Rivals Rankings Week: Breaking down the 2023 position rankings
The 2023 Rivals150 was updated on Wednesday, and there was plenty of discussion generated from big moves being made across the board. Today, we take a look at the position rankings for all five positions.
RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK
Tuesday: Top 10 countdown
Wednesday: Updated Rivals150 for 2023 unveiled
Thursday: Updated 2023 position rankings released
TOP DOG: Dajuan Wagner Jr. - Wagner has been one of the most productive players in the rising senior class during the spring grassroots season. Through three EYBL sessions, the 6-foot-3 guard is averaging just over 20 points per game, in addition to 5.4 assists and 3.5 rebounds per contest. He’s the ultimate competitor and is the most polished guard prospect in the class at this point in time.
The five-star guard leads the most intriguing recruitment in high school basketball, with perceived leaders being rivals Kentucky and Louisville. Dajuan Jr.’s father played college basketball for John Calipari at Memphis, while Louisville has hired a close family friend in Kenny Payne as its head coach. Recently, Louisville also hired DJ’s grandfather, Milt Wagner, to a position at the school.
NOTEWORTHY: Robert Dillingham Jr. - Dillingham is one of the most dynamic ball handlers in all of high school basketball. He skates around the court and plays with flare and confidence every time he plays. The 6-foot-2 guard is shooting right around 40% from the outside over the course of the EYBL season. His ability to create space and score in a variety of ways is what sets him apart from most other guards.
Sources tell Rivals that Dillingham is supposed to make a college decision on June 24, with Kentucky being the perceived leader. Louisville, USC, Memphis and Arkansas are also in the mix, according to Dillingham.
TOP DOG: Ja’Kobe Walter - Walter has potential to have a two-way impact at the next level. He’s a patient guard with the ball in his hands, but can take over games at any time, as he’s shown multiple times this season on the 3SSB circuit. He has a nice build that should allow him to have a seamless transition to the college landscape. Offensively, his pull-up jumper is where he looks the most comfortable.
Walter is being pursued by some of the top programs from across the country. Baylor just had him in for a visit and the Bears appear to be in good shape at this time. Alabama, Texas and Auburn are among the other programs involved.
NOTEWORTHY: AJ Johnson - Hardly anyone had more of a stock-rising spring than Johnson. He’s a baby-faced late bloomer that is still growing and is expanding his game at a fast rate. Johnson has a very quick first step that he uses to create angles, and he can shift up and down at a moment’s notice. He’s also a wiry athlete that can put his head on the rim multiple times in a game.
Johnson’s recruitment is really starting to pick up steam, with Texas Tech, LSU, Louisville, USC and Gonzaga being a handful of those mostly involved. Johnson’s game and the success that the G-League had with Jalen Green, a close friend of Johnson’s, makes you wonder if that route might be an option in the end as well.
TOP DOG: Justin Edwards - Edwards is able to create mismatches due to his length and ability to put the ball on the deck comfortably at his size, something very few in the 2023 class can do at a high level. He’s got a comfortable looking jumper and always seems to make the right play or read on the offensive end. Edwards also defends and isn’t shy about attacking the glass.
Edwards’ top seven consists of Auburn, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Tennessee, Villanova and the G-League. However, Tennessee has positioned itself ahead of Kentucky at the front of the pack for the time being, with Auburn lurking as a dark horse.
NOTEWORTHY: Matas Buzelis - Buzelis has the upside to be the “unicorn” of this class. He’s 6-foot-10 and handles the ball very comfortably, running the show effectively as a point forward. He’s a crafty player that’s not afraid to go at his opponent, no matter who that may be. His pace, creation skills and upside are something to watch over the next year.
The five-star’s five finalists include Florida State, Kentucky, North Carolina, Wake Forest and the G-League. Florida State has had some buzz during the spring, but the G-League is making a nice push. There’s connections to the Wake Forest program, and you can never count out bluebloods Kentucky and North Carolina.
TOP DOG: G.G. Jackson - The North Carolina commit is able to take over games at any point, especially at the high school level, but he also meshes well with surrounding talent on the EYBL. Jackson expanded his range over the course of the last year or so and is very comfortable out on the perimeter, where he’s developing at being able to do things off of the bounce. Jackson also has a frame that should translate once he puts on muscle.
NOTEWORTHY: Xavier Booker - Booker has been one of the most talked about players in the 2023 class this spring, and his stock has deservedly soared. The 6-foot-11 forward loves to play on the perimeter and creates mismatches based on matchups. He drives slower forwards to the basket, where he rises high for powerful dunks, or if he has a smaller defender, he is very effective at stepping into an outside jumper with confidence. He’s arguably the best outside shooting prospect at the position.
TOP DOG: Aaron Bradshaw - Bradshaw has had a very productive and efficient spring, scoring 13 points per game through three EYBL sessions on 62% shooting. He’s also averaging a little over seven rebounds and three blocks per game. Bradshaw is active at both ends of the court, patrolling the paint and switching defensively, while showing off a nice right-handed hook and mid-range jumper on offense.
The 7-footer is down to a final seven of Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Michigan, Oklahoma State, UCLA and the G-league. Like his running mate DJ Wagner, many perceive this as a Kentucky-Louisville battle, but Maryland and Michigan are also lurking.
NOTEWORTHY: Dennis Evans - No one has made a bigger jump in the Rivals150 than Evans, who moved up 129 spots to No. 12 in the country. Evans is an intriguing prospect, he’s far from a finished product, but his flashes are better than anyone else’s flashes. Evans doesn’t turn 17 until next month, and touts a 7-foot-7 wingspan while standing at 7-foot-1. He’s an elite rim protector on defense, but he’s comfortable shooting off of movement and putting the ball on the floor on offense.
Evans isn’t worried about going to a blueblood program, and he isn’t worried about NIL money. He moves to the beat of his own drum and just cares about going to a school where he can continue to develop. Kansas and Missouri have recently offered, and there should be more offers on the way.