Updated 2021 Rivals150 rankings: Kuminga stays No. 1
Kuminga headlines a class where there isn’t too much change since we last compiled rankings in mid-January. Smooth and skilled forward Patrick Baldwin Jr. from the Milwaukee area comes in at No. 2 while Seattle big Paolo Banchero, Minnesota 7-footer Chet Holmgren and Atlanta four man Jabari Smith round out the top five.
While making a jump from No. 24 to No. 15 overall Alabama combo guard J.D. Davison is the lone player to be moved to five-star status during this update.
While Davison is the only new five-star, there were other significant movers. Making the biggest leap inside the rankings is California guard K.J. Simpson, who rises 40 spots from No. 144 to No. 104. Right on his heels is explosive Michigan combo guard Jaden Akins who climbed 39 spots from No. 105 to No. 66 and recent Texas Tech commitment Jaylon Tyson a skilled wing who rose 36 spots from No. 103 to No. 67. Others making leaps of 30 or more spots include Michigan State-bound Pierre Brooks (No. 109 to No. 75), Illinois wing Isaiah Barnes (No. 149 to No. 113), Philly guard Jordan Longino (No. 73 to No. 41), Florida combo forward Alex Fudge (No. 67 to No. 37) and Virginia combo guard Angelo Brizzi (No. 148 to No. 118).
Headlined by Lawson Lovering, a 7-footer from Wyoming who has committed to Colorado, there are 16 newcomers to the 2021 rankings. Lovering debuts at No. 56. Others entering the rankings as four-star prospects include shooting guard D’Marco Dunn (No. 78), shooting guard James White (No. 105), shooting guard Nisine Poplar (No. 108), forward Josh Farmer (No. 109) and combo guard Josh Beadle (No. 110).
Starting Five: Arizona's direction, five-star commitment watch
2022 Rankings: Top 75
1. THE TOUGHEST DECISION IN THIS RANKINGS UPDATE WAS....
Bossi: All of it was tough. Without spring basketball this has been one of the hardest rankings processes I’ve ever been a part of. Normally we have the last month to month and a half of the high school season and a few months of grassroots travel ball to consider during this update. Also, with travel ball up in the air we had to consider that these rankings are a set we may have to be married to for a while. It took a lot of research and a lot of following up on leads on players, but overall I’m pretty happy with what we came up with.
Evans: It seems that we have three different tiers among the five-stars: one begins and ends with Jonathan Kuminga; then there is Patrick Baldwin Jr. that extends to Michael Foster; finally, the number nine spot through the remainder of the five-stars is more of the eye of the beholder mentality. However, landing on Harrison Ingram seems like the right move. Today’s game is built heavily on versatility and ball skills, of which Ingram’s skill set embodies. That doesn’t mean that he cannot ascend the next tier, or that others such as Kennedy Chandler or Hunter Sallis can’t surpass him, it is just really tight between the last 10 or 11 five-stars.
McDonald: I think Kuminga is a pretty solid No. 1 overall in this class. The order of the next four prospects is really tough in my opinion. You can make a pretty strong argument just about any order between those prospects as they all have some similarities but all a little different in other ways.
2. THE REASON I BELIEVE IN THIS PLAYER'S RANKING IS....
Bossi: I feel like J.D. Davison earned his rise to five-star status. When we first got to know Davison this time last year, he was a freak athlete who played basketball. Now, he’s a great basketball player who is a freak athlete. He developed so much as a scorer, ball-handler, defender and passer as a junior and came up big when his team needed him the most down the stretch. In a class where we were searching hard for guys that really took things to another level, Davison fit the bill.
Evans: If you have been following my work of late, you know that I’m a believer in Florida’s Alex Fudge. The ideal small ball power forward that has continued to grow but remains as athletic as ever, I have said in the past that he reminds me of the 2021 version of Larry Nance Jr. and I am not sure that I am too far off. While we are ahead of others with our ranking of Fudge, I actually think that we may still have him too low. Coaches recruiting Fudge understand how good he really is and if there is one prospect that isn’t a five-star at this time but will be before we put to bed the final 2021 Rivals150, I think it could be Fudge.
McDonald: D’Marco Dunn made a big jump from unranked to No. 78 overall at this update and I think it’s more than justified. He started causing a ton of buzz late during the high school season with his lights out jump shot and ability to score the ball. I wouldn’t be surprised if he continues to trend upward over the next year.
3. THE PLAYER I FEAR WE HAVE TOO LOW IS...
Bossi: I can’t belp but wonder where we might have been able to rank big man Micawber Etienne had he been able to show off during the spring. Late season film showed a mobile big man who was really starting to hit his stride as an inside/out threat capable of playing at the four and the five. He made a nice move as it is from No. 61 to No. 51, but I feel like he may have exploded even more in Nike’s EYBL.
Evans: Just sneaking into the Rivals150 Will Tschetter is a player that we introduced in a recent “Hello, My Name Is…” article. From Minnesota, he should be a name to know regionally and nationally. He would have been great to evaluate on the travel circuit this spring but either way, the tape is pretty intriguing. A bouncy, good-sized forward that can make shots and also lead the break is what Tschetter brings to the floor. The high-majors are beginning to take notice of Tschetter who reminds me of a younger Dean Wade. I expect a fairly quick ascent if the grassroots season ever starts up.
McDonald: I get questions from people in the hoops community asking my thoughts on Robbie Armbrester as a prospect. He’s one of the more fascinating prospects I’ve seen in this class. He’s hard to define from a position standpoint, but I absolutely love his toughness and that he’s always on winning teams and not because those teams have overwhelming talent. He has similar traits to former college stars like Grant Williams and Jae Crowder. Injury prevented him from getting the opportunity to really show what he can do, but he’ll get that chance down the road.
4. THE PLAYER I HOPE PROVES US RIGHT AND IS NOT TOO HIGH IS...
Bossi: I’m looking out West to Peyton Watson who has risen all the way up to No. 16 nationally after being virtually unknown just a year ago. A long and active wing from Long Beach (Calif.) Poly, Watson is no finished product, but he has made some serious strides. At around 6-foot-7 he has very good positional size and a well-rounded game. Though he actually got the bump to five-stars the last time we updated, he continues to climb and still has a lot of room for growth.
Evans: I really like Hunter Sallis and you can see that in our ranking of him at No. 11 nationally. This is not a knock on him, but there is hope that he backs his ranking and then some. He has the talent, upside and positional versatility that could allow him to climb even higher. Taking the next step to be more of a point guard spot entirely, becoming more of a knockdown shooter and adding strength are musts for Sallis. But chances are, knowing who he is and the intangibles that he presents, such hopes will be fulfilled in due time.
McDonald: Alex Fudge made a big jump in these rankings up 30 spots and not far out from five-star range. He’s talented and justified his ascension this high school season. We were aggressive moving him up because we’re projecting continued improvement out of him. I just hope he continues to progress at the same rate because if that happens, Corey might be right about him being a five-star.