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October 20, 2006

Beasley boasts a versatile game

Power forward
6-9, 235, Fitchburg (Mass.) Notre Dame Prep

Rivals.com Rankings
Rivals150 for 2007: No. 1 overall
2007 power forwards: No. 1

Career Stats
2005-06 (Jr.) 20.1 10.4 4.5
2004-05 (Soph.) 28.0 13.0 4.0
2003-04 (Fr.) 30.0 10.0 N/A

Watch the latest highlights of Michael Beasley in action
1. What NBA player do you pattern your game after?
Carmelo Anthony. We're the same size and do a lot of the same things.

2. What's the best part of your game?
My competitiveness and my will to win.

3. What do you still need to work on?
Everything. You can't just work on one part of your game and leave the others hanging.

4. Who is the best player you have ever played against?
Paul Harris. He is really strong, a great defender and great all-around player.

5. What is your greatest sports moment?
This summer in a Pro-AM league in D.C., I took Gilbert Arenas hard left, then spun right and dunked all over him.

6. What is your favorite way to get ready for a game?
Listen to Jay Z, Lauren Hill and Little Wayne.

7. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In the NBA - with at least three or four championship rings.

As the game of basketball evolves - with guards playing down low, big men shooting 3-pointers, players posting up in the mid-range on isolation plays and guarding point guards after switching on ball screens - mobile and versatile players are at a greater premium.

One reason Rivals.com likes Michael Beasley as the No. 1 ranked prospect in the class of 2007 is because of his versatility.

"Beasley is a 6-foot-9 combo forward with both a powerful game and a finesse game," commented Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Jerry Meyer. "The future of the NBA calls for forwards who can run, defend multiple positions and stretch the defense on the offensive end. Beasley fits this mold to a T."

Although using different terminology, Beasley has a simple answer regarding what makes him so dangerous on the court.

"My best strength is that I just play basketball," Beasley commented. "It is not my shooting, passing, rebounding, defense or any of the things that I can do. I'm a basketball player. That is what makes me special."

What also makes Beasley special is his flamboyance and willingness to share his opinions. After describing the similarities of his game with Carmelo Anthony's game, Beasley also pointed out how he jumps higher and bangs harder down low on defense than Anthony does. Beasley certainly wasn't hesitant in describing how he dunked over Gilbert Arenas in a summer Pro-Am game.

Beasley's brashness causes some to bristle and look harder for flaws in his game. With the difficulty in finding weaknesses in Beasley's game, the general criticism is that he is an inconsistent performer.

"Sometimes I score a lot, but I don't feel like I need to score a lot of points every time out," said Beasley. "I hate to lose. I just want to win. I don't have a problem chilling out or having fun talking as long as the outcome is going to be a win.

"All I know is that if I don't score a lot of points, I'm grabbing 15 rebounds. I guess people just want to see me score."

Although Beasley has achieved a No. 1 ranking, don't expect him to rest on his laurels. He recently put up 50 points in a game for the Juice All Stars, and is working hard to solidify his perimeter skills.

"Honestly, being the No. 1 player means a lot and it also means nothing," he said. "On any given day, where you stack up can change. It doesn't matter to me if I'm No. 1 or number 900,000, I have to come out and play hard every day."

Rivals.com is unveiling its preseason Elite Team for the Class of 2007. Comprised of the nation's top high school basketball stars, the Elite Team is broken down into position-specific first, second and third teams. These stars will soon be signing with the top college basketball programs en route to the NBA. We will announce one player each weekday from Oct. 2-20.

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