Top 10 Players
(Regardless of position or class)
1. Hakim Warrick, Syracuse, Sr.
2. Ryan Gomes, Providence, Sr.
3. Chris Thomas, Notre Dame, Sr.
4. Carl Krauser, Pittsburgh, Jr.
5. Craig Smith, Boston College, Jr.
6. Gerry McNamara, Syracuse, Jr.
7. Rudy Gay, Connecticut, Fr.
8. Chris Taft, Pittsburgh, So.
9. Charlie Villanueva, U-Conn., So.
10. Dennis Latimore, Notre Dame, Sr.
Rudy Gay, U-Conn.: The league's best freshman also is the league's best NBA prospect. When Gay (Spalding) decided not to enter the NBA draft in the spring and chose to honor his commitment to the defending national champions, there was a near consensus among scouts and college coaches: The nation's best freshman would live in Storrs, Conn., . . . at least for one season. Gay is a stronger, more talented version of Dorell Wright, who was the 19th overall selection in the NBA draft. Several scouts and college coaches felt Gay could have been a top-10 pick had he opted to bypass college. North Carolina's Marvin Williams and Oregon's Malik Hairston will be impact freshmen. But Gay is the only player capable of following Carmelo Anthony's blueprint of leading a team to the national title as a freshman. Anthony also is the player Gay most admires. The Denver Nuggets star showed up at the McDonald's All-American game last year to meet an exuberant Gay outside the locker room.