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August 22, 2007

High risers in the 2008 class

Rivals.com observed several prospects over the course of the summer that went from slightly under the radar to national names. Players like four-star forward Anthony Booker showed star potential at the summer events.

National basketball recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer breaks down some of the high risers who made big jumps in the recent rankings update for the 2008 class.

High Risers
Anthony Booker, Florissant (Mo.) Mccluer North
Rank: No. 29 overall prospect, No. 9 power forward

Over the course of the summer, word began to spread that Southern Illinois landed a star in 2008 power forward prospect Anthony Booker. Booker lived up to that billing when Rivals.com watched him perform in the adidas Super 64 event in Las Vegas. Against one of the top travel teams in the country (Pump N Run) and its highly ranked front line, Booker put on a show. He repeatedly posted his man up around the 17-foot range and went to work. He showed an advanced array of scoring moves: face-up jumpers off jab steps, slashing drives after shot fakes and spin moves going either direction. Booker was also a defensive presence, showing the ability to guard both in the post and on the perimeter. His quickness to the ball off the glass was impressive as well. It is players with the star potential like Booker who give the Missouri Valley teams the ability to compete with the big boys on any given night.
Mookie Jones, Peekskill, N.Y.
Rank: No. 40 overall prospect, No. 6 small forward

Many 6-foot-6 athletes have attempted the transition from post player to perimeter player in hopes of becoming a legitimate small forward. More times than not, these prospects fail to transform their games and remain undersized interior players. Mookie Jones, however, is one of those rare players who rapidly developed into a legitimate perimeter threat during the course of the travel season. Smooth with the basketball, Jones has the ability to make plays off the bounce. He has a knack for hitting tough shots on the move, and he can also be effective from 3-point range. His most impressive attribute is the way he sees the floor while on the move with the basketball. His experience playing around the basket helps round out his game. From the small forward position, he is a dangerous rebounder. Jones also has the versatility to defend anywhere on the court.
Deividas Dulkys, Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep
Rank: No. 67 overall prospect, No. 14 shooting guard

Word out of Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep was that Lithuanian shooting guard Deividas Dulkys was a special player. At the Reebok Summer Championships in Las Vegas, Rivals.com discovered that the word out of Findlay was absolutely correct. A surprisingly bouncy athlete at 6-foot-3, Dulkys is put together well. He has the physical base of a high-major shooting guard prospect. Throw in a jumper with range, a quick release and an athletic burst to the basket, and you have a very intriguing high-major shooting guard prospect. Dulkys has with a great mind for the game. Combine that with his physical skills, and you have a top-75 prospect. Because of his ability to feed the post with either hand - and his feel for moving without the basketball - it is clear that Dulkys has the type of mature game that will allow him to play well in college.
Lance Goulbourne, Princeton (N.J.) The Hun School
Rank: No. 90 overall prospect, No. 13 small forward

Rivals.com first noticed Lance Goulbourne at the NIKE Memorial Day Classic in Nashville. Playing for an undersized Team Final squad, Goulbourne played primarily around the basket. He used his athleticism to clean up misses by Tyreke Evans and Nasir Robinson, who were the primary offensive options on the team. Goulbourne was impressive in his secondary role, using his athleticism to chase down the basketball and finish in transition. He also showed flashes of what we would see later in the summer. In July at the LeBron James US Skills Academy, Goulbourne played strictly at the small forward position and solidified himself as a four-star prospect. He shot the ball with confidence from outside and made plays off the dribble. A lot of his buckets came off pull-up jumpers in the midrange. The bouncy 6-foot-7 athlete is also a versatile defender. He plays with a big-time motor, which makes him especially dangerous as an offensive rebounder.
Delwan Graham, Atlanta (Ga.) Dunwoody
Rank: No. 92 overall prospect, No. 14 small forward

With his explosive mixture of strength and athleticism, Delwan Graham has always been the type of player to make eye-catching plays. He also plays hard all the time. The question, though, has been whether he has enough of a skill game at 6-foot-5 to make him a four-star small forward prospect. Earlier in his career he seemed destined to be an undersized interior player on the mid-major/high-major bubble. Graham's play in the month of July squelched that talk. Graham continued to make hustle play after hustle play. In fact, he made enough of those plays to solidify himself as a legitimate high-major prospect - even if he is a bit undersized. Graham also consistently made plays with the basketball this summer. Running the lanes in transition, he continually made positive plays on the break. In the half court, he produced points on midrange jumpers and back-to-the-basket moves. His competitiveness and toughness were on display when he successfully defended much larger players in the post. He also rebounded at the highest level. Graham isn't the prettiest player, but you would much rather have him on your team than have him on the other side.

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