Rivals Rankings Week: Updated 2020 position rankings
The 2020 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.
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
What is your impression of the point guard group, and whose long-term potential stands out relative to his current ranking?
Bossi: What I’ve always liked most about this point guard group is that there are actually quite a few guys that we should be able to get to know. Maybe Cade Cunningham or Jalen Suggs (if he even goes to college) won’t be around Oklahoma State or Gonzaga long, but the number of early impact guys who are also likely to be multi-year players stands out. When it comes to potential versus current ranking, I really like the upside of Eric Gaines. He’s fairly unknown nationally, but the Atlanta area product is long, explosive and has huge upside.
Evans: It is deep! Cunningham sets the bar for what a next level point guard looks like, but let’s not slight how good Suggs, Daishen Nix, Caleb Love and Sharife Cooper will be at the next level and beyond. We haven’t discussed such others as Jeremy Roach, Andre Curbelo and Devin Askew, who will be rock stars in college.
If we are talking about guys that have great long-term potential compared to their current ranking, look no further than Hassan Diarra and KK Robinson. While they may might not be in the one-and-done mold, they have the toughness and capabilities to impact their respective college programs from day one. Texas A&M and Arkansas are going to be tough outs in SEC play in the coming years and it is going to be due to the talents of the pair of four-star guards.
McDonald: It's a really strong group. Several of these guys will make a big impact in college basketball next season. Deivon Smith is one that I could see out-performing his ranking. When I've seen him this year, he's looked like a more confident shooter, which has been a knock on him in the past. He's just such a good athlete and play-maker. He'll be a star at Mississippi State.
What is your impression of the shooting guards, and whose ranking do you believe most strongly in?
Bossi: This is probably my favorite position group of the 2020 class. It’s loaded with potential early difference-makers from up top to well into the 20s. Even though he’s missed much of his senior year with injury, I’m a big believer in what Tennessee signee Keon Johnson brings to the table as a five-star prospect and the No. 6 ranked shooting guard. He’s wildly athletic, can pass, is an elite defender and has made huge strides as a scorer. He’s going to be a good one.
Evans: It is deep with NBA-type of talent but also some that will lead great college careers early on. Everyone talks about Jalen Green, and rightfully so, but don’t underestimate how good Jaden Ivey can be at Purdue, Tramon Mark at Houston and Ty Berry at Northwestern. They might not be built in the ilk of the Greens’ of the world but they are going to impact a high-major program early on and in a major way.
Speaking about guys that I believe in, it all begins with Matt Murrell. Headed to Ole Miss, the four-star guard is going to be a stud in Oxford. He fits a major need and will play for a free-flowing coach in Kermit Davis; I wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t a top-15 freshmen scorer next year.
McDonald: There is some real star power at the top of this group, but also some pretty good depth as you work your way down the list. Green deserves that top spot though. He's been a headliner in the 2020 class for some time now and he continues to get better and better.
What is your overall impression of the small forward group, and who stands out to you as someone to keep a close eye on moving forward?
Bossi: I love the size of this group. There are a lot of big wings who have ideal size to play on the wing at the highest level. Even a relatively “short” small forward like Earl Timberlake has extremely long arms and is put together like a heavyweight boxer. The second highest ranked wing on the board who has yet to make his college choice, No. 16 Mwani Wilkinson has huge upside. He’s still relatively new to hoops and has made a huge climb from being unranked just nine months ago. He’ll soon choose between LSU, UNLV, USC and Vanderbilt.
Evans: This is where you find the shot-makers in the 2020 class. Whether it is Puff Johnson, Samson Ruzhentsev, Eugene Brown or C.J. Wilcher, there is a lot of value in the small forward spot whenever it comes to finding high-ceiling shooters that could evolve into 3-and-D guys down the road.
Speaking of someone that could have a better ceiling than most others and needs to be monitored, Eugene Brown is the guy. It is like clockwork with the state of Georgia. Every year, someone that might not be as highly-touted explodes onto the scene that calls the Peach State as home. Brown might be the guy from the 2020 class. He is a long and rangy wing that brings a competitive drive to the court, has improved athletically and, most of all, can really shoot the rock. Ohio State has a good one with the four-star senior.
McDonald:I like the length/skill/athleticism combination that you see with a lot of the prospects at the top of this group. Micah Peavy is the one I'll be watching closely. I like that he's the son of a coach and I trust Chris Beard's ability to maximize his great talent at Texas Tech.
What is your overall impression of the power forwards and who might be underrated?
Bossi: What I like about this group is that it is fairly representative of the way the game is headed at that position. There are many who would be considered undersized or “tweeners” but they are all versatile and capable of causing mismatch problems. I look at a guy like Tari Eason and can’t help but wonder how the entire West Coast didn’t go to battle for him. He’s long, he’s quick and he can put the ball on the floor. Going to Seattle and getting him was an impressive pull by Cincinnati.
Evans: There is a sure-fire guy atop in Scottie Barnes but it is more about the what-if factor with a number of those that fill out the remainder of the top-50. How good might JJ Traynor be at Louisville? Keon Ambrose-Hylton has looked spectacular at times but also needs to be more consistent; can Nate Oats get that out of him on a game-by-game basis? Woody Newton, Max Murrell and Isaiah Cottrell are similar in that, if they can maximize their talent base, could be a few late bloomers that make the power forward position stronger than what it appears at the moment.
If we are going the underrated route, give me Mikeal Brown-Jones. Sometimes, whenever we see someone so much and often, we don’t appreciate all that he can do and write off possible progress he has made with his game. I have a feeling we may have done that with the VCU signee. He is going to be a standout on Broad Street where he brings toughness to the floor, versatility along the frontline and buys into the role set out for him.
McDonald: This is the group that is the hardest to rank. There are a lot of different types of players in this group and I could see things playing out a lot of different ways as they move to college. It's hard to call the No. 3 prospect at a position underrated, but I wouldn't be surprised one bit if Kentucky signee Isaiah Jackson is the best player in this group long term. I love his upside.
What is your overall impression of the centers? Bigs tend to develop at a slower pace. Whose recent improvement has caught your eye?
Bossi: Top to bottom I would consider this a relatively fair to mediocre group at the five spot. Even at the top there are some pretty big question marks and I can see the development of these guys going in any direction. I like the direction Duke signee Mark Williams is headed. He’s always had size, length and athleticism but has been kind of a gentle giant. He’s starting to unlock some nasty in his game, which could be huge going forward.
Evans: Worrisome, to say the least. Yes, they do develop later in the process compared to others but there is some cause for concern regarding the depth headed to the college game. Sure, Evan Mobley is unicorn-esque, Day’Ron Sharpe is going to be a monster at North Carolina, and I loved the physicality that Cliff Omoruyi and Mady Sissoko bring to the floor. But the center crop needs time to develop before they consistently impact the next level.
One that could impact a high-major program earlier than expected is John Hugley. The Rivals150 prospect has done a good job of getting into better shape and because of it, has become much more productive during his senior season. Seeing that Pitt needs a lot of help in the frontcourt and that Jeff Capel has yet to have a big man that he can throw the ball to in the low-block area, Hugley should be an integral member of the Panthers’ ascent in the ACC beginning next fall.
McDonald: This is always the toughest group to rank once you get beyond the first few prospects, but there will be several guys here that will be productive college players. There doesn't seem to be as many prospects here that we are banking heavily on potential over production.
I've liked the development I've seen from Walker Kessler since last year around this time. He's always been highly skilled both in his ability to score inside and with his jump shot from deep, but athleticism has been the knock on him. In my viewings of him this year, he looks like he's running much better, which is huge if you're going to play for Roy Williams, and he's moving better laterally.