NEW RELEASE: Updated 2019 Rivals150 with analysts' opinions
Skilled big man Vernon Carey Jr. remains the top-ranked prospect in the updated 2019 Rivals150 but the undecided post from Florida is facing increasingly tough competition from No. 2 Cole Anthony and No. 3 James Wiseman.
Technically, Seattle area forward Jaden McDaniels made his move into the top five a few weeks ago when he filled the No. 4 spot left open by Charles Bassey’s move to the class of 2018. However, his rise from No. 63 when we updated rankings at the beginning of the spring to where he is now is easily the story of the rankings cycle.
Among the biggest movers this time around are forward C.J. Walker, wing Jaykwon Walton, wing Max Agbonkpolo, shooting guard Brandon Newman, guard Brycen Goodine, forward Emanuel Miller and shooting guard Donovan Williams. All have risen at least 50 spots since the last full rankings update in early April. At No. 82 overall, point guard Damion Baugh is the highest-ranked of the 13 newcomers to the Rivals150.
The Rivals.com team of Eric Bossi, Corey Evans and Dan McDonald discussed the latest update to the 2019 Rivals150.
1. Who do you think will make the biggest jump from this ranking to the next one?
Eric Bossi: Donovan Williams. A long and slender two-guard with a high skill level, Donovan Williams was one of this ranking cycle’s biggest movers, climbing from No. 150 all the way up to No. 97. I still feel the Houston native has lots of room to move up the rankings. He plays for a Houston Hoops summer team that is loaded with stud guards so he’s been a little under the radar. But, he’s starting to play with some real confidence and it is hard to deny the upside he has to go along with his 6-foot-5 frame. Recent offers from Miami and Kansas State to go along with those he already had from SMU and Houston, among others, indicates that coaches are catching on as well.
Corey Evans: Anthony Walker. Walker made his Rivals150 debut for good reason. He is one of the best frontcourt defenders on the East Coast and also has a budding skillset that should make him a capable two-way producer in college. Odds are he will be ranked even higher in the Rivals150 following the July evaluation periods after playing with the Team BBC program on the adidas circuit. Seeing that Walker is a competitive prospect that has made tremendous strides within his game of late, I am buying stock now in the Baltimore native.
Dan McDonald: Patrick Williams. We moved Williams up 13 spots in this update. I still think there is room for him to inch closer to five-star range before the end of the summer. He has the physical makeup and the skillset of somebody that will fit well with the way the game is trending. Williams offers positional versatility on both ends of the court, shoots it at a pretty good clip, can get to the bucket and finish, and he defends and rebounds well. I like him as somebody that could continue to trend upward the next few months.
2. Who is the most difficult player in the class to rank?
Bossi: Balsa Koprivica. We didn’t get to see the former five-star 7-footer until the latter part of the spring and when he did play, Koprivica simply didn’t produce like a five-star prospect. In his defense, he had a junior season transfer and then didn’t seem to click with the Georgia Stars when I saw him. But, the thing is Koprivica has developed a history of his production not matching the skill, size and movement that he has. He looks like a top 25 player and has the tools of one, but at this point he needs to be ranked as the type of player he is producing as and that’s why he dropped a bit.
Evans: Chol Marial. I addressed this pretty thoroughly in a column last week but to touch back up on it, there was no one more difficult to properly rank than Marial. No one is going to argue with his rare abilities and talent but at the end of the day we need to see the Sudanese big man on the floor and producing against the best in order to keep him among the elite in the 2019 class. He has been unable to do this thanks largely to lower leg and shin injuries. Marial is a unicorn type of prospect that can handle the ball, shoot the perimeter jumper and also protect his basket thanks to his 7-foot-9 wingspan. The 2019 rankings won't be cemented until next April so Marial could jump back into the top 10 of his class.
McDonald: Balsa Koprivica. Koprivica is also a tough one for me. The last few times I've seen him haven't been his best outings, but it's also hard for me to completely wipe out of my brain my first few viewings of him paired up with Vernon Carey on Nike Team Florida. I know he has talent, but it hasn't shown as much lately, hence why he's dropped quite a bit. He could very easily be somebody who moves back up at the next update with a strong July.
3. Which player are you afraid is ranked too low?
Bossi: Elias King. One of the most heavily discussed players this rankings cycle was the Xavier commitment. I think his combination of size, shooting ability from deep and that he can make some plays for others and himself off the dribble make him a better prospect than where we have him ranked at No. 67. The other side of the argument is that he is inconsistent, has bounced around some, making it hard to get a good evaluation on him, and that he didn’t show any big strides with his game during April and May. So, we kind of agreed to meet somewhere in the middle regarding our opinions, which was fair. I just can’t shake the feeling that he could be much better when he figures it all out.
Evans: Tre Mitchell. Mitchell has made impressive strides both in his game and his body in recent months. He has lost more than 30 pounds and has tightened up his frame by putting on strength. Ranked No. 92, Mitchell has moved up some but I still worry that we have him too low. He is not Jared Sullinger but he does have similar dimensions to the former Ohio State great. Whether it is scoring in the low post with an array of post-up moves, extending the defense with the perimeter jumper or carving up the defense out of the high post with the accurate pass, Mitchell gets it done in an efficient manner. On the Nike circuit this spring, his first and last on a shoe-sponsored platform, he averaged 10 points, eight rebounds, two assists and a block per game.
McDonald: D.J. Jeffries. I'm going with Jeffries here and I think he's going to be a really good player for Kentucky. I tend to think he's a little bit of a casualty of the early hype being too much to where we're now over-correcting his ranking the other way. He probably needs to be closer to five-star range. He can eventually be a knock-down shooter with great size and athleticism. He's going to be playing around really good players at Kentucky and will flourish in a secondary role. It wouldn't surprise me if he makes a lot of money playing in the NBA.
4. What player outside the ranking is most likely to play his way in during July?
Bossi: Jordan Turner. Committed to Baylor, Turner has been a bit of a volatile stock. I saw him early in his sophomore year and he screamed top 100, or better, because of his 6-foot-6 size, length, athleticism and a promising jump shot. He continued to show flashes but then kind of disappeared at times during his junior season. Then during the spring with Team Faith on the adidas Gauntlet circuit, Turner started to show those flashes that caught my eye. Turner is headed toward a big July and a bounceback season during his senior year at Bel Aire (Kan.) Sunrise Christian.
Evans: DeAntoni Gordon. I saw Gordon for the first time in December at the Kreul Classic with his local high school program and while I was intrigued by Gordon’s length and motor, I did not know just how good of a pick-up he was for Wichita State at the time. Six months later and not only do I think that Gordon is a steal for the Shockers, but he also found the ideal college landing spot where players in his ilk have starred at WSU. Gordon has been overshadowed this spring playing with the Nike Team Florida unit alongside five-stars Vernon Carey and Scottie Barnes, but he should be appreciated for his glue-like abilities in the frontcourt and the motor that he possesses. He will suit up at the famed Nike Peach Jam in the coming days and show the entire nation just how effective he is as a multi-positional defender, his immense nose for the ball on the offensive glass and the upside that he presents as an evolving ballplayer. He may not have inched his way into the Rivals150 this time but in a month, I am expecting to see a number next to his name.
McDonald: Jayln McCreary. I'm going with a prospect I've seen a lot over the past year because of proximity, and that's McCreary. He's a 6-foot-7 forward who will thrive in today's college game a stretch four. He can put the ball on the floor, is a much-improved shooter, has great touch finishing, and is a high level athlete. He's added a couple high-major offers lately from Xavier and South Florida with several other high-majors showing heavy interest lately. I like his chances of having a strong July and earning a spot in our next set of rankings.