|Class of 2017: Point Guards|
Written by: Prospect-Central
Last summer Prospect-Central released its inaugural High School Basketball Freshmen Watch List. The Class of 2016 was the first to be featured, and it's safe to say it was a complete success. Like all initial lists for incoming freshmen basketball players, more names emerged as the season unfolded, but for the most part PC was right on the money.
If there was ever a freshmen class to begin a basketball journey with, no doubt it would be the Class of 2016. To say the class is loaded would be a severe understatement. The talent laced from head to toe is truly remarkable, as it's shaping out to be one of the greatest classes of all-time.
Now it's time to introduce the next crop of incoming freshmen ready to take the high school world by storm. It would be unfair to compare this group of freshmen to last years class, but there're still a number of excellent players ready to prove themselves on the high school hardwood. By all indications, the Class of 2017 seems ready for the challenge.
This years Freshmen Watch List features ten players, plus thirty honorable mentions for point guards, shooting guards, small forwards, and posts. Because these players are still growing into their bodies, labeling them by position was more for organization than anything else, so don't be surprised if their positions change as the years go by.
Since the 2013-14 high school basketball season is right around the corner, more names should emerge between now and then, but for the time being these are some of the best incoming freshmen the Class of 2017 has to offer.
As I stated before, it would be unfair to have the same expectations for this class as last years, but it still doesn't hurt to start paying attention to some of these players now. Come this time next year, most of these recruits should be on the radar of every college program in the country. With that being said, this is Prospect-Central's HS Basketball Class of 2017 Freshmen Watch List. * Below are 40 freshmen point guards from the Class of 2017. Names are in no particular order.
Nate Pierre-Louis pg/sg / 6'1'' 170 / Plainfield, NJ
This years crop of incoming freshmen point guards might not be as dynamic as last years class, but there's still some nice depth at the position. Since a lot of these players are still growing, most of them are combo guards with scoring mentalities, but their true positions should become more defined as their bodies begin to fill out. One such player who thrives at either guard position, Nate Pierre-Louis. It seems like every year the Garden State produces a couple guards who become nationally known names, and Nate Pierre-Louis might be headed in that direction. Born December 23, 1998, the 14-year old's a well established player within the grassroots community, and has an incredible knack for getting buckets. With his tight handles and smooth jumper, the lefty gets to rack with ease, finishes with either hand, has a deadly pull-up jumpshot, and can stroke it from beyond the arc. He's also a fierce competitor with an excellent work ethic, and shows solid intangibles when it comes to being leader. He'll probably end up growing a couple more inches as well. Even though he's shown the ability to distribute the ball, he still needs to work on keeping his teammates involved more. He's been a constant staple on the AAU circuit with Team IZOD, Expressions Elite, Metro Flyers, and most recently the Lloyd Daniels Rebels, and he'll attend St. Peter's Prep (Jersey City, NJ) for his freshman year of high school. Rutgers has already offered, which is no doubt the first of many more to come. On a side note, he has a younger brother in the c/o 2019, Joshua Pierre-Louis, who can ball also and might be a name to keep in the mind for the future. As far as Nate Pierre-Louis is concerned, he's currently one of the best guards in the c/o 2017, and should make an immediate impact as a freshman come the fall.
When talking about talented point guards from the Class of 2017, Blake Williams has to be one of the first names mentioned. Whether it's playing at local camps, or balling against national competition, he's usually one of the top prospects in attendance. The first thing that jumps out at you when watching Williams run the point; his blazing speed & quickness. While he's constantly looking to push the rock, he's always under control and usually makes the right decision on the fast break. He's not just a blur in the open court either. He has some serious shiftiness in a half-court setting, and is extremely difficult to keep out of the lane. He plays with a nice change of pace to his game, and is absolutely fearless when attacking the basket. Despite the fact he needs to get stronger, he's very impressive at finishing through contact, and is definitely not afraid to take it strong to the hoop. His jumper is also more than respectable, showing range out to the arc. When it comes to creating for others, Williams is pretty solid in that department. He has nice vision to go along with tight handles, so he's able to penetrate and dish rather easily. On the defensive side of the ball, he's an absolute menace. Even though he doesn't look very intimidating, he really gets after it on D, showing tremendous toughness for his size. Blake started making a name for himself on the AAU circuit with the Memphis War Eagles, but now he's running with Team Thad, and recently helped them to a 2nd place finish at the 2013 8th Grade Nationals. His father, Blake Williams, Sr., is currently an assistant coach with Team Thad, and is making sure his son stays on the path to success. He'll attend basketball powerhouse White Station High School (Memphis, TN) his freshman year, which of course has two of the top rising seniors in the country in Leron Black & Chris Chiozza. Some schools he's interested in are Memphis, Florida, & Louisville, and before it's all said and done, those feelings should be mutual.
Shaun Wade pg/sg / 6'3'' 170 / Jacksonville, FL
There's a lot of things young developing prospects can do to improve their skills as a basketball player. The one thing they have no control over however, is how tall they become. Ironically, size & length is probably one of the most important traits a ball player can possess. Since point guards are usually the smallest players on the court, whenever there's a guard with above average size for their position, they tend to catch the eyes of coaches & recruiters. Shaun Wade might not be on the radar of many DI programs at the moment, but the 6-foot-3 incoming freshmen is looking to change that come the fall. With his impressive size and improved ball handling abilities, Wade has a chance to be a solid lead guard once the high school season rolls around. With his ability to see over defenses, he does a nice job finding the open man, plus he's very deceptive off the bounce. He has a great motor, excels in transition, and does a good job rebounding the basketball. He also has a decent jumper with range out to the arc. On the other side of the ball, Wade's a tough competitor who can defend multiple positions. He's not as well known on the AAU circuit as some, but he still had a couple impressive performances with Sports Ministry Athletic Association out of Florida. He was playing high school ball as an 8th grader for Trinity Christian (Jacksonville, FL), and he's supposedly headed in that direction for his freshman year as well. Like a lot of athletes in Florida, Wade also plays football, and is actually a standout wide receiver. It's obviously early, but Shaun Wade has the potential to be a big time recruit from the Class of 2017.
Ricky Nelson pg / 5'11'' 155 / Houston, TX
"Ricky, Ricky, Ricky - Can't you see - Sometimes your moves just hypnotize me. And I just love your flashy ways, I guess that's why they broke and you're so paid!" Ricky 'Doc' Nelson might not have the gift of gab like Biggie, but he's certainly Notoriously known on the basketball court. Representing Houston, Texas, Nelson is a true floor general in every sense of the word. He controls the pace of the game very well, doesn't turn the ball over, and for the most part optimizes every offensive possession. He's also extremely polished for his age, has a nice feel for the game, and is always looking to keep his teammates involved. With his excellent ball handling abilities and uncanny court vision, Nelson does a terrific job creating for others. Even though he's a pass first point guard, he still can fill it up in a hurry. His jumper is pretty consistent, and he can hit the 3-ball given time and space. He's also very active on the defensive side of the ball. Obviously he needs to get stronger, but he's only an incoming freshman so that's expected. He's been running with Houston Elite on the AAU circuit for a while now, and he played his prep school ball at Westbury Christian (Houston, TX). There're a lot of states with talented players from the Class of 2017, and Texas is right up there with the best of them. Ricky Nelson's another hooper from Texas with a chance to do some big things in high school basketball over the next four years. Now that's what's up Doc!
Davion Mitchell pg / 6'1'' 170 / Hinesville, GA
The one position in basketball that usually has the most discrepancy are point guards. If you were to look back at this Freshmen Watch List five years from now, I wouldn't be surprised if a number of other point guards have become the cream of the crop. With wings and big men however, you can get a better sense of their long term potential since they're usually more developed physically. Simply put, bigger players are easier to evaluate. Davion Mitchell might not be a relevant name once he's about to enter college, but for the time being he's certainly one of the better rising 9th graders in the country. Besides already having nice size for his position, he does an excellent job creating for himself and others. He has really nice vision, solid athleticism, and can finish in the lane through traffic. Really excels in transition, and is always looking to find the open teammate. Needs to become more consistent from long range, but definitely can stroke it none the less. He's also a hard nose defender, as was evident by Mitchell taking home top defensive honors at this years Fab Frosh All-American Camp. Plays his AAU ball for South Georgia Kings, and even played high school basketball as an 8th grader last year for First Presbyterian Christian Academy (Hinesville, GA). He actually had a decent season for the Highlanders, and should contribute even more as a freshman. His dream school is Kentucky, and if he continues putting in the work, Davion Mitchell could have a realistic shot at joining the Big Blue Nation one day.
Tremont Waters pg / 5'9'' 150 / New Haven, CT
The most common stereotype about Connecticut; it's an extremely wealthy state with little to no crime. While the first part of that statement might be true, there's still a great disparity in income throughout the state, which in turn leads to some rather dangerous neighborhoods. New Haven, Connecticut, might be home to the prestigious Yale University, but it also has the fourth-highest violent crime to population ratio in the entire country, and is definitely not a place for the faint of heart. To put it bluntly, people be misbehavin' in New Haven! When Tremont Waters was 12-years old, he was threatened with a gun in school and given an ultimatum; join a gang or get shot. Fast forward to the present day, Waters no longer goes to school in New Haven, and he's quickly become one of the best young prospects in the country from the Class of 2017. Don't let his small stature fool you, the kid can flat out ball! When it comes to shooting the basketball, Waters might have the nicest stroke in the entire freshmen class. As long as he's in the gym, that's his range. Uncanny 3-point accuracy. Super tight handles, with the ability to get his shot off nearly anywhere on the floor. Has an Instinctive feel for the game, and does a nice job creating for others. On defense, Waters is an absolute ball hawk, constantly creating steals. He might be slightly undersized, but the 15-year old more than makes up for it with a high skill set, and the ability to see the play before it develops. He's been playing up on the AAU circuit for a while now, most notably with the New England Playaz & Team Scan. He started playing high school ball at Greens Farms Academy (Westport, CT) when he was in 7th grade, and has more than held his own. He's supposedly headed to South Kent High School (South Kent, CT) for his freshman year, and should be another excellent player to pass through the historic program. By no means an unknown recruit, he's already receiving interest from a number of D1 programs. Would love to attend Duke University one day, and considering he's also a very good student, Tremont Waters & the Blue Devils could end up becoming a match made in heaven.
Jamir Moultrie pg/sg / 6'0'' 165 / Bowie, MD
As long as I can remember, middle school basketball players have been staying back a grade in order to gain an advantage on the court. While I personally have no problem with this (as long as it's only for a year), certain publications in the mainstream media are beginning to blow it out of proportion. I'm not exactly sure the reasoning behind Jamir Moultrie's reclassification, but the incoming freshman would be one of the better guards in his age group regardless of the situation. The bottom line with Moultrie, he can flat out get buckets. He's a high percentage shooter that can score on all three levels. He's very effective off the bounce, has a deadly pull-up jumper, and can finish at the rack with either hand. He also really excels in transition, and does a nice job using his body to shed off defenders. Definitely more of a scoring guard than a facilitator at the moment, Moultrie needs to work on distributing the basketball, as well as letting the game come to him instead of forcing the issue. Despite his deficiencies, it's obvious he can fill it up in a hurry, as was evident by leading all scorers at this years Fab Frosh All-American Camp all-star game. Playing for a troubled AAU program in DC Assault (now DC Premier), Moultrie's been instrumental in helping them reign terror on the circuit. He's supposedly taking his talents to Bishop McNamara (Forestville, MD) for his freshman year, and he should be able to contribute from day one. As I stated before, the c/o 2017 has a number of talented combo guards, and Jamir Moultrie certainly falls into that category.
Remy Martin pg / 5'10'' 160 / Chatsworth, CA
"Oh god it's Remy Martin - In a hot pink Porsche with purple carpets!" Ummm, wait a second. That's Remy Martin the rapper, my bad : ( I meant to say, "Remy Martin is acclaimed for its pedigree and smooth taste. It's usually 80 proof, with a myriad of floral, fruity, and spicy aromas. Has a velvet texture and opulent density, which in turn gives a superior mellow sensation." Ummm, that doesn't sound right either. I think that's Remy Martin the Cognac, my fault (smh). Let's try this one more time. "Remy Martin is a skilled point guard, with tight handles, excellent speed & quickness, solid decision making, and a smooth jumper especially off the bounce." Okay, now that sounds more like it! Besides having such a well-rounded sill set, Martin has an extraordinary feel for the game, and is absolutely superb in pick and roll situations. Knows when to deliver the ball, or keep it for himself. Controls the pace of the game very well, and rarely forces the issue. Plays hard-nose defense, and is definitely not a liability on that side of the ball. Like most incoming freshmen, Martin needs to get stronger, but he's clearly a big-time talent. Recently won an 8th grade AAU National Championship with California Basketball Club, and was one of the better prospects at the event. Scored 12 pts in the semi-finals, and went for 14 pts, 7 asts, and 5 rebs in the Championship Game. He'll play his first year of high school ball at Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, CA), and should be a nice addition to the squad. Already a well known recruit nationally, it's only a matter of time before college coaches start getting drunk off the game of Remy Martin!
There have been some decent NBA players to come out of high school in Arizona over the years, none more famous than Mike Bibby. While I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Sean Elliot, Bibby is probably the more well known of the two players. Markus Howard is certainly no Mike Bibby, but the rising 9th grader is entering high school as the top prospect from Arizona in his class, and clearly has the makings of a high-major recruit. The first thing that jumps out at you when watching Markus play is his explosive first step. Turns the corner in a heartbeat, and before you know it he's at the rim. With his tight handles and elite quickness, Howard can beat his man off the dribble in a variety of ways, most notably with a killer crossover. Once he's in the lane, good luck trying to contain him. He has a nice floater, does a great job finishing through contact, and can find the open teammate for an easy bucket. He also has a solid mid-range game, and can stroke the 3-ball. Like a lot of confident players, you can tell Markus plays within himself, and is in complete control on the basketball court. He might not have the prototypical size of an elite point guard, but he has just about everything else. He's played for a number of teams on the AAU circuit, but really started to blow up with the 16U Arizona Power as of late. He's headed to Perry High School (Gilbert, AZ) for his freshman year, where he'll join his brother Jordan Howard, who's a rising senior and decent point guard in his own right. Northern Arizona has already offered both brothers, but Markus recently picked up an offer from Arizona State as well. Arizona, Oregon State, Washington State, and UCLA are all tracking him very closely, so don't be surprised if the future of Markus Howard has Pac-12 written all over it.
Jordon Myers pg/sg / 6'3'' 180 / Fort Worth, TX
As I stated before, the Lone Star State is loaded with talented up-and-coming hoopers from the Class of 2017, and Jordon Myers certainly belongs on that list. Obviously the first thing that stands out about Jordon is his impressive size for the point guard position. Because he has the ability to see over smaller guards, Myers does a terrific job finding open teammates with his superior length, pinpoint passing from either hand, and instinctive feel for the game. Where Myers really shines is playing in transition. Handles the fast break very well, and does a nice job taking it strong to the hoop. With his size, speed, and athleticism, Jordon has all the physical attributes you love to see from developing prospects. As far as intangibles are concerned, Myers seems like a mature young man. He knows that in order to become a complete player, there's no substitute for hard work. He's been slowly making a name for himself on the AAU circuit with the Dallas Mustangs, and he'll attend North Crowley High School (Fort Worth, TX) for his freshman year. There's no question he has all the talent in the world, but if he can play aggressively every time he steps on the floor, Jordon Myers should be another sought after recruit from the Class of 2017.
C/O 2017 Freshmen Watch List Honorable Mentions (PG's)
Justin Roberts pg / 5'10'' 150 / Indianapolis, IN
Lavar Batts pg / 6'1'' 165 / Concord, NC
Lamont Berzat pg / 5'9'' 150 / New Orleans, LA
Nojel Eastern pg / 6'2'' 165 / Chicago, IL
Marcus Shaver, Jr. pg / 5'11'' 155 / Honolulu, HI
Jaylen Hands pg / 6'0'' 160 / San Diego, CA
Deondre Bourne pg/sg / 6'1'' 160 / Brooklyn, NY
Willie Herenton pg / 5'10'' 150 / Chicago, IL
Jamir Harris pg/sg / 6'2'' 165 / North Brunswick, NJ
Damari Milstead pg / 5'11'' 165 / Hayward, CA
Christian Popoola, Jr. pg / 6'2'' 165 / Las Vegas, NV
Quade Green pg / 5'11'' 165 / Cheletenham, PA
Kaleb Fitzgerald pg / 5'10'' 145 / West Palm Beach, FL
Shyheim Hicks pg/sg / 6'1'' 175 / Brockton, MA
Elishja Duplechan pg / 5'10'' 155 / Sacramento, CA
Matthew Coleman pg / 6'0'' 165 / Norfolk, VA
Brandon Davis pg/sg / 6'1'' 170 / Los Angeles, CA
Chase Hayden pg / 5'10'' 150 / Memphis, TN
Kendrick Summerour pg / 5'9'' 150 / Marietta, GA
Da'Monte Williams pg / 6'2'' 170 / Peoria, IL
Trae Young pg/sg / 6'1'' 170 / Oklahoma City, OK
Greg Bowie pg / 6'1'' 165 / San Antonio, TX
Aaron Thompson pg / 6'1'' 170 / Glenn Dale, MD
Malik Zachery pg / 6'0'' 160 / Syracuse, NY
Ethan Thompson pg/sg / 6'2'' 160 / Gardena, CA
Jaecee Martin pg / 5'9'' 155 / Hartford, CT
Romin Williams pg / 5'9'' 155 / New Orleans, LA
Alonzo Verge pg / 6'1'' 165 / Chicago, IL
Khalief Crawford pg/sg / 6'1'' 170 / Linden, NJ
D.J. Heath pg / 6'0'' 170 / Anniston, AL
C/O 2017 Freshmen Watch List
SG's - SF's - PF/C's