Rivals Rankings Week: Updated 2019 position rankings
The 2019 positional rankings have all been updated. National analysts Eric Bossi, Corey Evans and Dan McDonald give their impressions of each group and point to various reasons that top players stand out.
CLASS OF 2019
What is your impression of the point guard group and whose long-term potential stands out relative to his current ranking?
Bossi: I’m headed into my 20th year in the business and I’ll just say that this isn’t the strongest group of point guards that I have seen. There are some serious athletes, but not a lot of great jump shooters or decision-makers.
That being said, I keep coming back to a viewing of Stanford-bound Tyrell Terry earlier this season. His skill, feel for the game and shot-making stand out, but he’s got to get much stronger. I’m not sure about his immediate impact – especially with Daejon Davis there as a junior – but Terry has some Trae Young flashes to him and could develop into an upper-echelon Pac-12 point guard.
Evans: There just is not a lot of premier talent that the NBA scouts are going to fall in love with, but there sure is loads of college contributors early on that should lead three- or four-year careers beginning next fall. Depth is not lacking for college-ready types once you get past the first few names, one of them being Mika Adams-Woods. The Nebraska commit has been really good this winter and while I had questions regarding his ability to be more of a playmaker compared to a score-first type, he has squelched such concerns. He is a quick-twitch, tough-minded and good-sized point guard that should leave a quick imprint out in Lincoln next season especially with Glynn Watson graduating after this season.
McDonald: As a whole, it's a pretty good class. The one prospect who could really outplay his ranking is Tre Mann. I know he's No. 4 overall, but it really wouldn't surprise me if he's the best of this bunch long term. He's an effortless scorer with size and a good feel for making plays. He's going to be a really good one for Mike White.
What is your impression of the shooting guards and whose ranking do you believe most strongly in?
Bossi: This is a pretty solid group of shooting guards, with 37 of them making the Rivals150 and at least another five or six who came very close.
After thinking that he may have leveled off and that he could be headed for a bit of a drop coming out of the summer, I am impressed with what Bryan Antoine has done. He’s earned that No. 2 spot among shooting guards. He’s added some strength, playing with more effort on both ends of the floor and looks ready to provide a good bit of the scoring that Villanova is going to lose when Phil Booth leaves.
Evans: There is so many flavors throughout with scorers in Anthony Edwards and Rocket Watts, potential lockdown defenders in Scottie Lewis and Josh Green, and likely college stars that could re-write the record books at their respective college stops in Justin Moore, Casey Morsell and Dahmir Bishop.
Speaking of Morsell, this is the one guy that could become the face of Virginia basketball for years to come. Just as Kyle Guy made a name for himself from his first game on in Charlottesville, Morsell will do just the same. He is a long-armed, competitive and intangible-filled prospect that fits the ethos of all that Tony Bennett wants in his top guys. If anything, Morsell deserves to be higher thanks to the tremendous resume that he has put together throughout his years on the high school and travel circuits.
McDonald: I like this shooting guard group a lot. There is strong star power at the top and good depth. I personally feel strongest about Edwards being where is at the top. He's the best player in the country, period. He's an elite scorer, a freaky physically, and he makes others around him better. I could actually see him playing more at PG in the long run like a Russell Westbrook and/or James Harden.
What is your impression of the small forward group and who looks like the best fit among signed/committed prospects?
Bossi: There is some real balance and versatility to this group. I really like the blend of skill guys with athletic drivers and dudes who can play as either big wings or small ball fours. Looking at fit for the next level, C.J. Walker and Oregon jump off the page to me. Dana Altman loves long, athletic and interchagable forwards and he loves to run a press when he can. I think about Walker covering ground and disrupting on the front of the press and then finishing lobs on the offensive end and I see a guy who can walk in and be an instant fit and have a high chance for early success because of it.
Evans: The toughness and upside with some of the small forwards in the 2019 class is what stands out. Kahlil Whitney, Walker and Isaac Okoro are just a few that should become household names next season but have even more untapped potential to do just the same at the NBA level. There is also a number of likely college standouts found further down the list in the mold of Jaime Jacquez, Chris Ledlum and Cole Bajema, who all display plus versatility.
Finding the right fit is crucial, which should only enhance the value of Wendell Moore. I love all that he brings to the floor and with the potential of Tre Jones, Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett leaving for the NBA, Moore’s ultra-broad skillset will be put to good use quickly thanks to his all-encompassing abilities where he can play up to three positions.
McDonald: There isn't the same fire power at the top with this group, but it is another position where there is a healthy amount of players that will be productive in the college ranks.
Since the day he committed, I have thought Dontaie Allen to Kentucky makes a ton of sense. He gives John Calipari somebody that will stay around a few years and score a lot of buckets, and it is going to be a cool story for a Kentucky kid to be the leading scorer of a really good Kentucky team when he's an upperclassman.
What is your impression of the power forwards and who do you think might be underrated?
Bossi: As teams look to play smaller and stretch the floor, this is a group that fits that as I see several guys who can face up and shoot – or at least attack off the dribble – and several who could slide a spot over and play as mobile, skilled centers.
Especially considering the type of big numbers E.J. Liddell is capable of putting up as a collegian, I think we could look back and feel that he was underrated when it comes to college impact. I see a future All-Big Ten player and perhaps a conference player of the year before his time in Columbus is through.
Evans: It is rather thin and we are beginning to see the advent of small ball trickle down more and more. The power forwards within the rankings come in the face-up variety compared to the back-to-the-basket types that are put to use best within the half-court structure and from the high-post in.
I have been leading the Greg Gantt bandwagon for over a year now. He is sitting outside of the top-10 at the power forward spot and the jump that he has made within his game this winter has caught my eye immensely. Throw in that he is heading to a super strong culture at Providence that prides itself on its skill development and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him out-produce a number of others ranked above him.
McDonald: I like this power forward group because I see some really good players coming and a lot of variety. You have the high upside stretch 4 type in Jaden McDaniels, the point forward type in Trendon Watford, the more traditional big men like Trayce Jackson-Davis and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, and everything in between.
The one I fear could be underrated is Zeke Nnaji. I love the energy he plays with and his skill level is always improving.
What is your impression of the center group and who is under the most pressure to produce?
Bossi: The positional size really stands out to me. We aren’t talking about a group of undersized guys. We are looking at plenty of big and strong kids who will be ready physically when they step on campus.
As for having the most pressure, I don’t see any answer to this other than James Wiseman. The city of Memphis is in a basketball frenzy right now and they are expecting Wiseman to come in and put up big numbers and along with coach Penny Hardaway lead the Tigers back to national relevance.
Evans: There is a giant drop-off once you get beyond the 10-15 ranking range whenever it comes to talent level and upside.
One of those we know more than enough about is Wiseman, a prospect that has the entire city of Memphis nestled on his shoulders. Fair or not, much will be expected out of him beginning with his first day on campus. Wiseman is a superb college and NBA-level prospect but many Memphis fans are clamoring for him to be their savior. That is a little too much to expect out of an 18-year old kid, but in due time, Wiseman, along with a budding talent of underclassmen, should collectively put the Tigers’ on track for an NCAA Tournament appearance next season.
McDonald: True post players are always the hardest to find, but there are four really good ones at the top of this class. Vernon Carey, Wiseman, Isaiah Stewart and Armando Bacot all have really bright futures.
The most pressure is on Carey because I don't think it's that big of a gap separating him from the others and he is the one at the top. Combined with the fact he'll be playing at Duke coming in after Williamson and Barrett, he'll need to be ready to go from Day 1.