SLAM Fresh 25 – 2014
The best player in the country is a junior.
by Franklyn Calle / @FrankieC7
If there is anything we learned this summer, it was that Andrew Wiggins is a star in the making and has most certainly made his case for best player in the country—regardless of class.
Touted as the best game of the summer, Wiggins outperformed 2013′s top-ranked prospect Julius Randle at the Nike Peach Jam in South Augusta, SC, with a 28-point and 13-rebound outing and the W—and yes, they were guarding each other throughout the game.
Explosive, quick, crafty, aggressive, range: Wiggins has proven he’s got it all in his repertoire and you better believe the hype. The Kobe Bryant comparison has been made a bunch of times already. His father, Mitchell Wiggins, was a standout at Florida State and later selected in the 1983 NBA Draft, while his mother Marita Payne, who also attended Florida State, became an Olympic runner for Canada and still holds a record in the 400-meter relay for the country.
Wiggins leads in a class that features an array of forwards and wings. Rashad Vaughn, Malik Pope and Stanley Johnson are among the players who weren’t part of the top-25 list in the spring.
|1||Andrew Wiggins||6-7||SF||Huntington (WV)||Arguably the best player in the country.|
|2||Jahlil Okafor||6-9||C||Whitney Young (IL)||Strong and dominant in the post and on the glass.|
|3||Tyus Jones||6-0||PG||Apple Valley (MN)||An argument could be made that he’s the best pure PG in the nation.|
|4||Noah Vonleh||6-8||PF||New Hampton (NH)||A threat in the paint and out on the perimeter. (Reclassified to 2013 class)|
|5||Emmanuel Mudiay||6-4||PG||Grace (TX)||Excels at either guard position.|
|6||Cliff Alexander||6-9||C||Curie (IL)||The paint is his.|
|7||Dakari Johnson||6-10||C||Montverde (FL)||Strong big man with lots of upside.|
|8||Trey Lyles||6-8||PF||Arsenal Technical (IN)||The Indiana-commit is a multifaceted forward.|
|9||Kevon Looney||6-8||SF||Hamilton (WI)||Is a threat from outside the paint as much as from inside.|
|10||Justise Wislow||6-6||SF||St. John’s (TX)||Explosive lefty wing who can get to the rim or sink it from distance.|
|11||Theo Pinson||6-5||SF||Wesleyan Christian (NC)||Pure scorer who can put up points in all types of ways.|
|12||D’Angelo Russell||6-3||SG||Montverde (FL)||A natural scorer who has some point guard skills in him.|
|13||Chris McCullough||6-8||PF||Salisbury (CT)||Athletic forward who uses his agility and speed to do damage at the rim.|
|14||Rashad Vaughn||6-6||SG/SF||Robbinsdale Cooper (MN)||Strong wing whose stock has taken flight.|
|15||JaQuan Lyle||6-4||PG||Benjamin Bosse (IN)||Can play either guard position with his ability to create for others, as well as his own shot.|
|16||Leron Black||6-7||PF||White Station (TN)||Very athletic, with the ability to get to the rim but also knock it down from mid-range.|
|17||Joel Berry||6-1||PG||Lake Highland (FL)||Impressive floor general skills.|
|18||Dwayne Morgan||6-7||F||Baltimore City (MD)||Plays either forward position well.|
|19||Malik Pope||6-7||SF||Capital Christian (CA)||Lanky forward with speed and range.|
|20||Stanley Johnson||6-5||SG/SF||Mater Dei (CA)||Impressive inside-outside game.|
|21||Jalen Lindsey||6-6||SF||Christ Presbyterian (TN)||Flourishes in transition, has a respectable jumper.|
|23||Justin Jackson||6-6||SF||Homeschool Christian (TX)||Great shooter, whether it’s mid-range or out on the perimeter.|
|24||Daniel Hamilton||6-7||SG/SF||St. John Bosco (CA)||The brother of 2013-ranked Isaac, Daniel is one of the most versatile wings around.|
|25||Isaiah Whitehead||6-5||SG||Lincoln (NY)||Can score in bunches and in all type of ways.|