With much of the spring travel season now behind us and the summer quickly approaching, it is time to redo our Class of 2018 rankings for the state of Alabama. Using the high school season, our Alabama Elite Preview camp, and the spring travel season platforms, here is the updated 2018 Alabama rankings.
NEW TOP DOG
The race for the top spot in the 2018 class has been neck-and-neck throughout the class’ high school careers. It doesn’t look like that is going to change headed into the summer, either. After a dominant high school season that ended in yet another state championship, Sacred Heart wing Diante Wood finds himself as the new No. 1 player in the 2018 Alabama rankings.
Wood was pegged as the Class 1A boys Player of the Year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association in March after averaging 19 points and nine rebounds per contest for Sacred Heart, who won its third consecutive 1A state title.
Wood, a 6-foot-5 wing, is a versatile prospect that can impact the game in a variety of ways on both ends of the floor. His ball skills and skill-level present difficult matchups for opposing defenses, allowing him to thrive in different situations. Since the beginning of the travel season, Wood has also displayed an improved three-point shot.
Coming in at No. 2 and nipping at Wood’s heels is Homewood big man Trey Jemison. The 6-foot-9 big man has shown spurts of his promise this travel season with Team Penny. Jemison is starting to develop a go-to baby hook in the post to go along with his motor, rebounding, and defense. He is being pursued by plenty of high-major programs, including Alabama, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Stanford, and Vanderbilt.
Huffman guard Myreon Jones, Jr. raised some eyebrows over the weekend with the Georgia Stars during Nike’s third EYBL session in Atlanta. The 6-foot-3 combo guard holds firm as the No. 3 prospect in the 2018 rankings, but he is making his case for the top overall spot – and it’s getting louder and louder.
Capable of playing on or off the ball, Jones brings value with his shot-making ability and craftiness around the goal. After a strong performance on the EYBL circuit, he has solidified his place as a high-major guard.
Xavier Williams, one of the spring’s biggest risers in the Southeast, checks in at No. 4 in the latest rankings installment. The 6-foot-8 power forward wowed fans during Parker’s run to the Final Four with his skill level and ability to stretch the floor at his size. Williams was a unanimous selection as the top prospect at the Alabama Elite Preview, too.
With offers in hand from Middle Tennessee State, Samford, and Tennessee Tech, Williams will be another hot prospect to keep an eye on during the summer as he plays with Team Carroll Premier on the Adidas circuit.
Rounding out the top five is Eufaula guard Tony Johnson. The 6-foot-3 guard holds a variety of scholarship offers from an assortment of levels and is being pursued by a handful of high academic programs. Johnson has done a fantastic job of displaying his toughness and physicality on the perimeter with Southern Stampede this spring.
SEVERAL PLAYERS CAPITALIZE ON THE SPRING
A handful of prospects made the most of the spring travel season and enhanced their stock with college coaches. Most notable is Alexandria forward Dalton Dodd and Ashford wing Ladarius Knight, who check in at No. 10 and No. 11, respectively.
Athletic Bob Jones wing Chase Fiddler made the biggest jump from the last set of rankings, as he jumped 14 spots to No. 28 overall.
Jason King and Travarus Carroll both had quality high school seasons and spring performances and check in at No. 17 and No. 18. East Lawrence shot-blocker Kendall Cotner also showed some impressive intangibles, as he makes his debut to the rankings at No. 25.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Only one player in Alabama’s 2018 class has made a college decision. Calvin Walker, a 6-foot-4 sharpshooter from Madison Academy, made his verbal pledge to UA-Huntsville shortly after receiving a scholarship offer last month. He has only backed up that offer with some huge performances, including two buzzer-beaters at the Atlanta Jam to help his team bring home a championship in the 17U division.
- Five different high schools claim multiple players in the updated rankings. Reigning Class 6A state champion Paul Bryant leads the way with four players ranked (Jared Sherfield, Kailex Stephens, Dylan Robertson, Daviyon Dennis), while Cordova, Huffman, Lanett, and Parker all have two players represented.
- Eleven of the top 40 players ranked go to school in the Birmingham area. Tuscaloosa is a hotbed for talent in the 2018 class, as six players call the Capstone home. Huntsville only has two players ranked, while Montgomery only has one. The Gadsden/Anniston area and Sand Mountain, not necessarily notorious for their basketball talent, have a handful of players ranked, too.