The summer has come and gone, and with it several players have emerged in the 2007 class as not only high-major prospects but elite players who deserve to be ranked among their peers. As is the norm, when players go up, someone must come down. With that in mind, Rivals.com is proud to release the extended basketball rankings for the class of 2007.
Heading into the summer, Ohio point guard O.J. Mayo was a virtual lock to hold down top honors going into his junior season. While the 6-foot-4, 210-pounder had a bulls-eye on his back, Mayo did an exceptional job of showing the maturity that everyone has come to expect to go along with his polished floor game.
The summer brought a few bumps for Mayo, but that is to be expected when every opponent he faced was looking to make a name for himself with a strong defensive game against the nation's most prolific scorer.
Nevertheless, the D1 Greyhounds made several nice runs throughout the summer, and Mayo handled the team like a seasoned veteran. Already boasting a great handle, a beautiful jumpshot and an NBA body, Mayo added an unstoppable running floater that he shot from 15-feet and in.
Bill Walker's not far behind
Not since 2004, when Atlanta Celtic teammates Dwight Howard and Josh Smith checked in at No. 1 and No. 3, have AAU teammates been as highly ranked as Mayo and Bill Walker, who made the leap to No. 2 in the recent Rivals.com rankings.
When first thinking of Walker (6-foot-5, 210 pounds) the term "freak athlete" instantly comes to mind, and his rim-rattling dunks of epic proportions are the most often mentioned part of his game. While there is no other athlete at his level in this class, there is certainly more to his overall skill set than what he does above the rim.
Where in previous years Walker tended to stand out only in transition and around the basket, this year he added the ability to take his opponent off the dribble and showed an improving jumper; both areas had been weaknesses in the past. While his offensive game is still a work in progress, he improved enough over the last year to show that he could overtake Mayo as the top prospect if he continues to improve at a rapid pace.
Cincinnati, Louisville, Kentucky, and North Carolina are among some of the national powers who are being mentioned early for Walker. The dynamic duo have often mentioned going to college as a package deal.
Charlotte commitment reclassifies; debuts at No. 3
Maryland small forward Michael Beasley did things a little differently when he re-classified up a grade. Beasley, 6-foot-8, 225-pounds, and previously a member of the 2008 class, bucked the recent trend of players spending another year in high school or prep school. He debuts at No. 3 as a member of the 2007 class.
Beasley couldn't help but impress with the D.C. Assault this year. With NBA size, he has a strong low-post repertoire. Coupled with his athleticism, it makes him extremely hard to defend in the post. In addition, he has the ability to consistently hit his mid-range face up jumper and is improving his stroke from outside the arc. Add his ability to attack the basket off the dribble, and he's closing in on being the complete package.
New faces join the rankings
A handful of new players are welcomed to the top 20 spots after their stellar play in the spring and summer. Ohio forward Kosta Koufos checks in at No. 11 overall, and he's proved that he is among the nation's best in his class. Koufos has small forward skills at 6-foot-11, but he's also a match-up problem inside the paint. He had a stellar Nike All-American camp and a number of high-major programs are hoping to land the Canton Glen Oak star.
Coming in behind Koufus at No. 12 is Virginia forward Julian Vaughn. Playing alongside fellow five-stars Michael Beasley and Nolan Smith, Vaughn was able to show off his versatility as a shooter and a face-up four man. A self-described "Euro-player," Vaughn has offers from nearly every ACC school.
The state of Michigan is stacked with talent, and one of the highlights is Durrell Summers, the No. 13 ranked player in 2007. He's a combination of big-time athleticism, scoring and poise. He's just cracking the surface on just how good he can become.
After having a great showing at the Kingwood Classic, DeAndre Jordan continued to show off his high skill level. The 6-foot-10 bouncy forward checks in at No. 14 overall in the country, and high-majors from coast-to-coast have watched him grow into his potential. His best days are still ahead of him.
As one of the youngest prospects, 15-year-old Chris Wright of Washington D.C. is one of the most mature and poised players in his class. He debuts in the Rivals150 at No. 16 overall and is set to take some unofficial visits to some of the top programs in the country.
Georgia's class of 2007 prospect pool is incredibly deep, and setting the tone for the Peach State is the No. 20 ranked prospect James Hickson. After stepping into Dwight Howard's spot at Southwest Atlanta Christian, this 6-foot-8 power forward is shifting gears at Wheeler High School, one of the top powers in the Southeast
Big Ten country well represented
If you thought Ohio was stacked with talent in 2006, then 2007 must be the recruiting goldmine. The Buckeye State is home to seven of the top 40 players, including Mayo and Walker, the No. 1 and 2 ranked players. Koufos, even as the No. 10 overall player in the class, is one of the state's biggest sleepers. Big man Dallas Lauderdale has caught the attention of nearly every high-major school in the country. He's a beast on the boards, can score with his back to the basket and his body is ready for the college game right now.
Chris Wright, a 6-foot-7 small forward from Trotwood, Ohio, is one of the best pure athletes in the country. He checks in at No. 29 overall in 2007. Xavier kept No. 32 Nate Miles in state, and St. Louis native Alex Tyus will be prepping at Cincinnati's Harmony Prep.
Think the road to the state tournament is going to be tough this season? You better believe it. Some of the nation's top players in the class of 2006 and 2007 reside in Ohio. No wonder Akron, Cincinnati, Dayton, Ohio, Ohio State and Toledo fans are giddy about the future of their respective programs.
Michigan is no slouch in 2007 talent, either. Summers, the No. 13-ranked player overall, is one of the best shooting guards in the country. So is Alex Legion, a smooth shooting guard who rose to the No. 15 spot from No. 24. Point guard Kalin Lucas is still a national sleeper, but once college coaches get a good look at the No. 28 ranked player in the country, he'll be one of the most recruited floor generals in the nation.
Eric Gordon, Derrick Rose and Cole Aldrich are also three players in the Midwest region who will be recruited hard by every major school from coast-to-coast. Expect all three of the five-star prospects to hear the stay-at-home recruiting pitch from Big Ten schools.