It has been three months since we posted our first 2018 HoopSeen Rankings. After traversing throughout the nation and evaluating some of the very best and most promising rising juniors in America, we are excited to announce the new 2018 HoopSeen Top-100 Rankings.
Much has been said about the lacking amount of talent within the current sophomore class. Many have even gone as far to say that it is the least talented crop of prospects from one specific class that they have ever covered. While that debate will be put off for another time, one argument that seems to be null and void is that as to who is the best within the 2018 class.
Marvin Bagley has cemented his case as not just the best sophomore in all of the land, but better yet, as quite possibly the best prospect in all of high school ball. The 6-foot-10, slippery and agile forward, has some Chris Bosh-shades to his game, along with a topping of Michael Beasley in him. He can score it from 20-feet and in where he works best facing the basket and has an exceptional one-footed turnaround jumper out of the mid-post and short corner regions on the floor. While further strength gain is in order, there aren’t many better than the Arizona native.
Making a jump eight spots and now ranked second in all of the land, Zion Williamson enters the fray. The 6-foot-7 forward has grown over three inches over the past few months while adding more than 30-pounds to his physique. This time last year, the southpaw received James Harden-like comparisons; now he has some Draymond Green dimensions to him. The South Carolina native has picked up high-level offers in boatload amounts while dominating his opponents and after bringing home MVP honors from the prestigious NBPA Top 100 Camp last week, there aren’t many sure fire producers in all of America than Zion Williamson.
The first guard within the rankings takes a seat third overall in Javonte Smart. The Louisiana native has established himself as an elite recruit due to his ideal size for the lead guard spot standing at 6-foot-4, a physical playing style, and lethal defensive skillset. While his jumper game is a work in progress, there is a reason why the USA U17 squad took the Scotlandville High star over to Spain this week. Smart is a giant play maker that makes others better, can defend various spots, and is capable of contributing with efficiency on both ends of the floor.
The top wing prospect comes in at fourth overall as Romeo Langford, the top Midwest recruit, enters the fold. A lethal scorer of the ball and from each level on the playing floor, the Indiana native has abused his peers on the adidas Gauntlet circuit this spring. Top three in scoring and rebounding, the 6-foot-4 wing can score it with a fluid perimeter jumper, smooth finishes at the lid, and can even distribute some off of the dribble drive. We would like to see more urgency out of the EG10 star but the talent and basketball ceiling is clearly evident with Langford.
Rounding out the top-5 is Jordan Brown, a super polished back to the rim big man out of California. The 6-foot-8 power forward has a throwback game in the low post and while he is far ways away from where he needs to be on a physicality standpoint, the Woodcreek High standout has enough counters in the paint that would make even the more polished of college big men jealous. There are some Tim Duncan dimensions with Brown via his crafty turn and face jumper going to his left in the lane along with his quick and crafty moves with his back to the basket. Brown isn’t always productive but he does play hard and definitely has his best basketball ahead of him.
Six through ten is chock full of super talented and perfect sized prospects for their respective positions on the floor. Immanuel Quickley kicks things off as the Maryland native had a coming out party of sorts during the USA U17 trials in Colorado Springs, parlaying his time at the try-outs into a spot on the final roster in Spain. There are bits and pieces of John Wall to the DMV recruit as Quickley is nearly unstoppable off of the high ball screen and while time and polishing is needed on the 6-foot-3 guard’s jumper and decision-making, the potential from Quickley is quickly evolving into production each time out.
North Carolina has become known for its top shelf talent and after a somewhat down year in the 2017 class, Jairus Hamilton becomes the torch bearer for the Tar Heel state. Built like a Herculean figure and with a developing perimeter jumper, Hamilton is a jumbo play maker on the floor at the small forward position. His motor and focus is always in tow and because of his added toughness, the 6-foot-7 Carolina native has seen his production and recruitment improve hastily as the majority of the ACC has already made the Team Loaded product a priority to date.
Taking a seat a few spots down prior to his original spot in our rankings, Silvio De Sousa has remained a major nuisance around the basket in attempting to tear down the goal with a vengeance. The Angola native hit the scenes two years ago at the Hoop Hall Classic and ever since, the 6-foot-8 athlete has remained a star on the travel and high school circuit. Showcasing a more refined skillset from 15-feet and in is a need of De Sousa’s but the blue-collar mentality and finishing skills out of the 2018 forward, a prospect that takes parts of his game from a vintage Shawn Kemp, is as pristine as possible.
The Boo Williams travel program hasn’t had the best of years over the past few travel seasons, though it could directly relate to the lacking amount of talent from the state of Virginia. Graduating Matt Coleman, a top-100 guard, from the program this summer, it seems that the 757-based program has found its star in Keldon Johnson. The ninth ranked sophomore is capable of throwing up 30 points on the scoreboard in a blink of an eye, just as he has done throughout the Nike EYBL circuit this spring. A consistent perimeter jumper is a need of Johnson’s, the younger brother of Georgetown sophomore forward Kaleb Johnson, yet the toughness, newly attained alpha-mentality, and two-way production skills make the 6-foot-5 wing an elite recruit within the 2018 class.
Rounding out the top-10 of our rankings is the first Canadian native in Simi Shittu. A teammate of De Sousa’s at Montverde Academy, Shittu has had a solid inaugural campaign on the Nike EYBL circuit this spring with the CIA Bounce crew, the same program that now Minnesota Timberwolves draftee Jamal Murray once suited up for. While Shittu must develop a better skillset with his back to the basket, the long bodied and athletic forward enjoys facing his man up and attacking off of the high post region. He can even make the proper pass in the lane as a play maker type where the 6-foot-8 power forward as tip top elite abilities at the 4-spot on the hardwood.
Of the 100 prospects included within the 2018 HoopSeen Rankings, only three have committed to a college program. The top being Jontay Porter, ranked at number-42, as the 6-foot-8 prospect is a lefty forward that showed out in a major way two weeks ago at the Nike Top 100 in St. Louis. The younger brother of five-star 2017 small forward Michael Porter is headed to Washington in two years. The other two that have already popped off the board include Rechon Black, a point-wing type headed to UNC, and Joey Weiskamp, a super skilled wing that has verballed to Iowa.
On a statewide vantage point, Florida leads the pack as it owns 10-percent of the 2018 rankings. Led by Silvio De Sousa, Simi Shittu, EJ Montgomery, and Elijah Weaver, there is tons of jumbo sized play makers, scorers, and finishers from the Sunshine State. Directly following is California as it has placed nine prospects within the newly updated rankings as Jordan Brown, Brandon Williams, and Shareef O’Neal are catalysts for the state. New Jersey, North Carolina, and Georgia finished with the bronze here as each showcase six sophomores within the top-100.
While there is still two more years before this crop of prospects hits a college campus and though the talent and skills from this class seems to be on the decline compared to past years, there still is enough size, play makers, upside, and toughness to go around that should make many coaches happy for years to come, yet no one has cemented his case as in being elite than top ranked big man Marvin Bagley.