The 2009 class may have been the domain of the post, but the position does not get an immediate encore. A wing, Samarie Walker of Dayton, Ohio, tops the ESPN HoopGurlz Super Sixty for 2010. She is followed by a pair of powerful players with some perimeter skills in Kaneisha Horn of Birmingham, Ala., and Chiney Ogwumike of Cypress, Texas.
"Walker is one of the more explosive scorers to emerge in the high-school ranks in years; she truly scores the basketball with such efficiency and ease," said Glenn Nelson, the founder of HoopGurlz. "She also is a player who dominates a game without dominating the basketball, which is a rare trait on this level. That all said, there really is not much at all separating her, Horn and Ogwumike. There was considerable discussion about those top three spots. We easily could have put their names in a backgammon cup and rolled them out in another order."
Only one true post, Stefanie Dolson of State Hill, N.Y., cracked ESPN HoopGurlz's top 10 in its initial ranking of the 2010 class.
Three point guards find their way into the top 10 with Lauren Avant of Memphis, Tenn., at No. 4; Odyssey Sims of Irving, Texas, at No. 5; and Shoni Schimmel of Hermiston, Ore., at No. 8.
"The lack of post players doesn't make this a weak class because there are a plethora of talented point guards up and down the Super 60, a position that is perhaps the most difficult to play and thus toughest for colleges to fill with elite level players," Chris Hansen of ESPN HoopGurlz said. "There is a lot of talk about the point guards in this class and it is definitely warranted. The top five point guards I expect to step right in and make an impact as freshmen."
Each of the point guards brings a different style to the position. The explosive scorers such as Sims differ greatly from the crafty pass lead guards such as Avant and Chelsea Gray of Manteca, Calif. Schimmel has a flare for the dramatic reminiscent of Samantha Prahalis (Ohio State) and perhaps possesses the deepest range in the class.
A total of 10 point guards found their way into the Super Sixty.
"The class has three terrific wing players at the top and all of them made convincing arguments this summer to be considered for the No. 1 spot." Hansen said.
Walker has tremendous potential and although she has to refine her guard skills she's capable of scoring as well as anyone in recent memory. She is a monster on the glass and ultra light on her feet. Horn has a physical style of play of an interior player with the agility and explosiveness of a perimeter player and together she's a nightmare matchup for the opposition. Ogwumike has great feel for the game. She moves so fluidly and has the ability to punish smaller defenders with a well-rounded post-up game.
"Geographically this is a diverse selection of talent." said Mark Lewis, national evaluator and columnist for ESPN HoopGurlz. "The East, Southeast and Midwest are represented pretty much equally while the Southwest and West Coast have only a few less athletes on the radar at this time."
The state of Texas is well represented again with eight players in the Super 60 with Ogwumike (No. 3), Sims (No. 5), Meighan Simmons of Cibolo (No. 6), Tiffany Moore of Frisco (No. 9), Karla Gilbert of College Station (No. 12), Stephanie Wittman of San Antonio (No. 39), Kelsi Baker of Mesquite (No. 49) and Kristen Grant of Arlington (No. 52).
Alabama is the only other state to have more than one player in the top 10 with Horn and Hoover's Tyrese Tanner, a 6-2 wing with incredible athleticism.
California has seven players in the Super Sixty with Gray being highest ranked at No. 15. Afure Jemerigbe, her high school teammate at St. Mary's High School in Stockton, Calif., also cracked the top 20 at No. 19.
"No doubt many athletes easily could have been a few notches higher or lower," Lewis said. "There should be a lot to prove on their part once they toss the ball up this fall."
In addition to Hansen, Lewis and Nelson, the ranking panel for ESPN HoopGurlz includes Mindi Rice, HoopGurlz staff writer, and Clay Kallam, ESPN HoopGurlz columnist and McDonald's and Parade All-American voter. Nelson also is on the selection committees for McDonald's and Parade Magazine.
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Scouts Inc. High School Basketball Grading System
90-100: Immediate Impact Prospect
Player demonstrates rare abilities and has the potential to start as a freshman for a national, top-25 program.
80-89: High Major Prospect
Player has the potential to start or significantly contribute as a freshman for most top national Division I programs.
70-79: Major/Mid-Major Prospect
Player either can earn a scholarship to a top national Division I program or contribute significantly as a freshman at the mid-major level.
60-69: Low Division I/Mid-Major Prospect
Player has the ability to earn a scholarship to a mid-major or low Division I program.
50-59: Marginal Division I prospect/Division II, III, NAIA prospect
Player has some redeeming qualities but is not projected to contribute at the Division I level.
45: Pending Prospect w/ film
Scouts Inc. has received film of the prospect, and an evaluation is pending.
40: Pending Prospect
Player evaluation is pending receipt of film.