Posted On: 07/8/19 6:00 AM

Player rankings articles are consistently among the most read on our site. Articles about rankings and player evaluations are always some of the most popular of the month. The most attention on the site is on our rankings and player evaluations so we take pride in having accurate rankings. Our rankings are the deepest and most thorough in the state and we take pride in that.

Over the next month, the 2019-2022 rankings are being updated. This includes the final update for 2019 class rankings. Starting with 2022, we are up to 50 ranked players, 60 ranked 2021 players, 105 ranked 2020 players and 130 ranked players in the 2019 class. There have been several new additions across each class as we have seen more players. Here’s what you should know about the rankings process:

10 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PLAYER RANKINGS

The question we always get asked – sometimes out of curiosity and sometimes with a taste of bitterness – is how do we evaluate the players and decide where to rank them. Here are 10 things you need to know about that and how the rankings come together.

#1. There are a lot of people involved. Lots of basketball folks from around the state take part each time the rankings are updated, and it’s not always the same people.

#2. Beyond that, we allow parents, players, coaches, etc. to submit players for consideration to add to the rankings or move up. Does this mean that we just rank kids whose parents ask for it? No. The nomination process does help to get players on our radar for rankings purposes though.

#3. Participants come from a variety of perspectives. We have current and former AAU coaches, current and former high school coaches, long-time basketball observers as well as D1, D2 and D3 college coaches. There are males and females; people of various ethnic backgrounds; urban and rural folks; and a broad age range.

#4. We watch a ton of basketball. This high school season we have covered games from all over the state. We go to open gyms and practices and training sessions and showcases. We do everything in our power to see as many kids as possible.

#5. We don’t pay the evaluators. The evaluators don’t pay us. Players cannot pay for a place in the rankings. 

#6. Geography matters. Although we try to watch players across the state as much as possible, it isn’t easy. All of our evaluators have other jobs, and it’s hard to make a 3-4 hour drive to Western Kentucky for a game. It doesn’t help that some of the high school coaches don’t take the time to post individual stats or fail to keep them updated.

#7. AAU matters. In this latest update we are obviously adding players who are having great high school seasons and kids who don’t play AAU. But the reality is, if you don’t play AAU your chances of making our list (and playing college basketball for that matter) are significantly diminished.

#8. Seniors who make it clear that they are pursuing a different sport at the college level will likely see their ranking drop. Why? Because a talented athlete with options who decides to play football (Anthony Adkins of LaRue County, for example) or baseball (like Jared Gadd of Dunbar) is no longer a good college basketball prospect. Adkins is every bit as good a basketball player as he was a month ago but he is no longer a great prospect because we know he’s spending his college days on the football field.

#9. This list is about college potential, not current performance. That’s why an awkward freshman who has barely cracked the varsity lineup can be ranked 30 spots ahead of a highly-skilled guard who is a starter. If the awkward freshman is 6’7 and super athletic, he’s going to be near the top of the list because those kids are few and far between, especially in Kentucky.

#10. Level of competition matters. When evaluating players, a post player should dominate if everyone on the floor is 6 inches shorter than them. For example, the level of competition in the 6th, 7th and 11th regions is better than in the 15th. Because there is more talent in the bigger cities, there are players sitting on benches that are better prospects than kids who start in other areas of the state. That’s why we put more stock in when players compete in AAU games and in camp settings. If you are from the less populated areas of Kentucky, it is important to play a high level of competition in AAU and make sure to attend camps, when possible.

Does the process work? For the most part it does. Since the beginning of Prep Hoops Kentucky, the list has been remarkably accurate. Generally the players who end up in Division 1 are ranked in the top 10-15 spots. Division 2 players generally fall in the 15-30 range. Of course some players with D1 offers choose to go D2. And some kids who belong in the 100-150 range get missed altogether. Others cannot make the grade academically so their status as a top 20 player is meaningless. In the big picture, however, it tends to work out.

Watch for the new rankings as they are released class by class in the days ahead.