basketball Edit

2022 NBA Draft: How Rivals viewed the first-round picks

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Paolo Banchero
NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Paolo Banchero (AP Images)

The 2022 NBA Draft is in the books as dozens of players, including first overall pick Paolo Banchero, realized their dreams in Brooklyn on Thursday night. With the new rookie class settling into their new digs, takes a look back at each first-round selection as a high school prospect.


MORE CASSIDY ON THE NBA DRAFT: Riskiest potential draft picks

2022 Rankings: Rivals150 | Team | Position

2023 Rankings: Rivals150

2024 Rankings: Top 40


1. ORLANDO MAGIC: Paolo Banchero


HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: No. 2 in the class of 2021

AS A RECRUIT: There was a heated internal debate at Rivals when it came to Banchero vs. Holmgren for the top spot in the final rankings. Ultimately, Banchero lost out, but not by much. The Duke star was courted by a number of major programs but chose the Blue Devils over Kentucky, Washington, Gonzaga, Arizona and Tennessee in August of 2020. He later told Rivals that Gonzaga finished second in his recruitment and that he seriously considered heading to Spokane.


2. Oklahoma City Thunder: Chet Holmgren

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: No. 1 in the class of 2021

AS A RECRUIT: The top prospect in the class of 2021, Holmgren’s standing at the top of the Rivals150 was based on his unique skill set and the fact that prospects with his blend of ability don’t come around often. He chose Gonzaga over pro options and schools such as Ohio State, Maryland, Georgetown and in-state Minnesota, where his father once played. Holmgren’s decision was at least partially influenced by the fact that his high school and AAU teammate, Jalen Suggs, thrived in his one year in Spokane before turning pro.


3. Houston Rockets: Jabari Smith

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: No. 7 in the class of 2021

AS A RECRUIT: The Georgia-based Smith bounced around the top five before settling into the No. 7 spot in the final rankings. Needless to say, even that lofty spot now seems too low for the Auburn star. Smith committed to the Tigers relatively early in the process and chose Auburn over schools such as North Carolina, Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU and Tennessee. He stressed Bruce Pearl’s ability to develop him as a defender and NBA talent as a driving force behind his commitment after making his announcement.


4. Sacramento Kings: Keegan Murray 

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: Unranked three-star in the class of 2020

AS A RECRUIT: Murray followed his dad’s footsteps to Iowa in a recruitment that never included much drama or suspense. He committed alongside his brother Kris Murray, who will remain at Iowa next season and figures to be a difference-maker for the Hawkeyes.


5. Detroit Pistons: Jaden Ivey

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: No. 79 in the class of 2020

AS A RECRUIT: Ivey was clearly a bit undervalued as a high school recruit, but those in charge of the rankings at Rivals at the time were high on his scoring ability and defensive upside. He took massive strides forward in both areas in his two seasons at Purdue, where he committed early in the cycle despite offers from Butler and Notre Dame. The Boilermakers were responsible for Ivey’s first scholarship offer. The quick and accurate evaluation obviously served head coach Matt Painter well.


6. Indiana Pacers: Bennedict Mathurin

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: Four-star in the class of 2020

AS A RECRUIT: Rivals doesn’t numerically rank international prospects, but Mathurin was a clear four-star prospect when he committed to Arizona over Baylor in January of 2020. The Haitian-Canadian star made his name at the NBA Academy and caught the attention of the Wildcats at the 2019 Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas.


7. Portland Trailblazers: Shaedon Sharpe 

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: No. 3 in the class of 2021

AS A RECRUIT: Sharpe was once ranked as the top prospect in the 2022 class before reclassifying to 2021 and finding himself slotted in the three spot. He enrolled at Kentucky for the second semester but famously never played a game for John Calipari after electing to redshirt. His impressive skill set combined with the fact that the scouting sample size on his game is small made him one of the more polarizing figures in this draft.


8. New Orleans Pelicans: Dyson Daniels 


AS A RECRUIT: The Australian-born Daniels never played American high school ball, opting for the G League instead. He never had much of a college recruitment and seemed focused on the professional route all along. He’s long been known as an elite defender with a size and a motor that should translate to the NBA.


9. San Antonio Spurs: Jeremy Sochan

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: Four-star in the class of 2021

AS A RECRUIT: Sochan was always thought of as a versatile defender and high-upside prospect, and he’s certainly realized that potential. He was a four-star prospect but was unranked numerically because of his standing as an international signing. Sochan was actually born in Oklahoma but moved overseas as a child. He chose the Bears over offers from Arizona, Kansas, Michigan State, Virginia and Florida State, among others.


10. Washington Wizards: Johnny Davis

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: No. 134 in the class of 2020

AS A RECRUIT: A star at in-state La Crosse Central High School, Davis committed to Wisconsin alongside his brother in June of 2020. Marquette, Minnesota, Iowa, West Virginia and UNLV were also involved in his recruitment. Davis averaged 27.2 points per game as a senior and was named Wisconsin’s Mr. Basketball following the season. The Badgers offered Davis when the budding star was just a freshman in high school.


11. Oklahoma City Thunder via New York Knicks: Ousmane Dieng 


AS A RECRUIT: An NBL prospect, Dieng initially received plenty of looks from programs and seriously considered Duke, but it was somewhat clear that he’d go the pro route from an early stage.


12.  Oklahoma City Thunder: Jalen Williams 

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: Unranked three-star in the class of 2019

AS A RECRUIT: Williams wasn’t a total unknown as a high school prospect, but he certainly wasn’t viewed as an NBA hopeful. He hit a massive growth spurt that saw him shoot up from 5-foot-10 as a sophomore to 6-foot-6 as a senior. That ultimately changed his trajectory. He chose Santa Clara over programs such as Nevada, Hofstra and the like.


13. New York Knicks via Charlotte Hornets: Jalen Duren 

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: No. 4 in the class of 2021

AS A RECRUIT: Duren supplanted celebrated prospect Emoni Bates as the top player in the 2022 class and stayed at the top of the Rivals150 until he decided to reclassify to 2021 and enroll at Memphis. The punishing big man led his Team Final grassroots squad to a Peach Jam championship. Duren chose the Tigers over Kentucky and Miami, both of whom looked to lead his recruitment at different times in the cycle.


14. Cleveland Cavaliers: Ochai Agbaji

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: No. 145 in the class of 2018

AS A RECRUIT: Agbaji’s recruitment didn’t gain much traction until he was a senior at Kansas City (Mo.) Oak Park High School, where he posted gaudy point totals in his final season. Kansas, where he eventually committed, didn’t offer until late in his final high school campaign. Agbaji, a classic late bloomer in every sense of the phrase, chose the local school shortly after the Jayhawks made things official with an offer.


15. Charlotte Hornets: Mark Williams 

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: No. 31 in the class of 2020

AS A RECRUIT: A five-star recruit out of Florida’s IMG Academy, Williams chose Duke over finalists Michigan and UCLA. He was seen as a Blue Devil lean for the majority of his recruitment, as his older sister starred on the school’s women’s basketball team before being selected in the first round of the 2015 WNBA Draft. There was never much of a doubt about where Williams would land for college, but the touted big man did take an official visit to Michigan just weeks before committing to Duke.


16. Atlanta Hawks: AJ Griffin

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: No. 17 in the class of 2021

AS A RECRUIT: Griffin battled various injuries at the high school level but was absolutely electric when he was on the floor. A star at New York's famed Archbishop Stepinac High School, Griffin only visited Duke and Villanova before picking the Blue Devils in November of 2019. He was the first 2021 prospect to choose Duke and acted as the foundation for a class that ultimately included three five-stars and two first-round picks.


17. Houston Rockets: Tari Eason 

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: No. 57 in the class of 2020

AS A RECRUIT: A four-star prospect, Eason averaged 22 points and 15 rebounds per game for Seattle's Garfield High as a senior and had a long list of major scholarship offers from which to choose. He earned American Conference All-Freshman honors at Cincinnati before transferring to LSU as a sophomore and breaking out as a true NBA prospect.


18. Chicago Bulls: Dalen Terry

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: No. 51 in the class of 2020

AS A RECRUIT: Terry played on the same Hillcrest (Ariz.) High school squad as Arizona State product and No.1 overall draft pick Deandre Ayton and followed his footsteps to Tucson. He chose the Wildcats over a host of offers from Pac-12 programs. As a high school senior he needed to add weight and become more consistent shooting the ball from deep range. He still isn’t the most prolific scorer in this draft, but he’s come a long way on that front.


19. Memphis Grizzlies via Minnesota Timberwolves: Jake LaRavia

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: Unranked in the class of 2019

AS A RECRUIT: LaRavia was a bit of an unknown as a high school senior and signed with Indiana State without much fanfare after a brief commitment to SIU Edwardsville. He became a budding star in two years in the Missouri Valley before transferring to Wake Forest.


20. San Antonio Spurs: Malaki Branham

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: No. 44 in the class of 2021

AS A RECRUIT: Branham played his recruitment extremely close to the vest before committing to Ohio State prior to his senior season at Ohio’s St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, which was made famous by producing LeBron James. Branham, who was selected as Ohio’s Mr. Basketball as a senior, chose the in-state Buckeyes over offers from Baylor, Iowa, Alabama and others.


21. Denver Nuggets: Christian Braun

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: No. 93 in the class of 2019

AS A RECRUIT: A reliable floor spacer, Braun is a two-way player that defends and rebounds better than he shoots the ball. He attended Kansas’ Blue Valley Northwest High School and chose the in-state Jayhawks shortly after being offered. There were few other schools truly involved in his recruitment, as Braun jumped at the KU offer with haste. That said, he held offers from programs such as Illinois, Missouri, Kansas State and others.


22. Memphis Grizzlies: Walker Kessler

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: No. 24 in the class of 2020

AS A RECRUIT: Kessler signed with North Carolina out of high school and did so despite offers from other major programs like Duke, Michigan and Virginia. He had a largely unremarkable freshman year at UNC, but came into his own late in the year. He transferred to Auburn prior to last season and continued to improve and became a All-SEC First Team selection and a first-round pick.


23. Memphis Grizzlies via Philadelphia 76ers: David Roddy

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: Unranked three-star in the class of 2019

AS A RECRUIT: Roddy is a big-bodied prolific scorer that spent his amateur career getting buckets from nearly everywhere on the floor. He had a bit of reputation for his size and touch as a high school senior, but his recruitment never gained national steam. He chose Colorado State over offers from regional programs such as Minnesota and Nebraska.


24. Milwaukee Bucks: MarJon Beauchamp

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: No. 58 in the class of 202

AS A RECRUIT: A Washington native, Beauchamp bounced around high schools before returning to his small hometown to play for Yakima Valley College, where he averaged 30 points, 10 rebounds and four assists per contest. He eventually attracted major college attention but elected to head to the NBA G League, as there were questions concerning his amateur status.


25. San Antonio Spurs: Blake Wesley

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: No. 104 in the class of 2021

AS A RECRUIT: Wesley’s South Bend (Ind.) Riley High School sits less than five miles away from Notre Dame’s campus, and the local boy chose the Fighting Irish in November of 2020. Wesley had a number of offers from regional schools, including Butler, Indiana, Purdue, Cincinnati and Creighton. As a high schooler, he was seen as a strong guard capable of finishing through contact and playing above the rim. There were concerns about his offensive efficiency and shot selection, but those have mostly been put to rest.


26. Dallas Mavericks: Wendell Moore Jr.

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: No. 24 in the class of 2019

AS A RECRUIT: A North Carolina product, Moore’s recruitment had an in-state vibe. He chose Duke over finalists like Wake Forest and North Carolina. South Carolina was also involved. The McDonald's All-American chose the Blue Devils in October of 2018, saying he grew up a fan of the program and had long dreamed of playing for then-head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Moore, who led his team to a state title, has won big at nearly every level he’s played and carried that reputation into college. He was seen as a defense-first prospect as a high schooler but he has developed his offensive game significantly since.


27. Miami Heat: Nikola Jovic 


AS A RECRUIT: Jovic is a native of Serbia that had a late growth spurt. He had no college recruitment of which to speak.


28. Golden State Warriors: Patrick Baldwin Jr. 

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: No. 8 in the class of 2021

AS A RECRUIT: The 6-foot-10 forward was once the top prospect in his class and chose a Milwaukee program coached by his now-fired father over Duke out of high school and struggled from an efficiency standpoint going through shooting slumps against less-than-elite competition. His upside has long been obvious and he has a chance to realize it should he stay healthy.


29. Houston Rockets via Memphis Grizzlies: Ty Ty Washington Jr.

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: No. 15 in the class of 2021

AS A RECRUIT: A product of the pandemic, Washington managed to see his stock skyrocket during the summer of 2020 despite limited exposure. He originally committed to Creighton but backed off that pledge after Bluejays head coach Greg McDermott was suspended after making a plantation analogy while addressing his team. He ultimately signed with Kentucky over finalists Arizona, Oregon, Kansas, Baylor and LSU.


30. Oklahoma City Thunder: Peyton Watson

HIGH SCHOOL RANKING: No. 13 in the class of 2021

AS A RECRUIT: Watson’s recruitment had a West Coast feel to it, as he chose UCLA over Arizona, Gonzaga, Oregon and Washington. He committed to Mick Cronin and company in July of 2020 and saw his stock steadily increase thereafter. Watson jumped from No. 29 to No. 16 after an impressive performance at the Iverson All-Star Classic following his senior year at California's Long Beach Poly High School. His next battle will be adding muscle.