September 12, 2013

Newman still No. 1 in expanded 2015 rankings


THE LIST: Class of 2015 Rivals150

Before the start of the summer, Rivals.com expanded the rankings in the class of 2015 to a top 100. After a summer spent traveling all over the country, we expand the rankings for class to a true Rivals150. For now, Mississippi combo guard Malik Newman continues to rule the roost as the top player in the junior class.

Newman remains at the top

Simply by adding 50 new prospects into the national rankings, there will be a lot of change. However, for the most part, things remained the same at the high end of the 2015 Rivals150. That means that 6-foot-3 combo guard Malik Newman of Jackson (Miss.) Callaway continues his rule at the top of the class.

Probably more of a natural shooting guard than he is a point guard at this stage in his development, Newman has proven to be a big-time bucket-getter on any stage. He led USA Basketball's 16U team in scoring over the summer, proved to be mostly unguardable at Nike's LeBron James Skills Academy, and teamed with 2014's No. 2 player Emmanuel Mudiay to form one of the most dangerous backcourts that the grassroots circuit has seen in quite some time.

The son of former Mississippi State star Horatio Webster, Newman is coveted by most of the country's major programs. Rick Ray will certainly try to get Newman to follow in his father's steps to Starkville, but Arizona, Baylor, Duke, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisville N.C. State, Ole Miss and many others are among those that would love to have him as well, and the competition will be stiff.

Right behind Newman, the No. 2 and No. 3 spots are without change and held down by a pair of big men. Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman's Stephen Zimmerman continues to hang around in the second spot thanks to his size and skill, while Oakland (Calif.) O'Dowd's Ivan Rabb has added more skill and strength to go along with his athleticism.

Coming in at Nos. 4 and No. 5 are a pair of prospects who did make climbs in the upper echelon of the rankings. Six-foot-10 big man Diamond Stone of Whitefish Bay (Wisc.) Dominican has toned up his body to match his highly skilled game, allowing him to move up a spot from No. 5. Meanwhile, 6-foot-4 lead guard Tyler Dorsey from Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco rode a big-time summer to move up from No. 8.

Of the remaining members of the top 10, only No. 10 Carlton Bragg of Cleveland (Ohio) Villa Angela St. Joseph is new, and he was already No. 12 in the country. Australian import Ben Simmons of Montverde (Fla.) Academy sits at No. 6, while big men from Memphis, New York and Dallas -- Skal Labissiere, Cheick Diallo and Elijah Thomas -- fill slots seven, eight and nine.

Comanche makes big move into five-star status

All told, there are four new five-stars in the updated rankings. Ohio shooting guard Luke Kennard (No. 16), West Virginia big man Thomas Bryant (No. 19) and Texas center Tyler Davis (No. 20) all moved into five-star territory. However, nobody made a bigger mover or a higher debut in five-star territory than 6-foot-10 Chance Comanche.

Previously ranked No. 37, the junior at Los Angeles (Calif.) View Park jumps all the way up to No. 15 in the latest rankings. While thin, Comanche is highly skilled and has a great set of hands. He runs the floor well, he can face and shoot jumpers out to 17 feet, and while he's still somewhat inconsistent, Comanche has really started to figure out how to be a force on both ends of the floor.

Comanche's upside is still considerable, and programs such as Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Oregon, USC and Washington have jumped onboard with early offers.

Jefferson leads movers in the four-star range

In the four-star range, one of the biggest lightning rods for discussion is point guard Damontrae Jefferson. The native of Milwaukee who attends Ft. Mill (S.C.) Believe Prep is diminutive in stature but he has huge game and plays a very brash, flashy and in-your-face style.

Make no mistake about it, Jefferson's style isn't for everyone. But after watching the 5-foot-7 floor general put up monster numbers, lead the Milwaukee Rebels deep into one tournament after another and never back down from an opponent, it was impossible not to move him up.

The exciting playmaker now checks in at No. 36 after moving up an impressive 34 spots from No. 70.

Just a few spots behind Jefferson at No. 38, Doral Moore makes the highest debut in the 2015 Rivals150. A 6-foot-11 center out of Locust Grove (Ga.) Luella, Moore isn't yet hugely productive, but it is easy to see his talent. Moore is obviously big, but he has a frame, long arms and good touch to go along with his size. With good athleticism and hands, Moore simply needs to develop a little more confidence and unlock his inner beast to take the next step.

Another making a big splash with his debut in the rankings is 6-foot-2 combo guard Nu Williams of Santa Monica (Calif.) High. The West Coaster is among the most explosive athletes in the country, regardless of class, and has the ability to drop jaws in both good and bad ways. Bottom line, he is still a bit raw; but his instincts and athletic tools are too much to ignore, and with fine tuning he could still climb a good bit higher than his current No. 51.

Others making healthy climbs from their previous spots include Dallas (Texas) Kimball point guard Jawun Evans, who moves from No. 83 to No. 59, and Plainfield (Ill.) East, who jumps from No. 84 all the way up to No. 60. Rounding out the big climbers in the class is Delaware combo guard Donte Divincenzo who moves up 21 spots from No. 99 to No. 78.


Eric Bossi is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.




 

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