football

New Rivals150: Race for No. 1

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THE RIVALS150: The new 2016 ranking | 2015 ranking
The 2014-15 high school and college seasons have come to a close, which means the spring recruiting season starts cranking.
This weekend, players and teams from around the country will play in front of college coaches at "live" evaluation events.
To prepare for the spring evaluation cycle, Rivals.com has updated the 2016 Rivals150. Though there is plenty of change, nothing is different with the top spot.
JACKSON LEADS THE WAY
Back in February, the rankings actually required a tweak when former No. 1 Thon Maker announced that he would graduate as part of the class of 2015. At the time, 6-foot-7 wing Josh Jackson of Napa (Calif.) Prolific Prep was elevated from No. 3 to No. 1. With today's full update to the Rivals150, the high-flying native of Detroit holds onto the top spot.
Jackson' is known for his athleticism and electric open-floor playing style. However, he also is a complete player. He is strong defensively, and as a passer and rebounder. Jackson wouldn't yet be classified as a pure jump shooter, but he shoots well enough to keep defenders honest. Heading into the spring, he is the guy to beat in 2016.
Right behind Jackson is Harry Giles. A 6-foot-10 power forward from High Point (N.C.) Wesleyan Christian, Giles seems like a new age Danny Manning. Sure he is long and athletic, but it's his deft passing, his skill in the open floor and his ability to turn and score over either shoulder that makes him such a force. Giles and Jackson are so close that they could be thought of as co-No. 1 players, but a pick has to be made and for now Giles is chasing.
Checking in at No. 3 is 6-foot-8 small forward Jayson Tatum from St. Louis (Mo.) Chaminade. A highly skilled wing, Tatum plays nearly every position on the floor as a high schooler and rates above average with his ball handling, passing and post game. Where he's at his best is surveying defenses in transition and operating as a mid-range scorer.
Filling out the top five are a pair of high-flying guards, Dennis Smith and Terrance Ferguson. At No. 4, Smith is the top point guard in the class and the 6-foot-3 product of Fayetteville (N.C.) Trinity Christian is an explosive open floor player. At No. 5, Ferguson is a product of Dallas (Texas) Prime U and checks in as the best shooting guard in the land. Pushing 6-foot-7, Ferguson can float at times but he is a lights-out jump shooter from deep and an above-the-rim finisher with the size and overall ability that translates to a high level.
Rounding out the top 10 are Lonzo Ball, Malik Monk, Edrice Adebayo, Derryck Thornton and T.J. Leaf.
Headed to UCLA, No. 6 Ball is a 6-foot-5 point guard from Chino Hills (Calif.) High who is a true triple-double threat each time he takes the floor. At No. 7, Monk is a 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Bentonville (Ark.) High and one of the most prolific scorers in the class. Somewhat raw in terms of offense, No. 8 Adebayo is a powerfully built and tough 6-foot-9 post player from Washington (N.C.) Northside. No. 9 Thornton is a quick playmaker from Henderson (Nev.) Findlay Prep while the Arizona-bound Leaf is a high scoring and skilled 6-foot-10 power forward at El Cajon (Calif.) Foothills Christian.
NEWS AND NOTES
Of the new Rivals150, a total of 30 players have already made their college commitments. The previously mentioned Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf are the highest-ranked commitments while 6-foot-9 power forward Omari Spellman (No. 20) is the only other five-star prospect to have made an early commitment (Villanova). Virginia is the only program to already hold commitments from three on the latest list: No. 59 Kyle Guy, No. 74 Sacha Killeya-Jones and No. 104 Ty Jerome. Pittsburgh and Georgia are the only other programs with multiple commitments from ranked players.
The highest debut in the rankings is made by 6-foot-4 shooting guard Markelle Fultz. A junior varsity player during his sophomore season at Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha, Fultz was named player of the year in the highly competitive WCAC as a junior and makes his debut at No. 25. The second-highest debut in the rankings is made by Aric Holman. A 6-foot-9 power forward from Kentucky, who will spend a year of prep school at Chatham (Va.) Hargrave Military, enters the rankings at No. 71.
There are three new five-star prospects this time around. Omari Spellman at No. 20, 6-foot-6 guard Joshua Langford at No. 18 and 6-foot-9 power forward Jarrett Allen at No. 17 are the newest five-star prospects.
Making the biggest move up the rankings is power forward Nolan Narain. A native of Canada who plays his high school ball at La Porte (Ind.) La Lumiere, Narain jumped a whopping 81 spots to No. 63. Maryland commitment Anthony Cowan from Washington (D.C.) St. John's moved up an impressive 69 spots to No. 53.
And not far behind Narain and Cowan is 6-foot-8 forward Kassoum Yakwe and wing Xavier Sneed. An athletic and mobile big from Centereach (N.Y.) Our Savior moved up 66 spots to No. 49. The Florissant (Mo.) Hazelwood Central product Sneed moved up 62 spots to No. 81.
Other players making major moves up the rankings of 15 spots or more include, Gavin Baxter (140 to 87), Mamadi Diakite (82 to 38), DeJon Jarreau (116 to 73), Killeya-Jones (113 to 74), Curtis Jones (88 to 55), Edward Ekiyor (109 to 89) Zach Collins (56 to 37), Brandon Robinson (72 to 56) and point guard JaQuori McLaughlin a Washington commit went from No. 90 to No. 75.
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