Posted On: 08/2/19 3:41 PM
It’s been a few years of us evaluating kids both during the high school season and on the grassroots scene, and we have yet another update to our 2021 rankings. We took info from coaches, other media members, and debates between the Prep Hoops VA team to come up with some of the top 100 kids in the state. Remember, these rankings are based on where the kids play high school basketball, they are ranked on projected value at the COLLEGIATE level and they will continue to be updated before and during the high school season.
The time between sophomore and junior year is usually when we see more changes with the cream rising to the top. Take a look at our overview, you can see the entire 2021 here, and be sure to keep an eye out for some of our breakdowns moving forward.
Changes at the Top
There were quite a few shakeups in the Top 10 of the rankings with quite a few new guards jumping into it. Darius Johnson of Episcopal gets the biggest jump from #14 to #4, while Angelo Brizzi of Highland School also jumps into the top 10 from #24 to #8. Quadir Pettaway of Miller School rounds out the Top 10 as he jumps from #13 to #10.
5 Stock Risers (Outside of Top 10)
#13 Derrick Jones Jr. | 6’5” WF | Blue Ridge (Previous Rank: Unranked)
We’ll talk more about new guys, but it’s a shame on me for not even having him in the rankings when he was an All State performer at Albemarle last year. Jones has since transferred to Blue Ridge and will reclassify to the 2021 class, and when watching the athletic three-and-d kind of guy he reminds you a little bit of former Baron Sardarr Calhoun who is now one of the top JUCO prospects in the country.
#32 Caleb Kenney | 6’5” F | Douglas Freeman (Previous Rank: #50)
Kenney continues to improve and was one of the biggest breakout guys in Richmond this year. At 6’5”, the lefty is hard to guard as he can put it on the deck, shoot the jumper and he’s a super long and athletic freak that will put it on your head in transition. Continued improvement could see division ones come knocking soon.
#34 Mac McDonald | 6’2” WG | Collegiate School (Previous Rank: #41)
I wrote about him all summer as he was one of the best non shoe company players at the 16U level, and he played well with Collegiate in team camps and live period events. His usage rate is going to skyrocket this year as he’s the most experienced returner, and he’s able to hit threes off the bounce and on the move with great efficiency.
#36) Jacob Cooper | 5’8” PG | Green Run (Previous Rank: #53)
As I do often, I doubted Cooper at a young age because of his diminutive size but he’s shown that while he knows he’ll always be smaller it doesn’t matter because he can play and is smart enough to get around it. He’s a true floor general and a guy who can control the game while also scoring at will when he needs to.
#45) Justin Fernandez | 6’4” WG | Monacan (Previous Rank: #59)
Fernandez is super intriguing because he has good size on the wing and all of the tools to be very good. He can shoot the basketball both off the catch and the bounce, he has a solid handle he’s able to create in isolation with and he’s long and bouncy making him a good finisher and rebounder. If he can play the sidekick role to VT commit Joe Bamisile he could see his stock soar.
A lot of Newcomers
As we get into our specific breakdowns, we will mention a number of newcomers who either reclassified, transferred in or earned their way into the rankings. With this class espeically, we are seeing a lot more fluctuation with players getting better and getting their names out there, so it doesn’t surprise to see how new the rankings look.
Potential Breakout Players
#21 IJ Ezuma | 6’7” PF | Hargrave
Not many people pay attention to their varsity team because their post grad team has such a reputation, but Ezuma is one of the best blue collar bigs in the state. He’s built like a grown man, he’s quick off his feet and pursues the basketball well, he protects the rim and finishes over it and he’s a double-double regularly against good competition.
#24 Bryson Spell | 6’7” PF | Cape Henry
Spell has flashes of being very good, and with time he continues to look more and more confident and if he can play confidently Cape Henry has the talent to take the TCIS this year. Spell’s ability to shoot the basketball at the forward position will be tough for other teams to match up with and he’s a guy who can do a little of everything at the big man spot.
#28 Andre Speight | 6’3” G | South County
Speight’s work with his Pro Look squad this summer has many choosing South County as the favorite in Class 6 Region C this year. He’s seemingly come out of nowhere to torch opponents all summer long and his versatility as a scorer makes the lefty really tough to guard. He’s also one that can get others involved once the defense starts to focus on him.
#42 Evan Castellanos | 6’5” PF | Hermitage
The big body post man moves to Hermitage from Benedictine and don’t look now, but the Panthers have done a great job rebuilding in the past few seasons. Castellanos should provide some much needed muscle and skill in the post, as he’s going to be a guy who can rebound, protect the rim and he can score in multiple ways in the post. He could be a big time presence in Richmond this year.
#43 Jayson Fain | 6’5” F | Carlisle
Carlisle has gone through their own rebuild, and the past few seasons were contenders in the VISAA D3 division. Over the past three years they’ve graduated three very important guys, and the one returning with the most experience and versatility is Fain. He’s got great size to play both in the paint and on the perimeter, he’s athletic and runs the floor and has a budding skill set that gets better every time I see him.
|1) Efton Reid||6’11” C||Steward School||Team Takeover 17U|
|2) Trevor Keels||6’4″ WG||Paul VI||Team Takeover 17U|
|3) Roosevelt Wheeler||6’10” C||John Marshall||Team Loaded VA|
|4) Darius Johnson||6’0″ PG||Episcopal||Team CP25|
|5) Brayon Freeman||6’1″ PG||Bishop O’Connell||Team Loaded VA 17U|
|6) Oluwasegun Durosinmi||6’10” C||VA Academy||Team Takeover|
|7) Allen Strothers||6’3″ PG||Menchville||Boo Williams 17U|
|8) Angelo Brizzi||6’3″ PG||Highland School||Team BBC 17U|
|9) Mike Gray||6’2″ G||Blue Ridge||Team Loaded VA|
|10) Quadir Pettaway||6’0″ G||Miller School||District WAWG 17U|