Rival Views: Can anyone overtake R.J. Barrett atop the Rivals150?
On Monday, we will roll out our final update to the 2018 Rivals150 and wing R.J. Barrett remains the man to beat entering Friday night's Nike Hoop Summit in Portland. Can Barrett be overtaken for the top spot and, if he is, who has the best shot of doing so? As usual, National Basketball Analysts Eric Bossi and Corey Evans have rival views.
BOSSI'S VIEW: CAMERON REDDISH
Since we last updated the 2018 Rivals150 in early January, I've had an opportunity to see R.J. Barrett's competition for the No. 1 spot play with their respective high school teams and in multiple all-star settings. My takeaway is that while I would still lean toward Barrett in the top spot, I feel we have to consider other possibilities and if not Barrett, the two that come to mind for me are Bol Bol and Cameron Reddish.
I love Bol's combination of size, skill and length and, as a 7-foot-2 big man capable of scoring in so many ways, his ultimate upside is hard to ignore. But, for the top spot I would lean toward Reddish because I feel he's probably the most polished of any of the top five players in the class.
Barrett handles the ball extremely well, has tremendous wing size at 6-foot-7 and he has a nice jump shot. He didn't shoot it great at the McDonald's All-American Game or Jordan Brand Classic, but he was on point during Wednesday workouts with Team USA at the Hoop Summit. Plus, I've seen him enough in the past to feel good about his shooting. Ultimately, he'll be at his best when he drives a little more to take advantage of his size. Still, everything he does well translates to the way basketball is played at the highest levels.
EVANS' VIEW: NASSIR LITTLE
Little's rise up the rankings has been staggering. This time last year, Little was barely ranked in the top 50 of the Rivals150. By July, he had earned a five-star ranking. Little ascended into the top five of his class at the turn of the calendar year. Now, he has a strong argument for being ranked at the top of the class.
Little had quite the year on the court as well, winning a state title and taking home MVP honors at both the McDonald’s All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic Game.
It is never fair to directly compare high school prospects to NBA players, but there are a lot of similarities between Little and NBA great Kawhi Leonard. During his time at the USA Basketball mini-camp in October, Little checked in at 6-foot-6 without shoes with a 7-foot-1 wingspan, 8-foot-9 standing reach and weighed in at 215 pounds. Leonard at the 2011 NBA Draft Combine? Try 6-foot-6 without shoes with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, 8-foot-10 standing reach and weighing in at 227 pounds.
This is not to say that Little is the next Leonard or that he is a better prospect than Barrett but with everything that he has done, the deep demand for prospects like him and his impressive intangibles, Little has the best argument out of anyone to overtake Barrett atop the Rivals150.