March 10, 2008

Best of the Rest: Centers

Finishing our Best of the Rest series, the centers round out the broad stroke view at each position.

There are some big fellas left. Some should help right away. Some are coming into their own at the right time. Some may need a year before making it to the big stage.

We break down what's left at the position before the late signing period begins on April 16.

Best of the rest | Sleepers | 2008 Center rankings | 2009 Center Rankings

Best of the Rest: Centers

John Riek, Winchendon, Mass.

Rank: No. 2 center, No. 5 overall

College isn't a likely option for the 7-foot-2 Sudanese big man. The pro game is. That has been the plan all along. Since dominating the summer camps last year, the reviews have been mixed on him this year at the prep school level. projects Riek as a second-round pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. Most other draft projections have him slated as a late first to early second round pick, too.

A big splash at the Nike Hoop Summit game could change his futures all together.

Krystopher Faber, Los Angeles (Calif.) Ribet Academy

Every year there are a couple of late-blooming big men that catch on like wildfire. introduced you to him before the season and he's lived up to the hype this season out West.

As teams came in to see what Faber is all about, Minnesota was one of the first schools to sneak in there with him. Faber officially visited the Minnesota campus in the fall and the Gophers have been the leader for quite some time. UCLA, St. John's and Northern Illinois are also in the picture. Faber has visited Northern Illinois officially.

The three-star big man will announce his decision on the first day of the signing period (April 16).

Frank Ben-Eze, Arlington (Va.) Bishop O'Connell

Once thought to be the prize recruit of Harvard's tremendous recruiting class from the fall, the mammoth 6-foot-10, 230-pound center from Bishop O'Connell (Va.) is now back on the open market.

Expect the flood gates to open with Ben-Eze. The big man has the grades, he comes from a program that knows how to prepare players for the next level and with his size, there just aren't players like him still on the recruiting board.

The Virginia high-major schools recruited him along with Marquette prior to his pledge to the Ivy League. It will be interesting to see who lines up in the next few days.

Melvin Oliver, Jackson (Miss.) Elite Christian Academy

While Riek certainly holds down the honor of the tallest player left on the board, the 6-foot-11, 300-plus pound Oliver holds the honor of being the biggest player left on the board. And maybe even the biggest mystery, too.

Tucked away at tiny Mississippi Elite Christian Academy, a lot of coaches knew little about him prior to the season. Oliver has played well at some prep school events and the interest in him seems to grow by the day.

Baylor, Connecticut, Kentucky, Memphis, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Southern California, Southern Miss, SMU and others have shown various amounts of interest.

Maurice Sutton, Upper Marlboro (Md.) Largo

As the season has gone along, the intrigue and interest for the Largo (Md.) center has increased ten times over. The interest seems to be justified as the long-armed center posted a near triple-double average this season.

Sutton has various degrees of interest from Clemson, Kentucky, Hawaii, LaSalle, Miami (FL), N.C. State, Seton Hall, South Florida and St. John's. He said he would like to use all five of his visits in the spring.

Sutton has the makings of a late-bloomer that, given the right situation, could be a nice steal late in the signing period in a big man depleted talent pool.

Sleeper Central

The recruiting picture for Chicago (Ill.) Currie center Steve Goins went from Detroit, UIC and Marist to South Florida, Connecticut, DePaul and others. Those in the Windy City say he is somewhere right in between.

Another Chicagoland big man on the radar is Aziz N'Diaye. One look at the 7-footer screams pro. A stop at the junior college level is the first step. Making a move to the Division I level or the pro level is imminent.

Playing the Robin to Demar Derozan's Batman at Compton (Calif.) High School, Edgar Garibay had a solid senior season and one that certainly would warrant high-major attention. The 6-foot-10 big man still has a couple of roadblocks to overcome academically first.

Best of the rest | Sleepers | 2008 Center rankings | 2009 Center Rankings


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