Every year colleges find and sign talented prospects who have been omitted from the lists of top-rated high school senior prospects. Names such as Stephen Curry (Davidson), Luke Harangody (Notre Dame), Jack McClinton (Miami), Curtis Jerrells (Baylor) and Tyrese Rice (Boston College) weren't considered blue-chip recruits or All-Americans. Still, these under-the-radar players have contributed greatly at the college level.
Of course, there are similarly talented, untouted players in the Class of 2009. The following five prospects have major sleeper potential:
1. 6-foot-9 C/F Brett Roseboro (Quakertown, Pa./Community High School)
Roseboro, whom we at Scouts Inc. rate as our No. 78 power forward, has signed with Marquette. Golden Eagles head coach Buzz Williams recently said, "Roseboro is, unquestionably, our least publicized recruit, but do not be surprised that in the end he could have the most value to our program." Roseboro was almost totally unknown nationally, and his signing with Marquette was one of the major shockers of this recruiting period; he is the only prep prospect Marquette signed who is not rated in the ESPNU 100. Roseboro is now a high-post player with good skills and an excellent shooting touch. He needs to become stronger and more physical to perform well as a center. Williams said, "His skill set is so high that he can ultimately play the high and low post for us. I believe that he will become an outstanding college player."
7-0 C Ruslan Pateev (Montverde, Fla./Montverde Academy)
A native of Russia and an Arizona State signee, Pateev impressed me with his low-post skills as a junior playing in the 2007 City of Palms Classic in Fort Myers, Fla. Although he is not a stellar athlete and lacks leaping ability, this young man has outstanding skills and excellent knowledge of the game. Montverde coach Kevin Sutton said, "Ruslan was well-trained in Russia, and came to us with a remarkable understanding of the game and advanced skills. In his two years at Montverde he has really progressed and is going to be a fine college player."
Pateev attended the 2008 NBPA Top 100 Camp, where he arguably had the best hands and most accurate shooting touch of any big man. Nonetheless, he remained relatively unpublicized. He has the ideal skills to excel in coach Herb Sendek's system at Arizona State, and I predict that this 7-footer will be an immediate impact player for the Sun Devils next year.
6-8 PF Kadeem Batts (Powder Springs, Ga./McEachern)
This athletic young man made a significant impression on Providence head coach Keno Davis, who signed him to a national letter of intent with the Friars. Davis was a successful head coach at Drake and is accustomed to finding unheralded players who are loaded with potential. Based upon our observation of Batts' stellar performance for the Smyrna Stars at the AAU 17-Under National Tournament in Orlando, he could be a major steal for Davis. Despite averaging only 10 points per a game as a junior, Batts has the athletic ability and physical talent to become a force in the Big East. He is a strong rebounder and shot-blocker. He will have to become an effective high-post scorer at the college level.
6-8 PF Ray Turner (Houston/Jones)
The high-flying Turner could be one of the most athletic forwards in this senior class. Texas A&M coach Mark Turgeon certainly was impressed by Turner's talents and has signed him for his program. Of the four future Aggies, Turner is the only one not nationally rated. But he definitely has the potential to become the best newcomer for Texas A&M. At the Reebok National Championship Tournament in Las Vegas in July, Turner showed the ability to play both forward positions and displayed an accurate outside shot. He can really run the court and explode to the hoop. Look for Turner to make a significant move upward in the player rankings this season and to have a successful career at Texas A&M.
6-8 PF Keith Clanton, Orlando, Fla./Christian Prep School
Clanton, who has narrowed his college choices to South Florida and Central Florida, was a relentless rebounder and dominant force inside for the top club team in the nation this past summer. Playing for Team Breakdown (Fla.) along side touted guards Kenny Boynton (Pompano Beach, Fla./American Heritage)
and Brandon Knight (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), Clanton showed that he is a true gamer who knows when to defer and when to assert himself. Clanton is a productive blue-collar worker; he controls the boards and is an effective high-post scorer. He averaged 22 points and 14 rebounds and shot 65 percent as a junior, leading Orlando Christian to its first state championship. Clanton has an exemplary work ethic and is a true court warrior. He is destined to become a standout college player.
Other notable unheralded seniors with outstanding potential include 6-6 WF Derrick Williams (Southern California), La Miranda, Calif.; 6-10 C/F Shawn Kemp, Jr. (Alabama), Canton, Ga./Cherokee; 6-3 2G Dexter Fields (UAB), Orlando, Fla./Olympia; 6-11 C Daniel Miller (Georgia), Loganville, Ga./Loganville Christian Academy; and 6-8 C/F Carl Baptiste (St. Joseph's), Annandale, N.J./North Hunterdon Regional.
Bob Gibbons is the editor and publisher of the All Star Sports report and is widely regarded as the recruiting guru of college basketball.