I've Got Five On It: Biggest rankings questions to address
Rivals Rankings Week tips off next Monday on the basketball side, and there will be no shortage of things to discuss following the shakeup as the classes of 2022, 2023 and 2024 will all get a refresh. Today in I've Got Five On It, Rivals.com's Rob Cassidy takes a peek ahead at some of the most pressing questions that will be answered next week.
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2023 Rankings: Rivals150
2024 Rankings: Top 40
1. WHO WILL FILL THE VACANT TOP SPOT IN 2022?
The most obvious rankings refresh question has become a familiar one, as three different prospects that were once ranked No. 1 in the class have now reclassified and are on campus at the colleges of their choice. The most recent departure was that of top prospect Shaedon Sharpe, who vacated the top spot to enroll at Kentucky as a member of the 2021 class.
The options to replace Sharpe at the top of the list are plentiful, sure, but there isn’t a clear-cut successor. A trio of Duke commits looms large, as wing Dariq Whitehead and bigs Kyle Filipowski and Dereck Lively currently ranked ninth, fifth and third, respectively, and all have a case for that top spot. Arkansas signee Nick Smith has also played himself into the conversation. The debates have been intense and the decision is not yet made, but there’s no larger point of intrigue when it comes to the upcoming rankings week.
2. WILL DILLON MITCHELL CRACK THE TOP 10?
Currently the No. 28 prospect in the 2022 class, Dillon Mitchell transferred to Florida’s famed Montverde Academy prior to the season and the move seems to be paying off. Not only has the hyperathletic wing established himself as the very best defender in the class, but he’s starting to form an offensive identity that goes beyond highlight-worthy dunks.
Mitchell could still stand to become a better shooter from range, but he’s become much more reliable finishing around the rim and taking defenders off the dribble. He’s also improved as a passer and has shown the ability to knock down a mid-range jumper from time to time.
He’s a near lock to improve his current ranking, and the top 10 is not out of reach. NBA decision makers seem to think his defense and elite athleticism make him a near lock to get serious professional looks.
3. WHO’S THE TOP DOG IN 2023?
DaJuan Wagner Jr. is an elite prospect with a pro future, but his grip on the No. 1 ranking in 2023 certainly isn’t as strong as it once was. Wagner has had an impressive junior season, but he had a handful of off nights that have opened the door to challengers.
Players like GG Jackson (No. 10), Marquis Cook (No. 2) and Wagner’s NJ New Scholars AAU teammate McKenzie Mgbako (No. 3) can all make a case for top billing based on different factors. Cook’s case is based on athleticism, creativity and potential, while Jackson and Mgbako come with the kind of length you can’t teach and embody position-less basketball and what the modern NBA seems to reward.
The class is crowded at the top, and putting the top-flight prospects in order will be no easy task.
4. HOW HIGH WILL IAN JACKSON RISE iN 2024?
One of the most promising sophomores in the country, Ian Jackson already boasts a lofty No. 12 ranking, but the New York-based guard is poised to climb higher when the rankings get a facelift. Jackson has put together an impressive season as a whole but was great when the lights were bright at the nationally relevant Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass., last month.
An elite athlete with a skill set that includes a tight handle, impressive pace and a jumper from range, Jackson is also a willing defender with a motor that seems to never stop. He’s certainly worthy of a top 10 ranking, with the top five not being out of reach whatsoever.
5. WHERE WILL RON HOLLAND LAND IN 2023?
One of the top juniors in the Lone Star State, Ron Holland has long been on the national radar. He currently sits at No. 24 in the national rankings and has been held down a bit because of a jump shot that has looked inconsistent at best in the past.
That seems to have changed drastically, however.
Holland, who has long been known as a prolific slasher, has clearly addressed one of the biggest criticisms of his game and is shooting the ball well as a junior. Not only are more shots falling, but the junior looks miles more confident pulling up from three-point range. He’s evolved into possibly the best player on one of the top public school teams in America. He’ll soon be rewarded with a ranking that matches his evolving offensive game.