While skill academies and AAU tournaments continue to take place, talent on the grassroots level has been on full display this summer. The past two summers, we’ve seen big names such as Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Jahlil Okafor, and Stanley Johnson dominate the high school basketball scene. And if recent weeks are any indication, we’re going to be treated to similarly gifted players over the next few years, too. The following 10 players have made the biggest splash on the summer hoops circuit, ensuring they’ll be among basketball’s household names in the near future.
Ben Simmons – Montverde Academy, Montverde, FL (Class of 2015)
Simmons is currently creating a gap between himself and other players in the country. The Aussie is proving that he is simply a different breed than most all of his peers. A solid 6-9 and growing, Simmons has committed to play for LSU after his senior season, where’s he’s poised to become the face of coach Johnny Jones’ program. Just take a look at what some notable recruiting experts had to say about Simmons recently.
I really don't think it's close for No. 1 in 2015. Ben Simmons.
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) July 18, 2014
Not much Ben Simmons cannot do. Scores in variety of ways and is a tremendous passer. 6-8 Aussie looks like best player in country.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) July 18, 2014
Ben Simmons proving why he's considered the best player in the country. Absolutely dominating right now.
— The EYBL Circuit (@D1Circuit) July 18, 2014
— Jason Jordan (@JayJayUSATODAY) July 18, 2014
Simmons thrives on running the floor, and has made it clear that he’s more than just an elite athlete of late by showcasing an improved jumper and off-dribble game. He hasn’t been afraid to face any player on the summer circuit, and it showed when he had the chance to check LeBron James at the four-time MVP’s camp. One thing that Simmons will have to work on is his three-point shot; at this point in his development, he’s far from a legitimate threat from beyond the arc. Regardless, we’ll surely be hearing a lot about Simmons in coming years.
Jayson Tatum – Chaminade College Prep, St. Louis, MO (Class of 2016)
Tatum is a matchup nightmare for anyone on the high school level. He has prototypical size for a wing and appears poised to continue growing bigger and stronger. Tatum has been on a tear this summer and has every college coach you can think of on his trail. When the official rankings are done for the Class of 2016, I expect Tatum to top the list of prospects.
Ivan Rabb – Bishop O’Dowd High School, Oakland, CA (Class of 2015)
A product of Oakland, California, Rabb is the second coming of Chris Bosh and – along with Simmons – ranks as the best or second-best senior prospect in the country. In fact, Rabb already has my vote to be the first player taken in the 2016 draft. He has all the tools you want in a potential franchise big man. Rabb is a strong rebounder and boasts an impressive all-around offensive game, too. It is going to be interesting to see how his recruitment plays out, especially considering some of his Oakland Soldiers predecessors have moved southwest to attend Arizona (Stanley Johnson, Nick Johnson, Brandon Ashley).
Cheick Diallo – Our Savior New American School, Centereach, NY (Class of 2015)
Diallo has the potential to be an absolute beast on the next level. The power forward from Our Savior New American School in New York is going to have pro scouts drooling over the next couple of years. He plays sort of like Joel Embiid as a big man with an incredible motor that impacts the game on both sides of the ball in multiple ways. It is going to ultimately come down to Kentucky and Kansas in Diallo’s recruitment, which is no surprise considering both programs routinely
Derryck Thornton – Findlay Prep, Henderson, NV (Class of 2016)
When it comes to the point guard position, Thornton is as pure as they come. He made a name for himself this summer by dominating the Stephen Curry Skills academy and also earning MVP of the NBPA Top 100 camp. Thornton possesses a lot of confidence, a trait you love to see in a young point guard. The list suitors for his services is continuing grow and is headlined by Coach Calipari and the Wildcats.
Thon Maker – Carlisle School, Axton, VA (Class of 2016)
When Maker’s highlight mixtape was released a couple months ago, the high school basketball scene was sent into a frenzy. How can a seven-footer dribble and shoot like a guard while doubling as the most versatile defender in the country? The number one player in the class of 2016 is a revolutionary type of talent, and will team with Simmons and Dante Exum to give Australia one of the best young nucleuses in international basketball. There’s been talk that Maker reclassify to the class of 2015. Either way, he’s obviously a prospect worth monitoring.
Dennis Smith, Jr. – Trinity Christian High School, NC. (Class of 2016)
Already featured on Dime once before, Smith, Jr. is one of the most exciting high school basketball players in the country. He is having a great summer and has received offers from in-state rivals and legendary blue-bloods Duke and UNC. Despite standing just 6-2, Smith has bounce! He has the makings of an elite scorer and an impressive offensive arsenal that contains slick crossovers and acrobatic layups.
Malik Newman – Callaway High School, Jackson, MS (Class of 2015)
There is not a better prep scorer in the country than Newman. Chiseled at around 180 pounds, Newman bullies his way to the rim with easy and also has the ability to launch threes from NBA distance. The Mississippi native lacks the size of a prototypical shooting guard and will have to work on developing point guard skills in the future, but as of right now he is essentially the ultimate high school basketball package. Newman has already begun develop a brand, too – checkout IAmMalikNewman.com to learn more about high-scoring star.
Jaylen Brown – Wheeler High School, Marietta, GA (Class of 2015)
You could argue that Brown is having the best summer than any player in the country. The Stanley Johnson clone is a man among boys. He has dominated on the worldwide tour, traveling to compete in Treviso, Italy for Adidas Eurocamp and Colorado for USA Basketball’s U-18 team. Brown possesses everything you want in a wing player and is easily becoming one of the best-known prospects in the high school basketball ranks. It is pretty rare to see a prospect with the combination of power and skills he’s blessed with, and Brown as obviously worked on his shooting ability this summer, too. He has offers from every major college program in the country, and it’s only a matter of time until he’s a national household name.
Isaiah Briscoe – Roselle Catholic High School, Roselle, NJ (Class of 2015)
Not a tremendous athlete like some of the others on the list, Briscoe separates himself by controlling the game at his own pace. Briscoe is very crafty and has made a name for himself on both the AAU and streetball circuit. Briscoe played a prominent role on the U-18 USA team that won gold in Colorado, then took it straight to the streets and scored 61 points in the Tri-State Classic in Harlem. His recruitment has been heating up with schools such as St. Johns, Rutgers and UConn all bidding for his services. One school to pay attention to is – Arizona as Briscoe has mentioned them in almost every one of his interviews as a school that has followed him throughout his prep career.
Who is your favorite high school basketball star?
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