July is normally the most important month when it comes to determining where a player ends up in the recruiting rankings. The high school season has inconsistent levels of competition, while the spring AAU circuit has so many events that players can go up and down with every week. On the other hand, July is a chance for every player to be seen multiple times in a three-week span, against the other top players in the country – in game settings. The NBPA Top 100, Nike Skills Academies and Pangos All-American Camp all gather tremendous amounts of talent, but it’s often difficult to truly scout a player in a camp setting. As a result, the evaluations made in July are often the ones that stick for the rest of the year.
CBSSports.com and MaxPreps released their updated Top-100 rankings for 2012 on Thursday morning, and there are plenty of changes since the pre-July rankings. Which players increased their stock the most in July, and which ones went the same direction as the real stock market?
Marcus Smart (No. 12): The ultimate winner, Smart (above) can play any perimeter position and is a terrific defender.
Kris Dunn (No. 26): Dunn (right) moved up to become the No. 1 point guard in the country after yet another impressive month.
Brice Johnson (No. 29): Johnson really broke out at the Peach Jam, demonstrating a vastly improved offensive game.
Alex Caruso (No. 55): One of the breakout players of June, Caruso is surprisingly athletic and excels at scoring in unconventional ways.
Jake Layman (No. 57): He’s long, athletic and can score in a variety of ways. Layman creates havoc with his perimeter defense.
Georges Niang (No. 70): Niang has always been productive, and it was finally time to reward him with a top-100 spot.
Semaj Christon (No. 80): The Xavier-commit won over all onlookers in July, demonstrating his excellent penetration ability.
Dominic Artis (No. 84): Artis, who committed to UCLA in late July, has terrific handle and knocked down threes with consistency.
Josh Scott (No. 86): The bottom line is that Scott is a different player with his AAU team; he scores effectively around the rim.
Grant Verhoeven (No. 91): Our first look at Verhoeven was a good one. He blocks shots very well, and can score in different ways.
Jordan Loveridge (No. 92): One of the biggest risers in Las Vegas, Loveridge is versatile and proved to be a match-up problem.
Tyrone Wallace (No. 96): A long point guard with great size (6-foot-4) for the position, Wallace has a great feel for the game.
D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera (No. 39): His scoring ability is impressive, but Smith-Rivera (left) is not a true point guard and has a limited ceiling.
Adam Woodbury (No. 40): This isn’t really Woodbury’s fault – we overrated him after an MVP performance at NBA Camp.
Daniel Ochefu (No. 43): Ochefu is an excellent defender but doesn’t have much of a back-to-the-basket game. High upside, though.
Torian Graham (No. 48): Graham can fill it up with the best of them, but he doesn’t bring effort consistently and is somewhat out of control.
J.P. Tokoto (No. 66): Tokoto continues to spiral down the rankings after peaking in the top five two years ago.
Damien Wilson (No. 75): Wilson is athletic and can really defend, but he lacks the ability to create his own shot.
Tyler Lewis (No. 76): Lewis is fun to watch and doesn’t back down from everyone, but his size and lack of defense could hinder him.
Nino Jackson (No. 81): He is only 6-foot, but is more of a scorer than a point guard. Jackson also disappears from the circuit on occasion.
Steve Taylor (No. 89): It was a down summer for most Chicago prospects, to be honest, and the Marquette-commit was inconsistent.
A.J. Hammons (No. 98): It just doesn’t seem like Hammons really enjoys himself out there. Has to improve conditioning.
Fred Thomas (No. 100): Again, probably not Thomas’ fault that we saw him for the first time when he couldn’t miss from 3-point range.
Jordan Hare (Unranked): This is simply a case of not seeing him. If anyone can remember the last time Hare suited up on AAU, let us know.
Photos: Adidas Super 64, MaxPreps, Indy Star