The summer evaluation period is the most crucial stretch for college coaches and prospects trying to make an impression. We at Scouts Inc. hit the road diligently these past few months to try to identify and evaluate many of the country's future college standouts. With July in the books, now seems like a good time to revisit our 2011 player rankings.
The race for No. 1
Getting to the top is hard enough. But staying there might be even more difficult.
Throughout his high school career, Michael Gilchrist (Elizabeth, N.J./St. Patrick) has been one of the nation's most talked about prospects. From day one, it was obvious that his potential was monstrous. A few years later, we can say that he hasn't come close to his ceiling. The 6-foot-7 combo forward retains the top spot in our player rankings.
When evaluating prospects we sort them by four main criteria: productivity, potential, becoming a student of the game and intangibles. Gilchrist gets an A-plus in each category.
Gilchrist's natural ability is rare, as is his devotion to the sport.
Gilchrist is a hard worker and he's coachable. He does the little things to help his team win. He'll dive out of bounds or take a charge, those are the little things he does that don't get talked about enough.
A lot of guys get ranked that high early and can't sustain the momentum. At some point, the things you do when you're younger just don't seem as impressive. Gilchrist is always getting better -- he's stayed humble in his success and hungry in his approach.
Most of the attention goes to Gilchrist, but he's not unchallenged for the No. 1 ranking. We feel this 2011 class has a lot of star power. Right now, two players seem to stand in the same elite classification as Gilchrist: Austin Rivers (Winter Park, Fla.) and James McAdoo (Norfolk, Va./Norfolk Christian).
Rivers, who holds onto the No. 2 spot in the new Super 60, is the ultimate scoring guard with outstanding range and enormous confidence in himself to pull up and shoot a jumper from anywhere at any time. He also has a floater that many guards in the NBA would kill for. Those weapons make him arguably the top scorer in the class. This Florida commit also has the intangibles as a self-made, motivated player.
That's not to say Rivers doesn't have weaknesses. He needs to defend on the ball and off it. For instance, on- ball to level off an opponents drive while away from the ball he needs to learn to chase his man through screens.
McAdoo, our third-rated player in the 2011 class, was sidelined with a slight tear in his labrum for the entire summer. His body of work and upside in the spring, however, was impressive enough to keep him as the top-rated big guy.
He has enormous potential, and he's proved himself the past couple of years. McAdoo has the ability to affect the game in many areas because of his size and bounce. He plays bigger than his 6-8 frame and is a relentless rebounder. He shows skill facing the hoop from 15 feet and runs the floor like cheetah to get easy baskets. He can score with his back to the basket, but he still needs to polish his post moves. We love his passion on the court, but he can lose his composure at times. Defensively he needs to be more engaged and focused to make him a complete superstar.
Point guard Quinn Cook (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha) really sustained the momentum from his terrific sophomore season on the summer circuit. He moves up in our newest rankings from No. 50 to No. 21. Quinn is a quick point guard who can beat you as a passer or a scorer. He has a tight handle and a deadly jumper. Most impressive is that he plays with no fear; he has the confidence to take and make big shots in big games.
Big man Kevin Johnson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra) has great size at 6-9, 250. Still we haven't seen much improvement in his game over the past year, so he drops out of our Super 60. He really needs to work on his low-post defense. That said, the kid does have some athletic ability and tons more basketball ahead of him.
Super 60 notes
Power forward Quincy Miller (Winston-Salem, N.C./Quality Education Academy) is one to really watch. He had a bust-out performance at the Nike Hoop Jamboree and the Pangos All-American Camp this past spring. He's currently a 4, but with his athletic ability, skill and size we see him as a 3 at the next level. Rakeem Christmas (Philadelphia/Academy of the New Church) is developing into a franchise player. He has terrific face-up skills and looks like a double-double guy at the next level. Kentavious Caldwell (Greenville, Ga.) is a big-time shooter who also defends and rebounds. That combination is not all that common. This kid has star potential.
Reggie Rankin, John Stovall, Joel Francisco and Mike LaPlante contributed to this report.
Paul Biancardi is a veteran of the coaching ranks with years of college experience. He has recruited on a national level with stops as an assistant coach at Boston University and Boston College, associate head coach at Ohio State and most recently as an assistant at Saint Louis University. Biancardi was head coach at Wright State University from 2003 to 2006. In 2003, he was named Horizon League Coach of the Year. He is a selection committee member for the prestigious McDonald's All-America Game and the Gatorade Player of the Year award.