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October 27, 2006

Five ready to take game to the next level

There is still a full season of basketball to be played by the top 2007 prospects in the country.

Every year, a player on the cusp of elite status is bound to take his game to that next level. Which 2007 prospects are candidates to do that this season?

Here is a look at five of them:

Postseason Elite Team candidates
Johnny Flynn, PG, Niagara Falls (N.Y.)

An athletic floor general, Flynn came into his own when he emerged out of the shadow of Paul Harris. Flynn is extremely fast with the ball. He can also stop on a dime and make shots from 3-point range or closer. Flynn also has the athleticism and strength to absorb contact and finish at the rim. Defensively, he is an excellent pressure defender from baseline to baseline. He is a part of the loaded 2007 Syracuse recruiting class.
James Harden, SG, Rancho Dominguez (Calif.) Artesia

A silky smooth athlete, Harden is a potent threat anywhere on the court. The lefty is an excellent passer capable of running the point. Harden is a crafty scorer with a surprisingly quick first step and a smooth stroke from behind the arc. Defensively, he has a great understanding of positioning and causes problems with his length. He will take his mature game to Arizona State next year.
Solomon Alabi, C, Montverde (Fla.) Montverde Academy

Originally from Nigeria, Alibi made enormous strides in his game over this summer. If he continues to improve at this clip, watch out. Defensively he is a presence with his impressive length, although he is in need of more bulk. He runs the floor well and is developing a reliable jump hook that has the potential of being an unstoppable go-to move. Alibi will look to continue honing his game at Florida State.
Anthony Randolph, SF, Dallas Woodrow Wilson

Long, athletic and skilled, Randolph has the tools to move into elite status. However, he tends to drift away from the action and play too passive at times. When he is energetic and focused, the lefty is extremely difficult to guard because of his ability to put the ball on the floor. He can also shoot over defenders from the outside and pick up points off offensive rebounds. Defensively, his length is his greatest asset.
Craig Brackins, PF, Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy

A modern day skilled power forward, Brackins is a big inside/outside offensive threat. Especially dangerous in the high-post, he can consistently knock down 3-pointers and also has great touch as a passer. In the low-post, he is comfortable turning to either shoulder and finishing with jump hooks. Defensively, Brackins needs to become a more physical presence, but his length makes him quite difficult to score over. He will take his skilled game to Iowa State.

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