I've Got Five On It: Big questions prior to next rankings updates
The clock is ticking toward another Rivals.com rankings makeover. And while the Rivals150 won’t refresh until the final days of August internal discussions about how things may shake out are underway.
This week in I've Got Five On It, recruiting director Rob Cassidy looks at five of the biggest questions relating to the impending post-summer update.
MORE CASSIDY: Five who could jump to top of 2022 rankings
RECRUITING NEWS: USC lands five-star Kijani Wright
2023 Rankings: Top 30
1. WHO IS THE TOP POINT GUARD IN THE 2022 CLASS?
A class loaded with impressive floor generals is getting more crowded at the top, as Oregon commit Dior Johnson has plenty of competition to hold off. Jazian Gortman, who currently occupies the No. 2 spot at the position, signed a professional contract with Overtime Elite and will slide out of the rankings when the update occurs. Still, there’s no shortage of talent left to challenge Johnson.
The most notable challenger seems to be Texas-bound star Arterio Morris, who made multiple statements during an impressive summer that saw him become a stronger and more well-rounded player from both a scoring and distribution standpoint. Then there’s the case of Nick Smith, who spent the circuit outplaying his current ranking by leaps and bounds before leading his Brad Beal Elite team to the Peach Jam title game. The 6-foot-5 Smith would have to jump up from his current spot at No. 12 to claim the top spot at point guard, but his summer was captivating enough to kickstart that conversation.
2. WHAT TO MAKE OF YOHAN TRAORE?
Few players have improved their stock more than 6-foot-11 forward Yohan Traore, an athletic and skilled matchup nightmare that played the circuit with the Dream Vision grassroots program.
A product of France, Traore not only comes with a sky-high ceiling due to his blend of length, basketball IQ and athleticism, but it has now become clear that he’s already more developed from a skill standpoint than a lot of players currently ranked in front of him. Traore went from unranked to No. 64 in the country in our last refresh, and his rise will almost certainly continue this time around. He’s starting to look like a truly elite prospect worthy of inclusion in the top 10 nationally.
3. WHO’S NO. 1 IN 2022?
No. 1 overall prospect Jalen Duren and the prospect that came in behind him at No. 2, Emoni Bates, exited the class of 2022 rankings when they reclassified last week, leaving a gaping hole at the top of the Rivals150. I explored some of the candidates to fill the top spot in my Wednesday column, but the situation remains unresolved.
Center Dereck Lively joins forward Kyle Filipowski and guards Amari Bailey, Shaedon Sharpe and Keyonte George on the list of candidates to replace Duren as the top player in the class. A slightly off-radar sleeper isn’t totally out of the question, but the summer circuit has yielded a pretty clear picture of which prospects comprise the cream of the crop.
With the sport’s changing landscape lending itself to more frequent reclassification, a vacant top spot might be an issue worth getting used to due to a growing number of professional options and the allure of NIL money. This is almost certainly not the last time we'll encounter such a situation. It’s a brave new world.
4. WHO WILL CRASH THE 2022 RANKS?
Most of the release-day conversation will undoubtedly center on the top of the rankings, but the new names that debut well below that should also pack some intrigue. And while naming every prospect that played their way onto the cusp of the Rivals150 this summer would ruin the intrigue, there’s no harm in sharing a couple names to watch.
Long, skilled wing Ryan Dunn, along with sharp-shooting Georgetown commit Denver Anglin are good bets to see their names appear in the new Rivals150. Virginia commit Leon Bond is also an intriguing name when it comes to late bloomers that garnered attention this summer.
5. WHO WILL GET BIG BUMPS IN THE 2023 CLASS?
The class of 2023 rankings are fluid. They’ll be expanded to a full 150 players this month. And while DJ Wagner’s grip on the top spot isn’t in much danger, big moves will be commonplace.
Among those that have made a case to move up aggressively is GG Jackson, who shined against elite 2022 competition at NBAPA Top 100 camp a few weeks back. Jackson, who currently checks in at No. 20, could find himself inside the top 15 when all is said and done.
Guards Gavin Griffiths (No. 71) and George Washington III (No.83) have also made their cases for big moves by grabbing attention on the grassroots circuit. Florida-based forward Malik Reneau is another name to watch as the long and hyper-skilled standout certainly had the look of a top 30 player at NBAPA camp.