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Sunday, November 04, 2007

Jeff Goodman's Elite Wing Players (CDR #2)

College basketball's top wing players
Jeff Goodman

We gave you our top point guards yesterday. Now it's time to rank the country's elite wings.

1. Chris Lofton, 6-2, 200, Sr., Tennessee — He's not only the top contested shooter in America, but the best shooter period. If you want a guy taking the last shot, Lofton is your guy. He's fearless and has unlimited range, with career three-point accuracy of 43.8 percent.

2. Chris Douglas-Roberts, 6-6, 200, Jr., Memphis — Versatile and athletic player who has improved his outside shot. He's long, can handle the ball and showed his toughness when he gutted it out in the NCAA tournament last season despite a serious ankle sprain.

3. Eric Gordon, 6-4, 215, Fr., Indiana — He's the most talented player on this list, but we're not putting him at No. 1 because he's just a freshman and Lofton and CDR have proven themselves at the college level. Gordon can score in every way possible. He is strong enough to finish at the rim, shoots the ball extremely well from long distance and makes quality decisions.

4. Brandon Rush, 6-6, 210, Jr., Kansas — No one thought he'd still be around after two seasons in college. He's athletic and has a much-improved outside shot, but is coming off a torn ACL in June and may take some time to get back to 100 percent.

5. Chase Budinger, 6-7, 210, Soph., Arizona — He's athletic, can put the ball on the floor and can shoot it from the perimeter. He's gotten stronger and if he can become an adequate defensive player, he'll have the total package. Averaged 15.6 points and 5.8 boards last season.

6. Kyle Weaver, 6-6, 200, Sr., Washington State — He's extremely versatile and underrated. Became the first Pac-10 player to have 300 points, 125 rebounds, 125 assists, 50 steals and 35 blocks in a season. Also played on the Pan Am Team.

7. Paul Harris, 6-5, 225, Soph., Syracuse — Harris is the ultimate warrior who didn't really get a chance to show what he could do on a senior-laden team last season. He had the highest rebounding average of any Big East freshman at 7.1 and he's a guard. The weak link is his perimeter shot.

8. Stephen Curry, 6-2, 185, Soph., Davidson — The son of former NBA player Dell Curry, this kid can fill it up. Averaged 21.5 points while shooting 41 percent from downtown.

9. Patrick Beverley, 6-1, 180, Soph., Arkansas — He was the SEC Newcomer of the Year and helped lead Team USA at the Under-19 World Championships in Serbia over the summer. Terrific offensive player with a tremendous work ethic.

10. Tyler Smith, 6-7, 215, Soph., Tennessee — The NCAA allowed him to play this season despite transferring in from Iowa because his father, who passed away a few weeks ago, had cancer. Smith is a big-time athlete who averaged 14.9 points, 4.9 boards and 3.6 assists as a freshman for Steve Alford.

11. Kyle Singler, 6-8, 220, Fr., Duke — He'll play both forward spots, but we're going to classify him as a wing. He does it all: can score, defend and even gets on the glass.

12. Shan Foster, 6-6, 205, Sr., Vanderbilt — Athletic scorer who can shoot the ball from long distance and also get to the basket. Averaged 15.6 points and shot 35 percent from long range a year ago. He'll face more pressure with the departure of Derrick Byars.

13. Bill Walker, 6-6, 220, Fr., Kansas State — Played in just six games due to a torn ACL in his left knee. Is one of the most athletic players in the country but will have to improve his perimeter shot. Averaged 11.3 points and 4.5 boards in those half-dozen games.

14. Malik Hairston, 6-6, 220, Sr., Oregon — Versatile Detroit native who battled through injuries a year ago. Can get to the bucket and also shoots it well from the perimeter.

15. Wayne Ellington, 6-4, 195, Soph., North Carolina — Smooth and can knock down shots from long distance. Started 37 games as a freshman, was third on the team in scoring (11.7) and made 66 trifectas.

16. Marcelus Kemp, 6-5, 210, Sr., Nevada — He was second on the team in scoring (18.5) behind Nick Fazekas. Look for him to increase his versatility and play some point guard this season. Is big, strong and versatile.

Western Kentucky's Courtney Lee shows the hops that make him a threat to score from anywhere. (Daily News, Joe Imel / Associated Press)

17. Courtney Lee, 6-5, 200, Sr., Western Kentucky — Big-time athlete who can also make shots — evident by his 40 percent career three-point field goal percentage. Good size and could play — and excel — anywhere.

18. Jaycee Caroll, 6-2, 175, Sr., Utah State — One of the best shooters in the country and the odds-on favorite to be the WAC Player of the Year. The 45 percent career 3-point shooter has 1,737 career points, just 391 shy of becoming the school's all-time leading scorer.

19. Mario Chalmers, 6-1, 190, Jr., Kansas — A combo guard who plays both ends of the court. Averaged 12.2 points per game on a balanced team and was 10th in the Big 12 in assist-to-turnover ratio.

20. Scottie Reynolds, 6-2, 195, Soph., Villanova — The Virginia native can play either backcourt spot, but his biggest asset is scoring ability. He can score in a variety of ways and was the Big East Rookie of the Year, joining Tim Thomas as the only Wildcats to earn the honor.

21. Wesley Matthews, 6-5, 215, Jr., Marquette — Most people have his backcourt mates rated ahead of him, but this guy could turn out to be the best pro if he can become more consistent with his perimeter shot. Versatile and strong to the basket.

22. Jerel McNeal, 6-3, 200, Jr., Marquette — Does it all for Tom Crean and the Golden Eagles. Rebounds, defends and scores enough — although he needs to work on his offensive game.

23. Geoff McDermott, 6-8, 230, Jr., Providence — He should probably be on the post player list, but he can also play some on the wing — primarily because of his passing ability. McDermott was third in the Big East in assists, fourth in rebounding, fifth in steals and averaged 9.5 points per game.

UCLA guard Josh Shipp hopes hip surgery won't limit his ability to drive to the basket. (Mark Avery / Associated Press)

24. Weyinmi Efejuku, 6-5, 210, Jr., Providence — He tends to coast at times. If he plays hard every game, Efejuku could be one of the most dominant players in the Big East. Averaged 14.1 points and 4.3 boards per game.

25. Robert Vaden, 6-5, 207, Jr., UAB — Sat out last season after following Mike Davis from Indiana. Can literally do it all. Led Indiana in assists and steals two years ago while also averaging 13.5 points per game.

26. Earl Clark, 6-8, 220, Soph., Louisville — This one is all about potential. He can handle the ball like a point guard and is so smooth he's able to glide to the basket. Moved into the starting lineup late in the season and should stay there.

27. Antonio Anderson, 6-6, 210, Jr., Memphis — Could score more if the Tigers needed that from him. It's the intangibles that make him arguably the most important player on the team. He's the leader, can defend and can score when necessary with an improved outside shot.

28. Josh Shipp, 6-5, 220, Jr., UCLA — He's a proven scorer, but another hip surgery has us a little concerned whether he'll be able to improve on last season's 13.3 points per game. His defense is also suspect.

29. Raymar Morgan, 6-7, 220, Soph., Michigan State — An athletic combo forward, he's versatile — can defend, rebound and score.

30. Terrence Williams, 6-6, 210, Jr., Louisville — Led the Cardinals in scoring and brings plenty of toughness to the table. Needs to make better decisions.



31. Lewis Clinch, 6-3, 195, Jr., Georgia Tech — Big-time scorer who can put points on the board from just about anywhere. Missed the second half of last season due to academics, but will be counted upon heavily with the loss of Thaddeus Young and Javaris Crittenton to the NBA.

32. Jimmy Baron, 6-3, 195, Jr., Rhode Island — He's one of the top outside shooters in the country and has worked on putting the ball on the floor and improving his lateral quickness. After Chris Lofton, Baron is the guy I'd want shooting the ball with the game on the line.

33. Jason Rich, 6-3, 210, Sr., Florida State — With the loss of Al Thornton, it's time for the athletic Rich to step up. He's got the ability to get into the paint and finish over big guys — and his shot has gotten better.

34. Bryce Taylor, 6-4, 210, Sr., Oregon — Averaged 14.1 points and shot 42 percent from long range. He's smooth and can defend.

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