2019 Rivals150: Analysts weigh in on updated rankings
Just in time for spring travel ball, the 2019 Rivals150 has been updated but there’s little change at the top where the top five remains unchanged. Vernon Carey still leads the way in front of James Wiseman, Charles Bassey, Cole Anthony and Matthew Hurt.
Three new five-stars debut in this update, headlined by La Porte (Ind.) La Lumiere big man Isaiah Stewart. Stewart is similar to a young Elton Brand and rose all the way from No. 32 to No. 10 nationally.
Rising an impressive 54 spots, from No. 115 to No. 61 overall, North Carolina forward Jae'lyn Withers is the biggest mover in this rankings update. Also making huge moves were a pair of shooters as high-scoring New York guard Joe Girard rises 46 spots to No. 79 while Florida standout Damari Monsanto jumped 45 spots to No. 69 overall. Out West, the biggest mover was smooth small forward Max Agbonkpolo who moved up 44 spots to No. 95 overall.
Canadian Tyrese Samuel made the most impressive debut in the rankings as he checks in at No. 60 overall and is one of 13 newcomers to the Rivals150.
Rivals.com's Eric Bossi, Corey Evans and Dan McDonald break down the new ranking.
THE TOUGHEST DECISION IN THIS RANKING FOR ME WAS ...
Bossi: The top three wasn’t that tough for me, but basically everybody else in the top 20 was. I feel that Vernon Carey, James Wiseman and Charles Bassey have separated themselves from the pack at this point. After them, though, there is very little separation among the next 15 or so prospects. I’m really looking forward to seeing these guys over the next few weeks to see if things start to shake themselves out a little better.
Evans: Do we have all of the top-50 big men in the right order? In an age where guards and perimeter-based forwards are the rage, this class of frontcourt prospects is more of a throwback, which could reflect what the NBA looks like 10 years from now. Sure, guys in the mold of Carey, Wiseman and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl have developed into new age power forwards and centers due to their ability to step out and shoot from the perimeter, but you also have guys like Isaiah Stewart, Charles Bassey, Armando Bacot, Kofi Cockburn and Aidan Igiehon, who bludgeon their peers around the basket and don’t often leave the paint. Getting these prospects in the appropriate order has been a difficult task. We are splitting hairs here with all of those included but it is nice to see a nice mix of face-up bigs in the class.
McDonald: Ranked No. 12 overall, Trendon Watford had one of the more well-rounded performances I've seen in a while when I saw him at Hoopsgiving this past high school season. He started by being more of a facilitator and then took over the scoring role in the second half when his team needed him. My point in saying all that is, he's an incredibly versatile all-around player with a really good feel for the game. He's going to be a star in college basketball as long as he's at the school he chooses. But when you start talking about top 10 players in a class, you're likely talking about future NBA players. Trendon will play in the NBA, but I'm just curious where and how he fits in at that level. That's what makes him a hard player to rank in my opinion.
THE REASON I BELIEVE IN THIS PLAYER'S RANKING ...
Bossi: The more I look at the class of 2019, the more I believe that Jalen Lecque could ultimately make a run for top point guard in the class honors. In a perfect world, Lecque would be a bit better shooter but the fact is that the jump shot is the same area of work that Ashton Hagans and Cole Anthony need work on. What I love about Lecque is the pressure he puts on defenders because of his extreme athleticism and driving ability. I’m not saying he is Russell Westbrook, let’s be clear about that, but he does a lot of Westbrook-type things on the high school level and that’s why we moved him up to No. 9 overall.
Evans: Tenth-ranked Isaiah Stewart has been a well-known name for the past few years but it seems the five-star prospect continues to add more to his game and round out his overall skill set. A 6-foot-8 big man with a 7-foot-2 wingspan, Stewart checks practically all of the boxes of a can’t-miss prospect. Last weekend, Stewart was the most explosive that I had ever seen him, scoring through contact out of the stand still while remaining his typical, junkyard dog self in the lane. He does need to become better with his left hand and face-up abilities but Stewart deserves the bump more than anyone else in his class.
McDonald: I'm a big believer in Josiah James at No. 15 overall. If we're talking upside, his is probably as high or higher than any point guard in the 2019 class. Pushing 6-foot-6 he has great size for a point guard, is a very good athlete, and has a really good feel for making plays. He plays with such great poise and never seems to be in a hurry and never gets sped up by pressure. We've been aggressive with our ranking of him for almost a year now, and I feel really good about that as we see more of him.
THE PLAYER I FEAR WE MAY HAVE TOO LOW IS ...
Bossi: The rest of the scouting industry doesn’t seem to have caught onto No. 44 Samuell Williamson out of Rockwall (Texas). I’m glad that we have the smooth shooting wing ranked highly, but headed into these live grassroots events I’m a little worried that we should have been even more aggressive with his ranking. I remember watching current Sacramento King and former North Carolina standout Justin Jackson back when he was a five-star prospect as a junior in high school and I see many similarities - size, skill, demeanor - between him and Williamson. Now, it’s up to Williamson to go out and prove things on a national stage.
Evans: Currently ranked No. 108, Kobe Brown has led a high-major recruitment since his freshman year. Brown hasn't quite put it all together, which might be a good thing because here you have a 6-foot-7 prospect that, on the offensive end, can act as a point-forward in spurts thanks to his feel, passing skills and ball-handling abilities. He does have to round out his consistency and post play. In a wide-open class, Brown has the tools to work his way back into the top 100 over the next few months.
McDonald: I'm going to go with Rodney Howard. He'll be playing with the Atlanta Celtics this travel season and I suspect he'll be a hot commodity with college coaches very soon. He's already added offers from Georgia and Ole Miss, but if he plays anywhere close to the way he played during his junior season here in the Atlanta area, there will be many more. He's a 6-foot-10 post player with great hands, soft touch around the rim and already very comfortable playing on the block offensively. He's a presence on the defensive end as well. We moved him into the rankings at No. 135 this time, but I still think he has room to move up a fair amount of spots.
THE PLAYER I HOPE PROVES US RIGHT AND HE'S NOT TOO HIGH IS ...
Bossi: Just looking at Ireland native Aidan Igiehon, he looks like he could step on an NBA floor tonight. The near 6-foot-10 big man is built like a 25-year-old pro, has big-time athleticism and he plays with toughness. His offense is just starting to come around but when we talked about his size, rebounding and ability to be a tough man in the paint we felt that it was appropriate to go ahead and move him to five-star status at No. 23 overall.
Evans: I am really interested to see how Malik Hall finishes his travel ball career this summer because Hall has been a hit-and-miss viewing in my scouting. I have seen him dominate his opposition like the time at last year’s Nike Peach Jam where he scored 16 points against a Tre Jones-led Howard Pulley bunch. However, there have been other times where I have walked away wanting more from the Sunrise Christian product. What really intrigues about Hall is the fact that he is a 6-foot-7 prospect that can play three positions on the offensive end and can really get it going when it comes to scoring. Feelings on Hall seem to be all over the place as he could be placed even higher than his current No. 49 ranking, or he could be slotted 50 spots lower and no one would be entirely surprised. Hopefully, we’ve got it right with him as a top 50 prospect.
McDonald: I always go with somebody we give a big bump to on this question. Damari Monsanto just jumped from No. 114 to No. 69 overall, and a big part of that is the way he played this past weekend in Atlanta at the IndiHoops Tip Off Classic with Team Breakdown. College coaches have been buzzing about him for a while now, but I saw it firsthand this weekend. The kid can really play. His calling card is his three-point stroke and he knocked down eight of them in one of the games I saw, but he's a capable play-maker off the bounce as well. I hope we didn't go too high with him, but at the same time, I'm also a little nervous we may not have gone high enough.