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Insider

True centers on the way to college ranks

3/21/2012

In Myron Medcalf's latest piece, he points out that true centers are becoming extinct in college basketball. While that may be the case, the Class of 2012 will go a long way towards remedying the problem.

There are a number of true centers on their way to the college basketball ranks. Each one unique in their own way. Some have great skill, some with off-the-charts athletic ability, some are simply wide bodies in the paint and some are a combination of all the above.

Nerlens Noel (Everett, Mass./Tilton School)

Size: 6-foot-10, 215 pounds

College: Undecided

He is the high school version of Celtics legend Bill Russell. Noel is an elite shot-blocker and rebounder on both ends of the floor thanks to his great length and quick bounce. Noel dunks everything with a clear path and angle and even over defenders. What Noel doesn't block, he alters and opponents think twice before taking him in the lane. His back-to-the-basket moves and scoring ability have also rapidly improved and are continuing to do so. Noel recently cut his list to Georgetown, Kentucky and Syracuse. He will have an immediate impact player wherever he goes.

Kaleb Tarczewski (Claremont, N.H./St. Mark's)

Size: 7-0, 240 pounds

College: Arizona

Tarczewski is a very mobile post player who clogs the lane and protects the rim. His ability to use his good hands to catch tough passes and finish is a tremendous asset. He has a jump hook with either hand and rebounds in his area on both ends. Tarczewski can also make his presence felt on the defensive end with his on-ball shot blocking. Overall, the big-bodied, low-post presence has improved at a steady rate and will continue along that path when he arrives at Arizona.

Steven Adams (New Zealand/Notre Dame Prep)

Size: 6-10, 235 pounds

College: Pitt

The Pittsburgh Panthers have a defensive specialist in Adams. He has great athletic ability and mobility in addition to an excellent motor. He rebounds and blocks shots at an elite level, his offense is improving and his feel for the game is special. Coach Jamie Dixon got a great anchor to build around in the lane with Adams.

Cameron Ridley (Fort Bend, Texas/Bush)

Size: 6-10, 230 pounds

College: Texas

Ridley attacks the glass on both ends of the floor where he uses his great hands to rebound at a consistently high rate. His jump hook over his left shoulder is a terrific weapon as well. Ridley plays with energy and urgency on both ends and blocks shots on the ball. The future Texas Longhorn has great upside and has all the makings to be a special player.

Honorable mention

Syracuse wide body DaJuan Coleman (Dewitt, N.Y./Jamesville-DeWitt).

Unsigned power post Tony Parker (Lithonia, Ga./Miller Grove), who is still considering UCLA, Duke, Ohio State, Georgetown, Kansas, Memphis, Connecticut and Kentucky at this stage of his recruitment.

Maryland signee Shaquille Cleare (Houston, Texas/Village School), who possess excellent touch.

Tough and skilled future Colorado Buffalo Josh Scott (Monument, Colo./Lewis-Palmer).

Super skilled and versatile big man Willie Cauley (Spearville, Kan./Olathe Northwest) who is taking his talent to Kentucky.

Future Iowa Hawkeye Adam Woodbury (Sioux City, Iowa/East), who is a skilled lefty who competes on both ends and scores with great feel and touch in the lane.