Posted On: 06/15/16 2:46 PM
We’ve now had three years of high school and AAU basketball to break down the 2017 class, and things look much different then our first rankings of them two years ago. While rankings are always subject to change, especially with the reclass and transfer rate as it is, almost all of the players have improved whether they dropped or rose in our rankings.
When taking rankings into consideration, the Vantage Hoops team spends about a month contacting coaches and experts across the state to compile the list. There were over 230 kids we considered for the top 150, and the rankings reflect the next level potential of the prospects. Things taken into consideration include upside, high school production, head-to-head matchups, skill set on both sides of the ball and include intangibles such such as how recruitable a kid is based on grades, attitude and how coachable they are.
Here’s a broad overview of our rankings, taking a look at some of the trends we’ve seen so far. Stay tuned for more in depth breakdowns of the 2017 class and new 2018 and 2019 rankings on Vantage Hoops!
Powerhouse Programs Shake Up the Top 20
Much like last season, which saw the likes of Deriante Jenkins transfer in to Hargrave and Mario Kegler, Braxton Key, Devontae Shuler and briefly Harry Giles transfer to Oak Hill, it looks like much of the same will happen even though the summer isn’t even halfway over. Debuting at number one, knocking off now Oak Hill teammate Matt Coleman, is 6’9” Billy Preston, a transfer from Texas who is considering Kansas, Arizona, USC and Maryland, among other blue blood programs.
Coming from the DC area to Gretna to play for Hargrave Academy is 6’5” Naji Marshall, a late bloomer who comes in at number 11 in his debut in the Vantage Hoops rankings. Marshall started to come on to the scene late last season, and currently holds double digit offers including the likes of Xavier, Temple, South Carolina, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. A long but wiry wing that impacts the game in a number of ways, a year at a prep school and basketball powerhouse such as Hargrave should help Marshall prepare to play at a high level in college.
Private Schools Dominate the Top
Gone are the days where public school basketball dominated the Virginia scene, and it’s somewhat sad considering just eight years it was considered the best basketball in the state. However, with the rise of private schools that hire top coaches and play the best competition across the country, it’s easy to see why kids are choosing to go away to private schools.
While we’re a firm believer of “if you can play they’ll find you,” our rankings reflect the current trend of high school basketball. In our top 10, only one player plays at a public school, and that’s Mario Haskett of LC Bird who comes in at #10. The other nine players play at private schools with big basketball reputations, and with the exception of #2 Matt Coleman, #4 Nate Watson and #6 Aamir Simms, none of them would be playing public school basketball in Virginia.
We’re not here to debate the pros and cons of public school vs. private school basketball, but with over 1/3 of the players in our 2017 rankings having attended a private school last season or announcing they will attend one this season, it has become a trend that is catching up with the rest of the country.
Breakdown By Position
We know there’s a lot of controversy over ranking players of the same position. There’s also some controversy in what position certain kids are. Here’s how we broke down the number of players per each position in our rankings.
Scholarship Gems Still Waiting to be Found
Like most states in the country, Virginia has a solid handful of players that are legitimate high major basketball prospects. What proves to be true time-and-time again when this part of the year rolls around is that there is an abundance of players ranging from the mid major to division two levels that are being majorly under recruited.
There are a number of mid major schools that recruit Virginia for this sole purpose, and many of them have had success in their conferences and even the NCAA Tournament. VCU’s big tournament runs under Shaka Smart featured many VA players such as Briante Weber, Troy Daniels and Braxton Burgess. Ohio upset Georgetown in the 2010 NCAA Tournament with former Virginia Beach forward Devaughn Washington, much like when Norfolk State upset #2 Missouri in 2012 with ex Norview wing Chris McEachin. Let’s also not forget the likes of JJ Reddick, John Gilchrist and Luke Hancock who did it with national programs.
This year’s senior class is much like last years with a lot of midlevel prospects at various positions. Also much like last year, many of these players have been overlooked through the first live period. Don’t be surprised if offers start to fly in July with almost all teams done with their 2016 class.
Top 10 List
|1) Billy Preston||6’9″||PF||Oak Hill Academy|
|2) Matt Coleman||6’2″||PG||Oak Hill Academy|
|3) Devontae Shuler||6’3″||CG||Oak Hill Academy|
|4) Nate Watson||6’8″||PF||Bishop O’Connell|
|5) Lindell Wigginton||6’2″||WG||Oak Hill Academy|
|6) Aamir Simms||6’8″||PF||Blue Ridge|
|7) Aaron Thompson||6’2″||PG||Paul VI|
|8) Myles Douglas||6’7″||WF||Paul VI|
|9) Ejike Obinna||6’9″||PF||Virginia Academy|
|10) Mario Haskett||6’3″||CG||LC Bird|
To see the full Top 150 click here! https://www.prephoops.com/virginia/rankings/prospect-rankings/2017-rankings/
Let the debate begin!