LAGUNA NIGUEL, Ca. – So, how did I go about trimming all of the high school basketball players I saw during a dozen “national-in-scope” evaluation events over about nine weeks to a list of “the 50 best”?
I did it very methodically and almost as painfully.
In setting the bar at 50, I decided to divide it into five groups of five players (by position) for the “best 25 seniors I saw in the summer”, with three groups of five (also by position) for the “best of the 2015 class” and have a first- and second-team (yep, by position) “best of 2016”.
So that would be 25 plus 15 plus 10 equals . . . 50!
The selections are based upon how well the players performed when I was watching – not “strictly on college and/or NBA potential” or “how coaches and other scouts told me they played at an event”.
Now there are going to be some very good players that are not included in any of the following groups.
There is certainly a chance that among those absentees will be some that I saw in those 12 national events (listed, and coded, below) and was very impressed with but forgot to include here.
But any missing names that you may feel are “obvious picks” for the lists are more likely to be guys I gave strong consideration to, and they just came up short, or guys that you think are “very good” and I don’t.
Disagreements are going to happen now and then. This evaluation/scouting stuff isn’t exactly an “exact science”, ladies and gentlemen.
And there are going to be some “obvious” players not included – ones I’ve seen before and believe to be among the very best in their respective classes.
Those will not be listed because they didn’t play (or, at least, I didn’t see them play) in any of the aforementioned events that you’ll be you’ll be perusing in a few seconds.
The most glaring of those is Tyus Jones (Apple Valley, MN), the kid many folks believe is the best point guard – and perhaps the best overall prospect, as well – in the Class of 2014.
I saw him during the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League circuit in the spring but nowhere else.
So, read ‘em and weep – or cry . . . or get angry . . . or think “damn, Frank’s good!”
A “Player of the Summer” was selected for each class as well.
Those three choices were toughies, too. But, hey! Someone had to go out onto a metaphorical limb and make them . . .
The events used to create these lists:
A: Pangos All-American Camp (Long Beach, CA/May 31-June 2); B: NBPA Top 100 Camp (Charlottesville, VA/June 12-15); C: LeBron James Skills Academy (Las Vegas/July 6-8); D: Double Pump Summer Tip-Off (Anaheim, CA/July 10-14); E: Pangos Summer Sweet 16 (Long Beach, CA/July 12-14); F: The Best of Summer (Anaheim, CA/July 17-21); G: Battle at the Beach (Redondo Beach, CA/July 18); H: Fab 48 Tip-Off Challenge (Las Vegas/July 24); I: Fab 48 (Las Vegas/July 25-28); J: adidas Super 64 (Las Vegas/July 24-28); K: Las Vegas Classic (Las Vegas/July 24-28); and L: adidas Nations (Garden Grove and Long Beach, CA/Aug. 2-5).
And, now for the selections (with the events at which I watched each player noted):
Center: Jahlil Okafor (6-foot-10/Chicago Whitney Young) H, K&L
Power forward: Cliff Alexander (6-8/Chicago Curie) C, H&K
Small forward: Stanley Johnson (6-6/Santa Ana, CA, Mater Dei) A, C, H, K&L
Shooting guard: Rashad Vaughn (6-5/Henderson, NV, Findlay Prep) A, C, H&I
Point guard: Emmanuel Mudiay (6-3/Dallas Prime Prep) A, H&I
Player of Summer: Mudiay
C: Myles Turner (6-10/Euless, TX, Trinity) B, C, H, I&L
PF: Reid Travis (6-7/Minneapolis DeLaSalle) B, C&L
SF: Justin Jackson (6-7/Houston, home schooled) B&C
SG: D’Angelo Russell (6-3/Montverde, FL, Academy B, C&L
PG: Joel Berry (6-1/Orlando, FL, Lake Highland Prep) B&C
C: Elbert Robinson (7-0/Garland, TX, Lakeview Christian) B&C
PF: Kevon Looney (6-8/Milwaukee Hamilton) B, C&L
SF: Kelly Oubre (6-7/Henderson, NV, Findlay Prep) B&C
SG: Isaiah Whitehead (6-4/Brooklyn Lincoln) B, C, H&I
PG: Quentin Snider (6-2/Louisville Ballard) B, C&G
C: Karl Towns Jr. (6-10/Metuchen, NJ, St. Joseph’s) B
PF: Chris McCullough (6-9/Wolfeboro, NH, Brewster Academy) A&C
SF: Theo Pinson (6-6/Greensboro, NC, Wesleyan) B, C&L
SG: James Blackmon Jr. (6-2/Ft. Wayne, IN, Bishop Luers) B&C
PG: Parker Jackson-Cartwright (5-8/Los Angeles Loyola) B, C, G&K
C: Isaac Haas (7-2/Hokes Bluff, AL) B
PF: Trey Lyles (6-9/Indianapolis Tech) L
SF: Craig Victor (6-8/Henderson, NV, Findlay Prep) A, B, C&L
SG: Robert Johnson (6-3/Richmond, VA, Benedictine) B&C
PG: Tyler Ulis (5-8/Chicago Heights Marian Catholic) B&C
C: Stephen Zimmerman (6-10/Las Vegas Bishop Gorman) A, B, H, J&L
PF: Cheick Diallo (6-8/Centerreach, NY, Our Savior) B&C
SF: Skal Labassiere (6-9/Memphis Evangelical Christian) B&C
SG: Malik Newman (6-3/Jackson, MS, Callaway) C, H, I&L
PG: Isaiah Briscoe (6-2/Roselle, NJ, Catholic) A, B, C, H&I
C: Diamond Stone (6-9/Whitefish, WI, Dominican) C
PF: Ivan Rabb (6-9/Oakland, CA, Bishop O’Dowd) C&K
SF: Brandon Ingram (6-7/Kinston, NC) B&C
SG: Tyler Dorsey (6-4/Bellflower, CA, St. John Bosco) A, B, H, I&L
PG: Hyron Edwards (5-11/East Chicago, IN, Central) J
C: Henry Ellenson (6-9/Rice Lake, WI) J&L
PF: Derrick Jones (6-6/Radnor, PA, Carroll) B
SF: Carlton Bragg (6-8/Cleveland St. Joseph) A&J
SG: Jalen Miller (6-7/Dallas Seagoville) H&I
PG: Jalen Brunson (6-2/Lincolnshire, IL, Stevenson) B, C&K
C: Thon Maker (7-0/Martinsville, VA, Carlisle) A, B&C
PF: Dedric Lawson (6-8/Memphis Hamilton) I
SF: Josh Langford (6-5/Huntsville, AL, Madison) B
SG: Josh Jackson (6-6/Detroit Consortium) J&L
PG: Lonzo Ball (6-4/Chino, CA, Chino Hills) D&F
C: Caleb Swanigan (6-9/Ft. Wayne, IN, Homestead) B&J
PF:T.J. Leaf (6-7/El Cajon, CA, Foothills Christian) J
SF: Maverick Rowan (6-6/Midland, PA, Lincoln Park) J
SG: Eron Gordon (6-2/Indianapolis North Central) J
PG: Deveral Ramsey (5-11/Chatsworth, CA, Sierra Canyon) E, G&K