Bossi's Best: Ten best HS prospects in America
We spent the month of June updating national rankings in the classes of 2020 and 2021. In this week’s edition of Bossi’s Best, Eric Bossi ranks the top 10 prospects in the country regardless of class and it’s actually a player from 2022 -- a class we won’t rank for the first time until late August – who sits atop the list.
2021 Rankings: Rivals150
1. Emoni Bates (2022)
Why he ranks here: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the 6-foot-8 rising sophomore was as good as any freshman as I have ever seen during his first year of high school ball. Now, it’s time to build off of that and take the next step forward. Bates can shoot with range, he creates shots with ease, is a gifted athlete and he’s a fierce competitor. Look out once he adds strength.
Recruitment: If the NBA changes early entry rules he’s not likely to see a college court at the rate he’s going. Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State and others have at least watched and would gladly have him.
2. Evan Mobley (2020)
Why he ranks here: It’s too bad that an injury sidelined Mobley during USA Basketball’s run to a gold medal in the FIBA U19 World Cup because the mobile seven-footer was looking like Marcus Camby 2.0 during tryouts. He runs the floor, blocks everything, is developing a nifty 15-foot jumper and is now adding some much needed strength.
3. Cade Cunningham (2020)
Why he ranks here: Nobody in the country is charging harder than Cunningham. I like him as a 6-foot-7 ball-handler and decision-maker who is virtually impossible to stop going to the rim. He defends, he fills up a stat sheet. I think he develops a bit differently down the road, but young Carmelo Anthony played a very similar way before going the full-time scorer route.
4. Jonathan Kuminga (2021)
Why he ranks here: A super explosive athlete with great size, strength and versatility. Kuminga can go in do work in the paint thanks to his strength and explosive leaping ability, or he can step outside and put the ball on the floor and create jump shot opportunities. His motor has run a bit hot and cold in the past, but he’s been in beast mode most of the spring and early summer.
Recruitment: His older brother Joel Ntambwe transferred to Texas Tech earlier this offseason so keep an eye on the Red Raiders. Auburn, Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Xavier and many others have offered.
5. Jalen Green (2020)
Why he ranks here: At 6-foot-5 or so, Green may be the most naturally gifted scorer in the country. Everything comes so easy and looks so natural to him on the offensive end where he is a natural ball-handler, big-time athlete and instinctive player who gets open shots for himself and others. If he becomes a more consistent jump-shooter or bulks up, he can take his game to another level
Recruitment: Memphis was thought to be an early leader but things have opened up as Kentucky has made a charge along with others like Alabama, Arizona, Florida State, Kansas, USC, Villanova, Washington and many more.
6. Terrence Clarke (2021)
Why he ranks here: Another tall and rangy guard who can put the ball on the floor and score, Clarke is also a bouncy athlete who can create for others. When he’s got it rolling he’s an impossible cover because of his size, length and quickness on the perimeter. He’s one of the top four in 2021 who are bunched ever so close together.
Recruitment: Clarke says that he’s wide open but the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, LSU, Memphis Pitt, Oregon, St. John’s, Syracuse, Texas Tech, UCLA, Vanderbilt and many more trying to land him.
7. Patrick Baldwin Jr. (2021)
Why he ranks here: One of the most polished and skilled players, Baldwin is still growing and has moved into 6-foot-9 territory. He drew early acclaim as a jump shooter and there’s no doubt he can sling it from deep, but his all-around game (particularly in the mid-post) is quite polished and he’s as complete offensively as rising high school juniors get.
Recruitment: Father Pat Sr. is the head coach at Milwaukee and played college ball at Northwestern so both are trying. Arizona State, Duke, Iowa, Kansas, Kansas State, Florida, Marquette, Michigan, Missouri, Wisconsin and others have all offered.
8. Paolo Banchero (2021)
Why he ranks here: When you think of what you want in a new age four man, Banchero checks all the boxes. He’s so skilled as a handler and passer you can run offense through him in the high post, he rebounds at a high volume, he’s tough and he is a dangerous scorer at the rim with a nicely developing jumper.
Recruitment: Banchero’s mother is No. 2 on the all-time leading scorer list at Washington and the Huskies are deeply involved. After being kind of slow to jump in because of his proximity to UW, others like Baylor, Kentucky, Iowa State, Memphis, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Washington State have decided he’s too good to pass up getting involved.
9. Jalen Johnson (2020)
Why he ranks here: A big and strong wing who can handle the ball and pass, there is a lot of Ben Simmons to the way Johnson gets things done. He’s most comfortable attacking the paint where his size, strength and feel for finding others take over and make him a really tough assignment. When he’s shooting the ball well, he’s as good as anybody in the country and he’s also a mismatch nightmare as a ball handling four man if you want to go that route.
Recruitment: Committed to Duke.
10. Jalen Duren (2022)
Why he ranks here: What a monster. It’s hard to look at Duren and believe that he’s only 15 years old because he’s built like and plays with the physicality of a college senior. He’s still getting things together athletically and from a skill standpoint but he competes, owns his space as a rebounder and is already a true low post intimidator despite his tender age.