As the college basketball regular season comes to an end and teams prepare for the postseason tournaments, the stars of tomorrow in high school basketball have been making a lot of noise this year. The next three high school basketball recruiting classes (’14, ’15 and ’16) all have prospects that have NBA GMs already salivating over.
It is scary to witness how extraordinarily gifted these players are at a young age. When YouTube videos of phenoms such as sophomores Seventh Woods and Thon Maker were released, the basketball world went into frenzy. The game is being revolutionized by kids that are 16 years old throwing down dunks like Russell Westbrook.
The next few high school basketball recruiting classes are going to be great and here are ten names you need to watch out for.
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10. Prince Ali
Sagemont Upper School (Weston, Florida)
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 180 pounds
Class: 2015 – ESPN Recruiting Rank: 75th
College Interest: Committed to Connecticut
Prince Ali is going to have the best college basketball name down the road. Ali is one of the most underrated prospects in the class of 2015 and plays well beyond his ranking. A UConn commit, Ali is very similar to Orlando Magic rookie guard Victor Oladipo. He plays with an incredible motor and can throw it down with authority. He has the making of an elite defender in the future.
He recently led Sagemont to a 33-0 record and the class 3A FHSAA State championship. With committing to Connecticut, Ali’s story links well with a past Husky in Kemba Walker as he grew up in the Bronx and has the NYC guard mentality and toughness that coaches love. He is going to be fun to watch in Storrs in a couple years. I think he has the chance to be star one day.
9. Jayson Tatum
Chaminade College Prep (Saint Louis, Missouri)
Ht: 6-7 Wt: 180 pounds
Class of 2016 â€“ ESPN Recruiting Rank: 4th
College Interest: (Duke, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, and Ohio State)
When you have every legendary blue-blood school recruiting you for your services, you have to be a special kind of talent. Tatum, a native of Saint Louis, is one of the most versatile players in the country and possesses an extreme amount of basketball IQ for a sophomore in high school. He has great size to play on the wing and does everything exceptionally well on the court. He has the potential to be a big-time scorer in college.
8. Emmanuel Mudiay
Prime Prep Academy (Dallas, Texas)
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 190 pounds
Class of 2014 â€“ ESPN Recruiting Rank: 5th
College Interest: Committed to Southern Methodist
Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown has revamped this SMU team and have made them one of the best college basketball commodities this year. Mudiay is Brown’s most prized recruit yet for SMU and is a player that can immediately help this program become one of the best teams in the country by next year.
He is a big point guard, standing at 6-5, that scouts love. Mudiay has freakish athletic ability and is as explosive as anyone in the country when going to the rim. He also is a dominant ballhandler that will get crowds up to watch. He is going to be one of the most exciting freshman to watch in college basketball next year and is a strong one-and-done candidate.
7. Seventh Woods
Hammond School (Hammond, South Carolina)
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 175 pounds
Class of 2016 – ESPN Recruiting Rank: 18th
College Interest: Clemson, Duke, North Carolina, South Carolina and Wichita State
The legend of Seventh Woods has spread rapidly across the country over the past year due to his Hoopmixtape video on YouTube. Woods has become one of the most exciting players in the country, regardless of what basketball level you want to talk about. He is freakishly gifted on the fast break and has thrown down some of the best dunks I have seen in recent memory this year. By his senior year, Woods is going to be one of the most talked about recruits in the country and whatever college team lands him is going to be proud.
6. Malik Newman
Callaway High School (Jackson, Mississippi)
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 175 pounds
Class of 2015 – ESPN Recruiting Rank: 2nd
College Interest: Arkansas, Baylor, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, and more
Malik Newman is one of the premier scorers in high school basketball and has been putting on scoring exhibitions in Mississippi the past three years. He is really good at creating shots for himself and has a strong midrange game. As one of the top prospects in the upcoming recruiting class, Newman has somehow flown under the radar compared to most top players in classes. He is currently in the process of grabbing a third state title.
5. Ivan Rabb
Bishop O’Dowd High School (Oakland, California)
Ht: 6-9 Wt: 205 pounds
Class of 2015 â€“ ESPN Recruiting Rank: 1st
College Interest: Arizona, California, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, and UCLA
Once Rabb steps on a college court, he is going to be a favorite for NBA scouts due to his length and size and ability to score. He has a nice soft game around the rim with the ability to finish with both hands. He is also a gifted rebounder and shotblocker that makes things even more impressive. He has become one of the next great players to descend from the famed AAU basketball team, the Oakland Soldiers. LeBron James, Brandon Jennings, Nick Johnson (Arizona) and Aaron Gordon (Arizona) all have played for them. In two years, he is going to be one of the first names to be called in the draft.
4. Harry Giles
Wesleyan Christian Academy (Winston-Salem, North Carolina)
Ht: 6-9 Wt: 209 pounds
Class of 2016 – ESPN Recruiting Rank: 3rd
College Interest: Duke, Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, North Carolina State, and Wake Forest
Before last summer, Giles was labeled the No. 1 prospect from his class and was the first freshman in history to be offered a scholarship by Roy Williams and North Carolina. He tore his ACL and MCL while playing for the USA Basketball Under-16 team during the FIBA championships in Uruguay last summer and has not played since. When he returns to the court, Giles has a lot of potential and upside. He can run the floor well, using his 6-9 frame to get to the rim. Once Giles returns healthy he is going to be a great player to watch for the next two years.
3. Tyus Jones
Apple Valley High School (Apple Valley, Minnesota)
Ht: 6-1 Wt: 171 pounds
Class of 2014 â€“ ESPN Recruiting Rank: 4th
College Interest: Committed to Duke
If Tyler Ennis stays another year at Syracuse, this Duke and Syracuse rivalry will take off with the matchup between the two purest point guards we have seen in a long time in Ennis and Jones. Tyus Jones is one of the best pure point guard prospects that has come out of high school in a long time. He is not going to “wow” you with supreme athleticism but he presents an incredible amount of basketball IQ and knows how to lead a team. He is also a very crafty scorer and has a solid jump shot stretching out to the three-point line.
Duke has the best recruiting class coming in and is going to be the No. 1 team going into next season. Jones is going to be paired with fellow top prospect and best friend Jahlil Okafor in Durham next year making one of the best inside-and-out scoring tandems in the country. With so much talent coming in and possibly staying (Jabari Parker), this Duke team is going to be exciting to watch next year.
2. Stanley Johnson
Mater Dei High School (Fullerton, California)
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 225 pounds
Class of 2014 â€“ ESPN Recruiting Rank: 7th
College Interest: Committed to Arizona
I will not be surprised if Stanley Johnson is the best prospect to come out of the 2014 recruiting class. An Arizona commit, Johnson is a beast and plays a pro game already. He is a McDonald’s All-American, and a three-time state champion on the quest for a fourth title this weekend. He has strong broad shoulders that he uses effectively to be one of the most powerful wing players in the country.
Next year playing under Sean Miller at Arizona, Johnson is going to excel on an incredibly talented team that might just bring back everyone back.
1. Thon Maker
Carlisle School (Martinsville, Virginia)
Ht: 7-1 Wt: 200 pounds
Class of 2016 â€“ ESPN Recruiting Rank: 1st
College Interest: Arizona, Duke, Georgetown, Kentucky and Virginia
Maker has a chance to be really special; I’m talking once-in-a-decade type of special. Maker is 7-1 and can handle the ball and drive to the rim with force. He also has the ability to shoot threes and run the floor like a guard. Maker is one of the most explosive players regardless of class and has the ability to affect the game on both sides of the court. He is a tremendous shotblocker and is only going to get better in two years. If he develops more strength on his lanky frame and continues to develop exceptionally well, he is going to become one of the most incredible players to come out in a very long time.
Which names are you keeping an eye on in HS basketball?
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