Posted On: 10/22/17 4:44 AM
We’ve now had two years of high school and AAU basketball to break down the 2019 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 100, 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 2019 big men prospects. Enjoy, and stay tuned for more breakdowns moving forward!
Armando Bacot | 6’9” | Trinity Episcopal/Team Loaded VA 17U (#1 Overall)
Some rankings may not have him as the top big man in the country, but it’s pretty much consensus that Bacot is the most skilled big in the country, making him the consensus number one player in the commonwealth at least in the 2019 class, possibly regardless of class. He recently released his top 10, featuring a number of blue bloods and some of the top programs across the country. Bacot had a tremendous sophomore season, helping lead Trinity Episcopal to the state championship and continued his run this summer, including being named to the All NBPA Top 100 team. He’s silky smooth in the post with great footwork, touch with both hands around the rim, a nice stroke out to the three point line and he’s a willing and capable passer as well. He loves competition, stepping his game up against the best, and if he continues to improve his body he’s only going to get better. He’s one of, if not the best, big men on the east coast.
Qudus Wahab | 6’11” | Flint Hill/Team Loaded NC 17U (#5 Overall)
Wahab has trusted the process and it has paid off as he’s starting to see the high major offers roll in, including Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Rutgers and George Mason all in the past year. He’s transferring to Flint Hill from Virginia Academy and should be a focal point for them on both ends of the floor. He’s a gym rat, always in the gym working on his game and the improvements are starting to show on the offensive end. He can score it at or above the rim in the paint, has a soft touch out to 18 feet and he can run the floor and finish in transition. Right now he’s still a work in progress offensively, but the improvement is starting to show and should continue. Defensively is where he shines however, as he’s a high level rim protector and eats on the glass on both ends. With time, Wahab should continue to get better and will have a list of high major schools to choose from when the time comes.
Mahamadou Diawara | 6’9” | Massanutten Academy (#6 Overall)
The highest ranking newcomer in the class, Diawara comes to Massanutten Military Academy via Hamilton Heights in Tennessee where he showed great promise as a sophomore. He’s already pulled offers from Penn State, VCU and UMass, and has seen interest from schools across the ACC, Big 10 and SEC. He’s long and nimble, has a great frame with a strong upper body and he doesn’t mind banging in the post with other bigs. He has good touch with both hands and great patience and footwork on the block. He can run the floor, protect the rim and is unselfish in the post as well. He’s playing with Massanutten’s post grad team, meaning he’ll be playing against some of the best competition in the country this season, all guys who should be in college, so it should get him ready for the next level with a year to spare as well.
Dajour Rucker | 6’6” | Cape Henry/BWSL Chiz (#9 Overall)
Rucker’s a tweener, but to us he’s more of a perimeter oriented four man with the size and strength to bang in the post as well. His best asset offensively is his ability to knock down the outside jump shot. His stroke is pure, as he has great footwork in his set up and a quick release with a great follow through. His strength in the post is underrated, as he’s able to absorb contact and finish in the paint, and he’s a good rebounder on the offensive end making him the perfect pick-and-pop that isn’t afraid to crash and get points that way either. He’s surprisingly nimble for his size, as he can run the floor and finish in transition where he’s always a threat to hit the trail three as well. He has a high motor and good work ethic, and that’s another reason that he has a number of midmajor offers already heading into his junior season.
Charlie Weber | 6’7” | Bishop O’Connell/6th Man Warriors (#10 Overall)
Another new addition to the 2019 rankings, Weber comes to the WCAC to play with O’Connell via Huntingtown High School in Maryland where he helped lead them to an SMAC Championship last year. He’s still somewhat of a project, but he has all the tools to pan out to be a solid division one prospect. He’s lean but long, runs the floor well and is a really good athlete for a four man. He has great hands and good catch-and-finish ability in the paint. He understands spacing and moves well without the ball, and he has a good nose for the ball especially on the offensive glass for put backs. He’s shown a decent skill set and the ability to make shots out to 15 feet, and if he puts on some weight and continues to improve his skill set on the perimeter he could be a very lethal and versatile four man.
Patrick Kelly | 6’7” | VES/Team Loaded VA (#12 Overall)
He may project as a wing at the next level, but if you ask him he sees himself as a stretch four man if he can put on weight. Kelly is a dead eye shooter from deep with a picture perfect jump shot straight out of the JJ Redick type book. He can run the floor and hit trail threes, is a good screener for pick-and-pop plays and he knows what he does best which is shoot the basketball. What separates him from other stretch four men is while he’s best on the perimeter he doesn’t shy away from contact and is willing to compete on the glass and in the paint. He has a high basketball IQ and is also a high level student off the court. He already holds offers from Richmond and Providence and should see more come with time and improvement.