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Latest Rivals rankings for Class of 2016 provides new No. 1 prospect

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The 2013 recruiting class may not have ended up changing the course of history as we know it during the 2013-2014 college basketball season, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was as strong at the top as any class we’ve seen in recent memory.

Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid went top three in the 2014 NBA Draft and are now considered the saviors of Minnesota, Milwaukee and Philadelphia, respectively. Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon, James Young and Noah Vonleh went one-and-done, as expected, while Tyler Ennis and Zach LaVine managed to play their way into a guaranteed contract.

MORE: Rivals releases Top 150 for the Class of 2015

That’s a loaded class, and here’s the scary part — the Class of 2016 has a chance to be better. And on Thursday, Rivals released their new Top 150 for 2016.

Thon Maker, a 7-foot-1 Sudanan by way of Australia, sits as the No. 1 player in the class, and it’s a valid pick. He has the length, athleticism and timing to be an elite shot-blocker, but his shooting touch — which extends to the three-point line with time and space and out to 15-feet on his turnaround — and ability to handle the ball is what makes him special. His unique skill-set makes a comparison difficult, but some combination of former Baylor center Isaiah Austin and Kevin Garnett is a good place to start.

RELATED: Thon Maker is NOT the next Kevin Durant | Harry Giles looks to be healthy again

Harry Giles, a strong, 6-foot-10 forward from North Carolina, appears to have recovered fully from what could have been a devastating knee injury last summer and checks in at No. 2 in the class, while a pair of 6-foot-7 wings — former No. 1 Josh Jackson and Jayson Tatum — slide in at third and fourth, respectively.

All four have very legitimate arguments about being the No. 1 player in the class.

Athletic guards Dennis Smith Jr. and Malik Monk round out a clear-cut top six. Smith is the best point guard in the class, deservedly getting the nod over Derryck Thornton because of his vertical explosiveness. There is not a more entertaining player to watch in high school basketball than Monk, but he’s still too streaky at this point in his career, mixing 40-point nights with 3-for-20 performances too often.

MORE: Mixtapes: Dennis Smith Jr.Malik Monk | Allure of staying home strong for Jayson Tatum

Big man Bam Adebayo, athletic sharpshooter Terrence Ferguson, Thornton and fellow point guard Lonzo Ball round out the top ten. Ball, who has pledged to UCLA, is the only player in the top ten committed to a school.

The full top 150 can be found here.

VIDEO: Arizona commit Terrance Ferguson throws down under-the-legs dunk after making 3-pointer

"CHARLOTTE, NC - JULY 9: Terrance Ferguson during the 2015 Under Armour All-America Basketball Camp on July 9, 2015 at Queens College in Charlotte, NC. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Under Armour)"
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Arizona commit Terrance Ferguson has been known as one of the best dunkers in the country for the last few years. So you knew the 6-foot-6 wing was going to attempt the latest internet dunk craze that’s been going around.

Some call it the, “5-point play” in which the dunker makes a 3-pointer and immediately sprints following the shot release to catch the make for an under-the-legs dunk.

It’s as tough as it sounds and Ferguson makes it look easy.

VIDEO: Manute Bol’s 6’11” son Bol Bol throws down in-game under-the-legs dunk

McPherson's Jacob Loecker attempts to steal the ball form Shawnee Mission-Bishop Miege's Bol Bol during the first quarter of the boys' Class 4A Division I state championship basketball game Saturday, March 12, 2016, in Salina, Kan. (Travis Morrise/The Hutchinson News via AP)
(Travis Morrise/The Hutchinson News via AP)
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Bol Bol is the son of former NBA center Manute Bol, and the younger Bol is earning quite a bit of attention himself as a five-star prospect in the Class of 2018.

The 6-foot-11 Bol showed off some of his freakish coordination and athleticism on Friday night, by ripping a steal and taking it coast-to-coast for an under-the-legs dunk in the middle of a game at the Jayhawk Invitational.

Bol will be one of the players to watch this spring as he plays with KC Run GMC.

Iowa State guard Naz Mitrou-Long gets hardship waiver to play additional year

Iowa State guard Nazareth Mitrou-Long defends Buffalo guard Jarryn Skeete during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Monday, Dec. 7, 2015, in Ames, Iowa. Iowa State won 84-63. (AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
(AP Photo/Justin Hayworth)
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Iowa State got a boost to its roster for next season as senior guard Naz Mitrou-Long has been granted a hardship waiver by the Big 12 conference.

“Everything happens for a reason and although it hurt to not be able to play for a group of guys I loved last year, my body needed time to recover and that time off allowed me to feel the best I’ve felt since my freshman year,” Mitrou-Long said in the release. “I’m glad I’ll be able to play for the best fans in the country and represent the name on the front of my jersey, Iowa State, one more year. Words can’t describe this feeling. Cyclone Nation, be ready for a special year.”

The 6-foot-4 Long played in eight games last season for Iowa State as he averaged 12 points per game. He missed the rest of the season to deal with pain in his surgically repaired hips. Mitrou-Long has been a very effective three-point shooter during his career at Iowa State and he should be a nice option to have for next season if he’s healthy.

CIAA will stay in North Carolina despite state’s LGBT law

Protesters rally against House Bill 2 in Raleigh, N.C.,  Monday, April 25, 2016. While demonstrations circled North Carolina's statehouse on Monday, for and against a Republican-backed law curtailing protections for LGBT people and limiting public bathroom access for transgender people, House Democrats filed a repeal bill that stands little chance of passing. (Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
(Chuck Liddy/The News & Observer via AP)
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association says it won’t move its headquarters, its basketball tournament or other conference championships from North Carolina, despite the state’s controversial new LGBT law.

The CIAA said in a statement Thursday that it will instead partner with the NCAA to educate its members on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues as it does on other issues, like graduation rates and concussion management.

The Charlotte Observer reports that the CIAA, the oldest African-American sports conference in the U.S., has hosted its annual basketball tournament in Charlotte since 2006 and announced it was moving its headquarters to Charlotte from Virginia in 2015.

The CIAA said Thursday that it will continue to “monitor the issues,” as it has since House Bill 2 passed.

 

VIDEOS: Stephen Curry personally invites athletes to his select camp

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, left, holds the championship trophy and Andre Iguodala holds the series MVP trophy as they celebrate winning the NBA Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Cleveland, Wednesday, June 17, 2015. The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers 105-97 to win the best-of-seven game series 4-2. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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As he did last year, the NBA’s MVP is sending out personal invites to Under Armour’s SC30 Select Camp for some of the best high school and college point guards in the country.

It’s a pretty cool thing for the kids. Can you imagine how you would feel as a high school junior getting a personalized invitation to a camp from Stephen Curry himself?