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December 2, 2008

Power rankings: Harden claims top billing

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

James Harden wasn't quite able to carry Arizona State to the title game of the 76 Classic last weekend, but there was no question Harden was the best player in the tournament.

In three games at the 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif., Harden averaged 29 points, shot 53 percent (25 of 47) from the floor and 90 percent (27 of 30) from the free-throw line. After pouring in 32 points in an 87-78 loss to Baylor in the semifinals, the sophomore exploded for a career-high 40 points in the Sun Devils' 88-58 rout of UTEP in the third-place game.

Those dominating performances lifted Harden to the No. 1 spot among small forwards in Rivals.com's latest power rankings, which provide a weekly look at the top players at each position and the top coaches in the nation.

Harden may now own the top overall stat line in the nation. He's averaging 27 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.8 steals while shooting 56 percent from the floor and 44 percent from 3-point range.

There was two other changes at the top of the rankings. Another sophomore, Purdue's E'Twaun Moore, vaulted to the No. 1 spot at shooting guard. Georgetown big man Greg Monroe moved to the No. 1 spot among freshmen.

The versatile Moore leads the Boilermakers, who lost to Oklahoma in overtime of the Preseason NIT title game, in scoring (16.7 ppg) and assists (3.8 apg) and ranks second on the team in rebounding (5.3 rpg), steals (1.2 spg) and blocks (1.2 bpg).

Monroe put together three solid games at the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla., to help the Hoyas to a third-place finish. Monroe leads the Hoyas in scoring (14.4 ppg), rebounding (5.6 rpg) and blocks (2.0 bpg).

Notre Dame's Kyle McAlarney and Kentucky's Jodie Meeks made the two biggest jumps, moving from Nos. 16 and 19 to Nos. 4 and 5 in the shooting guard rankings. McAlarney put on a shooting clinic in the Irish's loss to North Carolina in the final of the Maui Invitational, hitting 10 3-pointers. He made nine more 3-pointers in a win over Furman four days later. Meeks broke the 30-point barrier for the second time already this season with a 37-point performance in the Wildcats' 74-72 win over Kansas State in the semifinals of the Las Vegas Invitational.

McAlarney's teammate, Tory Jackson was one of five new additions to the point guard rankings, joining Arizona's Nic Wise, California Jerome Randle, Tennessee's Bobby Maze and Virginia Commonwealth's Eric Maynor.

The power rankings of a player and coach can fluctuate each week during the season depending on how they fared the previous week, but the rankings measure overall career performances as well as their most recent results.

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

Andrew Skwara is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at askwara@rivals.com.

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