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June 28, 2007

Class of 2009 rankings extended to 75

The all-important month of July is almost upon us, and further evaluation of prospects will hit full swing very soon.

After attending more than a dozen events in the spring, Rivals.com has extended the Class of 2009 rankings from 40 to 75. We have also extended the five-star rankings from 20 players to 23.

Who are the top class of 2009 prospects heading into the next evaluation period? Who emerged in the class? Who moved up? Who is bound to break out next?

Sidney keeps top spot, Riek challenging

While there are a number of changes in the rankings, one player continues to have a strong hold on the top spot. California forward Renardo Sidney is still No. 1, but he is certainly being challenged.

Sidney, an imposing 6-foot-9, 225-pound forward from Artesia High School, has been strong this spring and summer. However, there is a newcomer knocking on the door.

The Nike Hoop Jamboree introduced much of the world to John Riek, a 7-foot-2 center from Our Savior New American. Riek is mobile, aggressive and further along in his progress than most African transplants. The Sudanese pivot man impressed Rivals.com's Jerry Meyer.

"Riek is an unusual player in that at 7-foot-2 he doesn't just wait for the game to come to him," Meyer said. "He moves his feet well and pursues the basketball. He also has good hands and does an unbelievable job keeping the ball high. His fundamentals are quite impressive."

"We haven't seen a lot of Riek, but our initial impression is that this guy could be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft one day. We can't wait to track him a little further to see if he should indeed be our No. 1 prospect."

Moving up the charts

Dominic Cheek, a 6-foot-5 guard from the famed St. Anthony's program in New Jersey, is one of the most electric scorers in the class. He has moved up to the 14th overall position in the 2009 group. Cheek has shined at nearly every national event he has participated in individually, and he has proven to be a leader on his Playaz 16-and-under club.

Terrell Vinson moves back into the five-star range after a great showing at the National Basketball Players Association Top 100 camp in Virginia. The 6-foot-7 forward showed a keen ability to play well inside and outside. Vinson checks in at No. 17.

After a stellar showing at the Nike Hoop Jamboree, Georgia wing Ari Stewart makes his rankings debut at No. 19 overall. The 6-foot-7 athlete hails from Peach State power Wheeler High School.

2009 class is on guard

The class of 2008 was loaded with talented big men. The class of 2009 features a deep pool of talented shooting guards.

Xavier Henry, the No. 2 overall player in the class, leads the charge at the two spot. The Oklahoma native is one of the most polished prospects in the country. He has shined in every event he has participated in this spring and summer.

New York native Lance Stephenson, the No. 4 player in the class, brought his 'A' game to the USA Youth Development Festival in Colorado last week. Stevenson certainly cemented himself as one of the elite players in the class of 2009.

Florida native Kenny Boynton (No. 8) has shown he can explode for 30 points (or more) in any game. Memphis-area guard Leslie McDonald (No. 9) is one of the most polished prospects in the backcourt. Virginia native Karron Johnson (No. 7) is a great combination of size (6-7) and athleticism.

An interesting summer on tap

The July evaluation period will be an interesting one for the class of 2009. There are only two players, Kyle Hardrick (Oklahoma) and Alex Oriakhi (Connecticut) in the top 75 rankings that have picked a school.

Prospects seem to be taking a slower approach than other classes when making college decisions. Almost all of the talent is still on the board as college coaches determine which players will be the best fits for their programs.

Every five-star player remains uncommitted and open at the moment, so stay tuned to Rivals.com for updates and breaking commitment news throughout the summer.



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