With the high school season just weeks away and the summer circuit in the rearview mirror, this is a perfect time to examine who stands where in our annual pre-season rankings.
This offseason saw combo guard Malik Newman win MVP at the FIBA World Championship for a second consecutive year. He won MVP in the summer of 2013 after leading the Team USA squad to the gold medal at the FIBA U16 World Championship in Uruguay, where he averaged 16.2 points per game. This past August, this time in the U17 tourney in Dubai, Newman once again earned MVP after carrying the American team to the gold medal—posting 21 points and 11 rebounds in the championship game against Australia, and overall averaging 14.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists during the seven-game event. He joins an elite club on past U17 MVP winners since the tourney’s inception in 2010. The two other Americans to have received the honor are rising NBA star Brad Beal and highly touted Duke freshman Jahlil Okafor.
Aside from international play, Newman also showed out in the Nike EYBL circuit—the most competitive and star-studded grassroots league in the world. There, despite sitting out the entire first weekend with an injury (missing four games), Newman still managed to finish second in scoring during the regular season at 22.5 points.
Last year, while in the midst of wrapping up as a sophomore, Newman led the the prestigious EYBL in scoring. This year, it was only Allonzo Trier who scored more than Newman, averaging 29.4 points.
And so, all things considered, when you’re looking at who’s the nation’s best scorer and the one with the most accolades, Newman has to be atop of your list. He’s already led his school to three consecutive state titles and will be looking to capture the historic fourth one this upcoming season.
Aside from Newman, Ben Simmons continued to prove he was unequivocally the top big in the class. The Australian native earned MVP at the renowned NBPA Top 100 Camp, while also separating himself from his peers in the EYBL circuit.
New to the top-three conversation is Jaylen Brown, who simply tore it up at every event he attended this past summer, including the adidas circuit and winning MVP at the Under Armour Elite 24 Game.
The Breakout Player of the Summer had to be Donovan Mitchell, who, coming into the spring, wasn’t even listed in the top 100 by Rivals and was unranked by Scout.com. Now he’s projected as a top-30 prospect after blowing up at the Reebok Classic Breakout Camp in Philadelphia and in Under Armour’s The Association circuit.
Interestingly, in terms of college recruiting, Texas A&M and Florida State have already received verbal commitments from five of the players below — 10% of this top-50 list. Looks like they’re quietly stacking up talent. And then you the usual suspects, like Duke, Kentucky and Arizona sprinkled in there. Yet, only three of the top-10 players have made their college decisions thus far.
That could all change though by the time we update our rankings again in mid-winter.
|1||Malik Newman||SG||6-3||Callaway (MS)||Still the best scorer in the country.|
|2||Ben Simmons||PF||6-8||Montverde (FL)||(LSU-commit) Most versatile big man in the land.|
|3||Jaylen Brown||SF||6-7||Wheeler (GA)||Most versatile wing around.|
|4||Diamond Stone||C||6-10||Dominican (WI)||Pure dominance in the paint.|
|5||Ivan Rabb||PF||6-10||Bishop O’Dowd (CA)||Very agile big with plenty of moves in his arsenal.|
|6||Cheick Diallo||PF||6-9||Our Savior New American (NY)||A specialist on the boards and in contesting shots.|
|7||Skal Labissiere||C||6-10||Lausanne Collegiate (TN)||Great job protecting the rim and a soft touch in the post.|
|8||Chase Jeter||C||6-10||Bishop Gorman (NV)||(Duke-commit) Committed on the glass; very skilled and efficient.|
|9||Stephen Zimmerman||C||7-0||Bishop Gorman (NV)||Very athletic and mobile big.|
|10||Henry Ellenson||PF||6-10||Rice Lake (WI)||(Marquette-commit) Big man with impressive range.|
|11||Isaiah Briscoe||PG||6-3||Roselle Catholic (NJ)||Exceptional handle and finishes at the rim.|
|12||Caleb Swanigan||PF||6-8||Homestead (IN)||Good feel for the ball on the low block.|
|13||Antonio Blakeney||SG||6-4||Oak Ridge (FL)||Assertive guard who plays strong on both ends.|
|14||Allonzo Trier||SG||6-4||Findlay Prep (NV)||(Arizona-commit) One of the top pure scorers in the nation.|
|15||Brandon Ingram||SF||6-8||Kinston (NC)||Skilled swingman who can not only create for himself, but also find others.|
|16||Carlton Bragg||PF||6-9||Villa Angela-St. Joseph (OH)||Explosive big with versatility.|
|17||Ray Smith||SF||6-8||Las Vegas (NV)||(Arizona-commit) Athletic wing who beats defenders to the rim.|
|18||Deyonta Davis||PF||6-9||Muskegon (MI)||(Michigan State-commit) Big who can step out in mid-range.|
|19||Jalen Brunson||PG||6-1||Adlai Stevenson (IL)||(Villanova-commit) Southpaw who knows how to orchestrate an offense.|
|20||Tyler Davis||C||6-10||Plano West (TX)||(Texas A&M-commit) Prototypical center with soft touch.|
|21||Malachi Richardson||SG||6-3||Trenton Catholic (NJ)||(Syracuse-commit) A candidate for top shooter in the country.|
|22||Justin Simon||PG||6-5||Brewster Academy (NH)||(Arizona-commit) True PG who knows how push the ball.|
|23||Elijah Thomas||C||6-9||Lancaster (TX)||(Texas A&M-commit) An obvious force in the post.|
|24||Donovan Mitchell||PG||6-3||Brewster Academy (NH)||(Louisville-commit) Awing explosiveness and finishes at the rim.|
|25||Luke Kennard||SG||6-5||Franklin (OH)||(Duke-commit) Lethal shooter.|
|26||Brandon Sampson||SG||6-4||Madison Prep (LA)||Scorer who does just as much damage inside as outside the arc.|
|27||Thomas Bryant||C||6-10||Huntington Prep (WV)||A force in the paint who can step out to mid-range.|
|28||Tyler Dorsey||SG||6-4||Maranatha (CA)||One of the top scorers on the West Coast.|
|29||P.J. Dozier||SG||6-5||Spring Valley (SC)||High IQ scorer who can play either guard position.|
|30||Dedric Lawson||PF||6-8||Hamilton (TN)||(Memphis-commit) Skilled PF who can step out to the perimeter.|
|31||Raymond Spalding||PF||6-9||Trinity (KY)||(Louisville-commit) Athletic big with lots of upside.|
|32||Dwayne Bacon||SG||6-6||Oak Hill (VA)||(Florida State-commit) Athletic wing who can score in bunches.|
|33||Jawun Evans||PG||6-0||Kimball (TX)||(Oklahoma State-commit) Archetypal point guard.|
|34||Derrick Jones||SF||6-6||Archbishop Carroll (PA)||Wing with amazing explosiveness and finishes above the rim.|
|35||DJ Hogg||SF||6-7||Plano West (TX)||(Texas A&M-commit) Nice shooting touch.|
|36||Jalen Adams||PG||6-2||Brewster Academy (NH)||(UConn-commit) A terrific scoring guard who can also make the extra pass.|
|37||Jalen Coleman||SG||6-3||La Lumiere (IN)||(Illinois-commit) Can compile buckets in a hurry.|
|38||Ted Kapita||PF||6-8||Huntington Prep (WV)||Crafty forward who can beat defenders off the dribble.|
|39||Prince Ali||SG||6-4||The Sagemont School (FL)||(UCLA-commit) A playmaker who can also score at will.|
|40||Malik Beasley||SG||6-4||St. Francis (GA)||(Florida State-commit) A slasher who also holds his own on the defensive end.|
|41||Chance Comanche||C||6-10||Beverly Hills (CA)||(Arizona-commit) One of the most athletic bigs on the West Coast.|
|42||Daniel Giddens||C||6-10||Oak Hill (VA)||(Ohio State-commit) Known as a defensive specialist.|
|43||Deng Adel||SF||6-7||Victory Rock (FL)||(Louisville-commit) Can post up but also step outside the arc.|
|44||Jessie Govan||C||6-10||Wings Academy (NY)||(Georgetown-commit) Traditional center in every way.|
|45||Eric Davis||SG||6-3||Arthur Hill (MI)||(Texas-commit) Can play either guard position and score with the best of them.|
|46||KJ Lawson||SF||6-7||Hamilton (TN)||(Memphis-commit) Scores in a variety of ways, especially in transition.|
|47||Austin Grandstaff||SG||6-5||Rockwall (TX)||(Ohio State-commit) Terrific shooter.|
|48||Doral Moore||C||7-0||Montverde Academy (FL)||(Wake Forest-commit) Another prototypical center with a smooth touch in the lane.|
|49||Dejounte Murray||SG||6-5||Rainier Beach (WA)||(Washington-commit) One of the most well-rounded guards out West.|
|50||Charles Matthews||SG||6-5||St. Rita (IL)||(Kentucky-commit) Possesses a versatile offensive arsenal.|