Three-Point Play: Final 2019 rankings, USA U19, free agents
Today in the Three-Point-Play national analyst Eric Bossi takes a look at how reclassification has led to some tweaks in 2019’s final rankings. Also, a look at what appears to be emerging as a big three for USA Basketball’s U19 squad and how some of the top free agent signings ranked as high schoolers.
STARTING FIVE: July storylines to track
1. FINAL ADJUSTMENTS TO 2019 HAVE BEEN COMPLETED
It used to be that we released a final ranking for a class sometime in late April or early May of their senior year. After that, we didn’t need to make changes. But, in today’s era of reclassification, we’ve had to continue to tweak things as we go.
This year, we have decided that, moving forward, July 1 is going to be the last date that we will add anybody to the “final” rankings and because of that, recent Cincinnati pledge Zach Harvey and Marquette’s Symir Torrence have been added to the 2019 rankings. Of course, adding guys who you have been evaluating as members of one class is tricky because they are losing a year of expected development. Also, in the case of Harvey we are talking about someone who missed much of the season due to injury. So, we’ll be on the conservative side of things and enter Harvey in at No. 60 and Torrence in at No. 90 overall.
While discussing the inclusion of those two, we also got to talking about a few of the 2019 prospects who made big impressions on us at USA Basketball’s U19 tryouts in June. So, based on additional information and an extra chance to see them, we’ve decided that it is appropriate to give Arizona-bound big man Zeke Nnaji, Virginia-bound shooting guard Casey Morsell and Kansas State-bound shooting guard Dajuan Gordon bumps. Nnaji moves to five-star status at No. 22 overall while Morsell moves up to No. 49 and Gordon up to No. 71.
2. BIG THREE EMERGING FOR USA U19 SQUAD?
Not surprisingly, the Bruce Weber-coached USA Basketball U19 squad has come out firing in the FIBA World Cup. Through a pair of pool games the team is averaging over 106 points per game and shooting an impressive 56 percent from the field (despite making just 24 percent or so of their 3-point attempts) and at least through the early goings a big three of Iowa State sophomore Tyrese Haliburton, Mississippi State sophomore Reggie Perry and 2020’s No. 2 ranked Cade Cunningham has started to emerge.
Speaking of reclassification, Haliburton was actually bumped out of the final 2018 Rivals150 due to reclassification but even had be not been bumped, a spot in the very back end is proving to have been way too low. He looks like a potential All-Big 12 player and future NBA first-rounder while averaging an incredibly efficient 16 points, eight assists and two rebounds a game.
A former five-star prospect, Perry was beastly in the post during team tryouts and he’s continued that In Greece, averaging 15 points and eight rebounds per game while making over 56 percent of his field goal attempts.
As for Cunningham, well he’s continued doing everything he’s done all spring. Call him a point guard, call him a point forward, call him anything you want as long as you call him a stud. He’s done a little bit of everything while averaging 14.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.
3. LOOKING AT FREE AGENT WINNERS AS HIGH SCHOOLERS
As of late Monday afternoon, 10 players who played their high school ball in the United States have signed for free agent deals worth at least $100 million or more. So how did – in order of total dollar amounts on contract -- Klay Thompson (4/$190 million), Tobias Harris (5/$180 million), Khris Middleton (5/$178 million), Kevin Durant (4/$164 million), Jimmy Butler (4/$142 million), Kyrie Irving (4/$141 million), D’Angelo Russell (4/$117 million), Al Horford (4/$109 million) and Nikola Vucevic (4/$100 million) rank as high schoolers?
All but Russell actually came before my time with Rivals, but for the most part they ranked pretty highly and it’s always fun to look back and see where they ranked.
First, a look at the three who would be considered rankings outliers: Middleton, Butler and Vucevic. Middleton wasn’t a total unknown and ranked No. 140 overall in the class of 2009 before signing with Texas A&M. Vucevic was a three-star prospect in 2008 before signing with USC and then there’s Butler. Butler didn’t even have a profile coming out of high school and went to junior college. From JUCO he signed with Marquette as a unrated member of the class of 2008.
Then we have the four-stars. Thompson ranked No. 51 overall in the class of 2008 before heading to Washington State. Horford ranked No. 36 overall way back in the loaded class of 2004 before signing with Florida.
Finally, there are the five-stars. Durant was the second-ranked player in class of 2006 and the highest-ranked of the bunch, Russell, checked in at No. 18 overall in 2014. Those two, combined with Harris (No. 7 in 2010), Irving (No. 4 in 2010) and Walker (No. 14 in 2008), all had an average ranking among the top 10 nationally.