Tuesday, July 3, 2012 | 12:35 p.m.
Hear from UNLV commit Christian Wood
Christian Wood, a 6-foot-8 forward who is verbally committed to the UNLV basketball team for the class of 2013, is ranked as the nation’s No. 35 prospect in the Rivals150, which was updated Tuesday by recruiting website Rivals.com.
Wood, who averaged 8.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocked shots per game last winter in a reserve role at Findlay Prep , is considered a four-star prospect on the site’s evaluating system of five stars. The top 20 players receive five stars, including top overall prospect, Jabari Parker of Chicago.
Wood shined last month at the Pangos All-American Camp in Long Beach, Calif., to firmly establish himself as one of the top players in his class, vaulting from a No. 55 ranking in April (Rivals updates its rankings three times annually) to No. 35 in making the all-camp team.
Eric Bossi, a basketball recruiting analyst at Rivals who helps rank the players, was impressed with Wood at the camp.
“At around 6-foot-9, he’s a lean, perimeter oriented big man with a pretty jump shot,” Bossi wrote. “Wood is also starting to develop off the dribble and has some elements in his game that are similar to a young Jonathan Bender. Friday night, Wood got into the paint a bit and played active around the rim and also finished breaks with big dunks to go along with his jump shooting.”
Part of Wood’s development can be credited to practicing last winter at Findlay against All-Americans Anthony Bennett, a UNLV commit, and Brandon Ashley, who signed with Arizona. Both players were selected for the McDonald’s and Jordan Brand games.
“You are going to get better by virtue of lining up against the best,” Findlay coach Mike Peck said. “It will push you. You aren’t going to lay down and not fight, so you get better.”
Wood should have no problem stepping into Findlay Prep’s starting lineup, especially considered the positive reviews he’s received this spring and summer during offseason camps and tournaments.
“He had a breakout day. He really did,” Peck said of the Pangos event. “He was playing (strong) on the inside and out and doing everything — running the floor, blocking shots and stepping out to make 3s.”
Two other Findlay players also ranked in the top 150 — combo guard Allerik Freeman, a rising senior transfer from Charlotte at No. 39, and Washington commit Nigel Williams-Goss at No. 46.
As a junior at Olympic High, Freeman averaged 17.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Freeman, who has scholarship offers from Duke, Kansas, Ohio State and UCLA, among others, can play either guard position or on the wing.
“He can really shoot it,” Peck said. “He has a great stroke from beyond the arc and can really get it going from out there. He can also get to the rim and finish.”
For the class of 2012, four of the UNLV’s five high school recruits were ranked in the final top-150 — Bennett at No. 7, sharpshooting guard Katin Reinhardt at No. 38, Philadelphia forward Savon Goodman at No. 72 and Bishop Gorman High forward Demetris Morant at No. 144.