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March 11, 2008

Foster leads the way for shooting guards

Rivals.com Power Rankings by Position: PG | SG | SF | PF | C | Head Coach

Vanderbilt's Shan Foster has been called the best guard in the SEC. Many coaches have called him the best player in the league.

It's time to go ahead and add another, more lofty title: best shooting guard in the nation.

Foster moved back to the No. 1 spot at shooting guard in Rivals.com's latest Power Rankings. After a strong showing in an upset against No. 1 Tennessee, Foster followed that up with a career-high 42-point performance in Vanderbilt's 86-85 overtime win over Mississippi State last Wednesday. Foster, who held the top spot for three weeks in January, hit his final nine 3-point attempts against the Bulldogs, including the game-winner with 2.7 seconds left in OT.

"Shan was just incredible," Commodores coach Kevin Stallings said. "I can't really put it into words. I saw (former Vanderbilt star Matt Freije) score all but two of our points in a half (against Tennessee) and brought us back for a come-from-behind victory. That was pretty amazing, but not quite as amazing as this. This was just on another level.

"Lord have mercy, that was amazing. I'm glad I spent all that time teaching him how to shoot."

Nobody may be shooting the ball better right now than USC freshman O.J. Mayo, who moved up to No. 2 among the shooting guards. Mayo has made 25 of 41 3-pointers (61 percent) in USC's past six games, and the Trojans are 5-1 over that stretch.

Texas point guard D.J. Augustin, Massachusetts small forward Gary Forbes, Kansas State power forward Michael Beasley and UCLA center Kevin Love held on to the top spots at their respective positions. Beasley has been at No. 1 for 15 consecutive weeks, the longest streak of any player this season.

Nebraska's Aleks Maric moved into the top five among centers, going from No. 7 to No. 4. Maric has put together double-doubles in 11 of his past 12 games, including a 17-point, 16-rebound, six-assist performance in the Huskers' 68-49 win over Colorado over the weekend.

USC power forward Taj Gibson (No. 25) returned to the power rankings after a long absence. Gibson averaged 20.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and four blocks in the Trojans' wins over California and Stanford last week.

North Carolina's Danny Green makes his debut at No. 24 in the small forward rankings. Green was magnificent in the Tar Heels' 76-68 win at Duke, coming off the bench to score 18 points, grab eight rebounds and block a career-high seven shots.

The rating of a player and coach can fluctuate each week during the season depending on how they fared the previous week, but the power rankings measure overall career performances as well as their most recent results. By the end of the season, our power rankings should provide an accurate indicator of which players and coaches were the best at their respective positions.

By the end of the season, our power rankings should provide an accurate indicator of which players and coaches were the best at their respective positions.

Rivals.com Power Rankings by Position: PG | SG | SF | PF | C | Head Coach

Andrew Skwara is a national writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at askwara@rivals.com.



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