Top 10 Forwards in 2019

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Tennessee

Posted On: 05/3/18 7:43 PM

The Class of 2019 rankings are here!

The 2019 forwards skew elite with the remarkably nimble lefty James Wiseman.  His AAU teammate and high school teammate, Malcolm Dandridge, fortified his perch as the state’s second best forward in Indianapolis.  Dandridge committed to Memphis as May arrived.

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 forwards in the state alongside their statewide overall ranking.  The first player listed is the #1 forward, and also the #1 overall player in Tennessee in 2019.

Gioppino Basketball clip art#1 James Wiseman (Memphis East)

State Champion James Wiseman is the most highly-coveted Tennessee recruit since Skal Labissiere, who eventually selected Kentucky. Wiseman’s only weakness as an underclassman was strength.  He keeps developing his strength and playing with Memphis East in 2017-2018 truly elevated his innate toughness.  Wiseman is extremely skilled with the softest hands in the state.  That he is running with Bluff City Legends after Penny accepted the Memphis Tiger Head Coach job indicates Wiseman could return to East in the fall.  Keep an eye out for an Oak Hill Academy or Huntington Prep to try to swoop in as the Penny connection is dead at East High School.

Gioppino Basketball clip art#6 Malcolm Dandridge (Memphis East)

The first big to commit, Malcolm Dandridge picked Memphis early May.  The traditional big man, Dandridge lacks the outrageous fluidity of James Wiseman, but bests the lefty in power around the rim.  Dandridge is a two-handed rebounder that can only become a titan on the blocks when he reaches college.

Gioppino Basketball clip art#8 Jason Jitoboh (Hamilton Heights Christian Academy)

Junior center Jason Jitoboh of Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (HHCA) startled the high major college recruiters in Dallas EYBL with Woodz Elite (Arkansas).  The rebounding and defense of Jitoboh remain elite.  He needs much better hands and has to continue to cut bad weight.  Two years ago he weighed more than 300 pounds, so the laborious process has come a long way.  Playing with Woodz Elite the center hovers on the blocks and understands his strengths.  He does not have plus explosion, so plays have to run methodically through his zone.  He is rarely used to set high screens, but this seems like an ideal usage of his power and size.  Jitoboh projects as a high major shot stopper with intermittent offensive flourishes.

Gioppino Basketball clip art#17 Drew Pember (Bearden)

Since March the forward Drew Pember soared to the top 20 in 2020.  Remarkably skilled, Pember sparkled against eventual Class AAA Champion Memphis East High School from mid-range.  Pember could add better handles to expand his game.  Without and dribbling improvement the BMaze Elite 17u team member belongs at a high major basketball program.

Gioppino Basketball clip art#24 Julius Dixon (Fayetteville)

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#25 Luke Howard (Harding Academy)

Team Thad 17u rotation player Luke Howard is the lone Canadian on this top ten list.  Only Drew Pember is a better outside shooter than Luke Howard.  For Howard to reach his utmost potential he needs to improve his speed of play.  Team Thad 17u doesn’t use him enough to attract college coach offers right now.  Hopefully that will change.  Howard’s defensive instincts are wonderful on the blocks.  Ideally, Luke Howard will suit up as a MM+/HM faceup four.

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#26 Devin Evans (Richard Hardy Memorial)

A starter for Hawks Elite AAU, Devin launched his way to the top 30 with a sturdy 6-foot-7 body.  The handle is a little loose.  The explosion is encouraging though.  Evans has enough skills to be either a DI forward or a DI wing.  HM programs are intrigued, but want to see a little more to be sure.  The thing with Evans is that he is edging close to a surefire DI player, but a few wrinkles in the game have to be ironed out.  All his weaknesses are fixable.

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#28 Arol Kacoul (Knoxville Christian)

The tall forward Arol keeps moving, so he probably doesn’t belong in the Tennessee rankings unless he returns to Knoxville Christian.  Kacoul holds two DI offers and the size certain to land him at a college program.

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#32 Donald Fitzgerald (Hillsboro)

The rugged Donald Fitzgerald brought more tenacity to Birmingham in early April.  PrepHoopsTN interviewed him afterward.  Offensive maneuvers need to reach his orbit.  Without more complex go-to moves, Fitzgerald will only be able to give offensive rebound putbacks to his D1 program.  The physicality and effort is a constant.

Gioppino Basketball clip art#34 Elijah Cobb (Riverdale)

All five Riverdale starters will intrigue college basketball recruiters.  Of the five, Cobb has the best basketball body.  Long and lean, the 6-foot-6 forward can be a secondary ball-handler.  The hope for Elijah Cobb is a wing metamorphosis, but for now Cobb is a slightly stiff wing.  Teaming with Brayden Siren enables Cobb to play outside the paint in Class AAA.  Cobb and Riverdale High advanced to the state tournament ultimately falling to Clarksville Northeast and Alec Kegler.  Cobb’s defense early on Kegler impressed.  Twice Cobb stuffed Kegler.  Alas, Kegler never relented or cowered and Northeast advanced.  Cobb’s ability to attack from the wing needs to paired with more perimeter defensive mobility.

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Is this list no good?  Do you disagree?   Tweet @PrepHoopsTN and let your complaints known.  Share your top 2019 point guards and let the debate begin!