Thursday, August 26, 2010
Updated: August 27, 10:59 AM ET
Latest rankings reflect summer play
By Chris Hansen
|With plenty of "it" factor and scoring prowess, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis of Anaheim, Calif., was elevated to No. 1 in the final 2011 rankings by ESPN HoopGurlz.|
Many consider the class of 2011 as one that lacks depth in elite players, but the top of the list deserves as much acclaim as that of any class. This class' top two players remain unchanged, though Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis of Anaheim, Calif., climbed in what was the closest race for the No. 1 spot in ESPN HoopGurlz history.
There are few players who truly have "it." Mosqueda-Lewis is one of those players. She knows what she does well, what she doesn't do well and uses that intel to consistently play at a dominant level. She is one of the best scorers to hit the circuit in some time and that skill alone will carry her to the pro level.
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And speaking of pro-level, there isn't anyone who doubts the future success forecast for Elizabeth Williams, the top post in the class. The Virginia Beach, Va., star's prowess as an elite shot-blocker and rebounder, accompanied with her continual growth in her post scoring is keeping all the coaches still in on her recruitment on the very edge of their seats. She, like Connecticut-bound Mosqueda-Lewis, should make an immediate impact on the college of her choice.
While those two prospects are the crème de la crème, they aren't the only two players who can get it done and make an early impact on the college game. The resurrection of Cierra Burdick, the 6-foot-2 forward from Matthews, N.C., was one of the biggest storylines of 2010. Burdick reinvented herself as an elite complementary player. Some might argue those two words don't go together but there has been no better example in basketball than that of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Perhaps an equivalent, though less ballyhooed, is Tina Thompson, who has plenty of WNBA championship rings to floss herself.
As Burdick embraced her role within the team instead of trying to the team's first scoring option, her game soared. The result was scoring came easier by playing off of her teammates.
Ariel Massengale, the 5-foot-6 point guard from Bolingbrook, Ill., spent the summer reminding everyone that she is not only the best point guard in the class, but one of the best prospects, regardless of position, moving up two spots to No. 4. Her command of the gold medal winning USA national team in France was truly special and she capped it off by winning Nike Nationals with USA teammate Mosqueda-Lewis and their Tennessee Flight club team.
A completely new face, that belonging to Samantha Logic of Racine, Wis., found its way into the top 10. Logic isn't the prototypical new generation mega-athlete, but she is tough as nails, sharp as a knife, and a flat-out winner. When we talk about "it," just check her pockets because she has plenty to go around.
Rachel Banham, the 5-8 point guard from Lakeville, Minn., joined Logic at the top of the list of breakout performers this summer. The Minnesota-bound prospect led her North Tartan club team as only an elite player could. She had been on the radar for some time but really came into her own this year and it landed her in the No. 19 spot.
There are a wealth of prospects making strong moves up the rankings ladder. Versatility often is a premium but Long Beach Poly forward Sheila Boykin moved up 18 spots to No. 27 based on her ability to simply dominate a single position. She is truly a power forward. Dashawn Harden, a 5-9 point guard from Overland Park, Kan., shot up 20 spots, landing her at 33, after a solid summer with the KC Selects.
Of those previously ranked, few improved their stock like Bria Goss of Indianapolis, who jumped from No. 71 to No. 17. Joining her is Azia Bishop of Toledo, Ohio. The Kentucky pledge rebounded from a flat high-school season to elevate her game with Sport City U. The 6-2 post climbed 32 spots and into the top 40 as the No. 34 prospect in the class.
Allyson Malott's performance both with the USA Basketball U18 national team, which won gold in the FIBA Americas in June, and her Cincinnati Heat club team, showed she is realizing her potential as one of the premier shooters in the class. The 6-2 forward from Middletown, Ohio, jumped 32 spots to the top 40.
A trio of players -- Natiece Ford of Holy Springs, N.C.; Kady Schrann of York, Pa., and Alex Green of Dallas, Texas -- went from unranked to top 50 after fantastic performances and demonstrated potential this summer.
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|In an age of versatility, Sheila Boykin of Signal Hill, Calif., climbed the rankings by mastering one position.|
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Chris Hansen is the national director of prospects for ESPN HoopGurlz and covers girls' basketball and women's college basketball prospects nationally for ESPN.com. A graduate of the University of Washington with a communications degree, he has been involved in the women's basketball community since 1998 as a high school and club coach, trainer, evaluator and reporter. Hansen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.