Friday, September 13, 2013

Prospect-Central's HS Basketball c/o 2017 Freshmen Watch List (PG's)

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.

Blake Williams pg / 5'11'' 160 / Memphis, TN
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!

Markus Howard pg / 5'10'' 160 / Chandler, AZ
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
DamarMilstead 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

Prospect-Central's HS Basketball c/o 2017 Freshmen Watch List (SG's)

Class of 2017: Shooting 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 shooting guards from the Class of 2017. Names are in no particular order.

Jalek Felton pg/sg / 6'4'' 175 / Mullins, SC
If the last name sounds familiar, it should. Jalek Felton is the nephew of Raymond Felton, who of course was a top 5 pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, and currently a member of the New York Knicks. Jalek might not end up with the same notoriety as his famous uncle, but he's sure entering high school with some heavy fanfare of his own. Easily one of the best incoming freshmen in the country, it's not going out on a limb too much to consider Jalek Felton a top 10 recruit in the Class of 2017. The classic combo guard, Felton's an elite level athlete with the skill set to match. He can beat you inside, outside, from mid-range, has a high B-ball IQ, competes on both ends of the floor, and he always seems to make his teammates better. He's been tearing up every national camp he's played in, as he's regularly gotten the best of some of the top incoming freshmen in the country. As if you didn't know already, Jalek plays his AAU ball with Team Felton, and has dominated in that venue as well. He started playing high school basketball last year as an 8th grader, and easily held his own. He averaged 14.5 ppg, 4.3 apg, & 4.1 spg for Mullins High School (Mullins, SC), and should put up even better numbers as a freshman. He currently lives with Raymond Felton's parents, and actually changed his last name from Hamilton to Felton right before his 8th grade season. UNC obviously has the early edge with this coveted recruit, but over the next four years of high school basketball, you can definitely expect the offers to pour in for the talented Jalek Felton.

Alfred Hollins sg/sf / 6'5'' 175 / San Francisco, CA
"Now let me welcome everybody to the wild, wild, west. A state that's untouchable like Elliot Ness!" When it comes to rising talent for basketball in the U.S., it's hard not to give California Love. Not only is the state loaded for all age groups, it's home to arguably the top two recruits in the Class of 2017, as well as a plethora of other high-major D1 prospects. To put it bluntly, no place in the world, let alone the United States, produces basketball players the way California does. It's just that simple. Alfred Hollins might sound like a name for an English butler, but the only thing this 6-foot-5 wing is serving are kat's on the hardwood. He's long, wiry, athletic, and absolutely oozing with potential. Even though he's probably still growing, he already has an advanced skill set, in particularly tight handles and smooth jumper. He's extremely crafty at getting in the lane, can finish with either hand, has a nice mid-range game, and can throw one down whenever the opportunity presents itself. Basically he can do it all, and is definitely a no brainer when talking about freshmen who are immediate impact players at the high school level. He needs to get stronger, but has a solid frame to build on, plus an excellent work ethic, so there's no reason to think he can't put on the extra muscle. He was sidelined with a broken shoulder for a while, but returned to action a few months ago, and appears to be fully recovered. He's been playing on the AAU circuit with the San Francisco Rebels & Oakland Soldiers, so he should be ready for battle come the fall. He'll supposedly play high school ball at Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco, CA), and should be a fine addition to the squad. His dream school is said to be UNC, so it's only a matter of time before Roy Williams comes calling. Alfred Hollins is gonna be a good one!

Paul Scruggs sg / 6'3'' 180 / Indianapolis, IN
When it comes to the game of basketball, I can assure you Paul Scruggs is certainly no scrub. Hailing from the great state of Indiana, Scruggs has been a nationally known name for quite sometime now. As with the majority of incoming freshmen, his future position will ultimately rely on how much more he can grow, but for the time being Scruggs can definitely hold down off-guard duties. With his improved handles and strong frame, he constantly attacks the opposition from every angle imaginable. He's relentless at slashing to the rim, and does a terrific job bullying defenders once he gets in the paint. The lefty has an emerging skill set, extremely high motor, excellent athleticism, and a fearless mentality that should serve him well throughout his basketball career. Even though he's definitely a legitimate threat on the offensive side of the ball, defensively he's been an absolute pariah. He's an excellent on-the-ball defender, plays the passing lanes very well, and can guard all three positions on the perimeter. He needs to work on developing a more consistent stroke, but that should come with time and practice. He's been the best player on one of the top AAU teams in the country, the Indy Hoosiers for what seems like an eternity now, and he'll attend Southport High School (Indianapolis, IN) for his freshman year. Definitely on the radar of some big-time college programs, Indiana has already offered, and Ohio State, Xavier, Purdue, and Memphis are showing interest as well. No one could possibly know what the future has in store for Paul Scruggs, but one thing is becoming abundantly clear; he's got some serious game, and should make an immediate impact as a freshman come the fall.

Troy Brown pg/sg / 6'5'' 175 / Las Vegas, NV
It's often been said what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. That may be true, unless of course you're a 6-foot-5 rising 9th grader, and play the game of basketball the way Troy Brown does. In that case, it's only a matter of time before you become a nationally known name. Obviously the former New England Patriots Troy Brown already made the name famous, but I'm fairly certain the soon-to-be freshman will sign a couple of autographs before it's all said and done. The only question is; what position will he play? Even though he just turned 14-years old this summer, he already has the size & length to play on the wing, plus he has the ball handling & vision to run the point. Basically it's pick-your-poison when it comes to Brown, so whatever his team needs, that'll be the position he'll play. With his size & handles, he can see over defenses to find the open man, as well as create for himself or his teammates off the bounce. He's a very cerebral player, rarely forces the issue, and does a nice job exploiting mismatches. He also has a smooth stroke, rebounds well for his position, and even gets after it on defense. He'll need to get stronger in order to take his game to the next level, but once he does, look out! He was ballin' with the Las Vegas Prospects on the AAU circuit this spring and summer, and he's headed to Centennial High School (Las Vegas, NV) for his freshman year. Not only should he contribute from day one, he'll probably become the leader of the team. Despite his age, he's a very intelligent young man, who's also humble, hard working, and truly leads by example. You really can't ask for anything more when it comes to developing prospects. Some schools he's interested in are UNLV, Duke, UCLA, Kansas, and UNC, and you can rest assure those programs will reciprocate the interest once they catch wind of his game. It's obviously early, but Troy Brown has all the makings of an elite prospect for the next level and possibly beyond.

Jeffrey Prophete pg/sg / 6'2'' 175 / Lauderdale Lakes, FL
In general usage, a "Prophet" is someone who can foretell the future. You want a prediction? Jeffrey Prophete will play college basketball one day; the only question is where? Like the majority of players selected to Prospect-Central's Class of 2017 Freshmen Watch List, Prophete is already a well known name in the world of grassroots basketball, and has a chance to be a nice player down the road. For the time being however, the rising 9th grader is looking to showcase his skills to coaches & recruiters, and prove there's definitely some substance to the hype. He's a skilled slasher, capable of getting to the rack in a hurry and finishing through contact. Very explosive in the open court, Prophete's constantly attacking the basket of the bounce, rarely taking his foot off the pedal. He does need to work on his left hand though, as he tends to drive right too often. While he has a decent jumper, his 3-point accuracy is still somewhat streaky, and will need to tighten up as the years go by. Like a lot of combo guards, he can be turnover prone at times, so he'll have to work on taking care of the basketball as well. On the defensive side of the ball, Prophete is pretty solid in that department, utilizing his quickness & anticipation to create steals & deflections. Originally from Haiti, he's been running with the Lauderhill Lions on the AAU circuit for a while now, and has even been playing high school basketball at Coral Springs Christian (Coral Springs, FL) since the 7th grade. He had an up-and-down season for the Crusaders last year, averaging 5.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.7 apg, & 1.4 spg, but given his age, athleticism, and work ethic, he should only get better as the years go by. University of Miami has shown some interest, but no schools have officially offered yet. He likes Kentucky & Baylor, but that can obviously change at any given moment. His height should be a key factor in determining his future position, but for the time being there's only two predictions for this Prophete; he has a successful freshman campaign, while establishing himself as one of the top guards in the c/o 2017.

Michael Porter sg/sf / 6'5'' 175 / Columbia, MO
Last summer Prospect-Central released its inaugural Freshmen Watch List for the Class of 2016, and the majority of the players featured lived up to the hype. One player in particular who really made a name for himself was Missouri's own Jayson Tatum. Not only is Tatum a consensus top 10 recruit in the Class of 2016, he already has some big-time scholarship offers, plus he won a gold medal with the U16 USA National Team this summer. By all indications, he's emerged as an elite talent. The reason why I bring up Tatum; two words, Michael Porter! Not only is Porter from Missouri like Tatum, his game is actually pretty similar as well. First of all, he already has excellent size & length for a wing, but since both his parents are right around 6-foot-4, he probably has a couple more inches in him. As impressive as that may be, it's his skill set on the perimeter that's really intriguing. He can score on all three levels, has a lethal mid-range game, can hit the pull-up jumper off the bounce or the catch-and-shoot, and he has some serious range to boot. To sum it up, the paramedics better be in the gym when Michael Porter's ballin', because his stroke is straight up killing dudes. If that's not enough, he also rebounds at a high level, plays solid defense, and has a tremendous amount of poise. Obviously he needs to get stronger, but the sky's the limit for this kid. He's headed to Father Tolton High School (Columbia, MO) for his freshman year, and should be an instant star. His dad is currently an assistant coach for the women's team at the University of Missouri, so the Tigers might have the inside track when it comes to recruiting at the moment. On a side not, he has a couple younger brothers that are projected to be 7-feet, so be on the lookout for that some day. Now it's time for the rest of the country to see what all the fuss is about. You know how they say, "Don't talk about it, be about it." Well, that's exactly what he's about to do. After all, Michael Porter's from the Show Me State!

Chris Giles sg / 6'3'' 175 /  Allen, TX
One of the most interesting aspects about young, developing prospects in basketball; you're able to track their progression, and literally watch them blossom right before your eyes. The most interesting part however, doesn't happen until years down the road. That's when you get to see where the journey has finally taken them. I have no idea where Chris Giles will be 5-years from now, but I know where he's been up until this point; as one of the top players in the Class of 2017, plain and simple. While the casual basketball fan might not know who Giles is yet, he's been balling on the grassroots scene for what seems like an eternity now, so it's nice to finally see him enter the next phase of his basketball career; high school! He's a physical guard, with a high motor, excellent athleticism, and a knack for getting to the rim. He also does a nice job finishing through contact, competing on both ends of he floor, and playing within the confines of the offense. Because of his ball handling abilities, he's capable of playing either guard position, but his size will ultimately determine his long term fit. As I stated before, Giles has been a pretty big name on the AAU circuit for a while now, most notably with Houston Elite. He's headed to Plano West High School (Plano, TX) for his freshman year, where he'll join forces with rising juniors Mickey Mitchell, D.J. Hogg & Soso Jamabo. You should note, Jamabo's also the top rated running back in the c/o 2015, which is a huge accomplishment in its own right. As far as Chris Giles is concerned; if he continues on his current path of development, I don't see his basketball journey ending anytime soon.

Brian Bowen sg/sf / 6'5'' 175 / Saginaw, MI
Last year Josh Jackson was easily the most dynamic freshman to emerge from the Great Lakes State. Not only is Jackson the top recruit from Michigan regardless of class, he's shaping out to be one of the best players from the state since C-Webb. Brian Bowen is certainly no Josh Jackson, but he's probably the top rising freshman in the Class of 2017 from Michigan, and a name that should be heard about quite often over the next four years of high school basketball. One reason Brian should have a bright future in hoops; his father, Brian Bowen, Sr. The elder Bowen is the uncle of NBAer Jason Richardson, and played an instrumental role in helping Richardson reach the highest level. Since his pops knows what it takes to become an elite hooper, you can expect the younger Bowen to blossom under the tutelage of his dad. Even though he shares the same bloodlines as Richardson, he's not a high-flyer yet. What he lacks in athleticism however, he makes up for with ball skills, court awareness, and length. He's probably still growing also, so his future position is yet to be determined, but for the time being he's more than capable of handling off-guard duties. He has excellent ball handling skills, a smooth stroke with 3-point range, finishes at the rim with either hand, and plays with a tremendous amount of poise. He definitely needs to add some muscle to his frame, but he's still one of the more talented 9th graders in the country. He's headed to Saginaw Arthur Hill (Saginaw, MI) for his freshman year, and will more than likely contribute from day one. If you follow basketball in Michigan, you already know the city of Saginaw has produced some decent players over the years. It's obviously early, but Brian Bowen could be next in line. The only question now is; When does Izzo offer?  (09/22/13) - I guess we have our answer. Only 9 days after PC asked the question, Brian Bowen has officially received a scholarship offer from Michigan State (and Missouri). Go figure!

David Beatty pg/sg / 6'3'' 180 / Philadelphia, PA
Do I even need to go into detail about the history of high school basketball in Pennsylvania? Only California, New York, and Illinois have produced more NBA players, but the type of talent to come out of Pennsylvania, especially The City of Brotherly Love, has been second to none. In West Philadelphia born and raised. On the playground is where he spends most of his days. Chillin' out, maxin', relaxin' all cool, and shooting some B-ball outside of a school. Nope. I'm not talking about the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. This is the scouting report of the 6-foot-3, ultra athletic, David Beatty. Possibly the top incoming freshman from Pennsylvania, Beatty looks like a star in the making. With his strong build, tight handles, and explosive first step, Beatty gets in the lane at will and causes absolute havoc. He can finish with either hand, has an impressive up-and-under move, and plays above the rim in every sense of the word. While he has the size to play on the wing, he also has a well-rounded skill set, plus an instinctive feel for the game, so he actually might be better suited as a point guard. His non-stop motor is also quite impressive, and you got to love the fact he plays every game like it's his last. On the defensive side of the ball, Beatty's very versatile and can guard multiple positions. The one area of his game that will need to improve over time however, is his jump shot. He can definitely stroke it and has range out to the arc, but it's still somewhat streaky, and at times just isn't falling. Be that as it may, David Beatty's one of the top rising 9th graders in the country, and definitely a name to get used to. He's been an absolute force on the AAU circuit with P.Y.O., and he'll join forces with top 20 rising junior Derrick Jones at Archbishop Carroll (Radnor, PA) for his freshman year. Even though Archbishop Carroll is stacked, there's a good chance Beatty will crack the starting lineup, he's that good. I'm actually surprised no scholarships have been offered yet, but that should definitely change very soon. Wake Forest & Syracuse are his favorite schools at the moment, which is somewhat ironic considering he's already receiving Dion Waiters comparisons. The one catch with David Beatty; significant rumors he might head to Germany for high school. While that seems unlikely at the moment, it's still a possibility, and would be a severe blow for the Archbishop Carroll program. In the words of the Germans, wherever David Beatty ends up playing ball, his game is sure to be; "Am Punkt!"

Chyree Walker sg / 6'4'' 175 / Bethesda, MD
You want to see what a sure fire high-major prospect looks like? Guess what; you're looking at him! I'm not sure if I believe in destiny, but when you're born with the name "Chyree Walker", it's almost a forgone conclusion you're gonna be able to ball. Sure enough, Walker fits the bill. He's long, wiry, and extremely athletic. When he attacks the rim, you might as well call him Chyree Skywalker. Kid has serious bunnies, and is definitely a highlight reel waiting to happen. He's not all razzle-dazzle either. He's got a decent stroke, with range out to about 17-feet. He needs to continue work on his ball handling, as well as extending his range out to 3-point territory, but there's no question he's an elite talent in the Class of 2017. He's been playing against older competition on the AAU circuit for a few years now, most recently with Caron Butler's 16U Team Takeover squad. Not only has he held his own, he's actually been one of the best players on the team. He's headed to Paul VI High School (Fairfax, VA) for his freshman year, and should pair up quite nicely with rising juniors Marcus Derrickson & Franklin Howard. You should note, Howard actually tore his ACL in July, and will miss nearly the entire season. Even though that's horrible news, Walker should be able to fill the void quite nicely. If all goes as planned, you can expect a breakout year from Chyree, followed by scholarship offers a plenty.


C/O 2017 Freshmen Watch List Honorable Mentions (SG's)
Mitchell Ballock  sg  /  6'4''  175  /  Eudora, KS
T.J. Smith  pg/sg  /  6'4''  170  /  Matteson, IL
Caleb Simmons  sg/sf  /  6'4''  180  /  Phoenix, AZ
Bradley Belt  sg  /  6'3''  180  /  Huntsville, AL
Devin Clyburn  sg/sf  /  6'3''  175  /  New York, NY
Jamal Johnson  sg  /  6'4''  170  /  Harvest, AL
Reggie Crawford  sg/sf  /  6'4''  180  /  St. Louis, MO
Adam Seiko  sg/sf  /  6'3''  200  /  Catsworth, CA
Keytaon Thompson  sg/sf  /  6'4''  180  /  Harvey, LA
Shimoore Stern  sg/sf  /  6'4''  180  /  Miami, FL
Phillip Flory  sg  /  6'3''  170  /  Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Luis Hurtado  pg/sg  /  6'5''  175  /  Decatur, GA
Terrence McBride  sg  /  6'2''  165  /  Chatsworth, CA
Cedric Russell  sg  /  6'3''  170  /  Alexandria, LA
Charles O'Bannon, Jr.  sg  /  6'3''  170  /  Las Vegas, NV
Loseni Kamara  sg  /  6'2''  160  /  Brookville, NY
Emmanuel Lambright  sg/sf  /  6'5''  170  /  Sarasota, FL
Kai Morgan  sg  /  6'3''  180  /  New Orleans, LA
Trevon Duval  pg/sg  /  6'2''  170  /  Hockessin, DE
Jaylen Nowell  pg/sg  /  6'3''  165  /  Seattle, WA
Tyshon Alexander  sg  /  6'3''  170  /  Concord, NC
Zach Butler  pg/sg  /  6'2''  160  /  Roebuck, SC
Kyle Stewart  sg/sf  /  6'5''  175  /  Los Angeles, CA
D.J. Mitchell  sg  /  6'3''  170  /  Hyattsville, MD
D'Andre Vilmar  sg  /  6'3''  180  /  Philadelphia, PA
TylePolley  sg/sf  /  6'6''  180  /  Weston, FL
Tristan Patterson  sg  /  6'3''  175  /  Hartford, CT
Eric Ayala  sg  /  6'2''  165  /  Wilmington, DE
Chaundee Brown  sg  /  6'3''  170  /  Orlando, FL
V.J. Bailey  sg  /  6'4''  175  /  Urbana, IL

C/O 2017 Freshmen Watch List
PG's - SF's - PF/C's

Prospect-Central's HS Basketball c/o 2017 Freshmen Watch List (SF's)

Class of 2017: Small Forwards


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 small forwards from the Class of 2017. Names are in no particular order.

Darren 'D.J.' Harvey sf / 6'6'' 210 / Huntsville, AL
If you ever walk into the gym and D.J. Harvey's on the ones & twos, you already know the joint's about to be jumpin! Simply put, the Alabama native is one of the elite talents in the Class of 2017, and definitely worth the high price of admission. Like the majority of players selected to PC's Freshmen Watch List, Harvey's already a nationally known recruit, and appears to be ready for a huge 9th grade season. He's a strong wing, with great size & athleticism for his age, and will not hesitate to put someone on a poster. He has a solid mid-range game, showing a pretty effective pull-up jumper, and he can hit the 3-ball given time & space. He's also an alert defender, plays with a high energy level, and does a good job rebounding the basketball. As nice as his all-around skill set appears to be, there's no question the coup de grĂ¢ce of Harvey's game is his ability to attack the basket. With his strong build and aggressive mentality, he's a force when taking it to the rack, and has no problem finishing through contact. As I stated before, Harvey definitely can stroke it, but his long range shooting can be streaky at times, so he'll need to continue to work on that area of his game. He's been playing up on the AAU circuit with the 17U Nashville Celtics, and even played high school ball last year for Christ School in Arden, North Carolina. He had a modest season for the Greenies, but now he's headed to national powerhouse DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, MD) for his freshman year. He's already receiving interest from a number of schools in the SEC & ACC, which shouldn't be too much of a surprise. If he continues developing his game at his current pace, D.J. Harvey should be spinning his way to platinum status in no time!

Terrell Coleman sf / 6'5'' 205 / Lithonia, GA
It seems like I say this with every state, but Georgia is absolutely loaded with talent from the Class of 2017. Once other publications start to release national rankings for the class, you can expect the Peach State to hold down a number of spots within the Top 25. One player in particular who should make some serious noise come the fall; Terrell Coleman. Everything about his game screams upside. When it comes to the combination of size, athleticism, strength, and speed, he's light years ahead of other players his age. Easily one of the most dynamic athletes in his class, Coleman's a high-flyer in every sense of the word, displaying rim-rattling dunks that would even make some NBA players jealous. The scary thing about Terrell Coleman; he's not even close to being a finished product yet. He needs to work on his on-the-ball defense, ball handling skills, and jumpshot, but once he tightens up that area of his game, there's no telling how good he can become. He's been playing AAU ball for the well renowned Atlanta Celtics, and under the tutelage of his coach Chris Anderson, has really started to make a name for himself. He's headed to Miller Grove High School (Lithonia, GA) for his freshman year, and even though the Wolverines are usually loaded, he should still be a nice addition to the squad. When it comes to college recruiting, he's always liked NC State, so Mark Gottfried better get on the giddyup. What's most impressive about the rising 9th grader however, he's well-mannered, very humble, and seems like a really great kid. Even if he doesn't pursue basketball as a career, the future of Terrell Coleman is looking sweeter than a Georgia Peach. - (10/27/13) - I don't know how else to say this, but 15-year old Terrell Coleman has passed away. He died on the court today from an apparent seizure, all while playing the game he loved. His funeral will be held @ 11 a.m. on Sat, November 2nd, at New Birth Church, 6400 Woodrow Road, Lithonia, Georgia. He was an incredible young man with his whole life in front of him, and my thoughts & prayers go out to his entire family. He will be missed dearly. - R.I.P. Terrell Coleman

Billy Preston sf/pf / 6'7'' 210 / Irvine, CA
It's crazy how fast these kid's grow. Just last year Billy Preston was a 6-foot-4 rising 8th grader. Obviously that's already great size, but now the freshman-to-be is pushing 6'8'' and growing. Born October 26th, 1997, the 15-year old might be slightly older than some of his classmates, but that seems to be the reoccurring theme with the majority of these players. The fact of the matter is, Preston's game & size speaks for itself. While he can play either the 3 or the 4, he might project as a better wing down the road, hence he's being featured as a small forward. With his length, athleticism, and overall feel for the game, it's clear Preston has a considerable amount of potential. He already has a pretty sweet stroke, showing the ability to stretch the floor with his 3-point shooting. One aspect of his game that might be underrated is his passing. He sees the floor very well, does a nice job creating for others, and doesn't hesitate to make the extra pass. He's also a very good rebounder, showing multiple efforts on the glass. He needs to tighten up his handles and work on developing some post moves, but he's only been playing basketball for 3-years, so you can only imagine what his game will look like once he's about to enter college. He's been hooping on the AAU circuit with Dream Vision, and was balling this summer with Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA), but now he's attending St. John Bosco (Bellflower, CA) for his freshman year. Daniel Hamilton & Tyler Dorsey are the headliners on the team, but Preston should still be a valuable addition to the squad. As with many young, elite prospects on the west coast, USC is the first school to offer, but it's safe to say a number of programs will be vying for his services in the future. He might not be a gunslinger, but this Billy the Kid's about to become a very wanted man!

Jarred Vanderbilt sf / 6'8'' 185 / Houston, TX
Possibly the top incoming freshman from the state of Texas, Jarred Vanderbilt has been a nationally known name for what seems like forever. Since he's finally about to enter high school, it should be interesting to see if the hype was justified, but chances are the answer to that question will be an emphatic YES! Even though he's one of the younger recruits in the Class of 2017, he's also one of the most talented. His upside is pretty ridiculous, as he clearly has a very bright future in the game of basketball. One reason Vanderbilt has so much potential; his impressive size for the wing position. Not only is he extremely long, he's also been growing at a steady rate all through middle school, so he might have a couple more inches in him as well. Along with his length, he's very athletic, has nice ball skills, does a good job crashing the boards, and can defend multiple positions. He actually has pretty solid handles for his size, so don't be surprised if you see him playing in the backcourt from time to time. He has a decent left-handed stroke, but needs to become more consistent from long range. If Vanderbilt really wants to take his game to the next level, he needs to work on playing with a greater sense of urgency. He's simply too talented of a basketball player to go through the motions. He has a chance to be special, but it's going to require hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. Obviously it won't be easy, but then again achieving greatness never is. Vanderbilt's been an instrumental force on the AAU circuit with the talented Houston Elite, and he's supposedly headed to Victory Prep (Houston,TX) for his freshman year. No one knows what the future has in store for the rising 9th grader, but we're certainly about to find out. He's been Texas two-stepping it over the competition these past few years, but now it's about to become a whole new ball game. Something tells me Jarred Vanderbilt will more than hold his own. After all, he's representing H-Town Baby!

Tomas Murphy sf/pf / 6'8'' 185 / Wakefield, RI
The NBA has been in existence for nearly 70 years, and during that time frame only six people from the state of Rhode Island have played in the league. Once Erik Murphy suits up for the Chicago Bulls this season, you can add another name to the list. While that's obviously pretty impressive, it's his younger brother Tomas who might actually be the better Murphy. Even though he's been a well known recruit for quite sometime now, it's not until recently when his name really started to blow up. After he received offers from Florida, Maryland, Providence, Boston College, & Rhode Island these past few months, Tomas Murphy has officially stepped out of his famous family's shadow. When watching Tomas play, it's easy to see what all the fuss is about. He's extremely polished on the offensive side of the ball, showing excellent ball handling skills, a smooth jumper with range out to the arc, solid post moves, and the athleticism to finish above the rim. He's probably not done growing yet either, so he might project as a stretch 4 down the road, just like his brother Erik. He's been killing it on the AAU circuit with the 15U Mass Rivals, and should have an excellent freshman season at Prout High School in Wakefield, Rhode Island. There's a lot of talented families in the world of sports these days, and the Murphy's are right up there with the best of them. Besides his older brother Erik playing in the league, his other brother Alex is a sophomore at Duke, and definitely has a little bit of game in his own right. Tomas father, Jay Murphy, also played in the NBA, and was a 2nd round pick of the Golden State Warriors in possibly the greatest draft in the history of the league; the 1984 NBA Draft. Last but not least, his mother played for the Finnish National Team back in the day. Can you say genetic lottery? If you ever watched the television show Family Guy, you know it takes place in Rhode Island. Believe me when I say; Tomas Murphy has more game than Quagmire. If he continues to focus on his craft, it's safe to say he'll be the next big thing to come out of the Ocean State. Giggity, Giggity.

James 'MJ' Walker sg/sf / 6'5'' 195 / Rex, GA
Pop quiz hot shot. Who's one of only two players to crack PC's Freshmen Watch List two-times? If you guessed James 'MJ' Walker, give yourself a pat on the back. Last summer, Walker was an honorable mention for PC's Class of 2016 Freshmen Watch List, but he reclassified right after it was published. Fast forward a year; he's no longer an honorable mention, he's being featured! Walker's a perfect example of the benefits for reclassifying. Even though he was a good player last year, and already had terrific size, he might have been lost in the shuffle considering the Class of 2016 is extremely deep. Since the majority of players his age are trying to catch up physically, some of them choose to reclassify, but MJ's different. He already has the size, skills, and athleticism of a high-major prospect, and is basically just delaying the inevitable. Bottom line, the 15-year old's gonna get noticed regardless of class. He's a physical, slashing wing, with great reaction time, a high motor, and the ability to play lock down defense. He also has a nice mid-range game, rebounds at a high level, and plays with a ton of confidence. Once his jumper becomes more consistent, MJ Walker will have truly earned his initials. He's been a force on the AAU circuit with Atlanta Express, and he was headed to Dwight Howard's alma mater, Southwest Atlanta Christian (Atlanta, GA) for his freshman year, but now he's supposedly attending Jonesboro High School (Jonesboro, GA) instead. Auburn University has already offered, but don't be surprised if James 'MJ' Walker has his choice of schools once it's time to make his commitment.

Jermaine Samuels sf / 6'6'' 180 / Franklin, MA
Last summer Jermaine Samuels was a 6-foot-2 combo guard with an emerging skill set. One year later, he's a 6-foot-6 wing on the verge of becoming an elite prospect. Born November 13th, 1998, the 14-year old is really starting to come into his own. He's been playing at a very high level all season, and proved he's definitely gonna be a problem at the high school level. Easily one of the top rising 9th graders from New England, Samuels has the athleticism, size, and all-around skills of a big-time D1 recruit. The best part of his game though, has to be playing in transition. He runs the floor extremely well, does an excellent job attacking the basket, and can finish at the rim with the best of them. His perimeter game is slowly coming around, as he's beginning to show a smooth stroke with range out to the arc. He also moves well with out the ball, has a non-stop motor, does a good job crashing the boards, and can even play in the post. Obviously there's a lot of time before he graduates high school, so he'll have to continue developing his game if he wants to remain as one of the top recruits in his class. He started balling on the AAU circuit with M Plex, but really made a name for himself with Connecticut Basketball Club. He recently left CBC for Expressions Elite, and should be one of their best players moving forward. He's headed to The Rivers School (Weston, MA) for his freshman year, and is poised for a breakout season. Providence, Rhode Island, Boston College, and Dartmouth have already offered, but if he had his choice of schools, Kentucky & Uconn would be at the top of the list. Needless to say, it's going to be quite interesting tracking the development of the talented Jermaine Samuels.

Dwayne 'D.J.' Russell sf/pf / 6'6'' 210 / Jacksonville, FL
There have only been two players selected to PC's Freshmen Watch List more than once, and Dwayne 'D.J.' Russell is one of them. Just like the previously mentioned MJ Walker, Russell was an honorable mention last year, but reclassified right after it was published. That's not the only piece of trivia associated with the rising 9th grader either. Back in July, D.J. Russell became the first recruit from the Class of 2017 to commit to a school. He was spotted while the University of Miami was scouting an older teammate, and the rest is history. Obviously things can change between now and the time D.J. enters college, but he likes the idea of staying close to home, and felt the Hurricanes would be the best long-term fit moving forward. With the burden of choosing a school behind him, D.J. can now focus exclusively on basketball, and not have to worry about the hoopla surrounding the recruiting process. From a physicality standpoint, D.J. Russell has a college ready body. He's as strong as an ox, attacks the basket like it stole something, and plays with a relentless effort on both sides of the ball. His perimeter skills are slowly rounding into place, as he's starting to display a consistent 3-point stroke needed to take his game to the next level. He can guard either forward position, and is an absolute beast on the boards. With his size, strength, and athletic ability, he's already receiving Ron Artest comparisons (or should I say Metta World Peace?) He's been tearing it up on the AAU circuit with the Atlanta Celtics this summer, and even played high school ball last year as an 8th grader. He had a decent season for Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, FL), but you can expect the freshman to play even better come the fall. Whether he stays committed to Miami or not is yet to be determined, but there is one thing becoming abundantly clear. If you currently play high school basketball at the moment; D.J. Russell's about to rock you like a Hurricane!

Kimani Lawrence sf / 6'6'' 180 / Providence, RI
From 1880-2013, the highest recorded use of the name "Kimani" in the United States was in 2009, with a total of 111 people. The reason why I bring this up; Kimani Lawrence is about to put the name on a map! While Kimani may have an uncommon name, he also has a very profound game, and is yet another high-profiled wing from the Class of 2017 to come out of New England. Since he reclassified last year, he's slightly older than some of his classmates, but like I said before that seems to be the norm these days. Regardless of his age, Kimani's a versatile, slashing wing, with excellent length & athleticism for his position. He has solid ball handling skills, excels in transition, and shows no problem finishing through traffic. He also plays with a high energy level, does a good job crashing the boards, and really gets after it on the defensive side of the ball. What's most impressive about the freshman's game however, he's an extremely tough competitor, truly leads by example, and never shy's away from the moment. He needs to develop a more consistent stroke, but it's clear he'll be an impact player at the high school level. He's been balling on the AAU circuit with Expressions Elite, and along with previously mentioned Jermaine Samuels, even made some serious noise with the 17U squad this summer. He's headed to Crushing Academy (Ashburnham, MA) for his freshman year, where he'll join forces with the dynamic duo of Syracuse commit Kaleb Joseph & the talented Jalen Adams. back in July, Providence & Rhode Island officially offered, but that's just gonna be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to recruiting. The last thing we need to know about Kimani Lawrence; his name comes from African origins and means "one who is beautiful and sweet." Ironically, his game is the same way.

Deaundrae Ballard sg/sf / 6'5'' 185 / Lithia Springs, GA
If you're a Top 10 incoming freshman from the state of Georgia, chances are you're also gonna be one of the top rising 9th graders in the nation. As I stated before, the talent in the c/o 2017 from the Peach State is unmatched, plain and simple. In all honesty, there's so much talent in the state, look for the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, and other local schools to have some deep recruiting classes 4-years from now. Will Deaundrae Ballard stay home to play college ball once it's time to commit? Well, if you happen to have any connections with those programs, you better cross your fingers. Ballard's an explosive wing, with off-the-charts athleticism, and an emerging skill set. The scary thing is, he's just scratching the surface on the type of player he can become. He's starting to display a solid 3-point stroke, nice ball handling skills, and a crafty mid-range game, plus he's beginning to show the ability to create for others. With his length & athleticism, he does a terrific job rebounding the basketball, and he's very versatile on defense, guarding multiple positions. His game has made leaps & bounds these past few years, but he'll need to continue putting in the work if he wants to remain as one of the better players in his class. He started making noise on the AAU circuit with CP3 All-Stars, but now he's running with the Atlanta Rockafellas. He graduated from Factory Shoals Middle School in Douglasville, Georgia, and will no doubt make a name for himself in the high school ranks as well. Let the fun begin!


C/O 2017 Freshmen Watch List Honorable Mentions (SF's)
James Babb  sf/pf  /  6'5''  190  /  Memphis, TN
Zach Gunn  sf  /  6'6''  200  /  Fishers, IN
Omar Habwe  sf/pf  /  6'6''  200  /  Richmond, VA
Logan Hill  sf  /  6'5''  185  /  Massillon, OH
Romelo Burrell  sg/sf  /  6'5''  180  /  Chicago, IL
Sidney Wilson  sf  /  6'5''  170  /  Bronx, NY
Nick Alikakos  sf  /  6'5''  180  /  Westchester, PA
Kris Wilkes  sf  /  6'5''  175  /  Indianapolis, IN
Andre Rafus, Jr.  sf  /  6'6''  180  /  Baltimore, MD
Cassius Smits  sf  /  6'7''  195  /  Zionsville, IN
Hasahn French  sf  /  6'7''  200  /  Middletown, NY
Walter Prevost  sf  /  6'5''  185  /  Humble, TX
Jordan Tucker  sf  /  6'7''  180  /  White Plains, NY
Joshua Okogie  sf /  6'5''  180  /  Snellville, GA
Chance Melton  sf/pf  /  6'5''  190  /  Columbia, KY
Patrick Strzala  sf  /  6'5''  185  /  Bayonne, NJ
Jerome Deroisers  sf  /  6'6''  205  /  St. Hyacinthe, CAN
Jaden Sayles  sf/pf  /  6'7''  190  /  Cincinnati, OH
Jaylen Harris  sf  /  6'5''  190  /  Cleveland Heights, OH
Jatarius Smith  sf  /  6'5''  175  / Fayetteville, NC
Clayshon Gaffney  sf/pf  /  6'7''  190  /  Clarksville, TX
Myles Douglas  sf  /  6'5''  175  /  Baltimore, MD
Chris Coalman  sf  /  6'6''  185  /  Suffolk County, NY
Landon Walker  sf/pf  /  6'7''  195  /  Gering, NE
Kahmonie Foster  sf/pf  /  6'6''  190  /  Hoboken, NJ
Christian Negron  sf/pf  /  6'6''  190  /  Elgin, IL
Timmel Eggleston  sf  /  6'5''  175  /  Baltimore, MD
Andre Boykin  sf  /  6'4''  200  /  Bethesda, MD
DeShawn Wilson  sf  /  6'5''  180  /  Las Vegas, NV
Justin Pettis  sf/pf  /  6'5''  190  /  Chicago, IL

C/O 2017 Freshmen Watch List
PG's - SG's - PF/C's