Posted On: 10/4/17 5:11 AM
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 two of our 2018 point guard breakdown. Enjoy, and stay tuned for more breakdowns moving forward!
Antwan Miles | 5’11” | Phoebus/Team Loaded 757 (#30 Overall)
As a former 757 player myself, Miles reminds me of the old school Hampton Roads guards that were successful back in the early 2000s. At 5’11” and weighing probably 145 lbs. at most, he isn’t the most physically intimidating guard, but he will find a way to cook whoever is in front of him. He’s dynamic, explosive, shifty, fast and whatever other word you can think of to describe an athletic lead guard. He plays so fast in transition, is so good at finishing over taller players and can score the ball from almost anywhere on the floor. On top of that, he’s a dog defensively, strapping up on the ball and shooting passing lanes for steals. His toughness has led to multiple injuries in the past, mostly coming from trying to dunk in traffic, but it hasn’t changed the way he has tried to play. He epitomizes the phrase “it isn’t the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.”
Darius Hines | 5’10” | Bishop Ireton/Team Takeover Orange (#31 Overall)
Our pick for the best point guard in the state without a division one offer goes to the Bishop Ireton general who has quietly tore up some of the best guards in the WCAC over the past couple of seasons. A leader by nature, Hines is so smart and so talented, but lacks the flash that some of the other smaller guards in the area have that make them so appealing. Regardless, this kid can flat out play and run a team. For Ireton, he’s the go-to guy who has shown that he can create his own shot off the bounce, score it from all three levels and will go smack at some of the best players in the area. For TTO Orange, he showed that he can lead a talented team, getting his teammates easy shots and running the team as a true point guard. Forget about his size and athleticism, he has the natural ability to see the game one play ahead and consistently make the right decision that most high school point guards lack, and unlike many of the players at his position you don’t have to teach him the game at the next level.
Joe Bryant Jr. | 6’1″ | Lake Taylor/Team Loaded 757 (#33 Overall)
Unlike his AAU teammate Antwan Miles that we mentioned earlier, Bryant is a stocky shot making guard that looks and plays like a linebacker. Despite his size, he’s surprisingly shifty off the bounce, as he changes directions well, has a vicious spin move and he uses his body so well to finish in traffic. What’s most impressive about Bryant is his ability to make contested shots from all three levels off the bounce. He’s able to hit midrange fadeaways, pull-up threes, floaters and layups in traffic and he gets to the line a lot as he obviously doesn’t shy away from contact. He holds a few division one offers from MEACs, and if he can lead a talented Lake Taylor team to a state championship and show he can be a winner there’s a good chance he’ll get more offers moving forward.
Nick Price | 6’1” | Northside/DC Blue Devils (#36 Overall)
The best senior in the Roanoke area, Price is much more effective in structured systems than he is in free flowing games, meaning he looks much better in high school than in AAU, and unfortunately it has probably hurt his recruitment somewhat because of that. He’s a wiry strong point guard with good feel, good athleticism and the ability to get in the lane and make plays at will. He’s improved in almost every aspect of the game over the past three years, mainly in his shooting and his athleticism, and he’s starting to become an alpha dog that wants to be the man instead of just a pass-first point guard. Defensively he shines, with quick hands and feet and a good feel in help side defense. He had a huge state playoff run, helping Northside get to the 3A State Championship before falling to four time reigning state champs IC Norcom, and they have the whole team back meaning he could do much of the same this year.
Rahim Jenkins | 6’1” | LC Bird/River City Reign (#45 Overall)
Talk about a breakout performer this summer, Jenkins came out of nowhere and seemingly got better every single week of the summer. He played sparingly off the bench last year because LC Bird had four senior guards all who went on to play college basketball on full scholarships, however the coaching staff assured me that Jenkins could really play, and he showed it this summer. He’s a late bloomer so coaches seem hesitant, but the thing that Jenkins has that many don’t is that he can flat out score the basketball consistently in so many different ways. He shoots it from deep, he’s an athletic finisher around the basket, he can play on and off the ball and he thrives being the go-to guy. He’s instant offense, and he’s going to score a lot of points for LC Bird this season. He should see his recruitment pick up this season if he does what he’s supposed to, but if not I’m sure with a prep year he will be playing college basketball for free somewhere.
Shyheim Gilkerson | 6’1” | VA Academy/New World VA (#49 Overall)
We have been raving that this kid is a scholarship level sleeper for years now, and if a coach is willing to take a chance and work with Gilkerson it could pay off because he has something you can’t teach and that’s one of the quickest first steps I’ve ever seen. In triple threat he blows by defenders with ease, getting into the paint and breaking down the entire defense with just one dribble. Defensively that step can be seen to, as he can cover ground and change directions to stay in front of ball handlers easily. At times he can be out of control, but you can’t fault him for playing so fast because that’s what makes him so effective. He has improved his shooting and decision making over the best few seasons, and he’s a playmaker that if you let run loose will be a game changer for you.
Timon Jones | 5’11” | Henrico/Team Richmond Garner Road (#53 Overall)
Jones is heading into his senior season at Henrico, and there’s no debate that it’s his team and he’s likely going to put up big numbers for the Warriors as their most experienced returner. He isn’t the biggest guard, but he has heart, toughness and he can flat out score the basketball. He has a deadly pull up from 15 to 25 feet, as he can shoot it off the bounce going either way and he gets great elevation to be able to rise up and knock it down even when contested. He’s a tough nosed defender, a good leader and he wants to do whatever it takes to win. His all-out style led to him picking up a division one offer from Longwood this summer, and if he can continue the solid play he had with Team Richmond Garner Road to the high school season he’ll likely be one of the best guards in the Richmond area this year.
Gabe Dickerson | 6’1” | Atlantic Shores/BWSL Russell (#54 Overall)
The breakout performer of the fall so far, Dickerson has improved immensely and looks like a scholarship kid after some impressive showings in camps all over the state so far this year. He was named MVP of the ASSIST 757 Top 48, then followed it up with a good showing at the Junior Phenom Top 100 against some of the best young players on the east coast. He’s extremely athletic, plays with a high motor on both ends of the floor, is a good passer with good feel and can be a dual threat at the point guard spot with the ball in his hands. He’s a late bloomer, but colleges love his competitiveness, his humble attitude and work ethic. His recent improvements means there’s still probably room for him to improve moving forward, so taking a chance on him could pay off big time for whatever school chooses to.