Nike: Top 15 2003 Point Guards

<i>Inside Carolina</i>'s Indianapolis correspondent wraps up the coverage by analyzing the top rising senior point guards at the Nike Camp.

1. Chris Paul, 5-11, Lewisville (N.C.) West Forsyth

The remarkable trip of Paul's ride to prominence pit-stopped in Indy and didn't hit a bumpy road at all. He's smooth, quick, smart, a good shooter and a leader. Some observers called him Aaron Miles with a jump shot. He's a great pickup for Wake Forest and just a good representative of North Carolina prep hoops.

2. Andrew Lavender, 5-7, Columbus (Ohio) Brookhaven

The list of mini-points isn't long but it's hard to find many doubters on Lavender's impact. He races through defenses, makes good decisions for the most part and is a solid outside shooter. And their will never be a worry about him entering the draft early. Wherever he goes (Pitt maybe?), will hand the ball over to him.

3. Gary Ervin, 5-11, Brooklyn (N.Y.) Paul Robeson

Unlike some New York City point guards, Ervin has had to earn every sentence of hype. A post-graduate next year, he has a year of experience on the competition, which gives him a big edge, but might also mean he won't be getting too much better down the road. He's confident, strong with the ball, not afraid to make plays and a better shooter than his reputation.

4. Ryan Appleby, 6-2, Stanwood (Wash.)

With Florida recruiting him, Appleby came in with a target on his back. But he handled himself well and while a little skinny (153 pounds), he's darn good. He's a natural leader, nifty passer and pretty quick. His shooting might need work as his shot is far from textbook.

5. Jamaal Tatum, 5-10, Jefferson City (Mo.) Helias

A solid defender, Tatum plays bigger than his smallish size. He's a proven scorer and more of a combo guard at this point. But obviously, at 5-10, he'll need to make the transition to PG. In a down year for the position, he could emerge as a key target for several schools.

6. J.R. Reynolds, 6-1, Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill Academy

Another combo guard, Reynolds has been on a rollercoaster a little bit. He played well in spurts at the Nike Camp and showed a nice 3-point touch, driving ability to the basket and he has nice size. He might not carry a team but he'll blend in nicely at Virginia.

7. Brett McDade, 5-10, Denton (Texas) Billy Ryan

A relative sleeper, McDade kept making play-after-play, making it hard not to notice him. Though he came with questions on his shooting, he made several threes during the week. He also showed off some impressive leaping ability with a big dunk. Like Tatum, he stock should improve with some big schools.

8. Michael Nardi, 6-0, Avenel (N.J.) St. Patrick's

Nardi is the East Coast version of Appleby in a lot of ways. He needs to be surrounded with scorers as he'll deliver the ball every time. If you want a point guard who will get 25 points, probably not your guy. But he's a good floor leader, a natural leader and a winner.

9. Derek Raivio, 6-1, Vancouver (Wash.) Mountain View

I've seen Raivio play much better in the past. His lack of size did affect him (only 149 pounds), but he's played with more freedom and creativity than what he showed this week. Is a very good shooter and runs an offense well. Overall, a steal for Gonzaga.

10. Troy Aaron, 5-11, Lake Charles (La.) St. Louis Catholic

Aaron is another pass-first point guard who does a good job of running a team, doesn't turn the ball over and his teams usually win. He does need to improve on his 3-point shooting and maybe have more confidence in his jumper.

11. Kamron Taylor, 6-0, Minneapolis (Minn.) North

Taylor has experience at both guard spots, but will probably be a college point guard. He's a good shooter, has a quick first step and usually avoids dumb turnovers. He might not be great in any one area but he's solid across the board. He'd be a key pickup for his hometown Minnesota Gophers.

12. Mike Henderson, 6-2, Waterloo (Iowa) East

Henderson has good size, is a good driver and is not terrible from 3-point range. He's solid and it's understandable why Iowa State locked him up so early. He might not be great at any one thing but he's solid in every category.

13. Tyler James, 5-11, Milwaukee (Wis.) Brewster Academy, N.H.

Yep, he's another combo guard but James can run a team and is an explosive scorer. His size hurt him in some matchups but all-in-all a solid player who is pretty tough and a good competitor.

14. Matt Causey, 5-11, Gainesville (Ga.) Berkmar

He's quicker and more athletic than he appears, has a lot of tricks and is a pretty good passer. Some wonder if he'll ever start at Georgetown, but I'd say he'll be a key cog for them at some point in his college career.

15. T.J. Bannister, 5-10, Jacksonville (Fla.) Arlington Country Day

Yes, he's small and not the greatest perimeter shooter but he doesn't force a lot of shots, runs an offense smoothly and relishes the role of lead ballhandler. He'll never be an all-conference contender, but coaches won't be pulling their hair out with him running the attack.


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