Tuesday, August 7, 2012

High School Basketball: #1 Players for Classes of 2013 - 2019!!!

JABARI PARKER: Class of 2013

Written by: Prospect-Central

Ranking high school and middle school basketball players is not an exact science.  A lot of times the predictions of these players never comes to fruition and leaves people asking themselves what happened.  While some people may scoff at the idea of ranking players that are so young, it's still a useful tool for helping organize & showcase the talent that each age group provides.  As you rank players younger and younger however, it obviously becomes a slippery slope.

Anytime something is ranked there has to be a #1.  This is Prospect-Central's take on the top basketball prospects for the high school graduating classes of 2013-2019.  By no means am I Nostradamus, and five years from now I am have to delete this article because it's so embarrassing (lol), but as of right now these seven players have justified their rankings.

JABARI PARKER sf / 6'8'' 220 / Chicago, IL / Class of 2013
It's not really going out on a limb too much calling Jabari Parker the #1 player in the Class of 2013, although one can certainly make a case for the 6'9'' behemoth Julius Randle.  Jabari literally has won so many awards and accolades that it would be too daunting of a task to write, so here's his Wikipedia Page that lists all of his accomplishments instead.  As far as his game's concerned, Jabari's a very versatile and polished basketball player who's potential is off the charts.  He can score in the post, off the dribble-drive, has a proficient mid-range game and is deadly from beyond the arc. Jabari also has an exceptional basketball IQ, terrific passing skills and rebounds very well.  While he definitely can stroke it, his shot can be somewhat inconsistent at times and he needs to work on his defensive lateral quickness as well.  Jabari plays his AAU ball for Mac Irvin Fire and he's won 3 consecutive Illinois state championships with Simeon Career Academy.  As of right now his college choice is undecided, but I have a feeling he'll eventually commit to Duke.  Since Jabari Parker's of Mormon faith, and many Mormons elect to go on a 2 year mission once they turn 19, he'll have a serious decision to make come a year-and-half from now.  Until then, Jabari Parker's the front-runner for the #1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

(2) JULIUS RANDLE pf / 6'9'' 240 / Dallas, TX / Class of 2013

ANDREW WIGGINS sf / 6'7'' 205 / Toronto, Ont., CAN / Class of 2014
There are significant rumors that Andrew Wiggins might reclassify to the Class of 2013 and if that were the case he would definitely have my vote for the #1 player in that class as well.  As good as Jabari Parker is, I feel Andrew Wiggins is an even better prospect and coupled with his elite athleticism, makes his future potential that much more impressive.  Even though Wiggins is in the Class of 2014, he's actually three weeks older than Jabari and seems more than ready to reclassify.  He's the total package when it comes to a basketball player.  From his perimeter skills, to his athleticism, to his defense, there's absolutely nothing on the court he can't do.  Has all the tools to eventual become a perennial NBA All-Star.  It's hard to find any flaws in his game, but if I had to nit-pick, I would say he needs to be careful of becoming too complacent.  Wiggins plays his AAU ball for the talented CIA Bounce and led the Canadian based team to a second place finish at the Nike EYBL Peach Jam last month.  He also helped the Canada national team capture bronze at the FIBA Americas 18U Championships in June and in April he led the international squad to a stunning upset victory over team USA at the Nike Hoop Summit, despite being the youngest player in the event.  Wiggins plays his high school ball for Huntington Prep and should have the Express in contention for a number of championships this upcoming season.  Andrew Wiggins will more than likely be the first player selected in any NBA Draft he enters and unless he reclassifies, it looks like he'll be sitting in the Green Room come 2015.

(2) JAHLIL OKAFOR c / 6'10'' 270 / Chicago, IL / Class of 2014

BEN SIMMONS sf/pf / 6'8'' 200 / Melbourne, AUS / Class of 2015
While both Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins are well known prospects, the 6-foot 8-inch Ben Simmons has just recently burst onto the high school basketball scene.  Even though Prospect-Central was the first recruiting site to feature Ben Simmons almost a year ago, no one seemed interested at the time.  That was until he blew up at the Pangos All-American Camp back in June of course. Simmons was arguably the best player in the entire event and wowed everyone in attendance with his versatility, athleticism and polish.  The southpaw just turned 16 and appears to have an enormous amount of potential.  He's got a nice stroke, quick first step and excellent feel for the game, but above all plays with the confidence needed to succeed at the next level.  Simmons is far from a finished product however and needs to tighten up his handles, develop some post moves as well as continue to get stronger, but he definitely has the makings of an elite prospect.  This past weekend his talents were once again on display at the 2012 Adidas Nations, as he helped his Australian team to a 4th place finish.  He finished the tournament averaging 12 ppg, 5 rpg, 2 apg, 1.5 bpg & 1.5 spg and showed that he's indeed one of the best players in the Class of 2015.  It might be debatable if he's the top overall player in the class or not, but there's no question he's in the discussion.  While he currently resides in Australia, Simmons has not ruled out attending high school in the States sometime in the future.  For the time being though, Ben Simmons is a player to definitely keep an eye on.

(2) KARL TOWNS, JR c / 6'11'' 230 / Piscataway, NJ / Class of 2015

THON MAKER pf/c / 7'0'' 200 / Metairie, LA / Class of 2016
If you're keeping track of this sort of thing, Thon Maker's the third player on this list not from the United States.  While he currently lives in Louisiana, he actually was born in Sudan, but moved to Australia when he was 7.  My only question is, "Who will he play for in the Olympics come 2020?"  If you think I'm kidding, I'm not. Thon Maker's potential is off-the-charts ridiculous and if he continues to develop at his current pace, there's no telling how good he can become.  While he may be a hot commodity right now, a year ago he was virtually an unknown prospect.  Prospect-Central was actually one of the first recruiting sites to introduce Thon Maker to the mainstream and he has not disappointed.  He has exceptional length (7'9'' wingspan), a deadly jump shot, good ball handling skills, terrific shot blocking abilities and above all a work ethic that should eventually bring him to his dreams, the NBA. If he can add some weight to his frame, Thon Maker should be a serious force for years to come.  Even though he's only 15-years old and an incoming freshman at Metairie Park Country Day, he's been playing in some big-time high school events, including an outstanding performance at the 2012 Nike EYBL, as well as a solid showing at the Adidas Nations, where Dwight Howard even marvelled at the teenager's skills.  He also won an 8th grade AAU national championship last month with the extremely talented Dunk Dog Elite. Obviously the writings on the wall.  Thon Maker's an elite talent with a chance to become a very special player.

(2) HARRY GILES, III sfpf / 6'8'' 200 / Winston-Salem, NC / Class of 2016

CODY RILEY pf / 6'7'' 225 / Chatworth, CA / Class of 2017
While ranking high school players is accepted by the majority respected publications, ranking middle school players tends to be frowned upon.  I understand the pros & cons for both arguments, but I'm not here to debate the positives and negatives.  It doesn't really matter anyways, because once you witness 8th grader Cody Riley play basketball, you begin to realize the type of talent adolescent baller's posses.  Originally from Kansas City, Missouri, Cody Riley now represents the West Coast and it's only a matter of time before he becomes a nationally known name (if he isn't already).  Cody's definitely on the radar of college coaches, as he's already receiving interests from some schools, including a recent scholarship offer from Sean Miller and the Arizona Wildcats.  When you watch Cody play, it's easy to see what all the fuss is about, the kid can flat out ball!!!  He's got nice handles, a smooth jumper, terrific vision and solid athleticism which is steadily improving.  The lefty's also an excellent rebounder and a very good shot blocker.  Even is he doesn't grow anymore, he already has legitimate small forward size as well as the skill-set to play on the perimeter.  Cody recently led California Basketball Club (formally Cali Styles) to a 7th grade AAU national championship and he's been dominating every basketball camp he's attended this summer.  He's currently enrolled at Sierra Canyon Middle School, but there's no question he could play big-time high school basketball right now.  If he can avoid buying into his own hype and continue to develop his game, Cody Riley should still be a relevant name by the time he graduates high school.

(2) DeANDRE AYTON c / 6'10'' 200 / San Francisco, CA / Class of 2017

E.J. MONTGOMERY sf / 6'7'' 180 / Fort Pierce, FL / Class of 2018
If you have a problem with 8th grade basketball players being ranked, I can only imagine how you feel about 7th graders.  Once you watch E.J. Montgomery play basketball however, you may start to sing a different tune.  Even though he's yet to officially enter the 7th grade, E.J. Montgomery's game should not be taken lightly. Since there's six-years before he graduates high school, it would be a little premature to assume he'll still be the top player in his class when that time comes, but as of right now he's certainly deserving of that honor.  Obviously his size plays a key role in his current success, but E.J.'s  much more than just a tall kid, he's a very skilled basketball player.  While most "baby baller's" who are extremely tall can't even walk and chew gum at the same time, E.J. can handle the rock, has a nice mid-range game, shows tremendous court vision and is an excellent shot blocker.  He needs to work on his on-the-ball and off-the-ball defense, but lets not kid ourselves, he's only in the 7th grade!!!  E.J.'s been playing AAU basketball for Treasure Coast Elite and he's helped them win a number of tournaments over the years.  The development of E.J.'s game has to be credited to his father, Efrem Montgomery.  Mr. Montgomery played college basketball for North Carolina Central University and he was an assistant head coach at River State College for 8 years.  E.J.'s sisters are also excellent players in their own right.  His older sister Brittni plays for Virginia Tech and his other sister Brandy is being recruited by a number of Division I schools.  It's quite apparent E.J. Montgomery has excellent basketball genes, but only time will tell if he'll still be dominating his class once it really counts.

(2) MARVIN BAGLEY, III sf / 6'6'' 175 / Phoenix, AZ / Class of 2018

JORDAN MITCHELL sg/sf / 6'1'' 155 / Gahanna, OH / Class of 2019
As I stated before ranking middle school basketball players is not an exact science.  If I had a dime for every time I heard people tell me, "Did you know Demetrius Walker was the #1 ranked sixth grader in the country and look how he turned out," I'd be a very rich man.  It's true, Demetrius Walker never did hit his growth spurt and subsequently the 6-foot 2-inch guard never lived up to the hype and has had an average college career at New Mexico.  If you believe playing Division I college basketball while receiving a FREE education is failing however, you definitely need to examine your priorities.  Is the Buckeye state's Jordan Mitchell the #1 sixth grade basketball player in the country?  Possibly.  Will Jordan Mitchell end up like Demetrius Walker?  I have no idea.  For the time being though he's certainly one of the best baller's in his class and more than deserving of the recognition.  At this level, with his size and length, Mitchell can play any position on the floor.  He's got a nice inside-out game, solid handles, 3-point range, terrific vision and is extremely active on the defensive side of the ball.  His game seems almost effortless at times, as he clearly has a tremendous amount of potential. Jordan plays his AAU ball for the 11U All-Ohio Red squad and last week he had a very nice performance at the 2012 Junior All-American Camp.  Whether Jordan Mitchell continues at his current pace of development or not is anyone's guess, but if he's able to focus on his craft, there's no question he's a DI recruit.

(2) DEXTER SHOUSE, JR sg/sf / 5'10'' 160 / Terre Houte, IN / Class of 2019

No comments:

Post a Comment