Hottest of the Hot 100

In a sport that stresses talent, tactics, technique and temperament, it's interesting to note that the hottest prospects aren't groomed as much as they are grown.

Take Iman Shumpert. (And there are a lot of colleges across the country which would like to do just that.) The 6-foot-4, 175-pound prospect of River Forest High School in Oak Park, Ill., is rated at No. 15 on's Hot 100 (spring edition) and No. 4 among shooting guards.

His rise among the ranks of hardwood elite reflects a growth spurt that saw him go from a 6-foot point guard to a 6-4 combo guard between his sophomore and junior seasons. In the process he retained his adept handle and passing skills while incorporating his newfound height to shoot over defenders.

His coming out party occurred at the King James Classic this spring when he scored 23 points against the powerful Georgia Stars AAU squad. In that contest he demonstrated he was a true combo guard, and virtually every school is looking for a prospect who can break down a defense or bust up a zone.

Shumpert is glad to be getting some recognition for his game, but he wouldn't mind holding on to a degree of his anonymity.

"I like it better when people don't know who I am," he said following the tournament. "I don't want to know (going in) but I want them know when they leave the floor."

There are plenty of college coaches that know who Shumpert is. He has been offered by Bradley, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Marquette, North Carolina, Northwestern, Tennessee and Wisconsin. Those are also his early favorites. His tardy growth spurt hampered the development of his defense, but his coordination and strength are closing the gap with another year of AAU and high school still to play.

"Began hitting his stride as a junior in high school and never let up,"'s Dave Telep said of rising star. "Shumpert is a combo guard with size, scoring ability and a great feel/pace to his game. The guy can handle it, pass from the wing - including angular entries - and has no trouble scoring the rock. Maybe the definition of a late bloomer so don't be surprised when he rockets past bigger, more established names."

That's exactly what happened to Shumpert, who was a nonentity in the Hot 100 in March but had risen to No. 15 in the Hot 100 by May. No prospect in the country has risen as fast or as far.

Illinois has the home court advantage in this recruiting competition, but Shumpert insists he is "wide open." He also indicates his intention to take an unofficial visit to Tennessee in late spring.

If that proposed visit does indeed take place, it will be a case of the nation's fastest rising basketball prospect meeting college basketball's fastest rising program. That has the sound of a match made in Big Orange heaven.

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