Class of 2017 updated rankings: A new No. 1 takes over
We have reached the midway point of the high school basketball season and after spending the last few months traveling, it is time for the rankings to get an overhaul. We begin today with an update to our class of 2017 rankings, where we’ve got a change at the top as Washington-bound Michael Porter, Jr. takes over the top spot.
Here’s five things to note as we prepare for the stretch run to the final ranking of the senior class in April.
RELATED: Updated Class of 2017 rankings
FRIENDLY RIVALRY FOR NO. 1
The duel between Arizona-bound center DeAndre Ayton and Washington-bound small forward Michael Porter Jr. for the No. 1 spot in 2017 has been an intense one. After coming up just short of taking the spot from Ayton after the summer of 2016, Porter has now moved ahead thanks to a strong senior campaign.
The 6-foot-9 senior at Seattle (Wash.) Nathan Hale has great size for the position, is a tremendous shooter and has developed into a big-time athlete.
With the second half of the season and the All-Star circuit still to play out, there should be a nice competition between the close friends.
“DeAndre is one of my best friends and a great player but of course I want to try and be the best,” Porter told Rivals.com. “I think that my size and my versatility along with my athleticism and skill with the ball can set me apart.”
SOME TOP-LEVEL PLAYERS STILL UNCOMMITTED
After updating the rankings, there are only 10 members of the 2017 Rivals150 who have yet to make their college decision. However, of those 10, seven currently rank among the top 25 and Chris Smith is the lowest ranked at No. 90 overall.
The highest ranked players left to make decisions are point guard Trevon Duval (No. 3) and center Mohamed Bamba (No. 4). Duval is down to Arizona, Baylor, Duke, Kansas and Seton Hall but has yet to take any official visits. Bamba doesn’t have an official list but appears to be down to Duke, Harvard, Kentucky, Michigan and Texas.
Bottom line, outside of those few high-ranking prospects that are still left, schools are having to really dig deep to find talent capable of helping right away.
WILLIAMS A NEW FIVE-STAR, EIGHT BREAK INTO RANKINGS
There’s not a huge amount of movement in the latest 2017 Rivals150, but Louisville-bound big man Malik Williams did jump from No. 29 to No. 22 overall. That move was enough for the skilled 6-foot-10 power forward from Ft. Wayne (Ind.) Snider to jump from four to five-star prospect. He’s the only player to make the jump to five-star status this time around. However, players like combo guard Nick Weatherspoon, shooting guard John Petty, shooting guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker and big man Daniel Gafford are getting awfully close.
In total, eight players made their debut in the Rivals150. Entering the highest is forward Chris Smith, who debuts at No. 90 overall. Smith was previously ranked No. 64 in the class of 2018 but has elected to skip attending prep school for a year and will go to college with his natural class. Others debuting as four-star prospects in the rankings include Pittsburgh-bound point guard Marcus Carr (No. 102), Ole Miss signed swingman Jamarko Pickett (No. 113), Vanderbilt-bound combo guard Saben Lee (No. 120) and Indiana-bound power forward Clifton Moore (No. 126).
UTAH-BOUND CARLSON MAKES BIGGEST JUMP
The single biggest rise in the rankings belongs to center Brandon Carlson of South Jordan (Utah) Bingham. The near seven-footer didn’t even start as a junior but has now jumped 53 spots, all the way up to No. 60 overall. The future Utah Ute is a fluid athlete, has shooting range and still has loads of upside.
Other notable climbs were made by Maryland-bound center Bruno Fernando (No. 112 to No. 67), Stanford-bound small forward Kezie Okpala (No. 69 to No. 42) and Kentucky-bound combo guard Shai Alexander (No. 53 to No. 32).