Summer has almost passed us by since the last update of the Inside Texas Basketball Top 20 for 2012 and plenty has changed. Plenty of tournaments and camps across the nation have allowed players to shine and coaches to see them do so. Some prospects have seen their stock rise, some fall and, of course, some put their names on the radar. Inside Texas’ Timothy Preston and Blake Munroe take a look at the Top 20 in the state and give a brief run down of each player.
1. Isiah Austin (Arlington Grace Prep / Center) – Consensus top three player in the country and a guy that will be an instant contributor at the next level. Elite athleticism and length with the ability to put the ball on the floor and abuse power forwards/centers off the dribble and in the mid range. Has the ability to be a terrific weakside defender/shot blocker and rebounder in traffic. Must continue to play with effort and positive attitude every possession but as gifted as anybody in the last three years out of high school.Committed To: Baylor2. Cameron Ridley (Fort Bend Bush / Center) – A true center prospect, even at this rank Ridley is only scratching the surface of his talent. After leading Bush to a state title his sophomore year, Cameron became a marked man last year and delivered all season long. Huge hands, a gigantic wingspan and terrific body control for a big help make him a prospect that has few peers as a sure fire post in the country.Committed To: Texas3. Danuel House (Houston Hightower / SF) – No player had their stock rise more over the summer than Sugar Land’s Danuel House. The elite prospect proved that he deserves to be mentioned with the top players in the state due to his athleticism and skills on the court. Strong, bouncy athlete with a decent handle and improving range on his jumper. Very thin. Progressing rebounder and defender.Considering: Baylor, Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, Florida State, Colorado, Iowa, Oregon, USC, Missouri, Kansas, Louisville4. Shaquille Cleare (Houston The Village School / Center) – True to his namesake, Shaquille is an enormous dude with enormous talent. Cleare has very good feet and does a nice job of utilizing his weight in traffic and around the rim. If he can stay in shape, he may have the best upside of any player in the state.Considering: Maryland, Texas, Texas A&M, Arizona, Baylor, Maryland, North Carolina, Kansas, Arkansas, Tennessee, LSU5. Rasheed Sulaimon (Houston Strake Jesuit / SG) – Sulaimon is a do everything kind of guard that has the ball handling to break down players from the combo guard position while also having plus speed and shooting in transition and off the ball. Very quick player that can get hot and take over games.Committed To: Duke6. Marcus Smart (Flower Mound Marcus / SF) – One of the most fundamentally sound and intelligent players in the country, Smart brings toughness and ability all over the court. Smart has awesome court awareness and vision and a very good handle for a wing. Maybe doesn’t excel at the highest of levels at any one dimension of the game but is good to very good at legitimately everything.Considering: Baylor, KSU, Stanford, Texas A&M, Missouri, Arizona, North Carolina, Marquette, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas7. Prince Ibeh (Garland Naaman Forest / Center) – Strong athleticism and defensive awareness. Ibeh is still figuring out his way around the offensive end but the talent is there. Very high upside.Considering: Texas, Baylor, Iowa, Marquette, Arizona, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Missouri, Florida, Colorado, Penn St, Iowa8. J-Mychael Reese (Bryan / PG) – Super fast with the ball. Reese is a lightning quick point guard that plays with great pace and unselfishness. Faster with the ball in his hands than you are without it. Inconsistent shooter but is good at creating angles in penetration and has a knack for finishing around the basket.Committed To: Texas A&M
9. Connor Lammert (San Antonio Churchill / PF) – Few players, nationally, have seen the jump in exposure that the San Antonio product has. Connor is reed thin and very young (16 as a rising senior) but has great skill with the ball for a 6’10” player, and can shoot with deep range. Lammert is a high upside player that has seen his production on the court match his potential this summer.
Considering: Texas, Baylor, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Stanford, Oklahoma State10. Jelon Hornbeak (Arlington Grace Prep / SG) – Like many guards of late, Hornbeak is solid in penetration and can shoot from three but needs work in the mid range. Jelon is a slasher and plus athlete but has work to do to be a more complete player.Considering: Texas, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Stanford, West Virginia, Missouri, Oklahoma, Iowa, Vanderbilt11. Chicken Knowles (HCYA / PF) – A new addition to the Top 20, Knowles made a name for himself over the summer at various tournaments and camps. The tall, but skinny, prospect does a great job of handling the ball and has a ton of potential. Knowles is an excellent shooter and does a great job attacking the basket, but has to play tougher on defense. One setback is his strength (or lack thereof).Considering: Arkansas, Baylor, Missouri, Texas, West Virginia, Texas Tech, Louisville, Oklahoma, Florida State12. LJ Rose (Houston Westbury Christian / PG) – Although he’s one of the best passers in the nation, no prospect has seen their stock drop off as much as Rose has over the past few months. At one point then Houston product was considered one of the best in the state, but after recent performances, it’s safe to say other have out performed him.Considering: Texas, Baylor, Kansas, Georgetown, Kentucky, Arizona, North Carolina, Wake Forest13. Zach Peters (Plano Prestonwood Christian / PF) – Peters is a victim of his own early success…and limited athleticism. Peters has strong fundamentals and is a very heady player but the question always comes back to his overall upside. He is widely regarded as a finished product and is considerably older than most of those in his grade. Still an excellent player but not the top 10 talent he was thought, nationally, a few years ago.Committed To: Kansas14. Wannah Bail (Lamar Consolidated / SF) – Maybe the most athletic forward in the country, Bail comes with a ton of baggage. Wanaah plays with very good pace and bounce and is tailor made for an up tempo offense. If he can figure out the rest of his life, his basketball potential is very, very high.Considering: Kansas, Texas, Baylor, Indiana, Houston15. Chad Rykhoek (Fort Worth Christian / PF) – Another big with good athleticism and explosion. Has good feel around the basket and can finish. Lefty. Not a super athlete and has work to do with defensive awareness.Considering: Colorado, Texas A&M, Baylor, Marquette, Texas Tech, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Gonzaga, SMU16. Phil Forte (Flower Mound Marcus / PG) – Reminiscent of Rotnei Clark in many ways. Terrific shooter and a great teammate. Pretty limited, physically, but will really be able to help a team with his basketball IQ and attitude.Considering: Kansas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, TCU, Kansas State, Iowa17. Alex Caruso (A&M Consolidated / SG) – Another addition to the Top 20, Caruso possesses excellent ball skills and is a scoring machine when focused. The explosive playmaker does well in transition, but must continue to get bigger and add weight. Considering: Colorado, Texas A&M, Creighton, Texas Tech, Georgia Tech, Nebraska18. Niem Stevenson (Carrolton Ranchview / SG) – Stevenson is an intriguing prospect because he is a kid that has some intangibles (good footwork, good body control, long reach, plus athleticism) but he’s still got a long ways to go with court vision and ball handling.Considering: Oklahoma, UNT, Utah State, Arkansas, Arizona, Clemson, Texas Tech, Wichita State19. Chris Washburn (South Grand Prairie / Center) – A terrific player in the paint, Washburn does an excellent job of scoring down low and even better job of rebounding. He has the size and skill to become a force at the mid-major level.Considering: Texas A&M, Memphis, Villanova, Detroit, LSU, Creighton, UTEP 20. Nick Banyard (Flower Mound Marcus / PF) – Banyard has a ton of upside and will either play at wing or power forward. A great rebounder and he does a great job running the floor as well.Considering: Houston, New Mexico, Clemson, Iowa, Vanderbilt, Minnesota, Tulane, Arkansas State