Posted On: 06/1/20 3:45 PM

Every spring college coaches batter my inbox with requests for a big.  “What’s up my guy?  Any good bigs still available” arrived just yesterday.  The reason for these requests is obvious.  Bigs are rare.  Good bigs are virtually impossible to find late.  I guess the lesson today is find a big early or find a project big and develop him yourself. 

Who are the best bigs in 2021?  

Be warned, centers need not apply.  These are forwards only.  Also, Moussa CisseMoussaCisse6'11" | PFLausanne Collegiate | 2020State#6NationTN reclassed up to 2020 and is no longer in our 2021 rankings. 

Zander YatesZanderYates6'8" | SFHouston | 2021StateTN (Houston)

From a formerly classic big man, focused on back-to-the-basket opportunities, Zander YatesZanderYates6'8" | SFHouston | 2021StateTN skilled himself to a Kyle Korver-type.  Zander’s outside shooting blossomed in the last 12 months to a point he appears to be a D1 sharpshooter in the making.  Zander stands 6-foot-8 and trimmed and toned.  There is a lot of potential in his game and his frame.  Yates will draw interest and offers from around the region, especially playing alongside T.J. Madlock, Mason MillerMasonMiller6'9" | SFHouston | 2021State#227NationTN, and Alden ApplewhiteAldenApplewhite6'7" | SFAZ Compass Prep | 2021State#179NationAZ.  They are the best ’21 class in the state…easily.

Upperman forward [player_tooltip player_id="775569" first="Alex" last="Rush"] is high on the recruiting board of Brandeis University.

Alex RushAlexRush6'7" | PFUpperman | 2021StateTN

Upperman is exceptionally deep in 2021 and Rush was widely considered the best player among that fleet of super jets.  The level of Alex RushAlexRush6'7" | PFUpperman | 2021StateTN’s post-high school career is still unclear.  Two years ago, then-TTU Head Coach Steve Payne saw Rush play 15u AAU and mentioned that he would be an “OVC player if he gets to 6’7″ or 6’8”.  This winter Alex grew from 6-foot-5 to 6-foot-7.  University of Alabama-Huntsville Head Coach John Shulman reached out to Alex RushAlexRush6'7" | PFUpperman | 2021StateTN in the spring.  They are an elite D2 program.  UAH signed Daniel SaylorDanielSaylor6'10" | PFSycamore | 2020StateTN (Sycamore) and Luke BurnettLukeBurnett6'2" | PGKnoxville Webb | 2020StateTN (Webb-Knoxville).

Tony SappTonySapp6'6" | PFSouth-Doyle | 2021StateTN (South-Doyle)

Raised by the Team Passion program, Tony SappTonySapp6'6" | PFSouth-Doyle | 2021StateTN is more than a sapling on the blocks.  Though he remains a touch raw, Sapp is naturally strong and powerful.  In order to truly dominate the Class AA level, Sapp needs to develop and then incorporate more low post moves.  He has the potential, with great development, to be a B.J. MarableB.J.Marable6'9" | PFGrace Christian | 2020StateTN-type.  Marable developed slowly yet methodically and eventually signed to UNC-Asheville.  Sapp stands slightly shorter and must really invest in the off-season to get there.  He might be more likely to land D2.  Forward is a more comfortable position than wing guard for the Class of 2021 product.

Kam’ron CrumpKam’ronCrump6'6" | PFOverton | 2021StateTN (Memphis Overton)


Jonathan MillowayJonathanMilloway6'8" | SFOak Ridge | 2021StateTN (Oak Ridge)

Oak Ridge vaulted their way to state in 2019-2020 with almost no seniors on the squad.  How?  Well, a significant contributor was forward Jonathan MillowayJonathanMilloway6'8" | SFOak Ridge | 2021StateTN.  The breakout player averaged 16.3 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.  Small colleges are already on JM, but he could make another big jump in the coming months with a broadening of his shoulders, natural added weight, and even more refined post moves.  The coming year will bring a tremendous opportunity for Milloway to showcase his promise.

Raymon AdamsRaymonAdams6'6" | SFLipscomb Academy | 2021StateTN (Lipscomb Academy)

Summer 2019 eval below.

Raymon Adams – Daniel Loos Scout Looks

Xavier CliftonXavierClifton6'7" | PFJackson North Side | 2021StateTN

Xavier injected some off-the-court issues into his basketball life in 2019.  In his case, these must be addressed way before college recruitment even becomes a concern.  On the basketball court, Clifton is moderately athletic young man with a natural power.

Matthew ThurmanMatthewThurman6'5" | PFFranklin | 2021StateTN (Franklin)

Technical big. Soft touch to 18′.  Decent balance but overall average straight-line speed. 

Nick KurtzNickKurtz6'6" | PFBaylor School | 2021StateTN (Baylor School)

Thomas SeamanThomasSeaman6'5" | PFPage | 2021StateTN (Page)

Nick Geraci (Franklin Classical)

Still growing, Kerrick is coming off a monster season.
Kerrick ThorneKerrickThorne6'5" | CGHoward | 2021StateTN

Kerrick “Young Springy” Thorne now stands 6-foot-6,

“When Kerrick goes out there and plays, there is nobody around him that can play with him,” Howard coach James Talley told TimesFreePress Patrick Maccoon, whose team has won 10 of its last 11 games. “My halftime speech was all centered around him. It was a Kerrick butt-chewing. But he came out like a man and responded. I was proud of him for that.”


Read the entire 2021 Player Rankings.

For recruiting updates follow @AndrewForce8.