{{ timeAgo('2022-11-20 09:21:47 -0600') }} basketball Edit

Early Signing Period: Superlatives for the 2023 class

Xavier Booker
Xavier Booker (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

The early signing period is nearing its close, and most Rivals150 prospects have announced their college choices. With things on that front mostly decided, now feels like a good time to dole out some superlatives for the 2023 class. Below, Rivals.com’s Rob Cassidy names the prospects he feels are the best of the bunch in a number of specific areas.


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RELATED: Winners and losers of the Early Signing Period

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HIGHEST UPSIDE: Xavier Booker 

Where he’s going: Michigan State

What’s his deal? Booker has long piqued the interest of NBA front office personnel and sits atop the current Rivals150 based heavily on his massive upside, which eclipses anyone in the class. His ceiling is incredibly lofty so reaching it will be tricky. The 6-foot-10 forward has incredible length and some serious skill, but is fighting a battle with consistency of both effort and output. When Booker is good, he looks like a surefire future lottery pick. When he’s not, he still manages to flash pro potential. The months ahead will say a lot about where he is in relation to the dominant force most think he can become.

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MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED: Mackenzie Mgbako

Where he’s going: Duke

What’s his deal? If Booker has the highest ceiling of any prospect in the class, Mgbako might have the highest floor. The Duke signee’s size, skill, agility and long-range shooting stroke suggest that he has very low bust potential. Does he need to continue to develop as a player? Sure, but even as packaged, Mgbako seems like a near lock to find his way onto an NBA floor in some capacity down the road.

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BEST BALL HANDLER: Rob Dillingham

Where he’s going: Kentucky

What’s his deal? Dillingham is a blast to watch and pull onlookers in with his quickness and ability to keep the ball on string. He does things with the ball in his hands that other elite guards simply cannot do and is known to create a highlight or two when it comes to shaking defenders and creating offense. Kentucky is getting a guard that affects winning most importantly, but the fact that he’s capable of pulling off an And1 Mixtape moment from time to time is also worth getting excited about.

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BEST PERIMETER DEFENDER: Garwey Dual

Where he’s going: Providence

What's his deal? Simply put, Dual will lock you down. The Providence-bound guard is all of 6-foot-5, athletic and an absolute nightmare in passing lanes. He’s more than just quick feet and tenacious defense, sure, but the work he does on the less-glamorous end of the floor has become his calling card for good reason. Dual has a motor that never seems to slow and has proven his perimeter defense translates, having guarded a long list of high-profile prospects.

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BEST PASSER: Isaiah Collier 

Where he’s going: USC

What’s his deal? The most well-rounded point guard in the class, Collier does a lot extremely well. Nothing is more impressive than his passing, however, as the five-star prospect walks the line between creativity and ball security in a way few can. Collier routinely makes head-turning passes without committing silly turnovers, as he rarely makes bad decisions from a facilitation standpoint.

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BEST LONG-RANGE SHOOTER: Pryce Sandfort

Where he’s going: Iowa

What’s his deal? Denoting the best shooter in this class is difficult, as convincing cases can be made for Michigan’s George Washington III and a few others, but Sandfort spent the summer making his case over and over again. The Iowa-bound wing is all of 6-foot-7 and boasts a smooth, mechanically sound and repeatable stroke that carried him to a massive rankings bump a few months back. His off days from beyond the arc are rare, his release is quick, and his range extends to NBA territory.

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LAST FIVE-STAR STANDING: AJ Johnson

Where he’s going: Undetermined

What’s his deal? Twenty-two of the current 23 five-star prospects in the class have announced their post-high school intentions, making Johnson the lone holdout … for now. The Southern California Academy is set to announce his pledge on Nov. 21 with Texas looking like the leader in the clubhouse. There are pro options available to Johnson, however, and they may still play a role in his recruitment even after he commits to a college program.

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EVOLVING: Ronald Holland

Where he’s going: Texas

What’s his deal? Holland does a ton of things really well and is one of the more effective and exciting prospects in the country. He possessed the length and athleticism to defend multiple positions and thrives when it comes to scoring in transition as well as taking his man off the dribble. Holland’s ability to shine in college and become a first-round pick will hinge largely on his shooting, which remains a bit inconsistent. Holland certainly has nights where he converts from 3-point range at a nice clip, but those seem to be the exception rather than the rule. The Texas commit is a weapon as he’s packaged now. If he becomes a reliable 3-point threat, he could morph into a truly dominant force.

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MOST OFF-COURT INTRIGUE: Mikey Williams

Where he’s going: Memphis

What’s his deal? Williams is a marketing dream, as he comes equipped with 109,000 Instagram followers and an ability to reach and tap into the youth market like nobody else in the 2023 class. He has already appeared alongside Drake in promo video for the rapper’s clothing line and boasts the charisma to become an absolute juggernaut of a personal brand if he pans out as a high-level basketball prospect. Williams is a unique prospect from that standpoint, and will be beyond intriguing to monitor going forward.

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MOST UNDER-RECRUITED: Dylan James 

Where he’s going: Georgia

What’s his deal? Currently sitting at No. 133 in the Rivals150, James is a near lock to slide up the list when rankings update early next year. UGA seems to have gotten an absolute steal in the 6-foot-9 forward, who has become a threat from beyond the arc. James' length and shooting ability are a solid foundation for a prospect that has all the tools necessary to become an intriguing two-way prospect with the potential to play professionally down the road. His recruitment never really matched his talent, which may have helped the Bulldogs in the long run.

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