March 5, 2008

Best of the Rest: Small forwards






Of all of the positions in the class of 2008, the small forward spot is the most picked over and with few quality players still left on the board, the pickings are slim for those that are looking for a player that can bring some versatility to the table next season.


We break down what's left at the position before the late signing period begins on April 16.


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







Best of the Rest: Small Forwards


Wesley Witherspoon, Lilburn (Ga.) Berkmar


Rank: No. 9 small forward, No. 56 overall


With his season now over, the 6-foot-8, long and lanky wing is hitting the road to see the campuses of his finalists. He will visit Virginia and Texas this week. He tripped to Memphis last month and was on hand for the Tennessee game.


He will make two other visits and Memphis and Florida are looking like likely destinations for the official visits. Clemson, Colorado and Oklahoma are also in the mix.


He's one of the most talented players regardless of position that remains unsigned. Witherspoon's multi-dimensional skill set should help him see the floor right away next year as a college freshman. Where that will be will be known in the near future.



Witherspoon highlights



Travis Leslie, Atlanta (Ga.) Columbia

Rank: No. 18 small forward, No. 111 overall


The super-freak athlete will take to the court on Wednesday night in the Georgia AAAA semi-finals against Westlake in what should be a tremendous game. Leslie has been a consistent 20-point, 10-rebound per game performer this season. If Columbia wins Wednesday, it will mark the third straight year Leslie and his teammates will play for the state title.


Leslie said he will focus on his recruitment once the season is over and Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Central Florida, Drake and Penn State are in the mix. Leslie recently told Rivals.com that Clemson is the leader at the moment.


He will hit the road for some visits in the near future and a decision will be coming shortly thereafter.




Leslie highlights



Jeff Taylor, Hobbs, N.M.


The 6-foot-7, 185-pound small forward from Hobbs (N.M.) High School has put up big numbers for the last two years in the West. The Swedish import has proven himself as a pure scorer and he has gone from an under-the-radar kind of guy to must-get prospect for a number of schools.


With one official left to use, Taylor is trying to figure where he will use it. Kentucky, Arizona and UCLA look to be in the running for that final visit. Taylor has already officially visited Gonzaga, UNLV, Texas and Vanderbilt.


Taylor has played his recruitment close to the vest and even his coach, Russ Gilmore, said he isn't sure what the three-star prospect will be doing when it comes time to make a decision.





David Diakite, Fort Washington (Md.) National Christian Academy


The strong-bodied and athletic wing enjoyed a quality senior season at National Christian and has a number of programs in line for his services. However, the 6-foot-4 wing will probably hit the road in April on the AAU circuit and try to earn more interest and a potential high-major offer.


A quality mid-level wing prospect, Diakite has schools like George Washington, Loyola-Maryland, Drake, Rider and Rhode Island are interested. His coach Trevor Brown recently told Rivals.com that George Washington was looking strong down the home stretch for his services.


Diakite should be one of the most watched wing players in the spring period and will likely sign in May, his coach says.









Sleeper Central

Somehow, Alabama native Brandon Crawford has laid low under the radar. The 6-foot-6 wing from Robert E. Lee High School in Montgomery averaged nearly 27 points a game this season and has great size for his position. Miami, Alabama A&M and Jacksonville State are interested. He's worth a look at for schools looking for a quality wing.

Winchendon School's Larry Anderson is one to watch. The California native is a high-energy player that would give a team a nice shot in the arm in its rotation. Wyoming, Bradley, Oregon State, Long Beach State and others are interested.

Academics may be holding up Stoneridge Prep's J.P. Olukemi. If the 6-foot-6 wing can get the grades he needs, he could potentially catch on with a high-major school.

American Christian wing Martez Walker, a 6-foot-6 prospect, has a number of mid- to high-major schools looking at him. Iona, Fordham and others are involved.

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




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