Rivals Rankings Week: Roundtable on updated Rivals150 for 2019
UPDATED: 2019 Rivals150
The 2019 Rivals150 has been given a winter refresh and Duke-bound big man Vernon Carey Jr. remains on top by the slimmest of margins. What were the toughest decisions, whose rankings came with the most conviction and more from analysts Eric Bossi, Corey Evans and Dan McDonald.
THE TOUGHEST DECISION FOR ME IN THIS RANKING WAS ...
Bossi: There were a few things for me. In my mind, the top seven have separated themselves from the pack. After them, there is minimal difference between the next 20-25 players and they could be ranked in almost any order. I don’t know that this is the strongest class I’ve ever covered, but because there are so many similar prospects we’ve ended up with a few more five-stars than usual this year.
The other issue I found tough is that there are a number of players that have transferred around, been hurt for extended periods of time or in the case of USC-bound Drake London, signed a football scholarship. How do we fairly rank some of these guys? When it’s getting to a year or longer where we’ve haven't had any real look, ranking is problematic. So, there were some players removed from the rankings and left as non-ranked four-stars rather than just throwing darts to place them in the Rivals150.
Evans: Not giving Jahmius Ramsey his fifth star. Texas Tech's highest-ranked signee of the Rivals.com era, I love all that Ramsey has in his game. He is a more than solid competitor that can facilitate for his team in the half-court, provide scoring punch off of the bounce and defend three positions in the backcourt. Ramsey’s jump-shooting abilities remain the biggest question mark. He is on the right path to getting that figured out, and I would rather worry about fixing a prospect's shot instead of his capacity to compete. But in today’s game, with shot-making at such a premium, a tough decision had to be made about Ramsey's ranking.
McDonald: I've been intrigued by the debate between Vernon Carey and James Wiseman for a while now. They are very different prospects. With Wiseman, the bet is on the long-term upside. Carey is the more dominant player right now. Depending on which one of them I watched most recently and how they played in that viewing, my opinion could change on who I like more. I can't wait to see how their college and NBA careers play out.
THE REASON I BELIEVE IN THIS PROSPECT'S RANKING IS ...
Bossi: At Rivals, we’ve always ranked Samuell Williamson higher than the rest of the industry. Now, he’s moved all the way up to No. 25 and is a five-star prospect. The more I see him, the more I love his combination of size, skill and aspects of his game that look like they will translate to the highest level someday. Many want to make a Jayson Tatum comparison, but I see maybe a bit more Kris Middleton in him. Either way, you get the idea. Louisville is getting a potential star.
Evans: Lester Quinones sits as one of the top available wing prospects this winter at No. 44 and I still don't understand why some of the country’s best have not pursued him further. He is a good sized, tough-mind and dual-threat offensive weapon that can really shoot it. LSU and St. John’s are the most talked about with Quinones. I could see few others enter the picture late in the process but either way, he has earned his ranking and my belief in him has not wavered.
McDonald: I could have used this guy for the next topic, but I was a big fan of Dontaie Allen last summer. He is such a talented scorer and he is a really productive player. I think we could have gone a little higher than No. 55 with him because will do great at Kentucky. As an upperclassman, I see him as the type of player that could lead the SEC in scoring.
THE PROSPECT I FEAR WE HAVE TOO LOW IS ...
Bossi: Sheesh, I’ve got a couple of guys in mind but I’m going to go with Jaden McDaniels at No. 6. It didn’t help his cause that he had relatively “down” games when we were able to see him so far this winter. But, as I sit here and think long term and the highest level, I see a guy that to me is a better version of Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac. Isaac is just starting to find his groove in the NBA and I see McDaniels with a similar body, athleticism and way more skill at this juncture. When it gets to McDonald’s All-American Game time, I really hope McDaniels and the others show up to compete because we are headed to a shakeup at the top of the rankings before it’s all over.
Evans: Is No. 5 too low for Isaiah Stewart? Man, this dude is the one of the most consistent competitors that I have ever covered. Headed to Washington, the Rochester native is going to bring a lunch pail sort of mentality and become a fan favorite from the first minute that he steps foot onto campus.
I see why Vernon Carey, James Wiseman, Cole Anthony and Anthony Edwards sit ahead of the top-five center, but whenever it comes to efficiency in the post, defeating the elite and raising one’s basketball ceiling, no one has done it better throughout the years than Stewart. In a recruiting cycle where questions remain as to who from this class will make it at the next level, is there a more sure bet than Stewart? Combine DeJuan Blair with Elton Brand and what do you get? An absolute beast!
McDonald: It is only one spot, but I feel really strongly about Anthony Edwards being the top player in the class and all of high school basketball. I have held this opinion since somewhere in the middle of last travel season. He'll make the biggest impact of any of the incoming freshman next year in college hoops and he will be the best NBA player from the class.
THE PROSPECT I HOPE PROVES US RIGHT AND HE'S NOT TOO HIGH IS ...
Bossi: This class isn’t a sure thing when it comes to predicting high level pros, but No. 10 Jeremiah Robinson-Earl has the skill and rebounding to make the pros. But, the reason he’s in our top 10 is because looking at the top players in the country, he looks to be as college ready as they come and is walking into an excellent opportunity to be great from the moment he arrives at Villanova. He’s been the best player for a loaded IMG team all winter and has earned his spot in the upper echelon of the 2019 class.
Evans: I hope Pat Williams rewards us with where we have him at No. 26. Maybe we are ahead of the curve here or we see something that others do not but there is too much talent, upside and versatility for Williams to not succeed at the next level and beyond.
Headed to Florida State next fall, the five-star prospect stands at 6-foot-7, boasts a 7-foot wingspan, is a more than capable defender and athlete, and can even run some point. There is loads of Caris Levert in the future FSU star and the wealth of potential and value with him makes me believe that Williams is more than deserving of his placement among the elite in his class.
McDonald: I would say Will Baker at No. 21. For whatever reason, I just never saw him play that well, but I trust that he can play given the way my peers think about him and the way college coaches recruited him. There are a few guys we have behind him that I really liked and that I would probably have ahead of him if the rankings were solely up to me.