Top spot remains up for debate
Between Anthony Davis in 2011, Nerlens Noel in 2012, Andrew Wiggins in 2013 and Jahlil Okafor in 2014, there hasn't been much reason for debate when it's come to determining who the top high school basketball prospect in each given class has been in recent years. In those classes, the eventual Scout.com #1 prospect separated themselves from their peers and while there's a long way to go before those number ones prove their rankings correct, going with Davis, Noel, Wiggins and Okafor, in their respective classes was considered an easy decision at the time. There has been no such luck in 2015. If there were Vegas odds on who would ultimately be the top player in this class years down the road, the favorite would be no more than 5 to 1. There's a long list of players who could ultimately do it; it's that open. Scout.com's newest #1 prospect is Jaylen Brown, a 6-foot-7, 215-pound small forward from Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler. An elite athlete with all the physical tools you're looking for at the position, Brown has made a big jump over the last year and become one of the most well-rounded and talented players in high school basketball. He's tough to stop going to the basket and racks up trips to the foul line every time out. Brown has also really improved his shot and become a legit threat to score with his jumper. His long arms, athleticism and motor also make him a very good defender. Brown isn't a finished product and that's a good thing. His ceiling is very high and projecting forward, there's reason to believe he's going to have a successful career as a wing at the highest level. But Brown isn't a lock to get there and he's not a no-brainer to be number one. His biggest competition right now is 6-foot-8, 220-pound Montverde (Fla.) Academy hybrid forward Ben Simmons. A huge mismatch problem at the high school level, Simmons' ball skills for the position and elite touch around the basket help him drive to the basket at will and finish some really tough shots. He's also a terrific passer. Simmons offensively is a more productive player than Brown right now, with Brown a better defender with a higher ceiling. It's close between the two, but Brown's upside gives him the edge for now. Coming in at third is another prospect that could very well be in the conversation to end up as Scout.com's number one when we finalize rankings in April of 2015. Skal Labissiere, a 6-foot-11, 200-pound center from Cordova (Tenn.) Evangelical Christian, is improving at a rapid rate. He has the size and length you're looking for at the position, but his skill set, motor and defensive ability are coming around as he's gotten stronger and grown into his body. While Labissiere isn't quite there yet, come next April, he absolutely could be. He has legit top prospect in the class potential. Diamond Stone, a 6-foot-10, 255-pound center from Milwaukee (Wisc.) Dominican is always going to be in the conversation with his big frame and serious skill set. Then there's Ivan Rabb, a 6-foot-10, 220-pound power forward from Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd who had a dominant junior season and has a chance to reprove himself as a senior. Trying to decide who the top prospect in 2015 is at any given point has been extremely difficult over the last couple of years. Come next April, the hope is that someone separates themselves from the pack and makes our final decision an easy one.
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