SLAM Fresh 25 — 2016

Jayson Tatum takes over the top spot in our Class of 2016 pre-season rankings.
by October 24, 2014
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While the Class of 2015 is heavy with bigs, the 2016 class, as you’ll see below, possesses a great amount of impressive swingmen and explosive combo guards. This group is characterized by the versatile players who can play multiple positions, while the senior class is recognized for its dominance in the lane. As you’ll see below, it’s pretty easy to find 6-6 or 6-7 blue chippers, who’d traditionally hold it down at the wing, that can run the point. And then you have tall guards with the scoring prowess and IQ to easily fit in at either guard position and even small forward.

Thus, that’s what makes guys like Jayson Tatum, Josh Jackson and Terrance Ferguson such prized recruits.

All in all, this is the class that’s expected to be as hyped as the 2013 one. And by the looks of their multi-faceted games (and ridiculous explosiveness for many), they’ll have plenty to back it up with.

Rank
Player
Pos.
Ht.
School
Why?
1 Jayson Tatum SF 6-7 Chaminade (MO) As versatile, skilled and smart as you’ll find a wing player his age.
2 Thon Maker C 7-0 Athlete’s Institute (CAN) Mobile big who’s shown the ability to step out of the paint and sink jumpers.
3 Josh Jackson SF 6-6 Prolific Prep (CA) His knack for scoring is simply second to none.
4 Harry Giles PF 6-9 Wesleyan Christian (NC) Has bounced back nicely from last year’s ACL, MCL and meniscus injuries in his left knee.
5 Dennis Smith Jr PG 6-1 Trinity Christian (NC) Great at creating for himself and others.
6 Malik Monk SG 6-3 Bentonville (AR) One of the most explosive guards in the nation with deep range.
7 Terrance Ferguson SG 6-6 Prime Prep (TX) Another scoring specialist at the rim and out on the perimeter.
8 Derryck Thornton PG 6-0 Findlay Prep (NV) Understands the role of a true point guard.
9 Edrice Adebayo C 6-9 Northside (NC) Lots of upside for a post player who’s barely scraped the surface of his potential.
10 Lonzo Ball PG 6-4 Chino Hills (CA) (UCLA-commit) Has all the intangibles that make a floor general.
11 Udoka Azubuike C 6-10 Potters House Christian (FL) A physical dominance in the lane.
12 De’Aaron Fox PG 6-3 Cypress Lakes (TX) Has the skill sets to excel at either guard position.
13 Miles Bridges SF 6-6 Huntington Prep (WV) Versatile southpaw with the physical attributes to fit in at both forward spots.
14 Tyus Battle SG 6-5 Gill St. Bernard’s (NJ) A force on both ends of the floor.
15 Seventh Woods PG 6-2 Hammond (SC) Freakish athleticism and crowd-pleasing finishes.
16 Kobi Simmons PG 6-5 St. Francis (GA) An unselfish scorer with good IQ and thus comfortable at either guard position.
17 TJ Leaf PF 6-9 Foothills Christian (CA) Lengthy combo-forward with a lethal perimeter game.
18 Joshua Langford SG 6-6 Madison Academy (AL) Assertive wing who can score in all kinds of ways.
19 VJ King SF 6-7 Paul Vi (VA) Possesses one of the best jumpers in the class.
20 Abdul Hakim Ado C 6-9 Hamilton Heights (TN) Whether it is on offense or defense, Ado is always at work in the paint.
21 Dewan Huell PF 6-10 Miami Norland (FL) This skilled and athletic big can step out to midrange and sink them consistently.
22 Omari Spellman PF 6-9 The MacDuffie School (OH) Mobile big who can put the ball on the floor outside the paint and hit short jumpers.
23 Juwan Durham PF 6-9 Tampa Prep (FL) Active on the boards, contesting shots, and is dependable from midrange.
24 Marques Bolden C 6-10 DeSoto (TX) Athletic post player.
25 Mustapha Heron SG 6-5 Sacred Heart (CT) (Pitt-commit) Strong lefty guard who break down the defense.