Every single high school class there are 4 or 5 players who I end up really liking, some times I even fall in love with one of them (6'6 Overweight Muslim Shooting Guard with lots of face acne, can't dribble but still finds someway to score :))
Last class it was Jabari Parker, Tyler Ennis, Xavier Rathan-Mayes, Wiggy, and Stanford Robinson. This high school class may not be as strong as the 2013 class but this class is still a pretty good class, reminds me of the 2010 high school class. With that being said, here are my favorite prospects from the class of 2014.
*First Number represents over all class rank, second represents position ranking.
C Jahlil Okafor 6'10 270, Chicago (IL) Whitney Young Magnet School, ESPN (1) (1), Scout (1) (1), Rivals (1) (1), 247sports (2) (1) - Jahlil Okafor is a center who possess rare post skills for a big man at his age on offense and defense. Spending most of his high school career in the rear-view mirror of the other Chicago star, Jabari Parker; Jahlil Okafor has been no stranger to high school domination as he averaged 22, 12 an 5 blocks as a sophomore. He then went on to dominate his junior season averaging 30, 11 and 3 blocks mideseason, including convincing performances in the City Of Palms tournament (Lost to eventual champion Montverde Academy in Semifinals), Hoophall classic and defeating #2 Ranked player (ESPN) Cliff Alexander. Jahlil has garnered many comparisons to Boston Celtics Power Forward, Jared Sullinger. Focusing more on Jahlil's game, his combination of post skills, strength, scoring and playmaking ability in the post is scary for someone his age. To be truely unstoppable Jahlil would need to trim some of the baby fat he has and gain some athleticism. As the only junior to make 2013 all american team, I expect big things from Jahlil Okafor in the near future.
PG Tyus Jones 6'2 170, Apple Valley (MN) Apple Valley High School, ESPN (3) (1), Rivals (2) (1), Scout (2) (1), 247sports (1) (1) - Tyus Jones is a pass first point guard who posses scoring abilities that a coach could only dream of. Unlike Jahlil Okafor and the rest of Whitney Young High School, Tyus Jones has yet to be seen on the national spotlight of major tournaments and showcases. Although that may be the case, Tyus Jones has proved himself on the USA National team level. Having been billed as the "Dribbling Wizard" by numerous scouts and analyst, Jones holds dribbling skills in the category of Irving and Paul, with the fact he is a ball dominant point guard, he knows how to take care of the ball averaging .7 turnovers while playing practically the whole game. Like his future teammate and current team USA teammate Jahlil Okafor, Jones is no stranger to success, averaging 20 points, 7 assist and 3 steals as a freshman. Increasing that statline by his junior season to the tune of 28 points, 8 assist, and a little over 4 steals. With Jones and Okafor citing they will play with each other in college, any coach who can match the duo's playmaking ability and scoring ability together will be blessed. Jones high school resume features tons and tons of awards. Including numerous Minnesota player of the year awards and a national Freshman and Junior of the year award. Somethings Jones should work on are his lack of athleticism, Jones has been said to not have hit his growth spurt yet which means he could be a 6'5 PG. Putting his nasty ball-handling ability together with a floor general mindset and basketball IQ of Siggy, Jones will be a great PG down the road.
SG Rashad Vaughn 6'6 200, Golden Valley (MN) Findlay College Prep, ESPN (11) (1), Rivals (7) (1), Scout (11) (1), 247sports (11) (2) - As my favorite prospect in the 2014 class, I guess you could say Rashad Vaughn is the consensus #11 recruit in the nation, which is vastly underrated in my opinion. Rashad's defensive potential which he is already showing bright signs of, combined with his uncanny scoring ability. Vaughn averaged 29 PPG with 9 RPG and 6 steals last season. Vaughn averaged 23 points across 4 EYBL sessions, maintaining the position of the third leading scorer in the EYBL behind Stanley Johnson and Tyus Jones. Vaughn contains a NBA ready body that allows him to get to the hoop when he is being pressured and also has Jimmer Fredette range on his jumpshot that could get him a guaranteed 12 points every night. Switching schools will help Vaughn burst on to the national scene and I expect his rank to rise heavily during the season. As for his game, Rashad Vaughn is a very athletic, scoring wing who has a nice dribbling ability. Although his dribbling ability may not be crafty, he does enough to get to the hoop and understands what moves he needs to do to get to the rim. With that being said Vaughn is destined to face the same type of scrutiny that Shabazz Muhammad faced if he doesn't learn to pass and get his teammates involved. Vaughn can be seen as a ball stopper and will not move around if the ball is not coming his way. I expect Vaughn to move in to the higher ranks of the 2014 class and become another McDonald's All American in Findlay Prep's ranks.
SG D'Angelo Russell 6'5 180, Louisville (KY) Montverde Academy, ESPN (23) (4), Rivals (35) (5), Scout (21) (3), 247sports (28) (6) - Although Russell and Montverde Academy had a strong season last year, Russell has continued to drop with his poor performances throughout the summer, lots of that due to him playing out of position at the 3 while Joel Berry and Grayson Allen man the 1 and 2 spots respectively. Russell was the most impressive player at Montverde Academy behind Dakari Johnson. Russell would help plenty by taking care of the ball and running the point guard position when Kasey Hill was having trouble. His skill set is a lot like James Harden/Michael Carter-Williams. The 6'5 lefty is preparing for a bigger role on Montverde he's going to become the main guy, and depending how he handles it could plunge him into the top 10 or the lower 50's. Speaking on Russell's game he's a combo guard who could play Point or the 2 guard, he has incredible dribbling abilities and can handle pressure and also steps up in big moments (Averaged a tournament high 24 PPG in the NHSI and took the final shot against Findlay Prep last year), has a great shooting stroke where he can catch fire very quickly. Some flaws in his game is he gets caught trying to do a little too much at time and can be a little turnover prone at times. Once he realizes a player is dominating he doesn't assist much and just fades to the back. D'Angelo Russell has a nice rounded game and crown himself as a top 10 player with great play this season.
Feel free to comment and discuss these players and your favorite players from the class.
good use of videos as well.
You got a lot of the top guys but there are some others too. Emmanuel Mudiay, Kevin Looney, Karl Towns, Justin Jackson, Justice Winslow, Kelly Oubre, Stanley Johnson, Joel Berry and Myles Turner are some of the names.
Personally, being a UNC fan - I love Jackson and Berry. Jackson is a 6'8 sf who is not overly athletic and is skinny, but the kid has such a diverse game in terms of scoring. He has runners and floaters that most guys his size don't have in their arsenal. Berry is not as highly touted as Jones or Mudiay, but when he plays them he more than holds his own. He is simply a winner. Already a two time player of the year in the state of Florida - over the likes of D'Angelo Russell, Chris Walker and Kasey Hill. He has had quite a year. He won a State Chmapionship. His AAU team just won Peach Jam with an undefeated record and then his USA South squad lost in the finals to Jackson's USA Midwest team. Throw in Theo Pinson and UNC has their perimeter of the future.
Actually the USA South lost to the USA West in the championship game. Stanley Johnson proved to be the best player in the tournament
My favorite players for the 2014 class based on what I've seen in person are Stanley Johnson, Romelo Trimble, D'Angelo Russell, Tyus Jones, Kelly Oubre and Dion Wiley
Don't forget Chris McCullough. He is a super athletic 6'10" PF that can run the court and will be a perfect fit along the baseline in Syracuse's 2-3 zone.
Goodluck Okonoboh seems like he will be a legit shot blocker. He also seems like a great kid and he is rising up the rankings really fast.
Okafor, Mudiay, Townes, Stanley Johnson, Milik Pope as well. The only player in the class I don't care for is Tyus Jones. I think hes the most overrated pg ive ever seen. He dosent do anything at an elite level. His speed could be alot better, hes not lawson, rose, westbrook or anything athletic like that. And news flash he can not handle the ball like kyrie or cp3. Not a big fan of his defense either. I just don't see him dominating the NBA in a few years like some are predicting.
This class is really great, better than 2014 depth wise imo.
My top 15 looks like this.
1.) Jahlil Okafor
2.) Tyus Jones
3.) Emmanuel Mudiay
4.) Kevon Looney
5.) Karl Towns
6.) Myles Turner
7.) Cliff Alexander
8.) Trey Lyles
9.) Stanley Johnson
10.) Rashad Vaughn
11.) Dante Exum
12.) Kelly Oubre
13.) Chris McCullough
14.) Justise Winslow
15.) Justin Jackson
Then you have guys like Berry, Devin Booker, JaQuan Lyle, Daniel Hamilton, Terry Larrier, Dwayne Morgan, Pinson and Okonoboh. Thats a pretty good class.
One of my favorite players is also Chris McCullough. He fits Syracuse so perfect. Him committing there made all the sense in the world from day 1. 6'9 or 6'10 really athletic and bouncy. Long with a hell of a lot of skills face up jumpers,dribble drives and is a lob target. Just needs his motor to be on high at all times. I like the two players that have been climbing the rankings as of late as well in Brandone Francis and Terry Larrier. This site pegged Larrier as one of the top prospects at LBJ camp. Other prospects I like are Justise Winslow, Justin Jackson,Big cliff Alexander
Good catch. I have been off my game today. Can I blame it on just coming back from being on vacation for two weeks?
This class doesn't have the upside in terms of superstar talent up top like 2013, but it is littered with players with all-around ability, skill and solid IQ (relatively). I'm impressed by how smart and unselfish this class is as a whole. There aren't too many players making a name for themselves on the strength of just their raw physical ability or ability to be productive while dominating the ball and taking a bunch of shots. You can see the "LeBronization" of basketball in this class, with players not just focusing on scoring and 1 on 1 ability, but the ability to impact the game in a number of ways, while being threats on or off the ball, often times at both ends of the floor. There are a lot of players who just look like they know how to play basketball, understand the team dynamic and have translatable skills:
-You see a guy like Stanley Johnson, who's become one of the best scorers in his class, but who also gets after it defensively and on the glass.
-Justise Winslow, (my favorite wing in this class) who puts just as much emphasis on playmaking, rebounding and defense as he does with scoring.
-Karl Towns isn't just a shooter with size, he has a tremendous understanding of the game, is a very good passer and playmaker with high intangibles.
-Theo Pinson isn't just a slasher, he's disruptive defender and a very good playmaker for others in the open floor and off drive and dish.
-D'Angelo Russell was covered already in the OP. Love his all-around game and point potential at his size. Really underrated passer who can run PnR.
-Kelly Oubre isn't just a wing shooter with prototype size. He's becoming a better slasher and is a good passer.
-Daniel Hamilton is the youngest of the Hamilton bros, but looks like he could be the best of the bunch because he's a polished scorer with a solid all-around floor game that his brother Jordan lacks.
-Devin Robinson who IMO has one of the highest ceilings among all wings in this class because of his combination of length, athleticism and one of the best shooting strokes in his class. Takes good shots too.
-Isaac Copeland who isn't just a skinny, springy athlete. He's got real skill and can step away from the hoop and hit jumpers
-Ahmed Hill is a strong athlete with hops, but he's also a high IQ player who defends hard, has a mid-range game and looks to make plays for others
-Grayson Allen isn't just an athletic slasher. He's got legit combo guard potential because he as good vision and already has PnR ability.
-Keita Bates-Diop is a great get for OSU. Smart kid with good length, mid-range shooting ability and motor who understands movement and angles.
-Devin Booker who looks like more than the prototype catch and shoot shooter. He's a student of the game with a solid floor game and pro pedigree.
I'll stop right there but I could go on. Suffice to say, I don't see a lot superstars in this class but I see a lot of solid rotational pros. I like this class, its a very sneaky one.
Dwayne Morgan. UNLV!!! Two and done!!!