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Posted On: 06/12/18 5:00 AM
If you want to hear about the players we see as no-brainer Division I prospects, go read yesterday’s breakdown of the top 25 prospects. Today, we’re getting into our real hot spot of D-II and NAIA prospects, with a few near the top who could (or have) land(ed) D-I offers.
In this particular exposition of players no. 26-50, we’re talking about a group of prospects who could be true difference makers at Division II programs. If D-IIs are able to stave off D-Is, these are the potential recruiting class headliners come next year.
On Dec. 6 of 2017, we received an email from a reader named Michael Myers. We can’t say for certain the email was from that Michael Myers — the Hollywood movie star who played Austin Powers. However, we also can’t say for certain that it wasn’t movie star Michael Myers.
Anyways, he emailed us about a player from Logan named Bo Myers and encouraged us to check him out. Unfortunately, we didn’t find time in the high school season to do so and therefore he wasn’t included in the springtime rankings update. His absence was a mistake, the type of mistake that made this summer update necessary. Michael Myers was right, we were very wrong.
Bo premieres in the no. 38 spot after a spring with the Hoopsters where his talent was obvious. It started in Cincy at the Bearcat Classic, where I stumbled around the bleachers to figure out his name with no coach’s packet available. Since that 3-point barrage at the beginning of the season, Myers has also proven capable as a post-up scorer and tough defender. Myers received offers from Malone and Air Force directly following the Run N’ Slam in early May.
The class identity has emerged. Among the scholarship-level players in 2019, we’re looking at more than a few skilled wings that pose matchup problems and score the rock from various places on the floor.
Who fits that description in the 26-50 range?
Many of the top stock-risers in this 26-50 range are true forwards.
The flashes we saw from Jackie Harris (48 → 39) and Owen Hazelbaker (58 → 41) during the state tournament turned out to not be flashes at all. Instead, both strung together impressive springs with their foot work in the post and outside shooting ability. Harris is one of the best non-point guard passers in the class and Hazelbaker’s academic résumé sets him apart from other recruits.
Na’Elle Simmons was ranked no. 70 after a high school season where he wasn’t the first, second, third, fourth, of fifth scoring option for Beechcroft. While his spot in the pecking order may be similar with C2K during the grassroots season, he’s moved up to no. 32. Simmons has made an impact with his rangy wingspan that allows him to deflect shots. High motor player who we expect to redshirt as a freshman in order to add positive weight.
Similar to Simmons, LaTrace Jackson (102 → 49) is making an impression with his AAU team in ways other than scoring. He’s an above-the-rim finisher for both VASJ and TNBA, but Jackson’s athletic shot-blocking ability shines during grassroots ball more than anything. Super springy post player than gets off the ground with a tremendously quick burst.
Kevin Davet (133 → 43) has had a transformative spring. Another player who forced our hand into a rankings update. Davet has went from passive to assertive in the post as he’s now scoring with a promising combo of fluidity and power. Arguably ranked too low and we hope he proves us wrong.
Joey Edmonds and DJ Dial, who are separated by just three slots, are the type of floor generals who we believe could be three-year starters at quality D-II programs. We definitely wouldn’t be surprised if a D-I school fell in love with either, granted Edmonds is locked in to Findlay and won’t change.
Both have a lot of experience running a winning ball club at the high school level and will be right up there as the top point guards in their respective cities next season. The comparisons don’t stop there. Edmonds and Dial can both shoot the trey, know how to keep teammates involved, step up in the clutch, shoot it off the dribble, and are impressive young men.
The last category that we’ll split these 25 players into is standout perimeter defenders. There are four in particular: RaHeim Moss (no. 26), Andre Harris (no. 28), Brandon Haraway (no. 33), and Jake Plantz (no. 44).
All four prospects put pressure on ball-handlers, have strong defensive instincts, and a requisite amount of athleticism to defend quickness. But what makes each unique?
Moss, who doubles as a Division I football prospect, plays in a defensive system year-round (Springfield and C2K) that emphasizes fullcourt ball pressure. Situation has allowed Moss to develop an ability to come up with steals by building his anticipation and using athleticism. And he’s become darn good at it! Otherwise, he uses a strong frame to stay in front of ball-handlers in halfcourt settings.
Harris has great length and hands, which he uses to heckle ball-handlers and close-out on shooters. Creates transition scoring opportunities via steals and by pushing the tempo after grabbing rebounds in traffic.
Haraway is as impressive of a one-on-one defender as you’ll see on the grassroots circuit. His elite lateral quickness and overall athleticism shines on the defensive end, where he can remove opponents from the game by face-guarding or pressuring fullcourt.
Plantz, a member of the “Skilled 6’3” to 6’6” Wings” section, plays defense with toughness and an edge. He can pose a problem as an on-ball defender either far away from the paint or on the block against post-ups. Plantz is strong but can get caught in foul trouble with his tendency to play with his hands/forearms.