Scout's final Top 100 in 2015 has Skal Labissiere as the top prospect. What made the Kentucky signee number one, who rounded out the top five and why?
On Tuesday, Scout released its final 2015 rankings, with 6-foot-11 center Skal Labissiere
taking home the top spot.
Throughout the course of time evaluating the 2015 class, choosing the top prospect has proven to be no easy task. It's been a revolving door of one top overall prospect after the next, with there being very few times where that choice has been unanimously agreed upon by the Scout staff.
This time around, rankings were a little easier, as Labissiere's play over the course of April proved that he is indeed the top prospect in the class.
The Memphis (Tenn.) Reach Your Dream Academy center and Kentucky
signee has the size, length, mobility, rim protection and quickly improving skill level of a starting NBA center. He's consistently gotten better as he's put on strength and is still scratching the surface of his significant potential.
Continuing to get stronger and adding to his skill set will be important for Labissiere, but he's made big strides on an annual basis as he's matured and there is every reason to think he will continue down that same path in the future.
Labissiere was tough to evaluate over the course of his senior season given his tumultuous school situation - he left Evangelical Christian, attempted to transfer to Lausanne Collegiate School and ultimately settled with Reach Your Dream Academy - but his play in the Jordan Brand Classic and Hoop Summit solidified his name at the top spot in 2015.
Behind Labissiere are a group of four guys that all made claims at the top spot over the last several years. They enter college behind Labissiere as prospects, but all have the ability to catch up some day.
Finishing number two was LSU
signee Ben Simmons
, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound power forward from Montverde (Fla.) Academy. Quite frankly, Simmons is the safest pick in the class, even if he doesn't have the highest upside.
He has elite transition ball skills for his position and a high level basketball IQ. His feel and approach to the game would help any team win. He's going to play hard, make his teammates better, rebound, score in transition, and has very good touch inside, even if his footwork is raw.
Where Simmons struggles is in the half court; he's mostly a straight line athlete and bullies smaller opponents. That helps him in transition, where his ball skills allow him to get to the basket at will, but in the half court he struggles to create and make his own shot.
The development of Simmons' handle in the half court and jumper will dictate his ultimate success. But given those limitations and Labissiere's less capped upside, the center got the nod, even if Simmons is the more productive player - especially offensively - as of today.
Finishing third is 6-foot-9 Kinston (N.C.) small forward and Duke
signee Brandon Ingram
, who has made serious advancements to his game over the last year. With his size and length - Ingram has a 7-foot-3 wingspan - and youthfulness, given he's a year young for the class, there had always been reasons to believe in Ingram's future.
However, Ingram was always more prospect than player and while he had terrific upside, he showed it mostly in flashes. Over the last month, Ingram has displayed much improved ball skills, ability to create his own shot and make difficult jumpers, while also the craftiness to take defenders inside and finish around the rim.
Ingram's physical immaturity - he's just a baby and still has plenty of muscle to put on - is only a good thing and even though Simmons is much more college-ready than him, Ingram's potential years down the line is higher. Simmons is the safer pick, but Ingram's upside is extremely high.
That same statement can be said for Jaylen Brown
, a 6-foot-7 small forward from Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler who is headed to California
next season. Brown, who ends up ranked fourth, is the most physically gifted prospect of the group. He's got very good size and length for a wing, along with elite athleticism.
Defensively, Brown already plays at a very high level and he can get to the basket and draw fouls at ease as well. Brown is going to be able to guard multiple positions and score in bunches early into his college career due to his mental makeup and aggressiveness; he's a fierce competitor and hard worker who always plays hard.
He'll need to improve his ball skills and jumper to hit his potential and while those are areas he's made progress in over the last couple years, Ingram's extreme progress combined with physical upside helped him jump Brown at this stage in their development.
Rounding out the top five is another Cal signee in Ivan Rabb
. The Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd power forward has hung around the top of the class for a long time and for good reason.
Rabb has good size at 6-foot-10, a well above average frame, length and athleticism for the position, as well as the skill to score on opponents inside with both hands along with the ability to step outside and hit jumpers.
Playing with a consistent motor will be important for Rabb, who has always risen to the occasion yet has had lapses where he's blended in too often over the course of his high school career.
There's every reason to believe he's on path to being a very successful college player who should have a long career at the next level, but just how good he ultimately becomes will be completely dependent on a consistent motor.
Even if 2015 rankings have been difficult over the last several years, there is a little more separation this time around, and Labissiere enters college with a good lead on his competition in the class.
There's a long way to go before anyone proves themselves as the top player in the class but the book closes on the high school careers of the 2015 class with Labissiere in front of the pack.
However, if the 2015 class has shown anything, it's that every six months or so, there has been a new name at the top of the list. Let's see if that can finally change moving forward.