Behind the “super” Class of 2016 is a junior class that also has its share of versatile forwards at the top. And to start the season, last year’s top 2017 prospect DeAndre Ayton remains at the helm of this group despite a relatively quiet summer as he gradually returned from his knee injury during the travel circuit.

Ayton didn’t begin playing until late May at the third and final UAA session in New York, where he put up 15 and 15, 28 and 13, and 18 and 19 in three of his four outings.

Right behind him is Wendell Carter, who enjoyed an impressive run with the Georgia Stars in the prestigious Nike EYBL circuit, where he averaged 12.3 points and 8.1 rebounds before winning the 17U championship after defeating the St. Louis Eagles in thePeach Jam title game.

All in all, this class features a nice mix of inside and outside talent. We’ll update the list twice more throughout the season and expand it to 50 by the spring.

Rank
Player
Pos.
Ht.
School
Why?
1 DeAndre Ayton C 6-10 Balboa City (CA) Most versatile big man in the class.
2 Wendell Carter Jr. PF 6-9 Pace Academy GA) Dominant force in the lane.
3 Trevon Duval PG 6-3 Advanced Prep (TX) Quick, crafty, assertive scorer.
4 Michael Porter Jr SF 6-9 Father Tolton Catholic (MO) Lengthy, athletic wing with long range.
5 Billy Preston PF 6-10 Advanced Prep (TX) Can play either forward position due to his versatility.
6 Mohamed Bamba PF 6-11 Westtown School (PA) Tremendous defensive presence with loads of upside.
7 Jarred Vanderbilt PF 6-8 Victory Prep (TX) Great motor in the paint and on the glass.
8 Troy Brown Jr PG 6-2 Centennial (NV) Prototypical floor leader.
9 Hamidou Diallo SG 6-5 Putman Science (CT) Agile guard with exceptional athleticism and a knack for scoring.
10 DJ Harvey SF 6-6 DeMatha Catholic (MD) Talented scorer who can get on the boards in all kinds of ways.
11 Gary Trent Jr SG 6-5 Apple Valley (MN) Outstanding shooter with range.
12 John Petty SG 6-6 J.O. Johnson (AL) Attack-mode scorer with impressive leaping abilities.
13 Ike Obiagu C 7-0 Greenforest McCalep (GA) Remarkable shot-blocker and rebounder.
14 Brandon McCoy C 6-11 Cathedral (CA) One of the top defensive recruits in the class.
15 Nicholas Richards C 6-11 The Patrick School (NJ) Another defensive specialist in the Class of 2017.
16 Kevin Knox II SF 6-6 Tampa Catholic (FL) Lengthy athlete with impressive mid-range game.
17 Zach Brown C 7-0 Miami Beach (FL) Strong inside presence with a nice touch.
18 Kris Wilkes SF 6-8 North Central (IN) Lengthy wing with a respectable mid-range jumper.
19 Brian Bowen SF 6-7 La Lumiere (IN) High-ceiling wing with a nice skill set.
20 PJ Washington PF 6-8 Findlay Prep (NV) Great finisher with range that extends 15-17 feet out.
21 Jalek Felton SG 6-3 Mullins (SC) (UNC-commit) Explosive guard with a knack for scoring.
22 Lonnie Walker SG 6-5 Reading (PA) Great attacker and finisher who can also sink the J.
23 Cody Riley SF 6-7 Sierra Canyon (CA) Can play either forward position thanks to his versatility and physique.
24 Trae Young PG 6-1 Norman North (OK) Terrific shooter and ball handler.
25 MJ Walker SF 6-5 Jonesboro (GA) Two-sport star athlete (bball & football) with great motor and assertiveness.

(Photo Credit: Atiba Jefferson)