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Posted On: 10/7/17 12:25 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 bigs breakdown. Enjoy, and stay tuned for more breakdowns moving forward!
David McCormack | 6’10” | Oak Hill Academy/Team Loaded VA (#2 Overall)
Three years ago I remember seeing McCormack for the first time and saying, “If that kid continues to develop and loses 30 pounds he’ll be a top 30 kid in the country.” At the time I was a new no-name wannabe scout, but now I can look back and say “Hey, maybe I do know a thing or two about this.” After transferring to Oak Hill for his junior season McCormack shed close to forty close and toned up and he looks like a totally different guy. He’s still an imposing figure in the paint, but he’s in much better shape, is much more nimble on his feet and he can get up and down the court much better. He’s improved his touch as well, with a soft jump hook and a midrange jump shot that’s consistent out to 15 feet now. He was one of the most highly touted big men in the country, and Bill Self has to be thrilled that he picked to go to Kansas over staying closer to home and playing in the ACC.
Florent Thamba | 6’9” | Mount Mission/Team Loaded NC (#10 Overall)
Thamba took some of the steps that coaches were hoping he would take this summer, and it paid off as he pulled in 11 offers this summer, the latest coming from Virginia Tech and Memphis after school started. A rim protecting big man, he looks the part of a high level prospect and has since he came to America two years ago, and he’s starting to add the production that was missing before. He’s quick off his feet in the paint, he’s nimble enough to come help side or run down players in transition, he’s fearless when blocking shots and he cleans up the glass well on both ends. He’s physically intimidating, and he’s starting to finish around the basket with authority. The improvement in his offensive game is a welcome sign, as it means there’s a chance he’ll continue to improve in college, and even if he doesn’t he’ll still be an immediate impact guy on the defensive end.
Quentin Millora-Brown | 6’9” | South County/New World (#12 Overall)
What most people don’t realize is that Millora-Brown is extremely young, having just turned 17 this year. He actually skipped a grade because his intelligence is off the charts. That means he just finished growing, and his game has took leaps and bounds as he has grown into his body. He’s playing with extreme confidence on both ends of the floor, blocking shots defensively and finishing around the basket in every way imaginable. He’s starting to try to dunk everything, he can shoot the midrange, he finishes with both hands and he’s a very smart and capable passer in the post. He was a late bloomer for sure, but he hasn’t even started to fill out in his body yet, and he’s only going to continue to improve with time. He committed to Rice at the end of July, and will be one of the most dominant big men in NOVA public school basketball after transferring to South County for his senior season.
Zach Pfaffenberger | 6’8” | Episcopal/Team BBC (#21 Overall)
A slow and steady riser, Pfaffenberger is a kid who trusted the process, played his role and saw good things come of it in the form of close to 10 offers this summer. He was one of the first players off the bench for BBC throughout the summer, and he brought energy and toughness to a group that consisted of many flashy scoring guards and he was important to their chemistry and helping them win. He’s an old-school substance over flash big man who’s great in pick-and-rolls, can post up and score over either shoulder and eats the glass on both ends. He improved his athleticism so he got up and down the floor with the guards, and he’s a paint anchor defensively who isn’t afraid to step up and take a charge or commit a good, hard foul to prevent a layup. A smart and gritty player, he plans on making his decision on Sunday between Binghamton, Mount St. Mary’s and Sacred Heart.
Tyrek Williams | 6’8” | LC Bird/River City Reign (#27 Overall)
He isn’t the new school athletic kind of big man, but Williams is a go-to scorer in the post that can play inside and out. He’s patient in the post with the ball, can score with both hands around the basket, and has become surprisingly skilled as he’s grown and developed as a player. He can face up or score with his back to the basket, he can shoot the midrange and has developed his ball handling to where he can take his man off of the dribble. He’s big and strong, has great hands and feet and while he doesn’t play above the rim he’s productive in the paint on both ends of the floor. He’ll be attending Norfolk State, along with his LC Bird front court mate CJ Ford.
Devon Flowers | 6’8” | Potomac School (#29 Overall)
Flowers flew under the radar for a long time but Loyola (MD) got themselves a steal of a big man who can do a lot of things on the court. At 6’8”, he has great footwork on both ends of the floor. He can score easily with his back to the basket, he’s great in screen and rolls and defensively he can switch them and stay in front of guards as well. Offensively he’s really improved his range, as he’s now a formidable pick-and-pop stretch four man. He moves well in the post without the ball, and when he gets free he doesn’t hesitate to throw it down in the paint. He’s improved a lot over time, and will continue to do so in college, and while he possibly could have gone higher he chose the school with the right fit where he’ll make an early impact next season.
Tre King | 6’8” | Hargrave/Kentucky Travelers (#34 Overall)
King will be playing with Hargrave’s post grad team despite being eligible to play high school ball this season, and he brings that new age four man dynamic to the table. He’s athletic, plays in transition, can take his man off the dribble and thrives on the glass on both ends of the floor. Production level for him sometimes isn’t where you’d want it to be, but it’s because he needs to get his adequate touches as he works well with the ball in his hands. He’s a mismatch problem on both ends of the floor, as he can guard wing players, take big men out to where they aren’t comfortable and can post up smaller players offensively. His stock continues to grow and he’ll likely have a host of schools to pick from when it’s all said and done.