The summer has come and gone, and with that it’s time to introduce our first ranking for the class of 2020. There will certainly be lots of change and many new faces finding their way in and out of the rankings between now and when these guys graduate, but to start things off Fresno (Calif.) shooting guard Jalen Green is the No. 1 player in the class.
Here are five storylines that stood out as we compiled the initial 2020 rankings.
GREEN NARROWLY EDGES OUT TODD
Green is a big-time athlete, can shoot from deep and effortlessly creates his shot off the dribble while scoring in huge bunches. Todd is a skilled and mobile combo forward whose inside/out game fits the direction of modern basketball. Both were key members of USA Basketball’s U16 team during the summer but Green earns the early edge because, to date, he’s been more consistently productive.
Finishing up the top five are point guard R.J. Hampton, point guard Jalen Suggs and small forward Jalen Johnson. Hampton is a highly skilled scorer who has some young Jamal Crawford in his game while Suggs is a big-time athlete at the point and Johnson is a versatile, do-it-all wing.
CLASS OF 2020 LOOKS DEEP
In the past, the first ranking for a class has usually been a top 25 or a top 35. We do this because we don’t want to go overboard and because we simply haven’t see as much of or as many players as we have in the older classes. The 2020 class, though, is a little different.
This time around we were comfortable going with an introductory top 50 and could have even stretched it out to 60 or 75 if we had needed to.
Looking at 2020 and comparing it where we saw previous classes like 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 at the same stage, it looks to have the potential to be a pretty strong class and one that could at least surpass 2018 and 2019 in terms of top to bottom talent.
BACKCOURT SCORERS AND WING ATHLETES STAND OUT
At least early on, the strength of this class looks to be in the high scoring guards and long and athletic wing types.
No. 1 Green is the best of both worlds while Hampton and Suggs are highly ranked because of their scoring. Five-star wing Greg Brown has huge potential thanks to his combo of length and athleticism while the top 50 is littered with perimeter players.
All told, a little over 70 percent of the initial top 50 falls into the category of backcourt scorer or wing athlete so there is definitely room for the 2020 big men to step up and make some noise.
The top 15 players in 2020 enter the rankings as five-star prospects and the rest of the top 50 are four-star players. Canadian guards Addison Patterson and Cashius McNeilly also begin as five-star prospects but are not in the top 50 due to attending school outside of the States. We’ve added four-star ratings to another 20 or so players who landed just outside the top 50.
ONLY ONE COMMITTED PROSPECT FROM 2020 CLASS
The only player in our initial top 50 to have made his college commitment is Phoenix (Ariz.) Hillcrest’s five-star shooting guard Kyree Walker.
A native of California, Walker has already pledged his allegiance to Arizona State and Bobby Hurley and the Sun Devils have to be over the moon about having a talent like Walker done early.
With good size and strength to go along with plus athleticism, Walker has been very impressive playing up two age groups on the 17U level. If he continues to get better, he’s tracking as a guy who will make an immediate impact in Tempe.
DON'T FREAK OUT, IT'S EARLY
Whenever people look at rankings, there’s a tendency to freak out about this person being ranked too highly, that person being ranked too low or another not being ranked at all. Having put these lists together for some time now, the reaction is almost always most extreme for an initial ranking.
So, when reading an initial ranking list like this, there are some important things to keep in mind.
It’s very early and the pool of players that are rankable is still pretty small. Players headed into their sophomore years are playing across several different age levels in summer ball, faced with very different high school situations and still developing. As the class of 2020 progresses, we will get many more evaluation opportunities, players will mature and the exposure opportunities will start to even out. As a result, the pool of players that we’ll be looking at when doing rankings will grow exponentially over the next few years.
The fact of the matter is this, today’s ranking is going to look significantly different come April 2020, so nobody should be getting too high or too low based on this early list.