Top Ten (+1) Wings of 2020

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Tennessee

Posted On: 03/26/18 9:09 PM

The Class of 2020 rankings are here!  The 2020 wings are unusually strong at the top.  In fact, nearly 67% of the top 15 players are scoring wings.  Of course height tends to set these players apart from starting point guards.

What makes this batch of star players even more noteworthy is the extreme athleticism.  Half of the top 10 wings in the state are freaks with ridiculously explosive legs.  At the high school level they rarely meet physical equals.  A couple of the remaining stars are great shooters, way ahead of the pack on a variety of shot styles.

Of course this can all change and rankings are merely a flashpoint of speculation on who will do the most after high school.  Still, these players earned their current rankings with play on the court.

If you want to look at the complete rankings, smash here.

The following list reveals the top 10 wings (+1) in the state alongside their statewide overall ranking.  The first player listed is the #1 point guard, and also the #1 overall player in Tennessee in 2020.

Gioppino Basketball clip art#1 Keon Johnson (The Webb School-Bell Buckle)

Early February Keon Johnson collected Division II Class A Mr. Basketball honor, becoming the only sophomore of the five 2018 Mr. Basketball winners.  This sets him up to potentially win three times.  Outgoing PrepHoopsTN #1 Darius Garland completed that honor  the same night The Webb School’s star wing began his streak.  Keon blocks shots like a titan.  The work rate is exceptional.  Johnson can do everything on the court already.  A fledgling AAU program, EAB plans to build its brand off Keon’s fame this summer.

Gioppino Basketball clip art#3 Matthew Murrell (Whitehaven)

Sadly Class of 2020 wing scorer Matthew Murrell missed Whitehaven’s postseason run with an injury.  Murrell emerged in 2017-2018 as the Tigers’ second best scorer behind Cameron Jones.  How good can the shooter become?  It will rely upon his work in the weight room and continued improvement with plyometrics.  Murrell’s elite skill is shot preparation.

Gioppino Basketball clip art#4 Keon Ambrose (Hamilton Heights Christian Academy)

Sophomore Keon Ambrose of Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (HHCA) barely registered as a blip on the statewide radar this winter, but PrepHoopsTN evaluated a preseason practice of his.  Ambrose stands 6-foot-7 with athleticism similar to Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Virginia Tech).  “NAW” is three years older and almost three inches shorter.  Realize that NAW could be drafted in the first round this spring.  Ambrose’s skills are outside shooting, defensive rebounding, and little handle.  He can definitely improve lateral mobility.  Also, Ambrose’ bounce needs better creativity to precede it.  Figuring out how to get his body from a couple dribbles in to a dangerous position to elevate is going to be key.

Gioppino Basketball clip art#6 Roger McFarlane (Raleigh-Egypt)

While the top five players in Tennessee are elite basketball players, Roger McFarlane of Raleigh-Egypt is an incredible athlete.  Few high school sports would escape the dominance of Roger.  Absurdly powerful the combo forward looks like shotput is his entire focus.  When McFarlane sprints up the floor he dashes like a star sprinter.  Despite his height, Roger also ambles like a seasoned wrestler.  His hulking frame can only improve with physical maturity.  Few players in the state are in his class of raw power and grace.

Gioppino Basketball clip art#9 Cory Reynolds (Brentwood Academy)

Wildly overshadowed on a senior-laden Brentwood Academy team, Cory Reynolds hinted at his potential during the NXT LVL Hoopfest.  The future of Reynolds will be oft-discussed during his upcoming AAU season.  Reynolds appears to be able to slash and shoot.  His lateral mobility is already good with room to improve.

Gioppino Basketball clip art#10 Keshawn Lawrence (Ensworth)

Expecting to feature James Wiseman (Memphis East) Ensworth scheduled an elite regional schedule.  When Wiseman transferred in August the dates were already locked in.  The team lacked that superstar big, but remained committed to daunting interstate showcases.  After football wrapped a new star emerged.  In January, sophomore wing Keshawn Lawrence attacked McDonald’s All-American David McCormack with bravery.  Lawrence is that rare dual-sport athlete that thrives at both.  His body and slashing are dream foundations for a college scoring guard.

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#11 Harry Lackey (Brentwood)

Respected enough by AAU coaches to land with the vaunted Team Penny last year, Harry Lackey boasts an uncommon mix of height and athleticism.  He needs to get more assertive with the basketball.  With his Brentwood team there were several March games he disappeared.  One fan did mention he missed some time with dehydration.  Lackey has a high ceiling based simply off his natural gifts.

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#12 Mike Wallace (Nashville Stratford)

Rugged and unabashed, Michael Wallace is by far the best offensive rebounding wing in the state.  Only Keon Johnson belongs in the conversation with Wallace on the defensive glass.  Wallace needs to prove his handles and shooting can elevate him in to the state’s top 10 overall.

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#13 Samson Ruzhentsev (Hamilton Heights Christian Academy)

Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (HHCA) features two top 15 players just a year after Alexander-Walker and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander graduated.  The depth of talent for the Chattanooga-based program deserves this recognition though.  Russian Ruzhentsev plays with passion and forcefulness.  Playing with a team full of relatively modest, sometimes timid wings, Ruzhentsev brings grit and gumption.  With a game that resembles fellow HHCA shooting guard Serbian Aleksa Jugovic (Tennessee Tech), Ruzhentsev can fill up the nets.  Most defenders expect him to be a purely European dancer around the hardwood.  Samson is more adept at slashing that defenders expect.  He also likes to score early in possessions.

Gioppino Basketball clip art#14 Daniel Loos (Clarksville Academy)

Identifying Daniel Loos as a wing is a bit presumptuous, but sophomores get more wiggle room.  A senior with Loos’ skill and mobility clearly remains a power forward post-high school.  Loos still has two AAU seasons and two full high school seasons to adapt to the wing, if he chooses to.  At 6-foot-5 that transition needs to be attempted to expand his college options.

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#15 James Williams (Clarksville Kenwood)

Ranking Williams #15 takes a little bit of faith as PrepHoopsTN still hasn’t seen James Williams play in-person.  Honestly Williams’ Kenwood team didn’t play well enough to warrant a team evaluation in 2017-2018.  Personally Williams has District 10AAA MVP star potential.  He looks to bury the outside shot first.  His instinct it to pull from range, but Williams has enough bounce and length to finish above most AAA defenders.

Is this list no good?  Do you disagree?   Tweet @PrepHoopsTN and let your complaints known.  Share your top 2020 point guards and let the debate begin!