While I was away, Rivals rereleased their list of the top 150 players nationally in the 2011 recruiting class. Later today they will release their new rankings for the 2012 class, which I will look at tomorrow, along with Scout's 2012 list.
There is one Philadelphia player in the top 10, and that player is Academy of the New Church center Rakeem Christmas. Christmas had trimmed his list of colleges earlier in the year, but according to Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog, he reopened that last week when he visited Rutgers unofficially.
Christmas isn't the only player from Academy of the New Church on the Rivals list. Fellow frontcourt player Malcolm Gilbert, a 6'11 center, checks in at number 145 on the list. For quite some time Gilbert was attracting mostly local interest, from schools like Saint Joseph's, La Salle, Drexel, and a few others. That has changed dramatically over the past few weeks. In the past few weeks, Gilbert has visited a trio of college basketball powerhouses. Gilbert has recently visited Duke, Pitt, and Ohio State unofficially. In addition to being a tremendous force on the defensive side of the ball, Malcolm is also an impressive student, which explains the mutual interest in Ivy League schools. Gilbert has seen his stock rise through the roof over the summer, and his recruitment will be one of the more interesting local ones to follow over the coming months.
Speaking of Pitt, two players from Philadelphia are committed already to the Big East program. While neither player has appeared on any of Rivals' previous top 150 lists, both make their debut here. 6'1 guard John Johnson, from Girard College. checks in at number 132 and 6'6 forward Jaylen Bond makes an appearance at 141. Bond's PW team won a state championship team this year, courtesy of the interior play of Bond and Saint Joseph's-bound center CJ Aiken and perimeter play of senior guard Whis Grant.
Xavier secured an early commitment from the number 58 prospect on the list, 6'4 wing Dezmine Wells. Wells recently put on a show at the NBPA Top 100 camp against many of the best high school players in the country. Xavier just keeps on rolling.
Desmond Hubert, a lanky 6'9 shot-blocking force from New Egypt, New Jersey appears at number 78. Hubert has said that Pitt and Villanova are two of the frontrunners in his recruitment, although a number of other schools are making a serious push.
The first player associated with the Hawks checks in at number 80. Myles Davis, from Saint Peter's Prep in Jersey City, is a 6'2 combo guard. There has been some speculation about Davis over the summer months, concerning both his high school for next year and his classification. There has been talk that Davis could possibly transfer to Plainfield, his home town. In addition, there has been talk that Davis could reclassify to the 2012 class. When I spoke with SPP head coach Mike Kelly over the winter about Davis, he told me that Davis was young for his grade, which could be a possible reason for reclassifying. Davis lists the Hawks, Villanova, Pitt, UConn, George Mason, the University of Virginia, and Georgetown as his schools of interest. Davis played high school ball with 2010 Hawk commitment Ronald Roberts at Saint Peter's Prep, which is certainly worth noting when discussing Davis' recruitment.
Two other players on the list have expressed varying degrees of interest in the Hawks. 6'9 Derrick Randall, who played at Paterson Catholic last year and will play at South Kent his senior year, comes in at number 131 on the list. Randall has been providing the same basic list of schools to recruiting sites for almost the past year. A list that includes Virginia Tech, Rutgers, Providence, Seton Hall, Saint John's, and Saint Joseph's. The other player that has listed the Hawks makes his debut at number 147. 6'5 wing Vaughn Gray played for Don Bosco in Bergen County, New Jersey for the past three years. He will play this coming season at national powerhouse Saint Benedict's Prep. Gray has interest from Saint Joseph's, Richmond, Temple, Xavier, the University of Virginia, Providence, and Oregon. Playing at Saint Benedict's next year, that list is likely to expand.
Check back tomorrow for a look at the 2012 rankings.
The Rivals Top 150 for 2011 is linked below:
Rivals 150 for 2011