2008 Positioner - Top 10 Forwards

Deep group of power men has all Top 30 talents; Wings with all Top 50s

Nov. 12, 2007


By Van Coleman

CSTV.com & Hoopmasters.com

Van Coleman

Van is one of the nation's premier recruiting experts.
E-mail here!


Overall, the Class of 2008 made some strides as it has developed, but it still needs to see a number of players emerge this season to get to, or have a chance to rise above, the average-at-best label.


Even with the added depth at the top after some strong summer play, the Class of 2008 is still not at the same level as the two or three classes that preceded it. The lack of depth really starts in the second 50, where there are a lot more "ifs" and "maybes" than in recent years.


However, the quality of summer play may have spoken volumes as the Class of 2008 hopes to ride that momentum into their senior seasons.




This may have been the deepest of all the positions at the top with all ten of the talents mentioned here among our Top 30 nationally! It's so packed that Top 40 talents Drew Gordon (UCLA) and Angel Garcia (Memphis) can't crack the top ten here.


This group of athletes is headed by two of our national top five in Greg Monroe and Samardo Samuels.  Both have NBA futures, as may three or four others in this group once they finish college. 


Look for this group to be a bright spot in 2008's incoming crop of college freshmen.


1.  Greg Monroe (No. 2 overall in Class of 2008)

6-10 / 225 / Gretna, La. Helen Cox

This explosive athlete can flat out face and explode to the hoop and create highlight dunks.  He knocks down the open 17-footer and is unstoppable around the hoop with his quick feet and soft touch on his jump hook.  Pro scouts liken him to former Georgia Tech stud Chris Bosh or Dwight Howard, but he has to up his intensity to reach those lofty comparisons.  He has it inside him; will he let it out? The folks at Georgetown sure hope they get another Hoya Destroya out of him.


2.  Samardo Samuels (No. 4 overall)

6-9 / 240 / Newark, N.J. St. Benedict's

He has been on a tear since January's Hoop Hall Classic.  He's been a force around the hoop who scores with power. Then, he knocked down 15-17 footers and exploded to the hoop off the dribble this summer with more regularity.  He blocked shots and dominated the glass during the warm months too. He will have an immediate impact on the blocks at Louisville once he arrives on campus.


3.  Delvon Roe (No. 7 overall)

6-8 / 205 / Lakewood, Ohio St. Edward's

He has been one of the steadiest competitors of the spring and summer who capped off the year with a runner-up run to the 17U AAU Nationals' Championship game.  He can knock down the jumper from the arc or pull-up off the dribble.  He is a jumping jack rebounder with a real nose for the ball off the glass.  He is a winner who will make an immediate impact in the Big Ten at his college choice, Michigan State.


4.  Ed Davis (No. 10 overall)

6-9 / 210 / Richmond, Va. Benedictine

He had a monster spring and a solid summer with the ability to dominate on the offensive end when inspired. He has great length off the dribble to finish in traffic, and a solid jumper to create space for the dribble drive.  He is a leader who will give some instant offense up front for the North Carolina Tar Heels once he arrives in Chapel Hill.


5.  Devin Ebanks (No. 14 overall)

6-8 / 190 / Oakdale, Conn. St. Thomas More

This explosive but thin power man has quick feet and the ability to play above the rim on the glass or off the dribble drive. He can score in bunches and has all the tools to make an impact offensively, but has to let the game come to him at times.  He reminds me of Rudy Gay in a number of ways.  He will make an offensive impact at Indiana as a freshman.


6.  Terrence Jennings (No. 19 overall)

6-10 / 245 / Fitchburg, Mass. Notre Dame Prep

This prep school big man is a physical specimen who has the ability to step out and face the basket from 17 feet, knock down a jumper from the elbow or roll to the block, catch a pass, and smash it in your face.  He has a sweet jump hook that lets him play big down low.  He is an excellent help side shot blocker, too, and he'll fit right into the four spot in Louisville's offensive structure. Once committed to Maryland, but re-opened his recruitment and picked the Cardinals.


7.  JaMychal Green (No. 20 overall)

6-8 / 225 / Montgomery, Ala. St. Jude

He hit the face-up jumper, drove and dunked in traffic, and was a force on the glass every time we watched him this summer. He was as good at the end of summer's 17U AAU Nationals as he was at the start of summer.  He has a lot of Georgia Tech freshman Gani Lawal in him and gives a 100 percent effort on both ends of the floor.  Look for him to help his in-state choice Alabama as a freshman.


8.  Luke Babbitt (No. 24 overall)

6-8 / 220 / Reno, Nev. Galena

He is one of the most solid inside-out talents in this group.  He's really tough when he establishes his game around the hoop and then steps out to knock down the jumper.  He is less effective when he starts outside. He is staying home to play at Nevada where he may have a Nick Fazekas-type impact in college.


9.  Howard Thompkins (No. 27 overall)

6-9 / 225 / Norcross, Ga. Wesleyan

This athletic forward has the ability to explode off the floor and finish in traffic.  He has improved his face-up jumper and did a solid job on the glass, while also being a solid passer for big man.  He has played on national championship squads in both high school (Oak Hill junior year) and with his summer team (Atlanta Celtics - Adidas Super 64 champions).  He will be a solid addition in the SEC at Georgia.


10.  Chris Singleton (No. 28 overall)

6-9 / 215 / Dunwoody, Ga.

He showed he can handle the rock in transition, or isolate and take you off the dribble to the hoop to finish with some nasty dunks.  He hit the jumper with range and cleaned the glass on both ends. Singleton definitely made a statement about moving on up.  Make no mistake about it: his overall skill-set was one of the major surprises we observed this past summer. Set to choose at the start of the fall signing period between Kentucky and Florida State.




Fast rising surprises Demar DeRozan and Scottie Hopson added some depth at the top to go with long and lean Al-Farouq Aminu, but it wasn't enough to lift the wing forward spot. 


While the top three can all light up the scoreboard in a hurry, this position is still a work in progress.


The athletic talents like Liggins, Negedu, Pryor, Mitchell, Miles, Osby and Jones hold the key to whether this spot can improve this winter. 


They all have pieces to the puzzle, but they have to pull consistent effort together to help the wing forward spot reach its potential.


1.  Demar DeRozan (No. 5 overall)

6-5 / 195 / Compton, Calif.

His summer rivaled the class' No. 1 rated overall player and his good friend Brandon Jennings as the best among the seniors nationally.  He tore it up at the Nike LeBron James Skills Academy in July and was the consensus pick as the top performer in the camp.  He was stellar at the summer Pangos Camp in California and scored in bunches at July's Main Event in Las Vegas.  He is a gifted athlete who can create highlights off the dribble and has a consistent jumper from around the arc.  If he develops an intermediate game, then look out, because the sky's the limit.  He will have an immediate impact at USC and will battle Jennings for newcomer of the year honors in the Pac-10.


2.  Al-Farouq Aminu (No. 8 overall)

6-8 / 200 / Norcross, Ga.

This long and lean wing man has the ability to drop a 17-footer on the move or throw it down in traffic off the dribble.  He is more of a combo mentally, but he has quickness to defend on the perimeter. Combined with his offensive gifts, he will move to the three-spot alongside twin towers Ty Walker and Tony Woods once the trio hits the hardwood as Wake Forest Demon Deacons.


3.  Scottie Hopson (No. 13 overall)

6-6 / 195 / Hopkinsville, Ky. University

He really lit it up at the Nike LeBron James Skills Academy in July, impressing pro scouts with his great acceleration and explosion off the floor.  He has tools to break you down with the dribble and can knock down a jumper from beyond the arc.  He is primarily a scorer, but he has length and quickness to become a lock-down defender.  He will add instant offense from day one at his college choice of Mississippi State.


4.  Emmanuel Negedu (No. 30 overall)

6-7 / 225 / Wolfeboro, N.H. Brewster Academy

This explosive athlete played all summer overseas, but had a stellar spring AAU season with the Indiana Elite.  He has all the athletic tools to make the move to the wing spot, a la Andre Iguodala.  He's known for his looking down into the hoop on his thunderous dunks but he has developed a fairly consistent 15-foot pull-up jumper, which is his first step towards his future on the perimeter. Like Iguodala, Negedu will become a defensive stopper for the Arizona Wildcats early in his college career.


5.  DeAndre Liggins (No. 32 overall)

6-6 / 190 / Henderson, Nev. Findlay Prep

This skilled ball-handling wing can run the point in a pinch and earns the moniker "point forward" the old fashioned way. He is a solid passer on the break, has great court vision and is improving his jumper off the dribble from 15-feet on in.  He needs to develop the long range jumper to complete the package for the pros.  He will create some tough match-ups for SEC opponents once he hits the court at Kentucky a year from now.


6.  Terrelle Pryor (No. 38 overall)

6-6 / 210 / Jeannette, Pa.

This is actually the No. 1 rated football player in the nation. The stellar two-sport star has all the tools to be an impact talent on the wing. He hits the jumper from the arc on in, can create dribble drive penetration and finish with authority, but basketball fans may have to take a wait and see attitude. He says he wants to attend a school where he has the option to play both sports, and Ohio State and West Virginia have been two of the leaders according to CSTV Football Recruiting Analyst Tom Lemming.


7.  Tony Mitchell (No. 41 overall)

6-6 / 185 / Swainsboro, Ga.

This high-scoring wing was one of the summer's big surprises. He can knock down the three with regularity and has an excellent intermediate game based on his play at the NBPA Top 100 & RbkU Camps, where he also threw down some highlight dunks.  He has really improved his handle and his ability to finish in traffic to create opportunities that will make him an instant offense guy at Alabama as a freshman.


8.  Nate Miles (No. 42 overall)

6-6 / 200 / Lenoir, N.C. Patterson School

This skilled wing man can create drives off the dribble, has the ability to knock down the three, and can bring it up against pressure in a transition game.  Miles is another point forward-type talent who is an excellent passer that creates opportunities for his teammates.  Physically he has a lot of Richard Hamilton coming out of high school, as well as a lot of his game. That will make Connecticut fans excited about his early arrival in what's expected to be the second semester of the school year.


9.  Romero Osby (No. 43 overall)

6-7 / 215 / Meridian, Miss. N.E. Lauderdale

This athletic combo showed the tools to move to the wing. He has range to the arc and solid ball skills to create a shot off the dribble. He can post up smaller wings on the block and score with either hand. He's an excellent board man who will combine with Scottie Hopson to give the Mississippi State Bulldogs a dynamic offensive duo on the perimeter in the SEC the next couple years.


10.  Mookie Jones (No. 45 overall)

6-6 / 220 / Peekskill, N.Y.

This explosive scorer can flat-out break you down off the dribble after he freezes you with his much improved three-point jumper.  He has a solid pull-up game and isn't above creating a highlight or two at the rim.  He was absolutely stellar at the August 17U AAU Nationals and will make a quick impression at Syracuse.


Related Stories