervis Ellison clone is putting in work on the traveling team circuit.
As is always the case, we like to use the spring to take the temperature of recruits. You might not recognize the name Damontre Harris, our No. 75 prospect. However, schools are taking notice of his freakishly long frame and athleticism. The 6-9 center is a prospect and he's the last man in. Will he be able to stay?
As always, thanks for checking out the rankings and enjoy the spring traveling season. Summer's just around the corner!