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November 7, 2012

Top 10: Rivals150 players who deserve a look


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Perimeter defenders

By now, most of the nation's high school basketball players are back on the floor. If they haven't begun their practices or seasons just yet, they'll be getting started very soon.

That means that Rivals.com will soon be back on the road watching events. Previously, we looked at our top 10 players outside of the Rivals150 who could be making some noise.

Today, we look at 10 from within the 2013 Rivals150 who deserve another look (in alphabetical order).

Brandon Austin: The thought with the extremely versatile 6-foot-6 ball-handler from Philadelphia is that as of right now, he may be the most underrated member of the Rivals150.

Reports out of Philly have been outstanding this fall as Austin has started to fill out physically and become more explosive athletically. Looking back at notes from the summer, perhaps we didn't give enough credit to Austin for his ball-handling and we might need to start toying with the idea of listing him as a point guard. He's a proven winner on the high school level and is preparing himself for a huge senior year.

Anthony Barber: This winter we should get a better idea of who the real Cat Barber is. Is the N.C. State commitment the jet-quick guy who was outstanding at NBPA Top 100 camp and with his high school team last year? Or, is he more the player we sometimes saw struggle on the summer circuit with his Boo Williams team? Has he gotten stronger? Will his shooting improve? As a near top-10 recruit much will be expected of him.

Nate Britt: If anybody in the class of 2013 has something to prove, then it has to be the North Carolina-bound Britt. The slender point guard looked all-world the summer prior to his junior season and then struggled with injuries and performance during his junior year and the summer, which caused him to tumble down the rankings. He's moved to Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill to concentrate on his games and get away from distractions in D.C., so we're curious to see the results.

Sterling Brown: Count the recent SMU pledge among those who may be a bit undervalued. The 6-foot-4 wing had an outstanding junior season and was good on the summer circuit but sometimes got lost on a Mac Irvin Fire team that was loaded with talent. Going back over notes from the summer, he might not have gotten enough credit for his defense and ability to do little things that winning teams need.

Stevie Clark: The high-scoring, 5-foot-10 point guard from Oklahoma City used a big junior season to raise his profile. Then, during the summer he seemed to force more shots and be a bit too one-dimensional. Yes, he's a scorer and that's what he'll always do best. But, we think that he can be more of a leader and creator than he showed at times and would like to see him use his quickness to attack and put pressure on defenders. If that happens, he can easily ascend the rankings.

Jabari Parker: He's now ranked No. 3 in the 2013 Rivals150, and Parker is still probably the most ballyhooed and talked about high schooler on the national level. He's won state titles, has a high skill level and has always been a competitor. Injuries nagged at him throughout the end of the summer, and this winter we're looking forward to seeing a fully healthy Parker. We know he's a humble kid who has his priorities straight, but might we see a little more nasty out of him now that he's been knocked out of the top spot?

Wayne Selden: Ever since the physically impressive 6-foot-5 guard moved from the class of 2014 to 2013, we've never quite felt that we've gotten a firm read on where he fits. The Kansas -bound senior will get his chance to show what he can do as the primary, go-to guy this winter and we'll be watching closely to see how he performs. Has his athleticism and strength disguised his true skill level?

Ishmail Wainright: Bound for Baylor, we know that the 6-foot-5 wing is one of the toughest customers around and a high-level defender. Now, we want to see how well he bounces back from an ankle injury that cost him a large part of his summer. Also, can he be more of a focal point of an offense? He should be the guy at Montrose Christian this year.

Johnathan Williams III: Like Wainright, the recent Missouri commitment lost a large part of his summer due to injury. Previous to that, his performances with his high school team and in the spring were a bit up and down. Now, the word is that he was probably less than 100 percent the entire year. So the question is what new wrinkles will we see from the forward now that he's presumably healthy? We loved his playmaking and ability to attack from the high post while managing to be a shot blocker and rebounder early in his career, more of that could mean a move back up.

Derek Willis: When it comes to those who are still ranked in the Rivals150, nobody has fallen further than the Kentucky commitment. At one point, the thin 6-foot-8 face-up four man was pushing for five-star status. Now, he's on the verge of falling completely out of the rankings. Is he more of the sharp shooting and offensively clever big man with mobility we saw early in his career? Or, is he really more of the player who struggled with his shot, rebounding and physicality when we've seen him most recently?



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