Top talent chasing Ayton in 2017 rankings
Dominant big man DeAndre Ayton may lay claim to the top spot in Rivals.com's first ranking of the class of 2017. But he's not the only major young talent, and nobody behind him is conceding the top spot to Ayton so early.
Nipping closest at the heels of Ayton is Las Vegas (Nev.) Centennial's Troy Brown. A 6-foot-6 point guard who only turned 15 two months ago, Brown is an immensely talented prospect in his own right. He has the ball handling skills, patience and feel of a much older player and the size of a small forward. Brown makes jumpers to beyond the three-point line, he plays fast in transition and he has the size and strength to finish through contact around the rim.
Not that Brown needs any validation, the fact that he already has offers from programs such as Arizona, Duke, Kansas (where his sister is a sophomore on the women's team), USC and UCLA speaks to his talent level.
Checking in at No. 3 is Jarred Vanderbilt. A 6-foot-8 combo forward at Houston (Texas) Victory Christian, Vanderbilt has already proven his merit against older players. During the spring and summer he competed on the 17U level with the Houston Hoops and was a very productive player in Nike's highly competitive Elite Youth Basketball League. An inside out player with length, athleticism and ball handling ability, Vanderbilt is somewhat similar in style to a young Lamar Odom.
The nation's heartland is home to the No. 4 ranked player. Six-foot-7 small forward Michael Porter of Columbia (Mo.) Father Tolton is probably the most skilled scorer in the class. Blessed with a picture-perfect jump shot, graceful athleticism and an advanced skill level, Porter can score at the rim, from mid-range and from deep. Highly efficient, he doesn't need a lot of shots to do his damage, and it is no surprise to see that he is the son of a coach. His father, Michael Sr., is an assistant for Missouri's women's program.
Rounding out the top five is 7-footer Zach Brown from Miami (Fla.) Miami Beach. While Brown isn't a high-flying athlete, the southpaw has great hands, seeks out contact and is a true back to the basket low post player. He secures rebounds with both hands at the highest point and finishes around the rim with either hand.
The cousin of NBA point guard Ray Felton, South Carolina's Jalek Felton is a gifted young point guard. Predisposed to attempting plays with a high degree of difficulty, Felton is a sleek athlete with 6-foot-3 size and big-time instincts. He can put it into cruise control a little too often, but has plenty of time to learn.
A pair of tall an lean scorers check in at No. 7 and No. 8. Six-foot-7 small forward Brian Bowen from Saginaw (Mich.) Arthur Hill has soft touch and deep range on his jumper. Standing 6-foot-8, combo forward Billy Preston of Redondo Beach (Calif.) Redondo Union is an inside-out scorer with deep range who proved over the summer with the Compton Magic's 17U team that he can compete and score at a high level.
Six-foot-3 combo guard Trevon Duval of Newark (N.J.) St. Benedict's is another young player who has proven himself against older players. A physical off-the-dribble scorer, he can run a team or play off the ball as a primary scoring option. Finally, 6-foot-7, 225-pound combo forward Cody Riley of Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon is one of the most physically impressive players in the class. Strong and athletic, he can score in the post and has already proven himself to be a very respectable jump shooter.
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