BASKETBALL'SEARLY signing period began on Nov. 8 and many of the nation's top recruitswasted no time making an NCAA commitment--some to elite programs, others toup-and-coming schools. While some key players, such as O.J. Mayo of HuntingtonHigh in West Virginia, have not yet officially selected a school, here are therecruits who, according to the high school sports ranking service, RISE, shouldmake the most impact as freshmen.
St. Mary's (Phoenix)
Point Guard, 6'3", 190
Here's a guy who can really fill it up. Last year Bayless averaged 37.9points--including 49 against city rival Brophy--to go along with 8.0 rebounds,7.4 assists and 3.2 steals.
Notre Dame Prep (Fitchburg, Mass.)
Small Forward, 6'9', 235
College: Kansas State
At his third high school in three years, Beasley can shoot from long range andplay the post; he averaged 18.8 points and 10.2 rebounds for Oak Hill Academy(Mouth of Wilson, Va.).
North Central (Indianapolis)
Shooting Guard, 6'4", 215
Gordon selected Illinois, then reneged on his oral commitment after KelvinSampson became the Hoosiers' coach in March. He averaged 26.1 points, 5.5rebounds and 3.5 assists as a junior and will make electrifying moves for thehighlight reels.
MASTER OF THEMISMATCH
Towson (Md.) Catholic
Power Forward, 6'9", 210
With the size of a power forward and the shooting touch of a guard, he'sdifficult to defend. The crown jewel in a sparkling Orange recruiting classaveraged 23 points last year.
Lake Oswego (Ore.)
Center, 6'10", 260
Not flashy, but his passing skills as a big man have been likened to TimDuncan's. He's also got excellent post moves, can clean up on the boards andhas three-point range.
Christian Life Academy (Houston)
Center, 7'0", 240
College: Texas A&M
Jordan, a strong defender, picked the Aggies because, he says, "they're onthe rise." He averaged 16 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks per gamelast year.
Glen Oak (Canton, Ohio)
Center, 7'1", 255
College: Ohio State
With a soft touch from the perimeter Koufos should be an ideal complement toBuckeyes center Greg Oden (page 83)--the two will play together for at least ayear before Oden is eligible for the NBA.
Point Guard, 6'3", 195
With his exceptional athleticism he's a perfect fit for the Tigers' explosiveoffensive attack. He's also an excellent floor leader and is undaunted bypressure, as he showed last season when he hit the game-winning jumper in thestate final.
South Medford (Ore.)
Small Forward, 6'8", 200
His ability to shoot from outside and to find the open man has drawncomparisons with Larry Bird. He's aggressive on the boards, too, as evidencedby his 8.5 rebounds per game last year.
Covenant (Redford, Mich.)
Shooting Guard, 6'5", 195
College: Michigan State
Summers (28.5 points, 14.0 rebounds) is dangerous on the fast break and shouldfit in nicely at State, which uses its guards as the focal point of itsattack.