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Insider

Influx of skilled bigs to college next year

4/6/2012

There is a long list of big men coming into the college game next season. However, one must remember that most frontcourt players coming into college still have a huge learning curve, both mentality and physically. Regardless, I always say you can't have enough big men in your program.

As we put the final touches on the Class of 2012, here is a look at several big men who are coming into the college game next year and what they bring to the game:

Nerlens Noel (Everett, Mass./Tilton School)

C, 6-10, 215 pounds


The nation's best shot-blocker will be deciding between Kentucky, Georgetown and Syracuse during out signing day special on April 11 (ESPNU at 7:30 p.m. ET). Offensively, he can score with a drive or a jumper from the high post and is a surprisingly-good passer. However, he can influence a game without ever scoring. His elite shot blocking makes offense rethink their game plans and enhance his team's transition game.

Area of growth: He needs to improve his strength and work on a go-to move with his back to the basket.

Isaiah Austin (Arlington, Texas/Grace Prep)

C, 7-0, 210 pounds

College: Baylor


Austin is a rare 7-footer who is extremely mobile. He runs the floor, has a soft shooting touch out to 17 feet and can handle the ball well enough to drive and dish. He also protects the rim and improved his rebounding.

Area of growth: He needs to add muscle to his frame and improve his body balance as he learns to go from playing in a low to high stance.

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

C, 7-0, 240 pounds

College: Arizona


The legitimate 7-footer has improved his body and tries to dominate opponents anywhere near the rim. His mobility, footwork, strong hands and ability to defend ball screens are impressive. Offensively, he looks to carve out deep post position and score with a jump hook over his left shoulder or a power drop step along the baseline. On the glass, he concentrates on blocking out his man and grabbing the defensive board.

Area of growth: He needs to add a counter move inside and learn how to defend the post without committing silly fouls.

Steven Adams (New Zealand/Notre Dame Prep)

C, 6-10, 235 pounds

College: Pittsburgh


Adams, who only recently came to America from New Zealand, possesses unique athleticism, wide shoulders, quick feet and big hands. Offensively, he has a soft touch facing the basket out to the high-post area, as well as the ability to take a couple of dribbles and get to the basket from the foul line or short corner. On the defensive end, he gets it done with strength and a strong base. Adams will also block a shot at a moment's notice as he moves and jumps so well.

Area of growth: With his enormous frame and physical gifts, learning how to stay in his stance for the entire possession -- both offensively and defensively -- will be key to his dominance.

Cameron Ridley (Fort Bend, Texas/Bush)

C, 6-10, 230 pounds

College: Texas


He is a pure center who plays to his strengths and always works for deep position (two feet in the paint), while making and maintaining contact with his defender to hold his spot. A jump hook over his left shoulder is his go-to move but he is also very adept at setting a ball screen and rolling to the rim. Ridley also has a wide frame and base with very long arms to snatch rebounds and block shots.

Area of growth: He must continue to improve his stamina and keep his percentage of body fat between 10 and 12 percent.

Amile Jefferson (Philadelphia/Friends Central)

PF, 6-7, 190 pounds


Jefferson, who is down to Duke, Kentucky, NC State, Villanova and Temple, has the ability to score from the high post and in thanks to his body control, craftiness, soft touch and ability to finish with either hand.

Area of growth: He must get stronger to play through contact and when his jumper evolves, he will be special.

Josh Scott (Monument, Colo./Lewis-Palmer)

C, 6-10, 215 pounds

College: Colorado


His bounce, size and good set of skills will make him one of the better freshmen in the Pac-12.

Area of growth: Consistency with his overall game, especially his low-post defense.

Adam Woodbury (Sioux City, Iowa/East)

C, 6-11, 225 pounds

College: Iowa


He runs extremely well, is a strong rebounder and has a soft scoring touch inside 15 feet. He also moves his feet well on defense to protect the basket.

Area of growth: He needs to improve his lower-body strength and play with a lower center of gravity.

Christopher Obekpa (Centereach, N.Y./Our Savior New American)

C, 6-8, 225 pounds


Obekpa, who is deciding between DePaul, St. John’s, Cincinnati, UConn, Providence and Georgia Tech, is one of the best shot-blockers in the class. He also runs very well to finish the break and plays with good energy.

Area of growth: He needs to continue working on his offensive skills.

Mike Tobey (Monroe, N.Y./Blair Academy)

C, 6-11, 210 pounds

College: Virginia


He has a tremendous amount of skills and possesses an array of midrange moves with a soft touch. He will be a terrific pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop guy.

Area of growth: He needs to be a rebounder and catch up to the speed of the game.

Kenny Kaminski (Medina, Ohio/Medina Senior)

PF, 6-7, 230 pounds

College: Michigan State


He's an excellent catch-and-shoot post player who has the ability to stretch a defense beyond the arc. He is also willing to battle inside for buckets and rebounds.

Area of growth: He will need to reacquaint himself with the weight room after missing his senior year with a shoulder injury that required surgery. He also needs to work on his post moves and ball skills.