Rondo heads list of best players
Before the season, we ranked the top high school basketball players in Jefferson County. Now, it's time for our exclusive post season rankings updates and there are some noticeable changes to the list this time around.
One name that didn't change though is our top player, Rajon Rondo. Rondo had a superb junior season and is clearly head and shoulders above any other player in town. He's also likely the top player in the state regardless of class, although some would counter with Chris Lofton for the state's top honor.
Two big men, Western's Guy Ngarndi and PRP's Terrance Farley made huge jumps in the rankings with their play during the season. Ngarndi, ranked #7 on Inside theVille.com's preseason list, moved all the way up to the number two spot on our final 2002-03 ranking. He led the state in rebounding and improved his offensive reperatoire enough to average better than 20 per game. Farley, ranked #5 in our preseason rankings, seemingly came out of nowhere with a strong preseason effort against LexCath and continued to improve throughout the season. Farley moved up two spots to #3 on our final list this season.
And the sophomores made quite an impact this season as four 10th graders made the final top ten list. Fairdale's Maurice Grintner is currently the cream of the sophomore class, with Ballard's RaVon Lee, PRP's JuJuan Spillman, and JTown's Domincik Tillford rank closely behind. While Grintner has the current edge, Lee and Spillman have the potential to overtake him on this list in the future. The question with the sophomore group is will any of them improve their skill level and emerge as solid high major prospects?
With that said, here's Inside theVille's final 2002-03 high school basketball player rankings for Jefferson County.
#1 Rajon Rondo
6'2 - Point Guard
Eastern High - Junior
Inside theVille.com's top player in the state of Kentucky regardless of class! Rondo is a quick and athletic point guard who jumps out of the gym. He penetrates and finishes as well as any pg seen in this area in many years. He has incredible court vision and often finds open teammates for easy baskets. Rondo has long arms and plays tough defense, often getting in the passing lanes for deflections and steals. Rondo is the top rebounding point guard in the state using his tremendous leaping ability and toughness inside to snag rebounds. His outside shooting has improved each year and he's added the pull up jump shot from 15-17 feet to his arsenal this year. UPDATE: Rondo carried the Eagles to the LIT title by scoring 148 points and shattering Manual Forrest's tournament scoring record. He scored 47 and 42 against PRP in two games and pulled down over 30 rebounds in helping Eastern defeat the Panters twice this season. Rondo will play for Kris Vance and the Derek Smith All Stars this spring on the Adidas AAU circuit. Rondo averaged 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and 4.1 steals and was named the Commonwealth's Player of the Year by the Associated Press. Rondo told ITV that UofL, IU, N.C. State and UK comprised his top four.
#2 Guy Ngarndi
6'8 - Power Forward
Western High - Senior
A foreign exchange student from Camaroon, Ngarndi has been in the states since March. Ngarndi is a tremendous athlete who runs the floor like a guard. He's long and active and hits the board hard, particularly the offensive glass. Guy played with the Derek Smith All Stars last summer and blocked 15 shots in one game at a tournament in Vegas. He has great hands and catches the ball in traffic, on the break and always secures the ball off the board. His offensive skills are raw and still a work in progress but he possesses nice form on his jump shot with good arch and rotation. Much of his offensive production at this point come off putbacks and dunks around the basket. He has tremendous potential and could quickly move up this list by seasons end. Ngarndi has displayed a very soft and accurate touch around the basket. UPDATE: Guy had a fantastic senior season at Western averaging 20 points per game and led the state in rebounding with 13 per contest. At this point in his career, the athletic Ngarndi is more of a back to the basket type but will have to improve his perimeter skills and jump shot to make an impact at the high Division 1 level. He is a tremendously gifted athlete who has learned and is picking up the game quickly. Prep school or JUCO look like solid options for Ngarndi but WKU, IU, Cincinnati, UofL, UK and others have shown interest.
#3. Terrence Farley
6'10 - Center
Pleasure Ridge Park - Junior
Farley is the top big man prospect in Jefferson County. An excellent athlete who is very active and excels on the defensive end. Farley possesses the potential to develop into a productive offensive player as he possesses great hands and a soft touch in the paint. Great shot blocker and aggressive rebounder, particularly on the offensive glass. A terrific prospect with the ability to move to the top of this list. Note: Terrence will move quickly up this list! UPDATE: Farley announced his emergence as a big time player with a 26 points, 15 rebound, 6 block performance against defending state champion Lexington Catholic in October and only got better and more consistent as the season progressed. Farley came on offensively toward the middle of the season and his confidence soared after Coach Pitino extended an offer. His post up skills and offensive moves improved tremendously throughout the year as he made over 60% of his shots from the floor and made 70% from the line. Farley not only is the top underclassman interior player in Jefferson County but will also enter the 2004 season as the top big man in all of Kentucky. He committed to the University of Louisville and Head Coach Rick Pitino after a 15 point, 13 rebound, 5 block performance against Central in January. He'll need to stronger but the sky is the limit for Farley. He should have a huge senior season for the Panthers.
#4. Sean Booker
6'2 - Shooting Guard
Ballard High - Senior
Good athlete and an excellent all around player. Booker will be the top player at tradition rich Ballard for the second season in a row. Good scorer from the wing. Can knock down the three or drive to the hole and finish. Booker is a low to mid major prospect. UPDATE: Booker is the leader and go to guy for the 7th Region Champions and helped the Bruins reach the state championship this season. Booker plays hard and seemingly does everything that is asked of him. Booker will be a solid OVC caliber player in the future. Booker averaged 13.7 points and 5.1 rebounds this season.
#5 Michael Bush
6'3 - Shooting Guard
Male High - Senior
Kentucky's Mr. Football and the top two sport athlete in the state of Kentucky. Bush is the top senior in Jefferson County and a close second overall behind Rajon Rondo. Bush is an excellent all around athlete who does everything well on the court. He rebounds the abll, drives to the basket, is an unselfish passer and can handle the ball against pressure. Bush also knocks down the three point shot consistently and has good range from the perimeter. Bush is co-favorite for Mr. Basketball this season and is considered one of the top 125 players nationally in the class of 2003. UPDATE: Didn't have the best season and never seemed to get in to top basketball shape. But he doesn't need to as he'll soon be out on the Cardinal practice field learning Coach Bob Petrino's offensive system and competing for the starting quarterback job next fall. But he has to be listed no lower than five on the list of top basketball players in Jefferson County solely because of past performance and what he and the Bulldogs were able to accomplish in the 7th Region playoffs. Bush averaged 22 points, 11 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 4.3 steals.
#6 Mario Urritia,
6'7 Power Forward
Fern Creek High - Junior
recently committed to the University of Kentucky to play for Coach Rich Brooks
football program. Urritia is a good athlete who had a solid season for the
Fern Creek Tigers. He's a good rebounder and low post scorer and runs the
floor extremely well. He'll be the top power forward prospect entering the
#7 Dontae Sweat
6'6 - Small Forward
Pleasure Ridge Park - Senior
Top player for Coach Dale Mabrey at local powerhouse PRP. Sweat is a long, thin athlete that gets it done on the wing. Very active player on PRP's press and hits the boards well despite his thin frame. UPDATE: Unsung player for the Panthers who has been instrumental in his teams success this season. He's a solid rebounder and is consistent. Sweat finishes ably on the break and creates havoc on the press with his long arms. His shooting and ballhandling skills need improvement but he'll be a solid lower Division 1 player. In fact, don't be surprised if Sweat ends up somewhere like Morgan State next season.
#8 Maurice Grintner
6'2 - Small Forward
Fairdale High - Sophomore
The son of former Fairdale great Maurice "Killer" Morris, Grintner is the top sophomore in Jefferson County. A very good athlete and a physical specimen, Grintner plays forward for the Bulldogs. He'll need to develop better perimeter skills to reach full potential as a basketball player. Maurice is without question one of the top prospects to watch in Jefferson County the next few years. UPDATE: Probably a better football prospect but it would be hard to find a better sophomore in the city. His perimeter skills need work but Grintner can score, rebound and run the floor. He's strong around the basket and will certainly rank as one of the top players in the state next season.
#9 JuJuan Spillman
5'11 - Point Guard
Pleasure Ridge Park - Sophomore
Spillman is a jet quick PG who forces the tempo at both ends of the court. I want to emphasize the JET QUICK part of the evaluation! Spillman is also an excellent wide receiver for the PRP football team. At this point, Spillman is the top sophomore PG in Jefferson County and is rated slightly ahead of Dominic Tillford because he shoots the ball better from the perimeter and is slightly bigger in stature. In one early season game against Atherton, Spillman connected on 6-7 3 fg and finished with 21 points. He's an excellent prospect and a definite player to watch for the future. UPDATE: Without question the best sophomore guard in Jefferson County. You won't find anyone in town who's faster with the ball end line to end line. Spillman is also an excellent football prospect and possesses incredible balance on the hardwood. His jump shot is streaky but when he's on he can beat you. Spillman gets after it on the defensive end and cause big problems for opponents in the Panthers press. Needs to improve court vision and decision making but has the potential to be one of the best players in the state before his career is finished.
#10 RaVon Lee
6'4 - SF
Ballard High - Sophomore
Lee is a tremendous run-jump athlete who excels in transition. Played well at Dave Zuberers Tournament last April. Lee likes to dunk and has a vast array of exciting and powerful dunks in his arsenal. Provided Lee improves his perimeter skills, he could vault to the number 1 position in Jefferson County's loaded sophomore class ahead of Grintner, Spillman, and Tillford. Update: Lee is one of the best athletes in all of Kentucky and proved to be a valuable starter for the state runner up Ballard Bruins. RaVon averaged 10.2 points per game for the Bruins and played well at the Sweet 16 to help the Bruins advance to the championship game against Mason County. Lee is the number three sophomore in Jefferson County.
#10 Dominic Tillford
5'10 - PG
Jeffersontown High - Sophomore
Tillford transferred from Jeffersontown and will sit out this season at Ballard. Tillford is another jet quick PG in the sophomore class. He is a floor general who sees the court well and distributes the ball well to teammates. He's demonstrated good scoring ability but must improve his perimeter shooting to take his game to the next level. An excellent prospect and a definite player to watch. When eligible, Tillford and RaVon Lee will form one of the most explosive and entertaining perimeter duos in the state. Update: Tilford never made it on the floor for the Bruins, instead returning and playing for Jeffersontown again. Tilford had a solid season and proved he's worthy of making this list. He has tremendous quickness and an unorthodox way of scoring, but he does. He jump shot is more accurately called a push shot but despite its unpleasantness on the eyes his shots find the basket from outside. Tillford needs strength and continued work on his jump shot but is certainly one of the top rising juniors in Jefferson County
Honorable Mention: 6'5, SO Will Reeves, Ballard; 6'5 JR Greg Grimes, Ballard; 6'3 JR Melvin Beasley, Iroqouis, 6'5 JR Brandon Hamby, Fern Creek, 6'0 JR Andre Britt, Seneca, 6'2 SR Maurice Blakey, PRP, 6'0 SR Carlos Williams, PRP
Note about rankings:
Players ranked by Mike Hughes, Founder and basketball recruiting analyst for Inside theVille.com. He has seen each player ranked above on several occasions on both the high school and AAU levels. Players rankings reflect more heavily on performance but talent and potential are factors in rankings determination.