Rivals Rankings Week: Roundtable on updated top 75 in 2022 class
There’s no surprise in the class of 2022 as Emoni Bates keeps his hold on the No. 1 spot. However, this sophomore class isn’t just about Bates and it is looking like a strong one as we expand from a top 50 to top 75.
We have six new five-star prospects in this update. Sweet-shooting wing Caleb Houstan of Montverde (Fla.) Academy earned his fifth star while moving up from No. 21 to No. 5 overall and Texas combo guard Keyonte George gets a fifth star as well after climbing all the way from No. 31 to No. 9. Making the highest debut and earning a fifth star is Texas big man Lee Dort, who enters the rankings at No. 16. Others earning their fifth star are Kansas wing Mark Mitchell (No. 13), Tennessee wing Brandon Miller (No. 14) and Arizona power forward Sadraque Nganga (No. 15).
RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK
MONDAY: Updated 2020 Rivals150
TUESDAY: Updated 2020 position rankings
WEDNESDAY: Updated 2021 Rivals150
THURSDAY: Updated 2021 position rankings
FRIDAY: Updated class of 2022 top 75
The next highest debut in the rankings is made by athletic Dallas point guard Arterio Morris, who debuts at No. 25 overall. Also debuting in the top 50 are D.C.-area big man Favour Aire (No. 43), Virginia wing Justin Taylor (No. 45), Pennsylvania four man Dereck Lively (No. 47) and Florida forward Eric Dailey (No. 49).
Things are still early and much will change with this class over the years as we see more players. Stay tuned later in the spring when the 2022 rankings will be expanded to a top 100.
Emoni Bates has received a lot of attention in the class of 2022. How good do you think he is and what is your overall impression of the class?
Bossi: So far, the 6-foot-8 wing at Ypsilanti (Mich.) Lincoln is living up to all of the hype that I and pretty much anybody else who covers high school hoops has heaped on him. It’s pretty impressive, too, because we’ve probably set an unfair standard for him to live up to. Still, my mind hasn’t changed that he’s as good as I have ever seen at this stage in his development.
Overall, I’m pretty excited about this class and it is shaping up to be one that is above average, particularly when it comes to depth. Normally when we try to make the move from a top 50 to a top 75 we have a hard time coming up with names to fill out the list. This time around it was not a problem at all, and I think we could have put together a nice top 100 if needed.
Evans: Bates is quite the prospect and there is good reason why a number of the veteran analysts in the business have called him one of the best that they have ever seen at his age. I do worry about the fragility of his body, but his talent and aura are legitimate. Bates is special, and there is no use prodding where there is no glaring hole to be found.
As a class, I absolutely love it. There is depth and then more depth. While the class of 2021 has left more to be desired, the sophomore group has a chance to be special. There are three elite, can't-miss prospects that sit at the top, but there are many promising guards, wings, athletes, shooters and big men that make for a promising future with the 2022 class.
McDonald: Bates is a crazy talent. I hate comparing high school kids to NBA stars, but he has so much Kevin Durant to him with his size and skill level along with his body control. The other two have seen way more of this class than I have, but it looks like a class with a lot of star power at the top. It looks like a group that will have NBA scouts super excited before long.
These guys are young and relatively unknown. Who is a non five-star who you feel has potential to become a major name in the class? How is his early recruitment?
Bossi: I’m the only person on the team who has had a chance to see Dallas (Texas) Kimball point guard Arterio Morris play and I’m all in that he can be a star at some point down the road. That’s why he debuts in the top 25. At 6-foot-4, he has great size, he is a big-time athlete and he’s a mean and nasty competitor. I’ve written in the past that physically he reminds me quite a bit of a young John Wall and he’s averaging over 20 points and 7 assists per game this season.
Evans: I really, really like what Justin Taylor has developed into and what he can become, especially keeping in mind the need for good-sized shot-makers. Getting a first look at the four-star wing in July on the travel circuit, Taylor reaffirmed my original thoughts of him in December, and then added onto them. Taylor is someone that can take his man off of the bounce, create for others, finish at the basket and defend either wing position.
No high majors have offered yet but seeing that he calls Charlottesville, Virginia, home, it shouldn't take long before the local Wahoos are be the team to beat when the time comes for his college commitment.
McDonald: I'd go with Bruce Thornton here, in large part because he's the one I've seen the most of. He has everything you could want in a point guard. He has good size at 6-foot-2 with a really strong frame. He's a capable and efficient scorer but he's also really good at setting up his teammates. Defensively, he's able to lock down opposing guards. He may not have the same ceiling as others, but I think he could be an Ashton Hagans type of college player.
Is there a position that stands out to you as one of strength in 2022? Why?
Bossi: I feel really good about the point and combo guards in this class. At No. 4 overall, Dior Johnson is a wizard with the ball who has incredible skill. It’s not just him, either, as this ranking update is loaded with future floor generals capable of making a big impact at the next level and beyond. For some of these guys, we will have to see if they end up as points or transition to shooting guards. For example, No. 9 overall Keyonte George is very similar to a young D’Angelo Russell and could be considered a point or shooting guard depending on preference - but the group is strong.
Evans: There are loads of quality guards outside of the upper-crust. But, for now, the strength of the class is in the bigger wings and versatile forwards. Emoni Bates, of course, sets the bar, but not too far behind him is Chris Livingston, followed by others such as Caleb Houstan, Jarace Walker. Then, there are intriguing players such as Dariq Whitehead, Mark Mitchell and Sadraque Nganga.
The 2022 class reflects what the game has become which, added in with the talent level that some of the best possess, should bring a fair share of heavily coveted prospects to the table in the coming years.
McDonald: A lot of this is dependent on how you classify positions for several of these guys, but small forward looks like the deepest group. Bates at the very top is obviously the headliner, but there are several behind him that are really good, too.
The potential of the NBA eliminating the one-and-done rule looms large for 2022. What impact could it have on the players and schools recruiting them?
Bossi: Obviously, the top programs are going to get talent. Duke and Kentucky aren’t all of a sudden going to stop landing the best players because the 10 to 15 guys that would normally be focused on as one-and-done players are entering the NBA Draft. But, if the bluebloods aren’t spending more time recruiting the top 25 to top 75 types early on (and in 2021 as well, to build some depth), they are setting themselves up for a rough transition period.
If the NBA goes ahead and allows high school players to enter the NBA Draft, don’t be surprised if the floodgates open. From conversations I’ve had it wouldn’t be a surprise if as many as 25 or 30 players tried to go straight to the NBA, and I fear there are many kids and families who aren’t putting nearly enough emphasis on grades and studying the schools recruiting them because they think the NBA is going to happen. It is something that I hope the NCAA will be proactive about and put a plan in place to deal with the fallout if there are a bunch of undrafted high school seniors kicking about come late June 2022.
Evans: I don’t see the 2022 class being allowed to enter the NBA Draft right away, but the decision continues to hover over everyone’s heads. While the wait remains, it could also impact many of the best from reclassifying. I don’t see anyone making the decision to reclassify to 2021 if they would be allowed to jump directly to the NBA in 2022. If the rule remains intact, though, I expect there to be a heavy load of reclassifications, and all within a similar time frame, as most will wait out the process and see what Adam Silver has to say.
On the college side, expect coaches to pinpoint multiple-year college standouts who don’t yet appear good enough to make the leap directly out of college. This will even go for some of the bluebloods, and they have already been preparing. Case in point: Look at what Duke and Kentucky accomplished in the fall when they enrolled Wendell Moore and Dontaie Allen, respectively.
McDonald: It's going to be a lot like other adjustments coaches have had to make over the last few years. Transfers have become a bigger part of the sport, especially graduate transfers. The schools that embraced that and figured out how to make it work the quickest had great success. It will be the same with kids going straight to the NBA.