For most of his high school career, Michael Gilchrist (a recent Kentucky verbal commit), has been the top-rated player in his class. Now it looks like the talented small foward might be losing his place atop those rankings through no fault of his own. Instead, the reason for his drop is the spectacular play of Anthony Davis over the past few weeks, which has prompted many analysts to anoint the 6’10″ power forward out of the “Mean Streets” of Chicago (that’s actually his AAU team’s name) as the new #1 player in the rising senior class. Davis has been rising up the charts so rapidly that even in-state schools like Illinois have only began to pay particular attention to him in the past few months. An ESPN Chicago writer took a look at the rise of Davis back in May while he was rocketing up the class rankings, but was still not receiving “#1 in the class” praise. Currently, the only listed “schools of interest” are Syracuse, Ohio State, and Kentucky although there are reports that UNC is reportedly interested in Davis (and which school wouldn’t be?). However it appears that the Tar Heels sit in 4th position at the moment while the Davis family analyzes UNC’s current situation.
All of this begs the question as to how someone as talented as Davis could go relatively unnoticed in the over-saturated recruiting landscape. The only comparison player we could think of who rocketed up this quickly this late was Tracy McGrady who went from a relative unknown coming into the summer before his senior year to the top recruit in his class by the time he graduated a little over a decade ago, but that was pre-YouTube and even pre-Google (yes, there was a world before Google). Part of the reason that Davis has shot up the rankings is because of a ridiculous growth spurt during his sophomore and junior years (6-7 inches in 18 months according to Evan Daniels). Still some Illinois recruiting gurus [Ed. Note: We are imagining a Hoop Dreams-like TV segment here.] only had him as the #9 player in the state of Illinois after the high school season ended just a few months ago. There has been some speculation amongst Illinois high school basketball fans that Davis may have been ranked so low coming into the summer because he played in a weak Chicago Public League division that most of the recruiting gurus paid little attention to and until this summer he had skipped the AAU summer circuit. All of this seems perfectly reasonable although somewhat surprising so we are left to wonder just how good Davis actually is. For that we turned to Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports and Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog, who have seen Davis in person and spoken with Davis and people close to him.