In our newly minted junior class rankings, however, a pair of floor generals have achieved relative dominance over their peers.
Trevon Duval, a Delaware native who preps in New Jersey, checks in as our No. 1 point guard and third-ranked overall prospect in the Class of 2017. Duval has authored a meteoric rise over the past year, performing in dominant fashion even compared with the nation’s seniors.
He grew at least an inch from the 2014 travel season to this year and derives tremendous benefit from his 6-3 size. He’s also a marvelous athlete capable of making any play off the drive or bucket around the rim a coach could want, and he’s a gifted playmaker as well.
Meanwhile, Duval is a very tough defender whose hard-nosed style manifests through multiple different avenues. Looking forward, he’ll need to improve his jump shot in order to add total balance to his game. Still, the bottom line is that he’s a big-time talent and winner who’s primed for a long, prosperous career.
Syracuse, Villanova, Oregon, Indiana and Arizona are just some of those hot on his trail, and he’ll clearly be a fixture in our coverage through the end of his high school career.
Moving west to Las Vegas, Troy Brown ranks No. 6 overall and as our second-ranked point guard. Brown has been a ballyhooed prospect for years and is no stranger to a lofty ranking, and he competed successfully against 17-under competition this past spring and summer.
Brown is a huge, 6-5 point guard who’s arguably not a point guard at all, based upon how he may project defensively for college and beyond. Still, from a mental point of view he embodies what the position requires, and with size and improving strength he contributes in myriad capacities.
Like Duval, he’ll need to improve his wayward jump shot, but also like his eastern counterpart Brown maximizes his size advantage. He’s a truly fantastic rebounder and physical driver who’s too powerful for most opposing point guards to check, and his skill level is by orders of magnitude greater than that of your average 6-5 wing.
A slew of national programs naturally are recruiting him as well, including Arizona, Kansas, UCLA and others.
Hands, Felton, Coleman lead next group
That brings us to the rest of the field. Within McDonald’s All-American range, Jaylen Hands (No. 19), Jalek Felton (No. 20) and Matt Coleman (No. 21) all have proved effective against national competition.
Hands competes in San Diego and is a top Pac-12 target, while South Carolina native Felton is a heavy North Carolina lean and is the nephew of former Tar Heel — and current NBAer — Raymond Felton. Virginia native Coleman is a true point guard with advanced passing skills and a strong head for the game.
None of this trio has demonstrated the consistency of Duval or Brown, and only Felton — who’s arguably a SG/PG — enjoys similar size. That’s why there’s a 13-spot difference between Brown and Hands, but of course that could change over the next year.
By comparison, the senior class features six point guards among our overall top 18 alone and three of the top 10.
This column certainly doesn’t seek to diminish the talent nor likely impact of the other 2017 floor generals, but it is worth noting given that the recruiting stakes are likely to be higher for each individual target listed near the top of the rankings.
Whereas a college program may miss out on an elite point guard in the senior class, there are others of equivalent talent who could fill a need just as well. At least so far in 2017, that doesn’t appear to be the case.
The point guard and overall junior class saga remains unsettled, of course, and we’ll continue to chart the collective and individual progress of the 2017 haul.