Their final summer on the circuit. The last chance to make some waves and become a known commodity among coaches. A college coach once described the process to me as "You make your name and reputation in the summer and confirm it during the high school season". Of course that doesn't always apply but it is a great explanation as to why the summer is so vital. Let's see who we thought were the biggest risers in the Class of 2009. Players as always will be listed alphabetically.
Drew Barham (CBHS)
The long,lanky shooter who keeps tearing down the nets and is a huge match-up problem, who is that kid said a scouting collegue of mine this summer. Barham was visible and became a hot name among coaches during the July frenzy.
With his size (6-7) he is the protypical new millinium wing and can shoot over smaller guards. He will need to tighten his handles and get stronger in body and off the dribble to complete the package, but what we've seen already is certainly enough for coaches to get excited about.
Also Drew has agreed to participate in this years diary along with William Moore from Chattanooga.
Marlon Brown (Harding Academy)
So if your one of the top wide reciever/athlete prospects on the gridiron in the country, why would you give basketball coaches the hope that maybe you'd like to try that sport in college as well. Well if anyone can pull the double duty it is the ultra talented Brown.
His efforts on the hardwood this summer made believers out of coaches near and far. He is explosive, obviously, but has a knack for making tough defensive plays and is relentless on the glass. He can score in transition and effectively in the halfcourt set as well. His outside shot is adequate but could use some range, if he can find time to work that into his schedule.
Reginald Buckner (Manassas)
The Ole Miss commitment has been hobbled by some injuries this summer but he did enough to make everyone take note that he is a big time prospect and a steal for Andy Kennedy and the Rebs. Buckner is a talented wing who can score and runs the floor like an antelope.
His explosiveness and overwhelming effectiveness with the ball make him a future pro. He is finally getting the national recognition he deserves and is in line for some national honors if his high school season goes as planned.
Ian Clark (Germantown)
Who wouldn't want a 6-4 wing who can simply knock down the outside shot? I ask you this question knowing the answer is no one. Clark made his impact felt immediately this summer and was consistenly good for the duration.
As with alot of shooters we would like to see him more effective with the dribble and going to the rack to expand his game, which he has done better than in the past. The future is mighty bright for this talented young man.
Brennan Connolly (Father Ryan)
Connolly made the most of his summer, playing in enough events to create a little buzz about his ability. At 6-9 and fundamental he can block shots, disrupt shots and grab boards. He has been very well coached in high school and it shows with his positioning and footwork.
Of course he will be much more effective when he adds strength to his frame. An outstanding student, Connolly has done enough to garner some serious interest from the next level.
John Jenkins (Station Camp)
Who had a bigger summer than Silk. Leading scorer at NBA Players Camp, outstanding Lebron James Camp and finished the summer scoring almost 25 per game in Orlando.
John, who is a Vanderbilt commitment, made his future coaches and teammates blush with his incredible shooting this summer. Arguably the best shooter in the country, Jenkins has put himself into position for some serious post-season awards on the national level, as well as, the state level.
Josh Odom (Science Hill)
Talk about coming out of nowhere. This lanky customer took July and really stamped it his own with his excellent and efficient play. Long and thin, Odom made those who underestimated him pay with long bombs and intelligent scoring.
His play was good enough to garner a few D1 offers at this point, but the more you watch him the more the physical size seems to be a non-issue and the more you love how he plays the game at a high level. A perfect example of why the summer is crucial for players on the cusp of college notice.
Fred Sturdivant (Brainerd)
Despite playing down to match his age group, Big Fred had a wonderful summer and was consistently among the top players for the Tennessee Travelers. His ability to block shots on instinct is scary and he's only scratched the surface of how good he could be offensively with added size and strength.
Coaches have certainly taken notice and he remains one of the mid-majors most talked about players. A solid senior campaign should force everyone to make the trip to Chattanooga to see him erase shots, secure boards and finish with a flush.
Others we considered:
Deonte Alexander (Glencliff)
James Gallman (Fulton)
Chris Reaves (Bolivar Central)
DeAngelo Williams (Spring Hill)
Marquis Rudolph (Clarksville Northwest)
Davell Lloyd (Westview)
Kyle Teichmann (Brentwood)
Nathan "Stat-Man" Parker (Bearden)
Chase Jones (Austin East)
Collin Crane (Karns)
Jeremy Sexton (Temple)