Rajon Rondo isn’t the only guy making his national magazine cover debut this month. On the other half of our Dime #56 double-cover we have Jared Sullinger, the first-ever Dime/2K Sports National High School Player of the Year.
If you haven’t seen Sullinger play yet, you can still catch him at the Jordan Brand Classic on April 17, or you can wait until he’s ripping it up at Ohio State next season. The 6-9, 260-pound big man averaged over 24 points, 13 rebounds and 5 blocks per game as a senior at Northland H.S. in Colombus, Ohio, and a couple weeks ago copped co-MVP at the McDonald’s All-American Game while putting up 22 points for the losing West squad despite playing with the flu.
“Think a slightly more versatile Karl Malone with better ball-handling skills,” Dime’s high school analyst Jason Jordan writes about Sullinger in this issue’s cover story.
“Jared is just a beast,” says Josh Smith, a senior All-American from Kentwood H.S. (Covington, Wash.) who is signed with UCLA. “He’s big and quick and he’s got a million different moves. It’s hard to guard a guy that can take over in so many ways.”
Sullinger also headlines the Dime/2K Sports All-American Team, and he has vaulted all the way to the No. 1 spot on the High School Hoop national Top 50 player ranking, which we just released this morning. Just like with our All-American Team, we’ve ranked the best players in the country regardless of class — however this is the final Top 50 that will include the 2010 seniors. Sullinger was previously 4th in the last updated ranking. The previous No. 1, Iowa swingman and North Carolina signee Harrison Barnes, is No. 3 on the new list, while Florida guard Austin Rivers has ascended to the No. 2 spot. Florida point guard Brandon Knight and New Jersey PG Kyrie Irving round out the Top 5. Check out the rest of the Top 50 right here.
* Seattle junior PG Tony Wroten, ranked 8th on the last list, has fallen out of the Top 50 (for now) after missing the entire season with a knee injury. New Jersey junior wing Michael Gilchrist was previously ranked 3rd, but fell to 7th in part due to injuries during the season.
* Cory Joseph, the McDonald’s All-American PG who played at Nevada’s Findlay Prep via Canada, made the biggest leap, going from 35th in the last ranking to 14th on the new list. Florida senior guard Ian Miller (Florida State) jumped from 50th to 37th, while Virginia junior wing Michael Gbinije went from unranked to 35th. Wisconsin sophomore wing J.P. Tokoto went from unranked to 39th.
* Kevin Johnson, junior center from San Mateo, Calif., is ranked 43rd and is actually the only player from Cali in the Top 50. There are only three players from the Pac-10 states, including Washington’s Josh Smith and Oregon senior forward Terrence Jones.
* Reigning NCAA national champion Duke has three players in the Top 50 either signed or committed: seniors Kyrie Irving (5th, PG) and Josh Hairston (44th, PF), plus junior Michael Gbinije (35th, SF). Austin Rivers (2nd, PG) is also strongly considering Duke in his recruiting. North Carolina has the most signed/committed Top-50 players with four: seniors Harrison Barnes (3rd, SF) and Reggie Bullock (9th, SG), and juniors James McAdoo (13th, PF) and P.J. Hairston (25th, SG).