The summer has come and gone, and with that it’s time to refresh the Rivals.com rankings for the class of 2019 and expand them from a top 125 to top 150. Thanks to reclassification, there is a new No. 1 player in Vernon Carey Jr. Along with Carey’s ascension to the top there were several big movers and with expansion lots of new faces. Here are five storylines that stood out as we compiled the new rankings.
CAREY HOLDS TOP SPOT BUT FOR HOW LONG?
Prior to his move to 2018, R.J. Barrett had the type of grip on the top ranking that didn’t look like it would ever be broken. With Barrett’s move to 2018, center Charles Bassey temporarily took over the spot. However, now that we’ve fully evaluated the class the decision has been made to move power forward Vernon Carey Jr. to the top spot.
A standout in high school, in the summer and playing internationally for USA Basketball, it was the overall skill and next-level strength that Carey has in his 6-foot-9 frame that allowed us to make the call to move him into the top spot. That being said, the Floridian – whose father Vernon Carey Sr. played for the Miami Dolphins and at the University of Miami – isn’t in a position where he can afford to rest or think he has the top spot locked up.
Also leapfrogging Bassey is near 7-footer James Wiseman, who recently transferred from Nashville to Memphis (Tenn.) East where he’ll be coached by Penny Hardaway. Wiseman is long, can really run and has rapidly emerging offense. Bassey who has transferred as well – from San Antonio to Louisville – checks in at No. 3 because of his strength, rebounding and ability as a defender.
For now, the trio of big men are the most viable candidates to battle for the top spot throughout the winter.
CLASS OF 2019 SEARCHING FOR AN IDENTITY
Considering that these guys are just starting their junior years, it’s not a surprise that they are still finding their way. But, some type of trend has usually started to emerge with a class whether it be that it’s full of big-time athletes, strong at the point or whatever example you might want to use.
In the class of 2019, we are still waiting to see what theme emerges with the class.
When comparing it to other recent classes at the same stage, 2019 is very similar to the class directly ahead of it, 2018 in terms of overall talent and it being a solid, but not overwhelming class when it comes to top to bottom talent.
Given that bigs dominate the top of the class, the potential to become known as a strong class for big men looks to be there if these guys show some development as juniors.
BATTLE BETWEEN ANTHONY, HAGANS
The son of former NBA point guard and UNLV star Greg Anthony, Anthony is a very athletic, in-your-face and tough scoring point guard from New York City. He thrives on creating space and getting to the rim, will lock you up defensively and is a big-time competitor who needs to continue to improve his jumper.
One of the more physical point guards we’ve see come along in a while, Hagans is an elite defensive player and more of a throwback/pure point guard who gets others involved first. During July, though, the product of Georgia proved he can score too and he closed the gap between himself and Anthony.
NO RUSH TO MAKE DECISIONS IN 2019
It’s still so early that we shouldn’t expect too many from 2019 to be committed, but it’s a bit surprising that only five of the top 150 players have made their college commitments.
Following the footsteps of his older brothers Lonzo Ball and LiAngelo Ball in committing to UCLA, LaMelo Ball is the only five-star to make a commitment. Maryland has locked down four-star twins Makhi Mitchell and Makhel Mitchell while Kansas has landed super athletic point guard Markese Jacobs and North Carolina has point guard Jeremiah Francis.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS
There are three players who have been newly elevated to five-star status. Texas big man Will Baker climbed 21 spots to No. 15 overall and earns a fifth star because of his combination of skill, size and athleticism. Combo guard Jalen Lecque gets the bump to five-star status because of his explosive scoring ability while the biggest bump in the class goes to Ohio forward Alonzo Gaffney. He rose all the way from No. 109 to No. 22 overall. Gaffney didn’t quite make it to five-star status, but another major move near the top of the rankings was made by 6-foot-6 point guard Josiah James of South Carolina, who climbed all the way to No. 31 from No. 58.
Another big mover was power forward Trayce Jackson-Davis (whose father Dale Davis played in the NBA). He rose 50 spots from No. 98 to No. 48. A tough and athletic scorer, combo guard Casey Morsell rose an impressive 46 spots to No. 64 overall while Marcus Smart clone Jahmius Ramsey rose all the way to No. 69 from No. 122. Others who made significant moves up were big man Oscar Tshiebwe (from 105 to 76), combo forward Jaeden McDaniels (No. 123 to No. 97) and smooth wing Samuell Williamson, who rose 24 spots to No. 100 overall.