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April 27, 2011

Rivers retains top spot in Rivals150

MORE: The 2011 Rivals150 | Rivals.com experts answer your questions about the ranking

Three prospects made a run for the No. 1 ranking, but Austin Rivers holds onto the top spot in the final edition of the Rivals150 for the 2011 class.

The next great playmaking guard to hit the college ranks, Rivers will pick up the scoring burden for the Duke Blue Devils next year. And it is scoring that Rivers specializes in.

With one of the best bursts to the basket in his class, he can finish with a variety of shots inside the heart of the defense. Outside the arc, Rivers creates separation with patented jab-step, hop-back and hesitation moves.

The ease with which he scores and the evolution of his game over the last few years bode well for Rivers' future. What he excels at will translate to the highest levels and he possesses the tools and work ethic to improve in the areas he doesn't yet excel in. His offense will always be ahead of his defense, but we expect the separation between the two to significantly shrink in the coming years.

Right behind Rivers is Kentucky signee Anthony Davis. Coming out of obscurity a year ago, Davis has clearly established himself as the top big man in the country.

Like Rivers, Davis also knows how to score. He is a threat to score in the paint and can do damage from the perimeter as well. Defensively, he has the timing and length of a high level shot blocker.

Davis' best years are ahead of him and how much muscle mass he adds to his frame will have a lot to do with how high a level he can take his game.

Fellow Kentucky signee Mike Gilchrist takes the No. 3 slot. One of the top competitors in the class with all the intangibles, Gilchrist proved throughout the year that he also has the skill level of an elite prospect.

He might not be a primary scorer at the next levels, but Gilchrist is capable scoring through different methods. He is a strong finisher in transition, a dangerous offensive rebounder, a capable midrange scorer and an improving outside shooter.

Gilchrist does his best work in traffic and can be counted upon to make the tough play.

The final No. 1 candidate is future Florida Gator Brad Beal. Like Rivers, Beal is an exceptional scorer. He has a penchant for making big shots and tough shots either off the catch or off the dribble.

Along with his scoring, Beal possesses the other qualities of a high level shooting guard. He is a solid ball handler, a strong defender and he can rebound.

Rounding out the top 10 are Marquis Teague (Kentucky), LeBryan Nash (Oklahoma State), Quincy Miller (Baylor), James McAdoo (North Carolina), Khem Birch (Pittsburgh) and DeAndre Daniels (Undecided).



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