It has been a busy spring on the travel front as the HoopSeen team has been out and about evaluating some of the top prospects from coast to coast. The month of June brings quality camps to the forefront as some of the best go at it at the likes of the Nike Top 100, Steph Curry Camp, USA U17 and U18 trials, and the NBPA Top 100 Camp. Before things take place, we are excited to refresh our HoopSeen 2017 Rankings and in expanding the list by 25 names, the top-125 is chock full of future NBA prospects along with college stars that should excite various high-major fan bases for years to come.
While DeAndre Ayton and Mo Bamba were highly thought of for the top spot within our rankings, Wendell Carter cemented his case for top dog status this spring. Heading into the final Nike EYBL stop, Ayton had my vote as the top prospect in the 2017 class. However, after Carter and Ayton went at it, it sure would have been tough to allow for Ayton to jump over the CP3 star after his dominating 30 point and 16 rebound effort in the win.
Wendell Carter remains our number one prospect within the rising senior class. While his upside might not be as good as Ayton’s or Bamba’s, it is hard to deny the Pace Academy star’s current production to go along with his improving skillset. While his athleticism has sometimes been criticized, Carter has become a lot better in exploding through contact on the finish and his rebounding prowess is as good as it gets. Through the four Nike EYBL sessions this spring, Carter has posted averages of 17 points off of 71-percent shooting from the field, along with over 10 rebounds and two blocks per game. Harvard, Duke, and Kentucky sit firmly in the driver’s seat for the top ranked junior’s signature in the fall.
Sliding directly behind Carter is Ayton, a 6-foot-11 power forward that brings immense upside to the hardwood along with impeccable hands, touch around the basket, a jumper that he can hit out to beyond the arc, and a very much underrated passing acumen that can be used out of high-low sets. Running with the Cal Supreme bunch, Ayton’s numbers are staggering averaging close to 20 points off of 60-percent shooting while nailing over 80-percent of his shots from the foul line. He also averages over 11 rebounds per contest and if Ayton, who oftentimes doesn’t play with as much urgency that would be liked from him, can compete on each possession, chances of Ayton slipping into the top spot within our rankings during the next refresh are promising.
The third big man and top center within our rankings is up next as Mo Bamba takes center stage. Blessed with an unbelievable 7-foot-8 wingspan and standing over 6-foot-10, the upside is beyond impressive with the New York native. Running with the PSA Cardinals bunch this spring, Bamba is a defensive and rebounding savant. Averaging nearly 14 rebounds per game along with three shot blocks, the Westtown star is a walking triple-double guy. While he has been sidelined some due to a minor injury, Bamba’s value comes on the defensive end where he has the lateral abilities, length, and focus to guard various spots and is a maverick out atop of his team’s 1-3-1, compressed half-court zone.
Finally, our top wing prospect comes to light with Michael Porter. The MoKan Elite 3-man brings ideal size to his position on the floor in standing over 6-foot-7. Porter has some shades of a younger Klay Thompson where he has a knockdown perimeter stroke, a jumper that he can convert on from off the catch and off of deadly step back jumpers out of isolation sets. Capable of tossing in 30 points and grabbing 15 rebounds in any given contest, Washington looks to be in the best spot for Porter after hiring his father while already having a commitment in hand from his younger brother, 2018 big man Jontay Porter.
In rounding out our top-five and after consistent improvement and an excellent spring, Brandon McCoy takes his seat. By way of Chicago but settling into the city of San Diego over the past few years, the 6-foot-11 center has improved his agility and scoring prowess in the lane along with becoming a bit less robotic on his movements. Sporting a 7-foot-3 wingspan and running alongside second ranked DeAndre Ayton and the Cal Supreme bunch, McCoy is as solid and as consistent as they come. His upside might not be better than the three big men ahead of him, but his floor might be best of them all. Posting over 17 points and nine rebounds per game in EYBL play, the long and mobile junior is well conditioned in producing whenever the game speeds up. He sports great hands and touch in the lane on hooks over either shoulder and making the jump eight spots in our latest rankings is deserved due to McCoy’s progressions on the floor and production out of the center position.
Rounding out our top-10 is Trevon Duval, the top guard prospect within our rankings, at the number six position. Graced with unbelievable athleticism and body control at the basket, consistent play sometimes hinders the Delaware native’s game and final box score numbers, yet what could be with Duval places him sixth. Think of a Derrick Rose comparison with Duval who is best on the attack to the basket while he continues to solidify his outside jumper and shot selection.
Behind Duval is a 2015 summer break out in Kevin Knox. The 6-foot-8 forward has developed his ball skills in playing primarily out on the wings where the E1T1 star has bettered his outside jumper along with implementing a go-to pull-up that he can convert on with a hand in his face. A bouncy bodied forward with some shades of a younger Shawn Marion, Knox continues to improve where he is also much younger for his grade where he won’t turn 17 until August.
If we are sticking with the NBA comparisons, DeMar DeRozan gets aligned with Hamidou Diallo. The 6-foot-5, bouncy and entertaining wing with the NY Rens program, burst out onto the scene two years ago and has become a fixture as a blueblood recruit in recent months. While he didn’t finish off the EYBL season last weekend in perfect form, Diallo loves to compete and is an emphatic finisher at the basket by way of his traditional tomahawk jam. Just like DeRozan, Diallo’s outside jumper and shot selection remains a work in progress but with more time spent on improving his decision-making and focus, the New York native could see his name rise further following his final summer of play.
A native of the Lone Star state, Jarred Vanderbilt comes in at the ninth spot within our 2017 HoopSeen Rankings as the southpaw is one of the best rebounders of the ball and flourishes within the open floor. While the lefty’s jumper remains a holdup of his, Vanderbilt is excellent at starting the break with the defensive rebound snatch and would excel best in the more up-tempo affairs at the college level. Vanderbilt has really put in some time with his physique as the chisel-bodied forward absorbs contact well off of his feet and is one of the better play makers that you’re going to find.
Lastly, completing our top-10 is Gary Trent Jr. The 6-foot-5 off guard might not be as explosive as Hamidou Diallo, yet his scoring package is as polished as can be. Whether it is off of spot-up looks from deep, step back jumpers, or on quick attack moves, Trent can absolutely fill it up, just as he has done thus far this spring. Averaging over 22 points per contest while helping lead his Howard Pulley 17-under team to a 14-2 record, Trent is a sure fire bet to be a go-to scorer wherever he heads off to in college and should bring his NBA bloodlines into play moving ahead.
Finishing out our top-25, only one junior has committed to college as Austin Wiley is set to attend Auburn University. Five of the top-15 and six of the top-25 come from the center position where only three point guards sit within our top-25, the highest being Trevon Duval at six, with the next lead guard coming in at number-18 in Trae Young. Of the first 25 ranked, 20 come from Nike sponsored programs and the remaining five belong to Under Armour sponsored teams. The top ranked adidas prospect is Nik Weatherspoon, suiting up for MBA Elite and sitting at number-29, while the top non-sponsored prospect is Malik Williams, who runs with the Legit Basketball 17s, standing firmly at number-47 overall.