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May 3, 2006

Best of the class of 2007

Often players are highly ranked based more on potential productivity than productivity in the present. But in this prospect breakdown, National Basketball Analyst Jerry Meyer focuses on five prospects from the class of 2007 that got it done on the court in the month of April.

O.J. Mayo, Cincinnati North College Hill
Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 210 pounds
College choice: Undecided
He was the best 2007 prospect entering April, and O.J. Mayo is clearly still the best prospect after April.

Quite frankly, Mayo is a starting NBA point guard who is playing head and shoulders above his competition on the circuit. Fiercely competitive and with an aggressive edge to his game, he has the mental tools as well as the physical tools to be one of the best point guards to play the game.

A natural leader on the court who can both take over a game with his scoring and keep his teammates satisfied by sharing the ball, Mayo made a big statement in leading the D-One Greyhounds to a championship in the inaugural King James Classic in the hometown of Lebron James.

Picture the way Chauncey Billups drives the Pistons, and you have a picture of the type of player Mayo will be in the League.
Click here for video of Mayo in action

Derrick Rose, Chicago (Ill.) Simeon
Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 185 pounds
College choice: Undecided
It is hard to get over how a player with such overwhelming athleticism can be such a consummate point guard like Derrick Rose.

He uses his top shelf athleticism for the benefit of his teammates as much as he does for himself. His ability to create scoring opportunities, his willingness to share the ball and his capability of taking over a game with his scoring during crunch time make it clear that the top priority for Rose is winning.

Skill wise, he has lightning speed and power with the ball, he gets into the lane with ease and he is a very good rebounder. His outside shot, although reliable, is the weaker part of his game, but expect it to become more consistent over time.

Rose has future NBA point guard written all over him.
Click here for video of Rose in action

Austin Freeman, Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 185 pounds
College choice: Georgetown
Austin Freeman has clearly established himself as one of the elite shooting guards in the 2007 class.

Perhaps his greatest trait is that he can make such a big impact on the game without taking a large volume of shots. As such an efficient scorer, Freeman can also score from anywhere on the court. He has a smooth stroke from the arc off both the dribble and the catch. He also has the explosiveness to score at the basket, and his mid-range game is as polished as any player on the circuit.

Defensively, he has room to improve his lateral quickness, but he is a solid defender and he rebounds his position well.

More athletic than he would appear to be, Freeman's instincts for the game and high skill level make him an outstanding all around player with NBA potential.
Click here for video of Freeman in action

Kevin Love, Lake Oswego (Ore.)
Height: 6-foot-9
Weight: 240 pounds
College choice: Undecided
The hallmark of Kevin Love's game is his consistent production. With a nasty edge to his competitiveness, Love succeeds against better and taller athletes with his advanced skills and blue collar work ethic.

A position player down low, Love uses his body to carve out space to rebound. Once he corrals the basketball with his sure hands, he is immediately ready to deliver his signature length of the court outlet passes.

As a scorer, he has an underrated jump shot which he will rely on as a pick and pop player in the pros. And in the paint, his polished footwork and ability to score to either shoulder, not to mention his passing ability, separate him from other post players.

Look for Love to develop into a Brad Miller type player in the NBA.
Click here for video of Love in action

Chris Wright, Washington (D.C.) St. John's College
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 190 pounds
College choice: Undecided
Chris Wright has taken over the leadership role for the Boo Williams Summer League this year and has already led them to championships in their own tournament and the Next Level event in Dallas this past weekend.

Well built and playing low to the ground, Wright is extremely strong with the basketball. He is always capable of creating off the dribble, Wright has a quick and reliable pull up jumper. He also shoots the ball well from three off the catch.

Defensively, Wright can both pressure the ball at the point of attack and sneak into the passing lanes for steals.

Perhaps a bit between positions, Wright can solidify himself as a high level point guard by sharpening his ability to create shots for teammates.
Click here for video of Wright in action



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