Once the ESPNU 100 was unveiled, it became clear that although the shooting guard position has solid depth -- 18 SG in the ESPNU 100 -- it doesn't compare favorably to the Class of 2011. First and foremost, the Class of 2012 doesn't appear to have a prospect the caliber of Austin Rivers (Duke) or Bradley Beal (Florida) and it dwarfs in comparison in terms of quantity.
Gary Harris (Indianapolis/Hamilton Southeastern) is at the top of the list of elite shooting guards in the country, but he has a plethora of players ranked behind him who are nipping at his heels. If you need evidence to support that claim, just look at two recent events.
Archie Goodwin (Little Rock/Sylvan Hills), who is the No. 4-ranked SG, was arguably the best all-around player at the Nike Global Challenge. Plus, Gabe York (Orange, Calif./Orange Lutheran), the No. 8-ranked SG, orchestrated a scintillating adidas Nations campaign and is possibly the most explosive scorer of the bunch. Overall, the top eight shooting guards in the Class of 2012 would be considered high-level prospects in any class due to their overall skill and production.
6-foot-4, 195 pounds
Harris possesses an ideal combination of strength and athleticism. He plays with a high motor at both ends and affects the game in multiple ways. Offensively, he can dissect the defense with his slashing moves and he's able to finish through contact due to his physical prowess. Defensively, he anticipates the passing lanes well and gets numerous steals due to his high basketball IQ. He needs to continue to smooth out his jump shot, but the talent is there to be an impact player immediately at the next level.
Marcus Smart (Flower Mound, Texas/Marcus)
6-3, 200 pounds
Smart is the most physical and versatile performer of any guard in the country. He has the savvy and vision to play the 1 as well as the strength and athleticism to play the 2 or the 3. While leading his team (Texas Assault) to the adidas Super 64 championship, he demonstrated his skill and feel for the lead guard position by managing the offense with aplomb. He can break defenders down off the dribble, get in the lane and drop off the nifty assist. Defensively, he is a ball hawk and he may be the most relentless competitor in the class. Overall, he needs to continue to sharpen his jump shot, but he is a winner.
Rasheed Sulaimon (Houston/Strake Jesuit)
6-3, 175 pounds
The future Blue Devil is as good an all-around scorer there is at the high school level. He has a terrific first step to the rim and his pull-up jumper is sweet. Not too mention he is one of the few jump shooters in the nation who utilizes the glass. Plus, he is equally as good off the catch as he is off the dribble. When his jump shot is falling (it can be streaky at times), he is very effective getting to the rim and finishing with either hand. Defensively, he'll adjust well to the Blue Devils' system because he has the ability to guard the 1 or the 2.
Archie Goodwin (Little Rock, Ark./Sylvan Hills)
6-5, 1815 pounds
After fracturing his wrist at the Pangos All-American camp, Goodwin finished July in a flurry at the Peach Jam and Nike Global Challenge. He is the most explosive scorer at his position because of his burst off the dribble and bounce. He needs to tighten up his 3-point shot, but with his work ethic and competitive nature, his shot should smooth out in the near future.
Rodney Purvis (Raleigh, N.C./Upper Room Christian Academy)
6-4, 185 pounds
Purvis has a chiseled physique and is extremely difficult to stop off the dribble. He has a very good first step, which allows him to get to the rim or nail the midrange pull-up jumper. Although he is listed as a scorer, he too has shown flashes (by getting teammates involved) of evolving into a point guard at the next level.
(Providence/Notre Dame Prep)
6-6, 180 pounds
Ledo has tremendous upside because of his long frame and feathery jump shot. He can stop on a dime and nail the 3-point shot or slash his way to the rim for the finish -- he is a prototypical pure scorer. He makes the game more difficult because poor shot selection and he needs to clean up his academics, but he is immensely talented.
(Brooklyn/Christ the King)
6-3, 185 pounds
Calhoun, who physically reminds us a bit of Tyler Lamb (UCLA), is a tenacious scorer who is always in attack mode. He is most proficient in transition and he has the physical prowess to take on contact at the rim and finish. Calhoun fits into the UConn's system very well.
Gabe York (Orange, Calif./Orange Lutheran)
6-1, 165 pounds
Although undersized, there may not be a prospect in the country who can light up a scoreboard like the future Wildcat. He is an outstanding jump shooter with NBA range and he has become much more proficient off the dribble. Not too mention he is a highlight reel waiting to happen in transition.
Others to watch
Torian Graham (Durham, N.C./Arlington Country Day School) is a physical specimen who uses his frame to score through traffic, but needs to mature on and off the court. Jordan Price (Congress, Ga./Southwest Dekalb) is a beast 2/3 who can nail the midrange jump shot or post up his defender. D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera (Mouth of Wilson, Va./Oak Hill Academy) is more scorer than facilitator, but is difficult to stop off the dribble. UNLV commit Katin Reinhardt (Santa Ana, Calif./Mater Dei) can get a tad too flashy (pounds the ball too much) at times, but he is a gifted a scorer/passer. Purdue commit Rapheal Davis (Fort Wayne, Ind./La Lumiere) can float too much at times, but he has a Big Ten frame and can score in bunches. Alex Caruso (College Station, Texas/A&M Consolidated High) is underrated despite the fact he is multiskilled and bouncy. Demarquise Johnson (Phoenix/Westwind Prep) oozes potential because of his lengthy frame, explosiveness and smooth shooting touch.
Joel Francisco is a recruiting coordinator for ESPN Recruiting.