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May 3, 2007

New five stars in the Class of 2008

The dust has settled and April's busy travel schedule is in the books. Rivals.com spent the week reviewing notes, tape and reviews from the national events from the spring and restructured the 2008 rankings.

The five-star players (the nation's top 25 prospects) have a few new faces while the top five welcomes a new name. Eight new players crack into the top 25.

In the first part of a three-part series, Rivals.com breaks down No. 25 to 17 today leading into next week's release of the updated Class of 2008 Rivals150.

Ask the experts about the new rankings | Vote: Who is the best of the newly released five stars?

2008 Five Stars: 25-17
25. Drew Gordon
6-8, 235, PF, San Jose (Calif.) Archbishop Mitty
A 6-foot-8 power forward from Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, Calif., Gordon is one of the most sought-after big men in the country. Arizona recently hosted the gritty power player for an unofficial visit. He has been to Washington, Cal, UCLA, Duke and North Carolina as well. He will be narrowing his list down to a more manageable number in the near future.

Jerry Meyer on Gordon: "He has a live body and a competitive motor on every possession. This spring, he has done all the things that attracted us to him from Day One. We also feel confident that his skill level will continually improve, and you always know you have a solid big man in Gordon."

24. Nate Miles
6-7, 173, SG, Fitchburg (Mass.) Notre Dame Prep
Miles may bounce around high schools, but he knows where he'll play his college basketball. The well-traveled wing from Toledo, Ohio, is committed to Connecticut. Now at Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts, Miles is closer to the Huskies and focusing on his academics. It is his fourth high school in two years.

Jerry Meyer on Miles: "He has always been a long and silky-smooth shooting guard who is terrific with the ball. Nothing has changed in this regard. He can score from anywhere on the court in practically any way he wants. With some work in the weight room, he is going to be tough to contain on the next level."

23. Anthony Jones
6-9, 185, PF, Houston Yates
It comes as no surprise that Jones hears the Kevin Durant comparisons. The Texas native is long, athletic and shoots it well from the wing. It also shouldn't be a surprise that Longhorns coach Rick Barnes has kept an eye on the Houston Yates prospect. Baylor, Arizona and Texas A&M are longtime staples on his school list.

Jerry Meyer on Jones: "Jones has made some huge strides in his game since last summer. Always a prospect with a high ceiling, Jones is tapping into the potential with a more assertive offensive game. When it is all said and done, we see Jones being quite a unique small forward at 6-foot-9 or taller."

22. William Buford
6-5, 185, SF, Toledo (Ohio) Libbey
Much has been made of the recruiting efforts of Thad Matta and the Ohio State Buckeyes over the last year. However, few are talking about the kind of impact Buford could make for the Big Ten power. The 6-foot-5 guard is a quiet, crafty scorer that consistently torched some of the country's top travel teams in the spring.

Justin Young on Buford: "Few guards have had the kind of impact that Buford did in the spring. He was outstanding at the King James Shooting Stars Classic in Akron and helped his team to two consecutive championship games at major events. Buford is separating himself from the rest of the pack of shooting guards in 2008."

21. Kenny Kadji
6-10, 240, PF, Bradenton (Fla.) Pendleton (IMG Academy)
The 2008 class is deep with big men, but few have Kadji's potential. He could be a huge presence inside, especially from a physical perspective. Already standing 6 feet 10 and weighing 240 pounds, transplant from France will be a rock at the college level. Florida has made him a priority, so have Kansas State, Memphis, South Florida and Rutgers.

Jerry Meyer on Kadji: "With a big body and good hands and feet, Kadji is an impressive center prospect. He is starting to put his game together, and the future looks very bright for him. At the Kingwood Classic he impressed us with his moves in the post and his overall presence around the basket."

20. Elliot Williams
6-4, 175, PG, Memphis (Tenn.) St. George's
Williams in action
Riding the success of a great postseason at St. George's Academy in Memphis, Williams is one of the most sought after combo guards in the country. Standing on the sideline of his games were coaches from Duke, Memphis, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, Texas, Virginia and Clemson.

Jerry Meyer on Williams: "He caught our attention during the high school season as a probable five-star guard, and he solidified a spot in the top 25 with his play this spring. With the potential of developing into a legitimate two position player as a 6-foot-4 point guard, he is a combo guard who can slash to the rim, hit shots from behind the arc and wreak havoc on defense."

19. JaMychal Green
6-8, 225, PF, Montgomery (Ala.) St. Jude
Green in action
Alabama native Green is a much different person off the hardwood than he is on it. The 6-foot-8 forward is a great student and a polite young man at Montgomery's St. Jude High School. On the court, he's a rough and tough banger. That's why Alabama, Georgia Tech and many other high majors are interested in Green.

Jerry Meyer on Green: "You certainly know what you are going to get with Green. He is a workhorse down low with an outstanding motor and competitive spirit. This spring he has scored on quick moves to either shoulder in the post and is dangerous out to 15 feet. He also knows how to secure a rebound and score through contact."

18. DeAndre Liggins
6-5, 190, SF, Chicago Washington
Liggins started his ascent at the Kingwood Classic, where he helped pilot his Indiana Elite/Team Indiana squad to the championship. Since then, he has come on strong with recruiters. Memphis, Kentucky, Texas, Kansas and Illinois are all on his short list.

Jerry Meyer on Liggins: "It's not often that you find a 6-foot-5 point guard who can make all the passes and break his man down on the dribble. On top of that, Liggins is an outstanding rebounder so he can also play small forward. He has the length, speed and strength to guard most anyone on the perimeter."

17. Demar Derozan
6-5, 195, SF, Compton (Calif.)
Fresh off a commitment to USC, Compton native Derzan is playing at a high level. The 6-foot-5 jumping jack has added a more compete game to go with his already reliable jump shot.

Jerry Meyer on Derozan: "Derozan has NBA shooting guard written all over him. This spring he has displayed a soft shooting touch well beyond the 3-point line and an explosive mid-range game. A terrific athlete, Derozan can snag rebounds in traffic, punish the rim in transition and get his shot off the dribble at will."



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