2008 Positioner - Top 10 Centers

Ohio State adds third straight highly-rated big man; Florida and Wake Forest dip for a duo each

Nov. 12, 2007




 
 

By Van Coleman

CSTV.com & Hoopmasters.com



Van Coleman

Van is one of the nation's premier recruiting experts.
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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.

 

CENTER

 

The trio of B.J. Mullens, John Riek-Suas and Tyler Zeller emerged over the summer to take a slight edge over a solid bunch of post prospects.

 

Riek-Suas is the one who really could emerge over the winter to challenge Mullens for the top spot here, and maybe a top five spot nationally.

 

The post position is deep enough to leave two Top 50 prospects, Xavier Gibson (Florida State) and Catalin Baciu (Clemson) out of its Top 10.

 

The top dozen or so will make immediate impacts in college once they hit the hardwood in the fall of 2008.

 

1.  B.J. Mullens (No. 9 overall in the Class of 2008)

6-11 / 240 / Canal Winchester, Ohio World Harvest

He really came on in the second half of the summer as he reverted to establishing his dominance down low by scoring with the drop-step dunk and scoring with either hand on the blocks. He also has a solid face-up skill set that allows him to pop out and knock down open elbow jumpers. He is a solid shot blocker who boards, outlets and can fill the lane. He will follow Oden and Koufos as the next third consecutive stud big man at Ohio State.

 

2.  John Riek-Suas (No. 11 overall)

7-2 / 240 / Winchendon, Mass. School

This long and fast-improving native of Sudan absolutely blew up at the July Nike LeBron James Skills Academy. The raw, mobile big man has come a long ways since arriving in the USA in January. He held his own versus No. 2 overall Greg Monroe and uses his 7-foot-8 reach to swat or alter shots with the best in recent memory. He has lots of work to do on the offensive end of the court, but that is what makes him so intriguing to the college elite and the NBA scouts. If he makes the same kind of moves skill-wise over the next six months, he could challenge for a top five spot. According to his prep school coach, he is enrolled as a post-graduate and eligible for the NBA Draft after this season as he will be 19 and a year removed from high school.

 

3.  Tyler Zeller (No. 16 overall)

7-foot / 220 / Washington, Ind.

He added 20 pounds over the winter months and broke onto the national scene in the spring at April's Real Deal on the Hill, and has been rising ever since. He can outrun every big man from end to end and is wiry strong, finishes in traffic, and has touch to pop out and knock down the 15-footer. He blocked shots and dominated the glass in stretches for his Indiana Elite AAU team. He is just scratching the surface of what strength will bring to his game in the future at North Carolina. The 7-footer picked the Tar Heels just recently over Indiana, Purdue and Notre Dame (where his brother Tyler plays).  

 

4.  Eloy Vargas (No. 17 overall)

6-9 / 220 / Plantation, Fla. American Heritage

This explosive athlete tore it up during a runner-up finish with his Team Breakdown AAU squad at July's Reebok Nationals, and then in a championship winning 17U AAU Nationals a week later. He has the ability to use quicks to score around the hoop and has a knack for getting to the rim and finishing with regularity. He can stop and pop the 15-footer too, so you have to stay honest when he catches it facing the hoop. He can swat shots too and is just starting to show signs of an ability to dominate glass. That's good news for the defending champion Florida Gators after landing the prized in-state big man to go with the No. 7 player at this very position.

 

5.  Ty Walker (No. 22 overall)

7-0 / 220 / Wilmington, N.C., New Hanover

This thin shot blocker showed he can step away from the hoop and knock down jumpers off the elbows or on the baseline. He has good foot quicks and bounce, surprisingly good hands in traffic, finishes with authority on the move and has touch to elbow facing the hoop. Once his body matures, he could be a dominant inside force at Wake Forest.

 

6.  Mike Dunigan (No. 25 overall)

6-9 / 235 / Chicago, Ill. Farragut

This physical big man was a shot-blocking machine when we watched him this summer. He was physical on the glass and finished with the dunk or touch off the glass. He can dominate the paint with his aggressive style as well as fill the lane in transition. He will have an immediate impact on the blocks for the Oregon Ducks once he arrives in Eugene.

 

7.  Kenny Kadji (No. 26 overall)

6-10 / 220 / Bradenton, Fla. IMG Academy

This active and athletic big man is an extremely mobile insider who scored with touch around the hoop. He can really run the floor and does a solid job cleaning up on the boards. He is a solid shot-blocker with the ability to deny the post. He will be a solid contributor from day one for the Florida Gators.

 

8.  Jeff Withey (No. 34 overall)

7-foot / 230 / San Diego, Calif. Horizon

Withey has added strength and been on a tear all summer. The added strength has made him a force on the blocks who finishes with the dunk, as well as with a soft touch on the turnaround. He runs the floor well and can swat shots from behind or from the help side. He is a true low-block talent who has the body to become an aircraft carrier inside for his college choice, the Arizona Wildcats.

 

9. J'Mison Morgan (No. 39 overall)

6-11 / 230 / Dallas, Texas South Oak Cliff

This athletic big man has the ability to out-quick post defenders on the block and throw down the finish. He really can attack the glass, outlet and finish play in transition. He doesn't back down from anyone around the hoop. He's just scratching surface of the game that his athletic abilities promise. LSU was the lucky winner of his services over a host of big-timers like UCLA, Kansas, Baylor and Alabama.

 

10. Tony Woods (No. 43 overall)

7-foot / 210 / Rome, Ga.

This long and athletic big man can block shots and board with the best in the class. He has nice footwork around the hoop and a good set of hands in traffic. He needs to assert himself more on the offensive end, but all the tools are there. He will team with Walker to give Wake Forest a dynamic inside double-post offense in the future.

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