After providing our take on high school basketball's top point guards
last week, we move to the paint for a breakdown of the nation's elite centers.
Even without Andre Drummond, who was expected to be a member of the 2012 class but fast-tracked to arrive at Connecticut this fall, it's a great year for bigs. Thirteen of the nation's top 30 players stand 6-foot-8 or taller with several true centers in that group.
Only players from teams that will be considered for our national rankings are included on the list, so no Mitch McGary
(No. 2 overall player in Class of 2012 Top 100) or Nerlens Noel
(No. 3 overall player in Class of 2013 Top 100).
Next week our preseason power rankings continue with our look at impact shooting guards. Rankings are based on team success, statistics and projected impact on the 2011-12 high school basketball season.Center Power Rankings
1. DaJuan Coleman, 6-8, 280, Sr., Jamesville-DeWitt (DeWitt, N.Y.)What to look for in 2011-12:
Coleman has a chance to head to the next level as the most decorated player in the Class of 2012 even if he has slid a bit as a pure prospect in the eyes of some. The Syracuse-area star averaged over 24 points and 13 rebounds per game as a junior while leading the Red Rams to a Class A state championship three-peat. Jamesville-DeWitt is 75-7 in Coleman's three years in the program.2. Tony Parker, 6-9, 270, Sr., Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.)What to look for in 2011-12:
MaxPreps.com's National Junior of the Year last winter, Parker is looking to write a successful final chapter to a storied high school career. Parker posted 17.5 points and 15.6 rebounds per game to help Miller Grove capture its third-straight Class AAAA state title in 2010-11. The Wolverines will tackle one of the nation's toughest schedules this season and will figure prominently in the preseason national rankings.3. Isaiah Austin, 7-0, 210, Sr., Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas)Committed to BaylorWhat to look for in 2011-12:
Austin may be playing with something to prove as a senior at Grace Prep. The wildly-talented 7-footer had an up-and-down summer and was suspended for Grace Prep's state championship game appearance last season. Despite a loaded roster, Austin and the Lions struggled against elite competition a year ago. They can shed that reputation in December at the prestigious City of Palms Classic.4. Cameron Ridley, 6-10, 250, Sr., Fort Bend Bush (Richmond, Texas)Committed to TexasWhat to look for in 2011-12:
As a sophomore, Ridley helped the Broncos go 36-4 and capture the Texas 5A state championship. After a bit of disappointing campaign as a junior, Fort Bend Bush should rejoin the elite in the Lone Star State with the future Texas Longhorn leading the way.5. Joell James, 6-10, 280, Sr., Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.)Committed to North CarolinaWhat to look for in 2011-12:
Incredibly with his 6-10 frame and talent enough to warrant an offer (which he recently accepted) from North Carolina, James has never been a focal point at Dwyer. The Panthers had an all-star 2011 senior class that included Jacoby Brissett – Florida's starting quarterback last Saturday against LSU. James managed to produce 8.0 points and 5.4 rebounds per game as a junior, helping Dwyer go 33-2 and capture Florida's 5A state title. Expect those numbers double this season.