LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – Wow!
Now that was tough . . .
The chore of finding 25 deserving players for my “All Spring and Summer” Class of 2015 squad wasn’t difficult.
But the same can’t be said for putting them into a “Teams 1-5” pecking order or adhering to a strict “one player at each of the positions” method.
Doing that was especially tough because of the relative shortage (when compared to the other spots) of “exceptional” point guards after – IMHO – Isaiah Briscoe and Jalen Brunson.
As was the case for my selections from the classes of 2017 and ’16, these are not ratings based strictly upon “potential” or how I project them as college and (in some cases) NBA players.
These choices are all about how they played, and how they contributed to their teams’ performances, when I watched them in the spring and summer.
Picking the “first team” was fairly simple, in large part based upon the spring EYBL performances of each of those selections — Cheick Diallo, Henry Ellenson, Ben Simmons, Allonzo Trier and Briscoe.
Diallo, Ellenson and Simmons were also terrific at the LeBron James Skills Academy (Trier didn’t attend; Briscoe played just one day, but was outstanding).
Three players – Simmons (the best “prospect” in the class), Trier (the best “perimeter-oriented) scorer in the class) and Briscoe – got strong consideration for “Player of the Spring and Summer”.
But Briscoe gets the nod because, a) the point guard was the best player on the best team during EYBL competition; b) he was the best player at the Pangos All-American Camp in Long Beach (CA) in June; and, c) he was on the verge of leading the New Jersey Playaz to a Fab 48 championship in Las Vegas in late July before suffering a severe ankle sprain in the final pool-play game against Belmont Shore that sidelined him for the team’s first playoff game when it was upset by the Arizona Magic.
Here is the list of the “national-in-scope” events I attended that were used in forming these choices, followed by my “All-2015” selections:
*Nike EYBL (Sacramento/April 25-27 and Dallas/May 10&11)
*Under Armour Invitational (Houston/May 16-18)
*Pangos All-American Camp (Long Beach, CA/May 30-June 1)
*LeBron James Skills Academy (Las Vegas/July 9-12)
*Pangos Sweet 16 (Long Beach, CA/July 13)
*Asics Double Pump Best of Summer (Anaheim, CA/16-20)
*Battle at the Beach (Redondo Beach, CA/July 16-18)
*Fab 48 (Las Vegas/July 23-27)
*adidas Super 64 (Las Vegas/July 23-27)
*Bigfoot Classic (Las Vegas/July 23-27)
*adidas Nations (Garden Grove and Long Beach, CA/Aug. 1-4)
CLASS OF 2015
Post: Cheick Diallo 6-8 215 Centerreach, NY, (Our Savior)
Post: Henry Ellenson 6-9 230 Rice Lake, WI, (Rice Lake)
SF: Ben Simmons 6-8 210 Montverde, FL (Montverde Academy)
SG: Allonzo Trier 6-4 200 Henderson, NV (Findlay Prep)
PG: Isaiah Briscoe 6-3 210 Roselle, NJ (Catholic)
Post: Ivan Rabb 6-9 205 Oakland, CA (Bishop O’Dowd)
Post: Stephen Zimmerman 6-11 225 Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman)
SF: Jaylen Brown 6-6 220 Marietta, GA (Wheeler)
SG: Antonio Blakeney 6-3 195 Orlando, FL (Oak Ridge)
PG: Jalen Brunson 6-2 190 Lincolnshire, IL (Stevenson)
Post: Chase Jeter 6-9 210 Las Vegas (Bishop Gorman)
Post: Diamond Stone 6-10 250 Whitefish Bay, WI (Dominican)
SF: Carlton Bragg 6-9 210 Cleveland (Villa Angela-St. Joseph)
SG: Malik Newman 6-4 200 Jackson, MS (Newman)
PG: Eric Davis 6-3 170 Saginaw, MI (Hill)
Post: Deyonta Davis 6-8 210 Muskegon, MI (Muskegon)
Post: Skal Labissiere 6-9 205 Memphis (to be determined)
SF: Brandon Sampson 6-5 200 Baton Rouge, LA (Madison Prep)
SG: Malik Beasley 6-4 195 Alpharetta, GA (St. Francis)
PG: Terrence Phillips 6-0 175 Mouth of Wilson, VA (Oak Hill)
Post: Thomas Bryant 6-10 250 Huntington, WV (Huntington Prep)
Post: Caleb Swanigan 6-8 260 Ft. Wayne, IN (Homestead)
SF: Dwayne Bacon 6-5 200 Mouth of Wilson, VA (Oak Hill)
SG: Malachi Richardson 6-5 180 Trenton, NJ (Trenton Catholic)
PG: Justin Simon 6-5 200 Wolfeboro, NH (Brewster Academy)