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December 15, 2009

Power rankings: Wall continues his climb

Rivals.com Power Rankings: PG | SG | SF | PF | C | Freshman | Head Coach

Six weeks into the season, Kentucky guard John Wall already has left no doubt that he's the nation's best freshman.

If he maintains his torrid pace, Wall also could remove much of the suspense from the national player of the year discussion.

Over the past two weeks, Wall has led Kentucky to victories over defending national champion North Carolina and 2009 Final Four participant Connecticut. Wall's performance in those two games helped make him the new No. 1 point guard in the Rivals.com College Basketball Power Rankings, which measure the nation's top performers at each position.

"He's no freshman," Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said. "He's a great player. That's what he is."

Calhoun made those remarks after Wall scored a game-high 25 points and recorded six steals in a 64-61 victory over Connecticut at Madison Square Garden. Four days earlier, Wall had 16 points and seven assists in a 68-66 triumph over North Carolina. Wall - rated the No. 1 player in the 2009 class by Rivals.com - followed up his huge effort against Connecticut by finishing with 11 points, eight assists and only one turnover Saturday in a 90-73 rout of Indiana.

"There is no harder worker on the team," Kentucky coach John Calipari said after the Connecticut game. "He doesn't miss a class. He doesn't miss a tutorial. He works harder than anyone on the team in the weight room. He works harder than anyone in practice."

The other change atop the player power rankings came at small forward. Ohio State's Evan Turner was No. 1 at the position before being sidelined earlier this month with broken bones in his back. The injury is expected to keep Turner from playing for two months, and it knocks Turner out of the power rankings entirely until he returns to action.

Duke's Kyle Singler replaces Turner as the No. 1 small forward. Singler scored 28 points in a 73-69 loss to Wisconsin and followed that up by compiling 17 points and eight assists in an 80-71 victory over St. John's.

Kansas' Bill Self moved to the top of the coach power rankings after leading his team to nine consecutive victories and the No. 1 ranking in each of the major polls. Self moved ahead of Michigan State's Tom Izzo, whose Spartans fell to Florida and North Carolina since the last edition of the power rankings.

Michigan shooting guard Manny Harris, Notre Dame power forward Luke Harangody and Kansas center Cole Aldrich remained atop their respective positions. Wall also maintained his status as the nation's No. 1 freshman.

The latest edition of the power rankings takes into account results through Monday's games. This represents the last edition of the power rankings in this calendar year. Beginning in January, we will update the power rankings each Tuesday.

Rivals.com Power Rankings: PG | SG | SF | PF | C | Freshman | Head Coach

Steve Megargee is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at smegargee@rivals.com.

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