August 24, 2007

Best of the rest: Centers

If your school hasn't landed a center in this class and it needs one, time is ticking and the numbers are shrinking.

Who is left? Who is making trips? Who could be a sleeper? dives into the position.

Best of the rest | Sleepers | 2008 Center rankings | 2009 Center Rankings

Best of the Rest: Centers

John Riek, Our Savior New American (N.Y.)

Rank: No. 2 overall center

Schools in the mix: Connecticut, Duke, Florida, Georgetown, Kansas, Louisville, LSU, and USC

Visits: None scheduled.

Notes: Questions, questions, questions. They seem to follow the 7-foot-2 summer star every where he goes. Where is he going to high school? Where is he going to college? When is he going to college? How old is he really? What college has the upper hand? The answer is really a question. Who knows?

Tyler Zeller, Washington (Ind.)

Rank: No. 5 overall center

Schools in the mix: Indiana, North Carolina, Notre Dame and Purdue

Visits: Indiana (Sept. 22), North Carolina (Sept. 15), Notre Dame (Oct. 12) and Purdue (Oct. 19)

Notes: The 6-foot-11 center has run his recruitment efficiently and smoothly every step of the way. His visits have followed suit. Can the bright lights of North Carolina pull him away from his native state or will one of the three home schools keep him close to his friends and family?

Zeller highlights

J'Mison Morgan, South Oak Cliff (Texas)

Rank: No. 6 overall center

Schools in the mix: Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU and UCLA

Visits: None scheduled.

Notes: The big bodied Texan is a hot target from coast to coast and with no official dates set up, this one could get interesting. Former South Oak Cliff star Darrell Arthur took his recruitment down to the wire. Some that are close the situation think Morgan's recruitment could go down the same road. Others aren't so sure. Nevertheless, Morgan has established himself as one of the elite centers in this class.

Morgan highlights

John Brandenburg, St. Louis (Mo.) DeSmet

Rank: No. 14 overall center

Schools in the mix: Stanford and Virginia

Visits: Virginia (Sept. 7)

Notes: It is a two-horse race for the 6-foot-10 big man. Location is clearly out of the picture as his two finalists are on completely different coast lines of the country. Brandenburg is right in the middle of the nation, too. Education is clearly a priority. Looks like this one will come down to style of play and playing time. Brandenburg should be off the board in a couple of weeks.

Ralph Sampson III, Duluth (Ga.) Northview

Rank: No. 15 overall center

Schools in the mix: Auburn, Cal, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, South Carolina, UNLV and Virginia Tech

Visits: Kentucky (this weekend), Minnesota (Sept. 7)

Notes: The ever-improving big man has been busy with visits and collecting interest from schools from coast to coast. He has been to Cal, Georgia Tech and Minnesota. Keep an eye on this one. His recruitment has blossomed as quickly as his game has.

Sleeper central

The center position has been picked over already as five of the top 20 players remain uncommitted. The depth outside of the top 20 isn't incredibly strong either.

Finding a true "sleeper" isn't an easy task as most big men have already been identified. Odds of finding an under the radar 7-footer during the high school season will be a difficult task.

A couple of centers to watch that sit just outside of the national rankings include Frank Ben-Eze of Bishop O'Connell (Va.), Reginald Johnson of Winston-Salem (N.C.) Prep, Darius Morrow of Columbia (Ga.) and Tom Pritchard of St. Edward's (Ohio).

Ben-Eze is visiting Marquette and Virginia this fall. Johnson is a top target for a number of mid-majors, including Virginia Commonwealth while some ACC schools are taking notice. Morrow is on the mid-major/high-major bubble. He should have a very productive year this season as a senior. Pritchard will visit Indiana and Virginia while a couple of others have him on their list.

News & Notes

The ACC has three of the top 20 centers coming to its conference. Wake Forest has two of them in Tony Woods and Ty Walker. The Atlantic 10 has a pair of nationally-ranked centers coming to the conference in Xavier bound Kenny Frease and St. Louis bound Brett Thompson. The Mountain West has Jason Washburn going to Utah. Gonzaga has Andy Poling coming to the West Coast Conference.

Best of the rest | Sleepers | 2008 Center rankings | 2009 Center Rankings


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