Colorado is no doubt loaded with backcourt talent, but don't overlook the impact the state's big men are having on both the high school and grassroots scenes.
One of the elite power forwards in America resides in Aurora, a pair of 6-foot-11 prospects play in the Jefferson County Conference and a number of big men elsewhere are vastly improving as rim protectors.
Here is Prep Hoops Colorado's list of the 10 best rim protectors in Colorado, regardless of class:
1. De’Ron Davis: The big guy is not only the premier player in Colorado, a top-50 prospect in the nation and a state champion, but is also the No. 1 rim protector in the Centennial State. The 6-foot-10, 240-pound power forward is an intimidating force. At Overland, he’s averaged 3.4 blocks as a freshman, 3.5 as a sophomore and 5.1 as a junior, and he alters plenty of other shots. His 139 blocks last winter were the sixth-most in a single season in state history, and he has a very good chance at becoming the career record holder for blocks, as he is only 90 away from first.
2. Antonio Capley: As a sophomore at Ralston Valley, Capley barely played varsity, but the No. 7 ranked 2016 prospect broke out with a great junior season while averaging over 13 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks. Pretty mobile for 6-foot-11, Capley has great length and could easily produce four or five blocks every night in his final high school season.
3. Dallas Walton: If it wasn’t for health concerns, Walton would not only be a top-three rim protector, but probably a top-three prospect in his Colorado class. He’s extremely fast and quick for being just a shade under 7-feet tall and is a natural shot-blocker with excellent timing. Unfortunately, the big man suffered a torn ACL in April of 2014 and hasn’t been able to compete in games since. If Walton can return with his old explosiveness, he will be a high-major prospect again.
4. Jesus Martinez: An active 6-foot-8 big man with a motor, Martinez led all classifications in blocks per game at a clip of 5.7 as a junior. He began the season with back-to-back games of over 11 blocks, not to mention back-to-back triple-doubles, and finished the year with at least two blocks in every outing. A solid athlete, Martinez is a very good non-Division I prospect who can be an impact player for a lot of college programs.
5. Jake Belknapp: The 2017 big man didn’t put up huge numbers last winter, but he did start as a sophomore on a Mountain Vista program that has been exceptionally good in recent years, and showed flashes of great potential. During his club season with Colorado Chaos, that potential came to fruition as the athletic 6-foot-8 Belknapp had moments of dominance and earned his first Division I offer from Northern Colorado. He has the tools to become an excellent rim protector this winter as his 1.4 blocks per game should change to 3-4 with ease.
6. Sam Howard: While not the most explosive player, the Class 3A star’s instincts allowed him to average 3.6 blocks per game as a junior. He is a big-bodied 6-foot-7 and over 230-pound bruiser who understands how to play in the post. Howard was the presence in the middle last winter for a Colorado Springs Christian team that claimed the 3A state championship. He is a low or mid-major Division I prospect.
7. Daytone Jennings: An out-of-state move-in as a junior, Jennings exploded for 15.4 points, 10.4 rebounds, 1.9 steals and two blocks in 12 games for Aurora Central. He is a defensive pest with leaping ability and has grown to 6-foot-9. He is capable of monstrous all-around performances and could be a riser both on this list and in our 2016 prospect rankings.
8. Trey Morrill: Soon enough, Morrill may be too low at No. 8, but as a 2018 prospect he will need to prove his worth more to rise. Nonetheless, as a highly athletic 6-foot-6 forward at Fruita Monument, he averaged two blocks in his first taste of high school basketball. He is also a stat-stuffing player. Being outside of the Denver area, Morrill hovers under-the-radar, but he seems to be following in Javen Gumber’s footsteps as another great Fruita big man.
9. Cameron McCurry: The 2017 prospect from Erie is in the same mold as Howard. He’s not a super athlete, but is a thick 6-foot-8 with a high basketball IQ and doctors say he has two to four more inches to grow. As a sophomore, he tallied two blocks a night and close to a double-double and has plenty of upside.
10. Keondre Weinand: Probably the least known player on the list, the 6-foot-6 forward plays for a Thornton program whose had some recent struggles. But, Weinand averaged a double-double as a junior and his 3.7 blocks per game ranked No. 2 in Class 5A behind only Davis. The 2016 big man has a 7-foot wingspan, a 3.50 GPA, and is a small-school prospect.