Take a big red sharpie and cross Brandon Jennings‘ name right off the top of your list. “The Takeover,” a.k.a. “Young Money” was everyone’s favorite choice to bring Point Guard U back to prominence after a tumultous 19-14 season under Kevin O’Neill. But now that the single-season leading scorer in Oak Hill’s history is going to Lottomatica Roma next year, who do you think is going to barnstorm through college hoops?
Georgetown’s Greg Monroe spent the better part of his season atop the ranking services list as the best player in his class, but John Thompson III‘s system doesn’t really ask versatile forwards to put up huge numbers (see: Jeff Green). Hoyas fans will enjoy Monroe’s ability to face the basket and put the ball on the floor after having to watch Big Boy Roy Hibbert plod through the lane for far too long.
Memphis’ Tyreke Evans will have the green light now that Derrick Rose, Chris Douglas-Roberts, and Joey Dorsey are in the League – and this kid is not trigger shy. He could very well be the leading scorer among NCAA freshmen.
Oklahoma’s Willie Warren should jump right into the starting lineup, and should form one of the toughest duos in the Big 12, if not the entire nation along with Blake Griffin. Warren is stupid explosive, and also brings his ratchet. Might we go three years in a row with the Big 12 POY being a one-and-doner?
Ohio State’s B.J. Mullens has already proved himself at New York’s hallowed Rucker Park after catching an ‘oop four feet behind his head during the Elite 24. It won’t be that tough for him to prove himself in Columbus – he’s a skilled 7-footer who can shoot, run the floor and finish above the rim. Michael Beasley‘s freshman record of 26 and 12 might not stand for long.
USC’s DeMar DeRozan might spend more time on SportsCenter than anyone not named Brett Favre. With the best hops in the class, DeRozan will headline a team loaded with young talent in L.A. In addition to the elder statesman Taj Gibson, Tim Floyd will look to DeRozan, 6-8 freshman guard/forward Leonard Washington, and 5-11 sophomore G Angelo Johnson. Apologies to Lil’ Romeo.
Tennessee’s Scotty Hopson took the longest of the major prospects in the Class of ’08 to finally make up his mind on school, but he’s going to fit in perfectly in Knoxville. Bruce Pearl‘s up-and-down, three-point friendly system will suit Hopson well. The former Arizona-commit J.P. Prince who made an impact off the bench for the Vols last year should have a running mate with Hopson.
UCLA’s Jrue Holiday has the distinct honor of being the young gun to make everyone in Westwood forget about the talented, but slightly overhyped Josh Shipp and Darren Collison. (However, Collison is supposedly coming off of a huge summer playing in L.A.’s Say No Classic…) Holiday is a rare talent who combines a high basketball IQ with a jumper and elite athleticism.
Ohio State’s William Buford can shoot it. He’s not a flashy-type, but doesn’t need to be. At 6-5, he elevates well enough to go one, two dribbles and pull up to rain jumpers all over the Big Ten. With Mullens at the pivot, the Buckeyes have the opportunity to take this conference after a mediocre ’07-08.
Wake Forest’s Al-Farouq Aminu is one of three elite recruits who are committed to the legacy left by Skip Prosser. At 6-8, Aminu might create the toughest mismatch of any player in his class – he’s best on the perimeter where he can create space and knock down jumpers.