By Joe Henricksen
Let the debate begin. The City/Suburban Hoops Report breaks down the top 60 college prospects in the Class of 2009, with several players rising and falling following the summer circuit. The loss of Peoria Central's D.J. Richardson is a definite blow to the star power in the senior class. With Richardson in the mix, the Hoops Report felt there was a "super seven" in the class, with a drop after those seven players. Now, after the top six, there can be questions raised and plenty of debate among the next dozen or so players. Nonetheless, here is a look at how the players stack up.
1. Brandon Paul, 6-3, 2G, Gurnee (Warren) .... The Illinois commit remains the top prospect and will most definitely stay there, especially now that D.J. Richardson has moved on to Findlay Prep in Nevada.
2. Chris Colvin, 6-2, PG, Chicago (Whitney Young) .... The top uncommitted player in the state moves up a few notches after a solid spring and summer. It will be interesting to see how he is used this winter with Whitney Young, which boasts three other top perimeter players (Jordan, Johnson and Starks) that are best with the ball in their hands.
3. Jack Cooley, 6-8, PF, Glenview (Glenbrook South) .... Steady and consistent. Rugged and blue collar. The Notre Dame-bound Cooley is clearly the top big man in the state.
4. Matt Vogrich, 6-3, 2G, Lake Forest .... No player improved his stock more in the eyes of the Hoops Report this past summer than the high-scoring, sweet shooting Vogrich.
5. Angus Brandt, 6-9, PF, Lake Forest (Academy) .... Really opened eyes this summer, starting with a terrific performance at the Chicago Summer Classic where he showcased his versatile game. He can shoot it with range, put it on the floor and finish with a dunk in traffic.
6. Darius Smith, 6-2, PG/2G, Chicago (Marshall) .... The versatile, get-it-done guard has been a fixture in the top 10 since his arrival three years ago. He impacts the game in so many ways.
7. Joseph Bertrand, 6-5, PG/2G, Sterling .... All players develop at different rates. The trend of up-and-down play has continued, but you can't ignore the potential and versatility this long athlete brings to the table.
8. Nik Garcia, 6-5, 2G, Evanston .... He's got an edge to him and can flat-out shoot the basketball. He's a better athlete than people give him credit for.
9. David Brown, 6-3, 2G, Rockton-Hononegah .... He had his struggles late in the summer, but he remains a versatile weapon with his vastly improved shooting from a year ago.
10. Diamond Taylor, 6-3, 2G, Bolingbrook .... Physically was never quite right all summer and that did hinder his overall game. Still must find a way to add weight and strength, as well as be able to finish around the basket to become a complete scorer.
11. Terry Johnson, 5-11, PG/2G, Chicago (St. Rita) .... Blessed with talent, character and 25-plus potential scoring ability. This combo guard remains one of the best pure scorers in the class and is poised for a monster senior season. Still underappreciated by many.
12. Michael Haynes, 6-6, PF, Chicago (Washington) .... Where he ends up playing high school ball is still in question. He may be the classic 'tweener, but his body and athleticism would make for an ideal four-man at the mid-major level.
13. D.J. Cooper, 5-9, PG, South Holland (Seton Academy) .... Aside from Chris Colvin, he's the best pure point guard in the class. He's a gamer who competes and plays bigger than his size.
14. Tony Nixon, 6-4, 2G/WF, South Holland (Seton Academy) .... Put on shooting exhibitions throughout the summer and showed a willingness to put the ball on the floor and little more. As a result his stock has soared.
15. Marcus Jordan, 6-2, PG/2G, Chicago (Whitney Young) .... By all accounts, raised his stock nationally. A great athlete with a great body and strength, but he's still rough around the edges when it comes to his overall skill level.
16. Shaun Pratl, 6-8, PF, Oak Lawn (Richards) .... The big man battled an illness all summer long, dropping 25 pounds and never playing at the level he was at late last season and early spring. But when healthy - and when he's entirely focused on basketball - he can run, jump and be physical with just about anyone his size.
17. Drew Crawford, 6-5, 2G/WF, Naperville (Central) .... A big, long and versatile threat on the perimeter. He continues to improve his jumper and always comes up with big plays in big moments.
18. Jonathan Mills, 6-4, PF, Chicago (North Lawndale) .... Still remains an undersized four-man, but you can win with players like Mills. Pound for pound, Mills is the best rebounder in the state.
19. Cully Payne, 6-1, PG, Schaumburg .... Tough, hard-nosed and smart. Could evolve into a Jason Richards-type point guard at the next level. But will his lack of overall foot speed and athleticism be overmatched in the physically gifted SEC?
20. Zeke Upshaw, 6-5, WF, Chicago (Lab) .... This underrated all-around talent still putting it all together as a player. But he can shoot it with range and put it on the floor awfully well for a player his size.
21. Dyricus Simms-Edwards, 6-2, PG, Washington .... What was supposed to be a big summer for the late bloomer turned into a frustrating one that ended in injury. Questions remain. Can he blow by and separate from defenders? Does he shoot it well enough? A terrific character kid with talent who will be analyzed closely this season.
22. Jordan Prosser, 6-7, PF, Eureka .... Yes, his ranking and stock dropped considerably from 12 months ago. But he's a valuable commodity - a big man who can play, which are difficult to find.
23. Malcolm Herron, 6-3, 2G, Downers Grove (South) .... Never found the right fit playing AAU this summer. But he can really score. Needs to improve his motor and learn to bring it every day.
24. Jordan Walker, 6-6, PF, South Holland (Seton Academy) .... If he's eligible to play at Seton, watch out! Long athlete who runs the floor and has really improved his face-up game after sitting out all last year.
25. James Kinney, 6-0, PG, Champaign (Centennial) .... A little erratic in his decision-making and point guard skills, but he remains a lead guard that can put points on the board.
26. Seth Evans, 6-1, PG, Seneca .... Another underappreciated, undervalued guard. Tough, composed, heady and a model of consistency. Wisconsin-Green Bay got an awfully good one here.
27. Jeremy Jones, 6-1, PG/2G, Chicago (Simeon) .... Shined at times with his ability to knock down shots and improved play-making ability. Should really blossom this winter for coach Robert Smith's Wolverines.
28. Brian Conway, 6-3, WF, Chicago Heights (Bloom) .... A high-flying, athletic, wiry wing that would be perfect for a program in need of just that (Northern Iowa, perhaps?). Still lacking ball skills and the ideal decision-making.
29. Conrad Krutwig, 6-5, WF/PF, Algonquin (Jacobs) .... The interest is there but the offers have not followed. There aren't many players that play harder than Krutwig, a perfect combo forward for a low-Division I school.
30. D'Mitri Riggs, 6-3, PG/2G, Bloomington .... He will wow you at times with his ability. Then make you leave the gym wondering if he was on the floor.
31. John Taylor, 6-0, 2G, Chicago (North Lawndale) .... The crossover, the quick first step and acceleration gets him by just about anyone. But he needs to find his calling as a player.
32. Eriq Harris, 6-5, WF/PF, Chicago (Marshall) .... When he's in control, focused he has the ability to be a difference-maker around the basket.
33. Derek Needham, 5-11, PG, Chicago (DeLaSalle) .... Hoops Report loves his powerful game. He can penetrate and get to the hole on just about anyone.
34. Malcolm Griffin, 6-3, 2G, Chicago (Hyde Park) .... Has the ability to be a big-time scorer.
35. Stanford Brown, 6-7, PF, Chicago (Whitney Young) .... Was much more assertive and active this spring and summer. In position to be the guy inside for loaded high school team.
36. Troy Snyder, 6-5, WF, Bolingbrook .... He has some consistency issues, but he's a versatile player who can put it on the floor in the halfcourt and knock down shots from the perimeter. Will he put it all together?
37. Cortney Bell, 6-5, WF/PF, Chicago (Lincoln Park) .... A big-time athlete who continues to show flashes of an improved face-up game.
38. David Bryant, 6-4, 2G/WF, Batavia .... Shot it well, played his heart out and was a rock for a Wolves team that desperately needed someone to feed off after being decimated by injuries. The concern remains his foot speed and quickness.
39. Colin Nickerson, 6-3, PG/2G, Waukegan .... Showcased a variety of skills throughout the summer and really blossomed as a player. A tall point guard with length who can shoot it. Still needs some definite weight gain and added strength.
40. Nick Washburn, 6-8, PF, Mahomet-Seymour .... Another player hurt by injury that may benefit from waiting to the spring signing period if he truly wants to play Division I basketball.
41. Markus Yarbrough, 6-7, C, Zion-Benton .... Really had a nice, productive summer. He's blessed with a lot of offensive tools for a wide-bodied big man and has a nice touch.
42. Kyle Cain, 6-7, PF, Calumet City (T.F. North) .... Really has been overlooked and has made a huge jump in the Hoops Report player rankings. He was highly productive and active for the Illinois Warriors in AAU play.
43. Lawrence Thomas, 5-7, PG, Springfield (Southeast) .... He is tiny. But Thomas knows how to play the point guard position and can be an absolute pest defensively with his quick feet and hands.
44. Chris Eversley, 6-3, 2G/WF, Chicago (Payton) .... Very versatile player on the perimeter who is just growing into a basketball player. A lot of upside with Eversley.
45. Daron Guyton, 6-4, WF, Maywood (Proviso East) .... A no-namer on the scene until he blossomed and showed both athleticism and a smooth shooting stroke this summer.
46. Troynell Adams, 6-5, PF, Chicago (Farragut) .... Another undersized four-man, but he's a big-time athlete who gets a lot done around the basket and is extending his game out to 15 feet.
47. David Smith, 6-2, PG/2G, Lake Forest (Academy) .... A perfect combo guard who is blessed with a terrific body and athleticism. Still learning the ropes as far as how to run a team and gaining consistency with his shot. But has a good feel and can get to the rim.
48. Luke Scarlata, 6-7, PF, Berwyn-Cicero (Morton) .... There aren't many players that can use both hands as effectively as Scarlata, who is also an exceptional passer for a big man.
49. Mike Black, 5-11, PG, Oak Park (Fenwick) .... Fresh off a terrific spring and summer in which Black showed his ability to break people down and get in the lane.
50. Kendrick Morse, 5-7, PG, Richton Park (Rich South) .... An absolute jet who can really handle it. Flourishes in up-tempo game. Size, though, will always be an issue.
51. Ronald Steward, 5-9, PG, Zion-Benton .... Will hit big shots and play well in big moments.
52. Robert Covington, 6-6, WF/PF, Hillside (Proviso West) .... Versatile forward prospect who can get a little done both inside and outside.
53. Brandon Pullman, 6-6, WF, Rock Island .... A bit of an enigma. If you catch Pullman on the right day he will showcase great versatility and a very high ceiling. Still hasn't put it all together on a consistent basis.
54. Mikel Brigham, 6-5, PF, Danville .... A freaky athlete who runs, jumps, rebounds and dunks but is also a top-notch football prospect.
55. Danhi Wilson, 6-3, WF, Park Ridge (Maine East) .... Competes and gets after it, finishes around the basket and rebounds well for his size. Still needs work on his overall handle and consistency shooting the basketball.
56. Delino Dear, 6-8, PF, Chicago (Mt. Carmel) .... Still a long way to go but you can't ignore the potential with his size, length and ability to beat other bigs down the floor.
57. James Pointer, 5-10, PG, Chicago (Leo) .... Capable of putting up huge offensive numbers, but needs he fully understand his role as a point guard and opportunity to make others better.
58. Tyler Ponticelli, 6-7, PF, Northbrook (Glenbrook North) .... Continues to round into more and more of a complete player.
59. Matt Sullivan, 6-4, WF, Wilmette (Loyola Academy) .... Has quietly put together a very solid AAU season. He can score and is big-time academic kid that should land him in the Ivy League or Patriot League.
60. Brandon Orange, 6-3, WF, Chicago (Simeon) .... The physical tools are there. Will this be his breakout year?