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January 18, 2007
Hoops class of 2006 living up to its billing
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The rule prohibiting players from entering the NBA directly out of high school figured to make this one of the top freshman classes in recent college basketball history.
This class hasn't disappointed in that regard.
A look at Rivals.com's top 10 players in the 2006 recruiting class illustrates how much of an impact freshmen have made across the nation.
All 10 players on the list already have cracked the starting lineups of their respective teams. The only one not scoring in double figures is Stanford forward Brook Lopez, who is still working his way into peak condition after undergoing offseason back surgery.
"We feel pretty good about that top 10," said Jerry Meyer, the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. "It's hard to find guys below them in the rankings who are playing better."
Ohio State center Greg Oden – the No. 1 player in the 2006 recruiting class – set a school record by shooting a perfect 8-for-8 in his second career game. Oden already has established himself as one of the game's top defensive players.
The 7-footer is averaging 14.9 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.9 blocks per game despite playing with a surgically repaired right wrist. Oden wears a cast on his right hand and has to shoot free throws with his left hand.
And he's not even the best freshman on this list.
That honor belongs to Texas forward Kevin Durant, rated by Rivals.com as the No. 2 recruit in the nation. Durant leads the Big 12 in scoring and rebounding and has been selected as the Rivals.com national freshman of the week each of the last two weeks.
"I'm impressed at how he has become a more physical player," Meyer said. "We all knew he was capable of scoring in huge numbers for Texas, but when you watch Texas play, he actually plays center for them most of the time. He's doing a great job of rebounding, and he's doing a great job of scoring inside with strong physical moves. He's not just relying on his jump shot."
Here's a closer look at how Rivals.com's top 10 players in the 2006 recruiting class have fared thus far. The players are listed in order of their ranking.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.