Commentary

Barnes is new No. 1 as cream rises to top

Updated: January 22, 2010, 12:33 PM ET
By Ronnie Flores | ESPN RISE

Brandon KnightCourtesy of AdidasBrandon Knight is one of six players named to the Nike Hoop Summit roster to receive votes this week.

TRACKER: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Every basketball season, high school players across the country have visions of becoming an all-American. Only a select few are true candidates and just one can be crowned ESPN RISE Mr. Basketball USA.

At the beginning of the season, 24 high-level players appeared on the ballots of the 10-person Mr. Basketball USA selection committee. Last week, that number stood at 22.

This week, only 16 players appeared on the 10 ballots.

"With all the high-profile games from Christmas to now, the top guys start to separate themselves," said panelist Ryan Canner-O'Mealy, ESPN RISE Magazine's managing editor. "The season will balance itself out, but there's something to be said for signature performances."

Various recruiting rankings, including the ESPNU 100, are updated around this time to reflect the progress of the nation's best players at the halfway point of the season. The top two vote-getters for Mr. Basketball USA, Harrison Barnes of Ames (Ames, Iowa) and Jared Sullinger of Northland (Columbus, Ohio), definitely had formidable reputations coming into the season. They have backed it up with signature performances -- and more importantly -- wins for their respective teams. The duo retained their top spots in the new ESPNU 100, but switched positions in the tracker this week.

Sullinger and Barnes also headline the first publicized end-of-the-season type honors awarded by various organizations and publications. In this case, it's USA Basketball's announcement of the first nine members of the 2010 USA Junior National Select Team, which will meet a World Select team in the 13th annual Nike Hoop Summit played in Portland, Ore., April 10.

The final roster spot will be announced at a later date. The seven others joining Barnes (91 points) and Sullinger (88 points) on Team USA are Will Barton (Brewster Academy, N.H./not eligible for the tracker), Reggie Bullock (Kinston, N.C.), Kyrie Irving (St. Patrick, Elizabeth, N.J./59 points), Brandon Knight (Pine Crest, Fort Lauderdale, Fla./48 points), Kendall Marshall (Bishop O'Connell, Arlington, Va.), Tobias Harris (Half Hollow Hills West, Dix Hills, N.Y./5 points) and Terrence Jones (Jefferson, Portland, Ore./11 points).

Read below to see the voting results of the fifth 2009-10 ESPN RISE Mr. Basketball Tracker. Stay logged into ESPNRISE.com to track the progress of the top individual players -- as well as the top teams -- in the ESPN RISE FAB 50.

Click here to check out the high school games on TV this season.

ESPN RISE Mr. Basketball USA Tracker
Rank Prev. Name Pos High School 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Total
1 2 Harrison Barnes (10) W Ames 6 3 0 0 0 91
2 1 Jared Sullinger (10) PF Northland 2 5 2 0 0 88
3 3 Kyrie Irving (8) PG St. Patrick 0 2 2 1 3 59
4 7t Cory Joseph (8) PG Findlay Prep 1 0 2 2 0 55
5 4 Brandon Knight (8) PG Pine Crest 0 0 0 2 4 48
6 5t DeShaun Thomas (5) PF Bishop Luers 0 0 1 1 1 30
7 5t Austin Rivers (5) SG Winter Park 0 0 0 2 0 27

Others Receiving Votes:
Michael Gilchrist (St. Patrick, Elizabeth, N.J.) 21 pts. (4)
Quincy Miller (Quality Education, Winston-Salem, N. C.) 16 pts. (2)
Tony Chenault (Neumann-Goretti, Philadelphia, Pa.) 12 pts. (2)
Terrence Jones (Jefferson, Portland, Ore.) 11 pts. (2)
Joe Jackson (White Station, Memphis, Tenn.) 8 pts. (2)
Tristan Thompson (Findlay Prep, Henderson, Nev.) 8 pts. (1)
Jayvaughn Pinkston (Bishop Loughlin, Brownsville, N.Y.) 7 pts. (1)
Tobias Harris (Half Hollow Hills West, Dix Hills, N.Y.) 5 pts. (1)
Perry Jones (Duncanville, Texas) 4 pts. (1)

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