Rivals Rankings Week: Roundtable on final 2019 rankings
Making the biggest leap to five-star status in the final rankings is Texas Tech-bound guard Jahmius Ramsey. Formerly ranked No. 32 overall, Ramsey finishes at No. 21 overall. Another Texan joins Ramsey as the only new five-star in the 2019 rankings, No. 6 R.J. Hampton. But Hampton’s five-star rating is just a matter of him moving from the 2020 class, where he was already a five-star, to 2019.
Also making a big move was Kansas State shooting guard signee Dajuan Gordon who had a monster senior year at Chicago (Ill.) Curie allowing him to move up 39 spots from No. 144 to No. 105. Future teammates who made a nice move were Oklahoma State-bound four-stars Avery Anderson and Kalib Boone who rose a combined 31 spots to No. 109 and No. 111 respectively.
Between players reclassifying from 2020 to 2019 and players fighting their way into the rankings, there are a total of nine new prospects in the final Rivals150. The previously mentioned Hampton makes the highest debut at No. 6 but of the players who didn’t reclassify their way into 2019, shooting guard Nah’Shon Hyland makes the biggest splash, debuting at No. 91 overall.
Leading the movers inside of the Rivals150, skilled forward Tristan Enaruna of Mt. Pleasant (Utah) Wasatch Valley made the biggest climb moving up 61 spots from No. 105 to No. 44.
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.
1. The toughest decision in the ranking for me was...
Bossi: Picking James Wiseman for the top spot was pretty easy to me. He has great upside, great size, athleticism and has significantly improved his skill level over the last year. I’ve been in favor of him being our No. 1 guy for a year or so now. Conversely, dropping Vernon Carey Jr. from the top spot to No. 5 was the hardest decision to make. Because of injury, Carey didn’t get to show what he was capable of during the post season All-Star circuit. In a class where the top five or six players were pretty close to equal in our eyes, we had to compare early winter Carey to spring versions of the guys who ended up ranked above him and because of that he slipped some.
Evans: Honestly, who is No. 1 and how to order the top five or even the top 10. Wiseman has been the prospect that many within the industry have tabbed as the best in the 2019 class, but it wasn’t until recently that he began to play with a consistent motor. Carey has been hampered some by injuries, then you have the two reclassified guards in Anthony Edwards and Hampton. Cole Anthony has never been short on production throughout his high school career and the same could be said for Isaiah Stewart, who may be the most sure-fire guy of them all.
Do you go with the hope that Wiseman will figure it all out or with steady producers such as Stewart or Anthony? The Rivals150 is complete, but not without major headaches caused by the top guys being so closely tangled together.
McDonald: What to do with Jaden McDaniels was really tough to figure out. Watching him in the EYBL last year I remember thinking he had as much upside as anybody in the class with his size and skill combination. At the McDonald's All-American Game practices, though, he did very little to stand out in the time I watched and looked a little overwhelmed. I still think he could turn into a really good player, but he's just a tough one to project.
2. The reason I believe in this player's ranking....
Bossi: Ever since I first saw Louisville-bound wing Samuell Williamson swishing home mid-range and deep jump shots between his sophomore and junior seasons I’ve been a big proponent of his game. I remain an advocate as he’s grown to at least 6-foot-7, gotten more athletic and continued to round out his game. He has poise, skill, size, athleticism andeventually a career in the NBA if he continues on his current track.
Evans: Patrick Williams is going to be a star. I think we are ahead of the curve with the Charlotte native and he is going to prove us right thanks to his physical tangibles and mental makeup. While freshmen can oftentimes struggle in a way during their initial season at Florida State, Williams is heading to a place that has come to covet multi-positional wings and forwards and instills discipline and toughness into their players.
He is a true wing at 6-foot-7 with long arms who can play on the ball as a secondary playmaker and defend all over the place. Players in the mold of Williams are favored in today’s game which is why I believe so much in his top-20 ranking.
McDonald: Consider me a big Scottie Lewis fan. Florida fans are going to love him as long as he's in Gainesville. He plays with as much energy as anybody in the class and seems like a great teammate. He still has to tighten up his perimeter skills, but he has the potential to have a long NBA career because he will improve his ball-handling and shooting to combine with his great defense and intangibles. There were times in the McDonald's All-American Game practices where Lewis looked like the best player on the court just because he competes so hard.
3. The player I fear we may have too low is....
Bossi: Put me down for Jalen Wilson here. The Michigan-bound combo forward isn’t exactly rated low at No. 47 overall, but I would have been comfortable with him being another 10-15 spots higher. I love his fit at Michigan because he can shoot, fits the mold of floor stretching four men who have had success there and because I’m a believer in the job that John Beilein and his staff do in developing players.
Evans: Vernon Carey. The big man out of South Florida was the top-ranked prospect here at Rivals for quite some time and while he has dropped to the fifth spot in the completed Rivals150, it says more about the four above him compared to anything he might have done wrong.
There is a reason for why we backed Carey so much in recent years. He is a 6-foot-10 big man with an inside-out game, impeccable hands around the basket and is an underrated playmaker in the frontcourt. Throw in the fact that he will be leaned upon heavily at Duke next year in replacing Zion Williamson and what you have is a potential gamechanger who can wreak havoc from 20-feet and in. I would not be surprised, when we look back on these rankings in a few years, that Carey was the best.
McDonald: Sometimes this question can depend on what program a kid picks. I happen to think Malik Hall made a great college decision and will be a star for Tom Izzo at Michigan State. He's exactly what a college 4-man looks like these days because he can truly play both inside and out on the perimeter and he's somewhere in the 6-7/6-8 range. He'll make an early impact there and become one of the better players in Big Ten before long.
4. The player I hope proves us right and he's not too high is....
Bossi: Harlond Beverly. I could have been talked into going even higher than No. 42 on the Miami-bound guard who is originally from Michigan. Beverly was not good last summer and looked to be on the decline and I worried he would get lost in the shuffle at a powerhouse like Montverde (Fla.) Academy as a senior. Beverly didn’t sink and instead swam like Michael Phelps in his prime as he blossomed into a high scoring guard with athleticism and confidence. I won’t be at all surprised if he ends making an All-ACC team before he finishes up in Coral Gables.
Evans: Isaiah Stewart. There was actually a strong argument for having Stewart as the No. 1 prospect in America this spring but his No. 2 ranking is well-earned. He has been the steadiest and most consistent of producers in the 2019 class for the past four years. Many want to pick him apart for his lower ceiling of sorts but each time you watch him, he displays an added nuance that he had never showcased. Bigs in his ilk have become less desirable, but that doesn’t mean he won’t find a way to make it. He has the chance to win player of the year honors in the Pac-12 next season as a freshman and the hope is that he will prove us right with his second overall ranking in the 2019 class.
McDonald: I'll go with the guy we have No. 1, James Wiseman. Admittedly, I haven't seen him as much as Corey or Eric, but I have seen a good bit of him. I see the talent level and the upside, but I've never really seen him put it together and dominate a game. In most but not all cases, you start to see it around now if it's coming. I worry that we have guys behind him like Anthony Edwards and Cole Anthony that we'll see make huge impacts on their schools next year and who could go on to have better NBA careers.