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May 9, 2007

Rivals150: Five on the rise

April was a fantastic month.

After watching the best players in the nation go at it on the court, Rivals.com was impressed with a number of standouts in the class of 2008.

There are still a couple of players within the updated Rivals150 who made a splash on the national scene. Five of the spring's top risers are entering the summer on a high note. Here is a look at those players and their games:

Rivals150: Five on the rise
Iman Shumpert
6-4, 185, Oak Park (Ill.) River Forest
Of all the players outside the five-star category, Shumpert might be playing the best basketball of anyone in the country. The combo guard from Illinois gained confidence after every game he played in this spring. As he began to believe in his ability, coaches from across the country lined the sidelines to see him in action. Nearly every school on his list has him as the priority recruit in the class right now. The Mario Chalmers clone has good range with his jumper and he's tenacious on defense.

Jerry Meyer on Shumpert: "I haven't had the chance to watch Shumpert yet, but Justin Young came back from Pittsburgh and Ohio raving about his abilities. We might have been a little conservative with his ranking, but Shumpert will have plenty of opportunities to raise his stock throughout the summer."

J'Mison Morgan
6-10, 275, Dallas (Texas) South Oak Cliff
Morgan in action
The big man watched and worked with Darrell Arthur in high school, and those learning experiences are starting to shine through. Morgan, one of the biggest and strongest players in the class of 2008, is fine tuning his body and putting everything together. Morgan has soft hands and good feet, two ingredients that are valuable to big men. He is really starting to tap into the player he can become. UCLA, Kentucky, Alabama, Kansas, Georgetown and UNLV are hot on his trail.

Jerry Meyer on Morgan: "Morgan has always had good hands and feet and a soft touch around the basket, but he hasn't always been in the shape he has needed to be in. Now, he has slimmed down and is running much better. If he continues to work on his body and improve his ability to play hard for longer stretches of time, Morgan's value as a prospect will only improve."

Terrance Henry
6-9, 190, Monroe (La.) Carroll
After making a splash at the Real Deal on the Hill against Renardo Sidney - one of the best prospects in the country - Henry went from a blip on the radar to a clear and present prospect for the high-majors. Alabama, Tennessee, USC, Kansas, Missouri, LSU, Ole Miss and Baylor have offered, according to his high school coach. Kentucky is also apparently charting his progress. So are we. He has a chance to improve even more.

Jerry Meyer on Henry: "In the mold of five-star Anthony Jones, you have to love the way Henry works with the basketball at 6-foot-9. He is long and athletic, and his future position is small forward. A versatile player, he can post up and score as well as put the ball on the floor and attack from the perimeter. His mid-range shot is solid. If he stretches his range to beyond the 3-point arc, he will become a more dangerous player."

Angel Garcia
6-10, 210, East Chicago (Ind.) Central
The skilled native of Puerto Rico showed up on the spring circuit with added upper-body weight and his trademark perimeter jump shot. His added strength has helped his game, especially inside the paint. The big wing quietly went about his business, but that may change this summer. Garcia has the tools to continue to rise up the rankings and land at a big-time program. DePaul, Indiana, Louisville and Memphis are on his short list at the moment.

Jerry Meyer on Garcia: "The word on Garcia is that at 6-foot-10, he handles like a point guard and shoots like a two guard. That is actually pretty close to the truth. An extremely skilled prospect, if Garcia continues to build his body and improve his explosiveness, he will certainly be a strong candidate for five-star status."

Darnell Wilks
6-8, 205, Nashville (Tenn.) Pioneer Christian
Athletically, there are few better than the Cincinnati commitment. Wilks showed off his natural abilities all spring long and made a splash with his versatility and overall upside. Still developing as a high-major prospect, Wilks could be a player that continues the upswing in the summer months as he improves his ball-handling, shooting and overall approach to the game with the always successful Southeast Elite AAU team.

Jerry Meyer on Wilks: "Without a question, Wilks has five-star athleticism. He can run and jump with the best of them in the NBA. Wilks also has legitimate small-forward skills. He handles the ball well, sees the court and can knock down a 3-pointer. The challenge for Wilks is to improve his decision making and to improve as a defensive player."

More names to watch: D.J. Seeley, SG, Modesto (Calif.) Modesto Christian; Wesley Witherspoon, SF, Lilburn (Ga.) Berkmar; Kris Joseph, SF, Hyattsville (Md.) Archbishop Carroll; Renaldo Woolridge, SF, North Hollywood (Calif.) Harvard-Westlake

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