The Scout national team traveled wide and far during the spring and watched the overwhelming majority of the country's top prospects.
That said, who or what was your primary takeaway from the spring travel season? That’s the question we posed this week to our national panel of experts.
Brian Snow: I think it’s tough to have one primary takeaway, but I think the thing that impressed me the most was the talent of the top point guards in the 2016 class. You have Kobi Simmons, Dennis Smith and Frank Jackson (pictured above) — who are absolutely outstanding and look elite — and then also a guy like Cassius Winston, who is tremendous in his own right.
We haven't seen a class filled with elite floor generals like this in a long time, and with point guard being the most important position on the basketball court, to have talent like that at the position is a great sign going forward.
Josh Gershon: I thought the two 2016 prospects who made the biggest jumps were Texas center Marques Bolden and New York four man Jonathan Isaac, both who looked the part of elite prospects in the rising senior class. Bolden is a big post with a good combination of size, length and skill. Isaac's size for the power forward spot along with his handle, size, length, athleticism and versatility make him a highly impressive prospect as well.
Evan Daniels: There are a couple things that immediately come to my mind. First, the battle for No. 1 in the 2016 class is still just that ... a battle. While Harry Giles is a great prospect and hasn't done anything for me to say, he needs to move down, Jayson Tatum and Josh Jackson are tremendous prospects and they aren't going to back down, either. That top slot will be one we talk about until these players graduate.
|Jackson may boast the greatest long-term potential based on his superb athleticism|
Additionally, I also observed a glaring lack of a elite post players. I do think Marques Bolden and Jarrett Allen, both out of Texas, particularly stood out this spring, but I've had upwards of a dozen college coaches ask me where the elite center prospects are?
Finally, this class is full of very gifted guards. While the point guards like Kobi Simmons, Dennis Smith and others get the buzz, there are some really good shooting guards, too. Josh Langford, Rawle Alkins and Markelle Fultz are three players that impressed me a great deal when I saw them.
Rob Harrington: Given the annual spring overlap between the outgoing senior class and the rising senior class, it makes for a convenient time to compare the two groups. While players such as Jaylen Brown, Brandon Ingram and Malik Newman were wrapping up their Class of 2015 recruitments, it struck me once again the extent to which he outgoing class suffered from the presence of truly superstar talent at the top.
Perhaps our new and final No. 1, Kentucky-bound forward Skal Labissiere, will become an elite long-term player, but clearly we struggled picking a top guy for nearly all of the 2015 cycle. With Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum and Josh Jackson residing at the apex of 2016, however, the No. 1 conundrum appears to be which player to pick — but we won’t be left as wanting as last cycle.
|Tatum’s all-around skill level makes him extremely formidable|
Nor will the college coaches who’ve already staked their claim. After all, two years ago Giles attracted first-hand evaluations from Mike Krzyzewski, John Calipari and Roy Williams for an 8:00am game in the 16-under division at an April EYBL event.
Meanwhile, the rising senior point guards also are excellent, as my colleagues Brian and Evan mentioned. Even with Derryck Thornton reclassing forward to 2015 and choosing Duke, the floor generals in the rising senior crop are sensational and should buoy college basketball and produce results in the NBA as well.
Having said all that, and contrary to the notion that the rising senior class is superior in every aspect to 2015, depth appears to be lacking in the new, 2016 cycle. Whereas we struggled immensely trying to fit in all deserving prospects into our final senior rankings, so far there are major questions about the new class after those guys at the top.
Granted, new players will continue to surface to fill out the lower reaches in our rankings, but at this same stage 2016 trails 2015. The identity of the new class continues to unfurl and will be something we watch closely while assessing its likely overall impact going forward.
Evan Daniels, Brian Snow, Josh Gershon and Rob Harrington contributed to this article