SLAM Fresh 10 – 2016
Harry Giles leads the way in the super loaded 2016 class.
by Franklyn Calle / @FrankieC7
Despite only having one year of prep basketball under their belt, the Class of 2016 is already being hailed as the next super class, in terms of talent, in the same manner that the Class of 2013 and 2007 were regarded. At the top, this class is just so stacked with bluechippers and, therefore, you can understand why it resembles some of the top classes in recent memory. The fact that some people are more excited about this class than the senior and junior classes tells you just how high expectations are for this group.
Unlike the 2014 and 2015 rankings, which were based on what the players did during the summer and served as an updated version of the spring rankings, this sophomore list is just as focused on what these prospects did during their freshman year last season with their respective school teams since we are ranking the group for the very first time.
With the obvious exception of Thon Maker, the cream of the crop for this class is predominantly composed of 2-guards and swingmen. You’ll find Harry Giles, a versatile forward who plays alongside UNC-bound Theo Pinson at Wesleyan (NC), leading the way. At 6-8, he displayed a great feel for the game for only a freshman last season. He’s very athletic and moves quick in the paint, while also displaying the coveted soft touch in the lane. Additionally, he can put the ball on the floor and create for himself, and also has demonstrated some great passing instincts. After averaging 12.5 points and 9.5 rebounds as a ninth grader, Giles was on his way to becoming a household name in he circuit this summer, but instead ended up tearing his ACL, MCL and meniscus in June while playing with USA Basketball’s U16 squad at the FIBA America’s World Championships in Uruguay. He could potentially miss most (some say all) of his sophomore season as a result.
Right behind Giles stands Josh Jackson. He can score in all type of ways and can even impact without the ball on his hands. He averaged 17 points and 6 rebounds as a frosh, which earned him AP Class C All-State honors. Wrapping up the top-three is seven-footer Thon Maker, who posted double-double figures of 23.4 points and 12.9 rebounds per game, along with 4.9 blocks a night.
At fourth is Jayson Tatum. He can finish with the best of them and at 6-7, he is a mismatch for many 2-guards at this level. He averaged more than 13 points and 6 rebounds per outing, ultimately earning him Class 5 first team All-State by Missouri Sportswriters and Sportcasters. Then follows VJ King out of Akron, OH. The last time the St. Vincent-St. Mary’s basketball program was in the national spotlight was in 2003 when they featured some kid named LeBron James. Since then, not much has been heard of the program. It is only right that the first five-star recruit out of the school since King James himself is legally named King. He has become widely respected for that smooth jumper he possesses. Despite being only a freshman, he led the team in scoring last season with 16.3 points per game.
At sixth is Malik Monk. Although he quickly stands out for his explosiveness and athleticism, it is the array of scoring options in his repertoire that makes his so valuable. He led his school to the 2A state championship game after averaging 22.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists last season. Monk is followed by Tyus Battle, who averaged 11.8 points in his first high school season, and then comes Mustapha Heron at the eighth slot. Next is Josh Langford, who was named Alabama’s Class 3A Player of the Year after averaging 23.9 points and 8.5 rebounds. And last but not least is Seventh Woods, who has become an online celebrity thanks to his highlight reels being all over YouTube, and with one of them, which as was posted in April, already having surpassed 8.4 million views. People are already predicting he might be the next Derrick Rose or DWade. The way he attacks the rim resembles nothing of what a 6-1, 14-year-old HS freshman should be doing. Just insane stuff.
Guys who almost made the cut and that could easily be on this list as the season goes on include Terrance Ferguson, Dedric Lawson, Edrice Adebayo and DeAaron Fox.
Photos courtesy of Kelly Kline / Under Armour
|1||Harry Giles||6-8||PF||Wesleyan Christian (NC)||Terrific athletic with a skill set beyond his years.|
|2||Josh Jackson||6-6||SG||Voyageur Consortium (MI)||Versatile wing who can do a little of everything.|
|3||Thon Maker||7-0||C||Carlisle School (VA)||Tremendous upside due to size and skill for his age.|
|4||Jayson Tatum||6-7||SG||Chaminade Prep (MO)||At 6-7, Tatum can put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim with the best of them.|
|5||VJ King||6-5||SG||St. Vincent-St. Mary (OH)||One of the top shooters in the class; very smooth jump shot.|
|6||Malik Monk||6-3||SG||East Poinsett (AR)||Explosive guard with loaded offensive repertoire.|
|7||Tyus Battle||6-5||SF||Gill St. Bernards (NJ)||Known for getting it done on both ends of the floor.|
|8||Mustapha Heron||6-4||PG||Wilbraham & Monson (MA)||With a sturdy physique in comparison to most guards his age, this lefty can overpower his way to the rim or just be the sharpshooter he is from the perimeter. Pick your poison.|
|9||Josh Langford||6-5||SG||Madison Academy (AL)||His ability to create off the dribble is second to none.|
|10||Seventh Woods||6-1||PG||Hammond School (SC)||Just check out the highlight reels. All that needs to be said.|