MCDONALD'S TOP 10
1. Josh McRoberts - The 6-10 lefty's magnificent performance during the game backed up by consistent work throughout the week earns him the top spot. He scores with either hand around the basket, passes well, rebounds, runs the court and displayed plenty of athleticism. He still needs to get a little bit stronger and was a little quiet during the Tuesday scrimmage, but other than that he was consistently fantastic. Not only was he the top guy in South Bend, he just might be the top player in the class period. With his blend of size, athleticism and shooting ability McRoberts is going to make a lot of noise down the road.
2. Julian Wright - As good as Wright was during ESPN's broadcast, he may have been even better during Tuesday's scrimmage. Long and slender, he doesn't necessarily look like he should move that well. He's blessed with natural instincts for making plays that most others don't have. Julian is a high energy guy and a livewire athlete but his passing and handling really set him apart. His mid-range jumper is improving and once he gets that he'll be a complete player. Makes some iffy decisions at times, but more than anything he helps you win. He had perhaps the play of the week during the closed scrimmage when he made a steal, juiced a defender at mid-court with a behind the back dribble and ultimately threw down a gliding and powerful one handed jam while being hacked by Korvotney Barber.
3. Gerald Green - After starting off a little slow during Sunday and Monday's practices, Green came to life after a scintillating performance during Monday evening's dunk contest. He's the best athlete in the class of 2005 and uses his substantial leaping ability to explode into his dangerous jump shot. He showed a willingness to work during practice and gave a fairly solid effort for a guy who doesn't always bring his lunch pail. About the only complaint for the week was that he never hit the boards particularly hard. If he enters the draft he'll be the best athlete on the board.
4. Monta Ellis - Obviously the 6-3 guard wasn't particularly impressive during the actual game, but he was extremely effective in practices and the scrimmage. During the scrimmage Ellis was arguably the best player on the court as he sank several deep jumpers, created for others and played tough defense. Nobody in the class is faster with the ball in his hands and he's an explosive athlete who projects as a point guard with scoring pop down the road.
5. Mario Chalmers - Chalmers is a naturally gifted offensive player capable of causing headaches as a shooter, distributor or a slasher. He's got the ability to be every bit as effective on the defensive end, but his tendency to let his man go by him so that he can try to pick his pocket from behind is a little worrisome. Chalmers has incredibly quick hands, good feet and long arms allow him to stay in front of people defensively. It is just a matter of committing to playing tough defense each and every trip. The four minute stretch he put together at the start of the second half Wednesday night was as impressive as it gets and provided a glimpse of what he's capable of when he's got it rolling.
6. Greg Paulus - There is only one person in the country who could have anything negative to say about the 6-2 PG's performance and that's the cheerleader he blasted while going for a loose ball. He's gotten a bit quicker, but more importantly he just takes control of his team and doesn't let it go. He led during practices, during the scrimmage and during the game.
7. Tyler Hansbrough - His bread and butter will always be his motivated and intense style of play. Counting the practice, scrimmage, and game, Hansbrough never took a trip off and you've really got to respect that. He makes his free throws, is developing a face up jumper and tries to rip the backboard down each time he gets near the hoop. Bouncy and lengthy players will give him trouble at times because he has to gather his feet before jumping, but the plusses far outweigh any negatives.
8. Martell Webster - The 6-6 WG from Seattle did his fair share of impressive things like making NBA range threes, using his body to create space around the basket and he showed that he can create his own shot despite the lack of a blazing first step. Unfortunately some of what he accomplished rubbed people the wrong way because he was the biggest gunner of the group. His trigger happy approach was very obvious and you have to think he was auditioning for the NBA.
9. Louis Williams - For whatever reason the mercurial scorer was relatively quiet during practices and the game. The bright side is that he played under control. With all of the NBA speculation he probably didn't help or hurt his stock that much. He's an electrifying athlete and streaky shooter but he's still a smallish two guard who needs to keep improving his handle. The much anticipated one on one battle with Monta Ellis never really materialized.
10. Andrew Bynum - Stats won't necessarily reflect how well he played, but the seven footer did very well. He was one of the hardest working players in practice and ran the court surprisingly well for somebody who suffered a fairly serious knee injury not too long ago. Good instincts with the ball and he has developed a soft jump hook.