Here are five players who haven't received much attention nationally, but could get a lot more exposure after April.
Micah Downs, 6-7 JR SF Bothell (Wash.) High. Downs has bounced around the last couple years, moving from Las Vegas to Montana and then to Washington last summer. As a result, he didn't play much AAU ball and hasn't been seen much outside of the west. We got a glimpse of his potential last summer with the Friends of Hoop team and we were intrigued by what we saw. Long and lean, with a good-looking stroke, Downs just looks like a player. He had a terrific junior year with Bothell and major programs have taken notice. He said recently that Kansas is his favorite at the moment, but Michigan State, UConn, Washington, Washington State and UCLA are all expressing interest.
Anthony Goods, 6-2 JR PG Corona (Calif.) Centennial. A strong and athletic guard, Goods conceivably could play the one or two in college. His size and strength, combined with explosive hops, make him a very intriguing prospect. He's got a nice stroke with very good range. An excellent student, Goods has improved tremendously in the last year. With continued development, he could end up among the best guards in the west for 2005. Villanova, Arizona, Stanford, Oregon, San Diego, San Diego State, Texas Tech, Oregon State, UCLA, Washington and Colorado State have all shown interest.
Artem Wallace, 6-8 JR PF/C Toledo (Wash.) High. Currently our #1 ranked power forward, Wallace has the best combination of size and skills among the four men in the west. He's got the frame to get very strong, but he also moves well and has good ball skills. He'll show a nice jump hook and then step out to the three-point line. Fairly explosive off the floor, Wallace needs only coaching and experience to develop into a nice high major player. He told us recently that Washington and UCLA were recruiting him the hardest, with Gonzaga, Missouri and Stanford also in the mix.
Darren Collison, 5-11 JR PG Etiwanda (Calif.) High. Collison is very slender, but he's got good length and he's stronger than he looks. A pure point guard, Collison has nice vision and can find people off penetration. He doesn't have blinding quickness, but you have to honor his outside shot beyond the stripe and he's adept at using shot fakes to get in the lane. He had a very good junior season and his recruitment has picked up in recent weeks. Arizona State, Arizona, UC Irvine, San Francisco, Northridge, UCLA and Stanford are among the schools he mentioned in an interview last month.
Brayden Bell, 6-10 JR C Salt Lake City (Utah) Brighton. With a big frame, long arms and a sweet stroke, Bell has a chance to be among the top centers in the class. He's more comfortable facing the basket than playing the low-post, but he's got the size to do damage inside as he gets more experience. He'll stretch defenses with his shot – he might be the best outside shooter among post players in the west. Gonzaga, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, Oklahoma State and Utah State are all involved, but we heard recently that Louisville was recruiting him the hardest at this time.