The 2016 class has been the talk of the recruiting community these past few years due to its wealth of riches at practically every spot on the floor. Now that this crop of prospects is just a few months away from their first few days on a college campus, we look ahead to the 2017 class with our first full HoopSeen Top-100 2017 Rankings.
Sitting ahead of everyone else is Wendell Carter. The 6-foot-10 big man has one of the most polished back to the basket skillsets that the amateur ranks has seem for some time now and would greatly rival that of former Duke one-and-done center Jahlil Okafor. However, Carter is a lot more explosive at the basket and is in much better shape compared to where the current Philadelphia 76er was during his high school days. The Pace Academy star is tremendous as a high-post asset in hitting the mid-range jumper and in making the proper pass; he is a lethal rebounder of the ball, regardless of which side of the floor that he is on, as he brings a very well-rounded and consistent game to the paint each time out.
Carter will have to be elite all summer long to hold off a few others for the top spot during his final year of high school ball next winter. Nipping at his heels are two primetime big men that may even have better upside than the Peach State native.
DeAndre Ayton, a 7-footer who is perceived by most as the top prospect in all of the land, sports boundless amounts of talent at his fingertips. He didn’t have the best of summers last year as he was a bit out of shape and didn’t play with much urgency in some of the more highly watched outings. Although, the Bahamian native has had a turnaround junior campaign and has further developed his jumper all the way out to behind the 3-point arc along with consistently producing each time out on the floor.
Where Ayton’s motor was a bit shaky last summer, it was Mohamed Bamba who was greatly improving his. Sporting a 7-foot-8 wingspan and a ginormous standing reach, the New York native gets up and down the floor with relative ease, is a premier shot blocker in the lane, has the ball skills in taking his man off the bounce from the high post, yet can even hit the perimeter jumper with his feet set. Bamba is a walking triple-double and while he still needs to further his game and somewhat skinny physique, the Westtown star is ready to pounce this summer on the top spot that Carter currently holds.
The next bunch of prospects has a chance to further their stock in the coming weeks and months on the travel circuit. Michael Porter Jr. sits at the fourth spot in our top-100 as the bouncy and live bodied small forward brings ideal size to the wing standing at 6-foot-8. There is some Klay Thompson to him because of his length and shooting prowess from deep but it is Porter’s improving toughness and play making skills on the drive to the basket that has really caught our eye of late.
Two juniors that have had breakout high school seasons haven’t come close to where they can be. Hamidou Diallo sits at number-five and it is his unbelievable finishing skills in the open floor, smooth mid-range game, and competitive fire that have stood out thus far. Throw in his continued progressions as Diallo tracks as a DeMar DeRozan type who is the top guard prospect within our top-100. Directly behind him is Kevin Knox, a 6-foot-8, jumping jack type of a forward who was first valued for his athleticism and hard playing nature. The Sunshine State native has really put in time on his pull-up jumper, a shot that he is more than capable of hitting on and in repetitive fashion with a hand in his face. Duke and UNC have made the forward a priority of late and he rightfully sits at sixth within our rankings.
Finishing out our top-10 are four prospects from the south. Two prospects suiting up in the Lone Star State sit at seven and eight in Jarred Vanderbilt and Trevon Duval. The former is a 6-foot-7, jack of all trades type who can handle the ball, defend various spots on the floor, yet has continued to rework his jumper. Duval slides in right behind him and while it was a bit of an up and down high school season during his first full year in Texas, the Delaware native has shades of vintage Derrick Rose to his game as an explosive finisher at the basket and takeover qualities at the lead guard spot.
John Petty has gotten better and better where the Alabama native is a graceful athlete with a pure jump shot from off the pull-up and is never afraid of attacking the basket, despite his somewhat wiry, skinny physique. Rounding out the top-10 directly behind the JO Johnson star is Ikey Obiagu, quite possibly the best shot blocking big man that the high school ranks has seen within the past 15 years. The 7-footer changes the game without having one play called for him. Every shot in the lane is altered due to the sheer anxiety of having ones shot blocked because of Obiagu’s instincts, length, and quick leaping skills. His offense remains a work in progress but he is making strides and if the big man can further his game on this side of the floor, look for the Greenforest junior’s game to really take off.
There are six prospects committed within our top-50, the highest being Zach Brown, who has given his verbal to UConn as he sits at number-26 overall. Three programs already have two commitments from members of the top-100 as UCLA, Auburn, and Creighton are on solid footing entering the spring evaluation periods in April.
While the rankings are far from complete from where they will be this time next year, it should be a fun summer in getting a better feel for who has the will and talent to take their game to the next level and for some, attempt to knock Wendell Carter off the top spot that he currently sits at.