Rivals Rankings Week: A look at updated 2020 position rankings
The 2020 positional rankings have all been updated. National analysts Eric Bossi, Corey Evans and Dan McDonald give their impressions of each group and point to various reasons that top players stand out.
2019 POSITION RANKINGS:
What is your impression of the point guard group, and whose long-term potential stands out relative to his current ranking?
Bossi: I really like the top half of the group. It’s a great mix of size, scorers, pure playmakers and guys who can really get after it on both ends. R.J. Hampton stands out, because in my eyes he’s heads and shoulders above the rest. But he’s ranked No. 1, so, I’ll go just a little bit down the list to Dalen Terry at No. 6 overall. Some don’t see him as a point guard, some may feel he’s overrated period, but you have to be in for the long haul with him. He’s a potentially elite defender at any of the three perimeter spots, he sees the floor and he’s still growing into his body.
Evans: Tons and tons of depth. There are some good ones, with Jeremy Roach, R.J. Hampton and Sharife Cooper, but the amount of really good and capable high-major point guards continues much deeper in this class compared to others.
The one prospect that I have my eye on is Jayden Stone. The Aussie native has gotten better and better and that all ties back to his talent base, work ethic, versatility, and really, just becoming accustomed to the more physical American game. Stone, who is playing his high school basketball in Alabama, is beginning to receive more interest nationally, and he could go down as an elite type of recruit before things are all said and done.
McDonald: This point guard group is a pretty good one overall, with some really talented prospects at the top. I've been banging the drum for him all season, but I really like Deivon Smith's upside as a floor general. He's one of the better passers I've seen this season and he's an explosive athlete at 6-foot. As he continues to improve his shot - and it's getting better all the time - he'll continue to rise in our rankings.
What is your impression of the shooting guards, and whose ranking do you believe most strongly in?
Bossi: This is a pretty good group and we’ve seen some guys emerging this winter. One that has really caught my attention is Nimari Burnett. Since moving from Chicago to Napa (Calif.) Prolific Prep, he’s been steadily improving. This winter, though, he started playing with a newfound level of edge and athleticism to go with his skillful shot-making. He’s made a strong move and is continuing to apply pressure.
Evans: Even with the reclassification of Anthony Edwards, there is so much talent in the top 10 that this group definitely takes the trophy for the best position in the 2020 class. BJ Boston, Jalen Green, Jaden Springer and Josh Christopher are just a few of the elite players in this group.
Of the group, it is Boston that I stand firmly behind at No. 2. He is climbing the rankings each update because of his improved toughness, evolving set of ball skills and effortless scoring game, tossed in with his underrated passing capabilities. Package it all together and what you have is a can't-miss prospect who could practically name his college landing spot.
McDonald: This class has a lot of prospects who have a lot of long-term upside. I could see almost every prospect in the top 10 having a nice NBA career. The one I feel strongest about is Jalen Green. He's clearly the best of this bunch. I love his athleticism and his ability to just make plays.
What is your overall impression of the small forward group, and who stands out to you as someone to keep a close eye on moving forward?
Bossi: From a depth standpoint, it’s looking like the strongest group in 2020. I’m not sure it’s overwhelming with one-and-done type of talent, but there are certainly some dudes. Current No. 3, Ziaire Williams, could make a strong play for top wing in the class before it’s all said and done. But he’s a pretty easy pick. I’d also look a little bit down the list at Cam’Ron Fletcher. The St. Louis product has size, is a big-time athlete and already projects as a big-time defender. If he gets his jump shot in order, he could move into the top five at his position.
Evans: Playmakers galore. There might be better passers in the elite group of small forwards compared to the point guard position. Cade Cunningham, Jalen Johnson, Johnny Juzang and Earl Timberlake are just a few that are best with the ball in their hands, which leads to even greater mismatch issues when they are on the floor.
One prospect that I am keeping an eye on is Micah Peavy. He has gotten bigger and stronger in recent months, and while he can be oftentimes overlooked in the loaded state of Texas, Peavy’s game should easily translate to the college game. He can play either forward spot, pass it when the opportunity is there and defend all over the court. He has a great intellect for the game, so I could easily see him in the top 10 at his position in the next update.
McDonald: Given that we have over 40 of these prospects in our Rivals150, it's easy to call it a really deep group. There are also some really good prospects at the top that - again - have really high upsides. The one I'm intrigued by outside the top group is Caleb Lohner. He strikes me as the type of player who will make a really good college decision, have a great college career and eventually play in the NBA. He has size, athletic ability and a really smooth shooting stroke.
What is your impression of the power forwards, and who do you think might be underrated?
Bossi: There isn’t much depth in the 2020 crop of power forwards. It’s also filled with more tweeners than guys who have all of the physical characteristics that you would like to see from a high-end four-man. Picking the potentially underrated guy in this group isn’t easy, because I didn’t feel anybody was really being left out during the process of ranking them. But, I’ve got to pick one, so I’ll go with Jamari Sibley. He can make shots with the best of them when it comes to potential four-men in 2020, and that shot making could make him a value at No. 9 in the group.
Evans: There are more high-energy prospects found in the power forward crop than there are ready-made, skilled type of guys. Sure, Isaiah Todd, Scottie Barnes and Jaemyn Brakefield do not lack in the skill department, but beyond that talented trio, this group is one whose players rely more on their motor above all else. Not a bad thing, but one worth noting when college programs are looking for floor spaces at the four.
If we are trying to find a prospect that might be underrated and could be ready to blossom this spring, give me Quevian Adger. Not many have had the chance to see him this winter, and he played second fiddle to top-50 junior Lohner on the travel circuit last summer, but Adger’s versatility, upside and fit in today’s game are ideal. If he gets ‘it,' watch out. Creighton already offered, and many are likely to follow, especially when they realize how slim the pickings will be at the four in 2020.
McDonald: This is probably a little bit of a down year as far as power forwards go, but some of that goes to how you label certain prospects. For example, we previously had Evan Mobley and Caleb Lohner listed as power forwards, which would make this a stronger group. This is the position that has changed the most in the last 10 years since I have been in the recruiting game.
The one prospect that could be underrated is P.J. Hall. I had never seen him before last July in Orlando, but he certainly caught my attention in my first viewing of him. He has great size, gets off the floor pretty well, can post up, and most importantly, he can step out and hit 3-pointers. He's going to be a good one.
What is your overall impression of the centers? Bigs can sometimes have a harder time adjusting to the college game. Who looks most college-ready?
Bossi: Big men tend to develop at a slower pace, and that is certainly proving to be the case with the centers in 2020. There are plenty of terrific prospects, but not yet many consistently reliable players. I believe firmly that Evan Mobley is the top talent and prospect, but he won’t show his best in college. On the other hand, N’Faly Dante is absolutely ready for the level of physicality and athleticism he’ll face in college. A lot can change between now and when these guys get on campus a year and a half or so from now, but Dante’s strength should allow him, at a minimum, to rebound and block shots at a high level right out of the chute.
Evans: Wow, is this position lacking in the talent and star-power categories! Evan Mobley, N’Faly Dante and Makur Maker are game-changer types and those ranked slightly behind them are not too shabby, either, but get past the top 10 or 15 spots and what you have is a lot of upside but also players that need much more time to develop before they can contribute on a high-major playing floor.
While he might not have the highest upside compared to the other elites surrounding him, this one is a no-brainer. Hunter Dickinson is tailor-made for the college game. Sure, he is not the quickest on his feet or super explosive, but throw the big fella in the mid- or low-post region and let him go to work. Whether it is his nifty lefty hook shot, pocket jumper from the mid-range or his precise passing skills when the double comes, Dickinson gets it done. He is going to be a great college player, and he could impact the highest level tomorrow if he was given the opportunity.
McDonald: I'm not sure how many NBA guys are coming from this group, but there are a lot of prospects I like. Mobley at the top is incredibly intriguing because of his versatility. Dante's physical ability is pretty incredible. Walker Kessler is the new age five-man who can shoot as well as most guards. The one prospect who could physically transition to college right this minute and fit in is Dickinson. He would give college post players problems right now.