23 in 23: Making the case for No. 1 spot in the 2024 class
Now that we are into the 2023 calendar year, it is never too early to dive into the conversation about who is the No. 1 player in the country for the class of 2024?
JOSH TEC: The more I think about it, the more film I watch, and the more discussions I have with other evaluators, the more I think Dylan Harper might be the No. 1 player in the 2024 class at this point in time. I love his ability to genuinely thrive in either guard spot. He’s not a one-dimensional player by any means, and I love that he has the genes to back up his play on the court. NBA teams value players who come from athletic families. Harper certainly has the pedigree with his father being Ron Harper who starred in the NBA and his brother beginning Ron Harper Jr. who helped turn Rutgers into a formidable program.
Harper doesn’t do anything flashy. That might be why nobody has slotted him in at the top spot yet, but he’s always productive. He plays with the feel of someone who grew up with an NBA father. Harper gets the game. He’s risen to being regarded as a top-5 player in the class, and in a group that hasn’t found an assertive leader, Harper has as good of a case as any for the top spot.
If we’re talking about long-term talent, Ace Bailey is a guy that has all of the tools to be the guy. I’d like to see Ace hit the spring and summer hard. Embrace the smoke, and take anyone and everyone on. If he loses some battles, so be it, but going up against the best of the best on a constant basis could help bolster his case as the top dog in 2024.
JUSTIN YOUNG: I’ll be honest, I’m stumped on this class. Truly. Josh and I went through our collective notes from all of the events we’ve been to since the end of the summer I can say with certainty that I’m even more stumped now than I was back in August. With more players to consider, I don’t feel comfortable with anyone at the top of the list at this juncture. And, truthfully, I think that’s okay. I really do.
Someone will have a moment where the separation happens. There will be a game or a match-up or a run of back-to-back-to-back good events where this true separation happens.
But it hasn’t just yet. And that’s cool. It really is.
I think we have a tier of guys who will fall into the conversation. Josh made his case really well for Dylan Harper, and I’m here for it.
Here is my top tier for the class in alphabetical order:
Ace Bailey: Of all of these guys, I think he may have the highest ceiling for a long-term prospect. He’s one of those players who can take the spot after one big weekend and never give it up.
Flory Bidunga: The most relentless interior player in the class. There just aren’t a lot of high-level big men in this class and he’s the scariest one inside the blocks in this class.
Dylan Harper: Josh nailed it in his take. Great genes, every time I see him he gets better, great positional size, steady, steady, steady.
Ian Jackson: Arguably the best bucket on this short list. Need points, he’s gonna get it. Offense comes easy for him. Super easy.
Tre Johnson: The most complete player on this list. He’s smart in his role, can turn up the speed quickly and slow it down and beat you with smarts. Great size, great confidence and a great overall feel. I’d love to hear your NBA comp for him if ya got one.
Bryson Tucker: I wrote down in my notes that he reminded me of Rudy Gay. The No. 8 overall pick in the 2006 Rudy Gay. The guy who played in the NBA for 16 years Rudy Gay. The guy who scored over 17,000 points in his pro career Rudy Gay. The No. 5 overall recruit in the class of 2004 Rudy Gay. So, there’s that.
We are currently updating our class of 2024 rankings - nationally and state wide - and will release on HoopSeen.com next week.
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