SLAM Fresh 25 – 2015

by Franklyn Calle / @FrankieC7

During last year’s 5A state championship game, a bench-clearing fight led to Mississippi’s Callaway HS being placed on probation throughout the ’13-’14 regular season. Essentially, the Chargers wouldn’t be allowed to host tournaments, travel to tourneys  or even host out of state teams. Considering that Callaway features the top-ranked junior in the country, Malik Newman, many pondered what that would mean for the program and the prospect himself. Would he transfer? Would his ranking suffer as a result of him not playing in the nation’s top tourneys against the nation’s top teams? Needless to say, not a single thing has changed.

Callaway’s nucleus returned and is perfectly on track to capture its third consecutive 5A state title. Newman’s on-court performance has been just as good as it ever has. Currently averaging 30.2 points, the 6-3 combo guard has led his team to the No. 22 spot in the most recent USA Today Super 25 national rankings with a 21-1 record.        

According to MaxPreps, through his first 22 games of the season, Newman has scored 30 or more points twelve times, while reaching 35+ points on eight different occasions — including a 42-point outburst. In fact, the lowest scoring performance he’s had thus far has been 19 points. In addition, he’s also averaging over six rebounds, three assists and two steals per game. 

Since his performance has remained the same, so has his spot at the top of the class. 

New additions since the last fall ranking include Tyler Davis, Doral Moore Jr., PJ Dozier and Allonzo Trier.  

1 Malik Newman 6-3 PG/SG Callaway (MS) He scores and then scores again and again, whether it is from midrange, behind the arc or at the rim. 
2 Ivan Rabb 6-8 PF Bishop O’Dowd (CA) Explosive forward with a soft touch around the rim. Active defensively on the boards and in contesting shots. 
3 Stephen Zimmerman 7-0 C Bishop Gorman (NV) Very versatile big that can hit you with a three-pointer, hook shot, or just fly in for a dunk.
4 Ben Simmons  6-8  SF  Montverde (FL)  The LSU-commit possesses a combination of length, athleticism, agility and skill. 
5 Diamond Stone 6-10 C Dominican (WI) A double-double machine.
6 Tyler Dorsey 6-4 SG St. John Bosco (CA) Having recently given a verbal commitment to Arizona, he’s one of the most well-rounded prospects in the class.
Cheick Diallo  6-8 PF Our Savior New American (NY) Has earned great notoriety for his defensive prowess. 
8 Skal Labissiere 6-9 C Evangelical Christian (TN) Has stood out for his ability to contest and reject shots.
9 Carlton Bragg 6-9 PF Villa Angela/St. Joseph (OH) Does work in the post, but also has a respectable mid-range game.
10 Jaylen Brown 6-6 SF Wheeler (GA) Has an extensive arsenal in his repertoire on the offensive end.  
11 Charles Matthews 6-4 SG St. Rita (IL) Slick wing who does a great job deluding defenders.
12 Elijah Thomas 6-9 PF/C Lancaster (TX) Strong presence in the paint on both ends of the floor.
13 Thomas Bryant 6-10 PF Huntington Prep (NY) Has demonstrated the ability to step out and sink it from respectable distance, aside from his well-known prowess in the paint.
14  Malachi Richardson  6-6 SG/SF Trenton Catholic (NJ) A Syracuse-commit, Richardson is among the top shooters in the class. 
15 Isaiah Briscoe  6-3 PG Roselle Catholic (NJ) Elusive ball-handling skills make for a tough defensive assignment. 
16 King McClure 6-3 SG Triple A (TX) His assertiveness and constant attack-mode attitude stands him out from the rest.
17 Derrick Jones 6-6 SF Archbishop Carroll (PA) Tremendous athlete that gets up there.
18 Luke Kennard 6-5 SG Franklin (OH) This lefty does what sharpshooters do.
19 Tyler Davis  6-9 C Plano West (TX) His strong and wide physique causes match-up problems in the paint. 
20 Montaque Gill-Caesar  6-5 SG Huntington Prep (WV) Canada’s next-in-line coveted guard has a knack for scoring.
21 Doral Moore Jr. 6-11 C Luella (GA) Good shot-blocker with a soft touch around the basket. 
22 PJ Dozier 6-5 SG Spring Valley (SC) Crafty ball handler that finds teammates. 
23 Eric Davis 6-3 SG Arthur Hill (MI) Skilled shooter that can also put the ball on the floor and create. 
24 Chase Jeter 6-9 PF Bishop Gorman (NV) Skilled forward with quick bounces off the floor and a smooth inside-outside game.
25 Allonzo Trier  6-3 PG Montrose Christian (MD) Averaging about 28 points as of last month, Trier can score in all kinds of ways.