Rivals Rankings Week: Roundtable on 2020 rankings
There are three new five-star prospects in North Carolina-bound big man Day’Ron Sharpe, skilled guard Bryce Thompson – who made the biggest rise into five-star status with his 40 spot climb – and sharp-shooting small forward Josh Hall who rose over 30 spots himself.
There were several prospects that made huge moves inside the rankings but nobody made a bigger move than four-star small forward Donovan Johnson. The Pennsylvania wing rose an impressive 81 spots No. 124 all the way to No. 43. Also making massive moves were now four-stars Hassan Diarra, Ryan Kalkbrenner and Matthew Murrell. Diarra moved up a whopping 76 spots from No. 147 to No. 17 while Kalkbrenner went up 71 from No. 139 to No. 68 and Murrell jumped 64 spots from No. 110 to No. 46.
Finally, there are 25 players who are new to the rankings and 13 of them made their debut as four-stars. Leading the pack of Rivals150 newbies is Utah combo guard commit Ian Martinez who checks in at No. 55 overall.
Rivals.com analysts Eric Bossi, Corey Evans and Dan McDonald share the thought process behind some of the most discussed issues in compiling the final rankings.
The toughest decision for me in this rankings update was....
Bossi: Figuring out the best order to put the top point guards in the class after Cade Cunningham. Some may argue Cunningham (No. 2 overall) isn’t a point, but I love the idea of a 6-foot-7 guy like him running the show. After him, though, Daishen Nix, Sharife Cooper and Jalen Suggs all have a claim to the next best spot. Compounding matters, I think we all saw things a little differently.
So, we did our best to negotiate them and we’ve grouped them all together to see how things sort out during the summer. I know people will argue that Nix doesn’t face the same competition because he doesn’t play on a shoe circuit, but if he did I’d bet he would only cement his status as an elite prospect.
Evans: How to deal with injuries to players like Jeremy Roach, a five-star guard and a Duke commit, has been out since the fall due to a torn ACL; Walker Kessler was hobbled some earlier this spring whenever I went to see his Game Elite bunch; L.J. Cryer has been out the entire spring, though he should be good to go this summer. The fact that we weren't able to properly judge and evaluate those three prospects, among others, made projecting where they should be ranked was rather difficult.
McDonald: How high do we go with Josh Hall? I thought he was one of the better players I saw this spring and absolutely worthy of five-star status. He's one of the rare 6-foot-8 forwards that I actually like the idea of him playing more on the perimeter in college, or at least as a a "stretch four." I'm a little concerned we didn't go high enough with him in this update, but we have time to correct it if he needs to go up.
The reason that I believe in this player's ranking is....
Bossi: I remain convinced that many have been too hard on five-star Isaiah Todd, who we rank at No. 13 overall. His talent is undeniable. At 6-foot-10 he can put the ball on the floor, has a good-looking jumper and has the type of body and athleticism that make him look like he was born to play basketball. Aside from his play on the floor, I’ve not seen many in the class make the growth with attitude and maturity that Todd has. It says a lot to me when a young player can get criticized like Todd was and make positive steps to change and better his chances for down the road success.
Evans: I stand 100-percent behind Cade Cunningham being ranked second overall in the Rivals150. The 6-foot-7 Texan is no longer listed as a small forward at Rivals.com but rather as a point guard because, really, that is what he is. He is a giant playmaking agent that thinks two steps ahead. He has seen his athleticism take off and once you project where his body will get to once he gets into college, one can only imagine how destructive he will be on the offensive end.
Today’s game is all about versatility which is why Cunningham, who has been a dominant presence on the stat sheet this spring, is of the greatest of value where he can play four separate positions and flourish in whichever role that he is placed into.
McDonald: I'm absolutely on board Cunningham moving up from No. 5 to No. 2 overall, and would have been on board with him going to the top spot. He's so talented and so versatile with his size in the backcourt. He was the best player I saw so far this travel season. I wouldn't be surprised if he eventually takes over No. 1.
The player I fear we have too low is....
Bossi: Xavier Foster. Look, he plays in the middle of Iowa, isn’t a regular on the big-time grassroots circuits and is coming off a run at the recent Pangos All-American Camp where he simply didn’t play like you would expect a five-star prospect to play. Others have performed better and he’s hard to see, so we had no choice but to drop him some to No. 40. However, I can’t help but wonder how good he can be once he gets college coaching, competition and training on a daily basis. Seven-footers who can move like him and who have a shot that looks as nice as his aren’t easy to find.
Evans: N’Faly Dante. Yes, we have him at No. 9 overall, but the progress he has made, confidence that he now competes with and his ability to impact the game not just on the defensive end, but with precise offensive abilities in the lane, needs to be recognized. There still is a chance that he could reclassify into the 2019 class later this summer and this could all be moot, but it has been nice to see Dante walk with a feeling of greater belonging this spring.
He has terrorized the Nike EYBL circuit for the past two years and over his 13 games this year, has converted over three-fourths of the shots attempted and has blocked nearly a shot every 10 minutes. He is what a backline defender is supposed look like and with how he has improved in recent months, it makes me a bit scared that we have him a little too low.
McDonald: I'm a big fan of Dwon Odom. I also like his decision to pick Xavier given his skill-set. I see Travis Steele putting the ball in his hands pretty early with the potential losses the Musketeers could have after this season, and there will be shooters around. Dwon is a great athlete, great at getting in the paint, and he can finish or find others in a position to score. If it were completely my call, he would be a good bit higher here.
The player I hope proves us right and he's not too high is....
Bossi: Josh Hall. I’m all in on the 6-foot-8 wing as a potential impact player in college and future NBA player. His ability to shoot with range, smooth athleticism and overall skill are just so impressive to me. Add in that he’s just scratching the surface and will only improve with strength and we could end up ahead of the curve by making him a five-star prospect. He’s got a lot of young Joe Johnson to his game.
Evans: Bryce Thompson. The now five-star guard is no stranger to Rivals.com as we have covered him heavily throughout his prep career, but the jump that he made this past spring was just ridiculous. No longer is Thompson an undersized, tweener 2-guard that shoots a streaky jumper but rather now a legitimate 6-foot-4 guard that can play either spot in the backcourt, shoot with accuracy and is a much-improved athlete. Throw in his amazing intangibles, strong work ethic and steady progressions as a ballplayer and his giant bump in the rankings is well-deserved.
Here’s to hoping that he proves us right with his now lofty ranking at No. 18 overall as I am sure that he will only continue to get better just knowing where he has come from in recent years.
McDonald: I didn't see him play this travel season, but I saw him quite a bit in the past. Thompson made a huge jump in this set of rankings, and by all accounts was great this spring. I'm just a little nervous we may have been too aggressive in his ranking, but his offer list would tell you otherwise. I'll be curious to see what he looks like next month at the Under Armour Finals.