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November 29, 2005

Best of the Rest: Shooting guards

If there is one position that still boasts a number of mid-major or better players it's shooting guard. There are plenty of capable scorers to be found in the class of 2006.

Three Rivals150 prospects remain

Since parting ways with Connecticut, Ramar Smith has become a hot target for a number of high majors. Arkansas, Illinois, Miami and Tennessee are all on his short list. Pound for pound, there isn't a better scorer in the backcourt still available than Smith.

JuJuan Jones, a 6-foot-5 guard from Douglas County (Ga.) High School, is still unsigned but off-the-court issues may have scared away the high majors, at least for the time being. The No. 84 ranked player in the senior class has a world of potential, but for the time being he's putting it all on pause.

Leon Freeman, the No. 147 ranked player in the class of 2006, has long maintained his desire to play for Michigan State. Academics have been the thing holding him up. Even as a Rivals150 member, Freeman is one of the most underrated players in the country.

Prep schools provide a punch in the backcourt

For coaches looking for a scoring guard, the place to be was the National Prep School Tip-Off event in Rhode Island last week. There were plenty of guys who can fill up the scoring column there and it was the scoring guards that made the biggest noise.

Former Missouri signee Keaton Grant is one of the better guards still out there. Now at Bridgton Academy, he's taking another year to get his qualifying score and adjusting well to the nightly competition in the NEPSAC.

Remember the name Ricky Harris? He was on the list for best of the rest regarding the point guards. So what position is he? His head coach Mike Byrnes says he's a pure 2-guard while some college coaches were planning on recruiting him as a point.

One assistant with a keen eye says he's this year's Tyrese Rice, who is a freshman at Boston College this season. Rice was an underrecruited guard with a knack for scoring. So far in five games played, Rice is putting in 13.4 points a game. Harris has that same kind of offensive punch. Byrnes said he's the perfect player for the Atlantic 10 as a 2-guard.

Chris Chaney has a trio of guards at the Patterson School whom Division I coaches are eye-balling this year. Perhaps with the biggest rep is former Arizona State commit Seketoure Henry. The high-flying athlete didn't look like his old self at the NPT and may be more of a mid-major guy than originally thought.

With a rotation that goes 10 deep, guys like Lamar Falley may not get the minutes they may want but the Las Vegas native has a deadly stroke from deep and knows how to light it up. He may take a while to crack the steady rotation but he'll have to fight off Bobby Maze.

Maze, a blazing quick guard from D.C., was one of the big suprises of the NPT. He's a pure scorer who patterns his game after Allen Iverson, right down to the tats, the arm sleeve, the braids and the dribble penetration. Once thought to be a commitment to Delaware, he's now hearing from the likes of Clemson, Georgetown, Fordham, Villanova and Virginia Tech. The high majors will watch him closer as the season goes along.

Herb Tanner left the Northeast to attend Stoneridge Prep in California. The Boston native has been the scoring leader for Babacar Sy's squad and when he's open from deep, he's money. A number of mid-major Northeastern schools dot his list.

Vernon Teel, a crafty 6-foot-3, 170-pound combo guard from XX, is fine-tuning his game at Laurinburg (N.C.) and hoping to score a high-major offer. He was just OK at the NPT but has his name on a number of watch lists for ACC, Atlantic 10, Big East and other conferences.

Once committed to Providence, Saiquon Stone is back on the scene and now down at Laurinburg (N.C.) Prep with Teel. A lockdown defender, this New Yorker is a high-energy player who loves to compete at the highest level and should be able to catch back on with a high-major school if he continues to show that he can shoot it from deep and be quick enough with the dribble.

High schoolers aren't too bad themselves

California sleeper Landry Fields is one of the best in the West who is still open. He has been a longtime must-watch guy for the likes of Gonzaga and Stanford. One source says he's waiting on Stanford to make an official offer.

Kansas City native Isaac Miles is a major target for Missouri while Creighton, UNLV and UMKC are also in the picture. He's probably more of a point guard at the next level but he's one of the better uncommitted guards in the Midwest.

Coaches will have plenty of opportunities to see Philly guard Earl Pettis in action this year with his Neumann-Goretti squad. They'll play anyone. He's your typical Philly tough guard who is better in transition than as a shooter. Pettis recently told Rivals.com that he's high on LaSalle, Temple and Seton Hall.

Michigan shooting guard Larry Wright took a visit to San Diego State in the fall but wants to put things on hold and reevaluate things after the season. He said he's hearing from St. John's, UNLV, St. Bonaventure, Ball State, George Washington, Tennessee, Pittsburgh and Seton Hall.

Texas combo guard Marcus Brister is a player to watch this season. Playing at the Dallas area power Duncanville, the 6-3 Brister will have plenty of opportunities to show off his ability to score at the basket whenever he wants. He recently told Rivals.com that UTEP, Minnesota, Baylor, Louisiana Tech and San Jose State round out his top five.

On Wednesday, Rivals.com will examine the top remaining wing players who are still uncommitted and unsigned.

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