Posted On: 10/9/17 12:54 PM
We’ve now had three years of high school and AAU basketball to break down the 2018 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 250 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.
We will spend the next few weeks breaking down our new rankings from 2018 through 2020. Here’s a look at part one of our 2018 underrated and under recruited prospects. Enjoy, and stay tuned for more breakdowns moving forward!
Amari Cooper | 6’5” F | Wakefield/Mid Atlantic Select (#55 Overall)
Cooper has length, athleticism and a tough skill set that makes him an intriguing player at the next level. He’s a highlight reel in transition, that can finish above the rim when running the wing but is also skilled enough to handle in transition and make plays for others. He can shoot it off the catch, break defenders down out of the triple threat and is a versatile defender who can protect the rim in help side and in transition chase-down block scenarios. He’s a good rebounder and it’s all starting to click for him, meaning his best basketball is probably in his future.
Braeden Johnson | 6’5” F | Oakton/TTO Orange (#60 Overall)
Talk about versatility on the offensive end, Johnson has the total package in a strong 6’5” frame. He can shoot it from deep off the catch, can create for himself on the wing and make shots off the bounce and he’s athletic and strong enough to finish at or above the rim in traffic. He isn’t afraid to be the go-to guy, and his quick release and good size allow him to take and make contested shots when his team needs them. Defensively he’s smart as well, playing passing lanes and moving his feet well to beat others to the spot when on the ball. He averaged 15 points and 5 rebounds as junior, and with his improvement over the summer expect those numbers to get even better.
Jarec Brown | 6’3” WG/WF | George Wythe/BWSL Dip (#63 Overall)
Brown’s young for his grade and every time I see him he’s grown both physically and in his game. He’s extremely long at 6’3”, allowing him to play much bigger than his. One of his biggest strengths that he has is that he has a natural feel and great instincts for the game, being in the right place at the right time a lot. He moves well without the ball, knows how to get to places on the court for easy shots, he’s athletic and he makes shots from all spots on the court. He’s a good rebounder for his size, knows how to use his length to his advantage and he has a frame that’s going to fill out moving forward. He may decide to take a prep year, but after a solid junior season and summer he’s been looking like a scholarship player after this season.
Myles Jones | 6’3” WG | Blue Ridge School/New World VA (#67 Overall)
Jones has patiently waited his turn since transferring to Blue Ridge and reclassifying two seasons ago, and this being his senior season expect him to play a much bigger role for the defending state champs. He’s a great glue guy that makes shots, brings energy and makes plays on both ends of the floor. A strong and stocky lefty, he has a smooth stroke from deep, but can also attack the basket and finish strong around the rim. Defensively he reads things well in help side and isn’t afraid to sacrifice his body for the team. He’s a “do-it-all” kind of guy who should be an important part of the Baron’s success this year.
Marcus Holman Jr. | 6’1” CG | Benedictine/River City Reign (#76 Overall)
With Benedictine losing most of their key players from last year, Holman is in an opportunity to step up and become one of the go-to guys for them this season. He had a solid summer with River City Reign, showing flashes of brilliance both at the point and off the ball. He’s a tough kid, he makes plays in the lane that you wouldn’t expect him to. He finishes well in traffic, can make plays in transition and when he gets it going he can really fill it up in bunches. When he plays with confidence he plays well, however when things get a little tough he sometimes responds and sometimes doesn’t. He struggled with injuries late in the summer, but if he can come back healthy and play consistent basketball he could be a breakout candidate this season in Richmond.
Cole Meadows | 6’4” F | Giles/Spectrum Sports (#79 Overall)
Another athletic tweener forward whose best basketball is likely ahead of him, Meadows has all of the physical and athletic tools to be really successful at the next level. He’s long, bouncy, plays with a high motor on both ends and he’s a leader who brings energy to his team. He shoots the midrange well offensively, isn’t a bad ball handler in straight line drives and he can finish around the rim through contact. He has to work on his range and shot selection, but he’s already made improvements and the things that he has to his game you simply can’t teach.