Starting Five: Rankings week primer
The high school season has reached a midway point and the Rivals team has spent all winter traveling around the country checking on talent. So, it's time to update the rankings from the classes of 2018, 2019 and 2020.
1. BATTLE FOR NO. 1 IN 2018 IS GOING TO COME DOWN TO THE WIRE
We've been discussing it plenty over the last couple of weeks, but it's looking like the race for the No. 1 spot in the class of 2018 is going to come down to the wire. Because as things stand, there's no one player who has a clear claim to the No. 1 spot.
Current No. 1 R.J. Barrett remains the favorite and the spot is going to be his to lose. He's skilled, he's productive and he's physical. Look for him to make an instant impact at Duke. Current No. 2 Zion Williamson has been out much of the year with an injury and could still make a run once he's back healthy and No. 3 Bol Bol who is headed to Oregon could make a legit claim as well.
However, the stiffest competition that Barrett is facing at the moment is looking like it is going to come from his future teammate and fellow elite wing prospect Cameron Reddish. The 6-foot-7 do-it-all wing has been sensational as a senior and is putting some serious heat on the top spot.
2. NEW FIVE-STARS IN 2018?
At this point we've been watching the class of 2018 for almost four years. We've learned a lot about the class over the years but as time goes on and we get closer to a final ranking, we are seeing fewer and fewer big moves. This time around, though, there should be some new five-stars emerging when we update the 2018 rankings on Tuesday.
Now, it's not going to be a huge number, but look for at least two or three players to make the move from four to five-star territory. One of the leading candidates to make the jump is North Carolina-bound combo guard Coby White, who has been a scoring machine this winter. Others receiving strong consideration include -- but are not limited to -- LSU-bound point guard Javonte Smart, Iowa State-bound shooting guard Talen Horton-Tucker, Michigan-bound forward Ignas Brazdeikis and USC-bound shooting guard Kevin Porter, to name a few.
3. 2018 WILL SEE A HANDFUL OF NEW PLAYERS ENTER THE RANKINGS
Piggybacking off of the previous point about making the move to five-star status, it gets harder and harder to crack the rankings as time goes by. The pool of rankable players continually grows and it isn't as much about proving oneself worthy of a spot in the final rankings as it is taking somebody else's spot.
This time around look for at least six or seven players to debut in the 2018 Rivals150. I'll go ahead and give away one -- West Virginia-bound guard Trey Doomes is a lock to make his way into the rankings.
4. SHAKEUP COMING IN 2019?
If one class is going to experience a pretty major shakeup, it's going to be the class of 2019. Don't look for a lot of change at the very top because it is looking like Vernon Carey Jr. has earned the right to keep the top spot in the rankings. However, if we go much past him there's going to be a lot of movement when 2019 gets updated on Wednesday.
The junior year is a crucial one. At this point we are looking for more production and giving less benefit of the doubt for perceived potential. It's becoming put up or shut up time and we are going to lean in the direction of those who are putting up in most cases. On top of that, at this age players are still going through major swings in ability and growth spurts, so that means there will be much more movement in the junior class rankings than there will the senior class.
5. 2020 RANKINGS WILL EXPAND
The process of building out the rankings to a true Rivals150 isn't an easy one. Currently, Jalen Green headlines the class of 2020, which we have only ranked out to a top 50.
On Thursday, we'll be expanding the rankings for the sophomore class out to a top 75. That means there will be lots of new names for recruiting fans to learn about and it gives us the opportunity to try and get ahead of the curve on some young prospects that we feel strongly about.
Look for the 2020 rankings to expand to a top 150 by the end of the summer.