After evaluating the top prospects in the class over the course of the last four years, Scout's final 2016 top 100 rankings are in.
This top 100 list was tough to compile. The truth is it was arguably the most difficult list of rankings that the Scout basketball recruiting team (Brian Snow, Josh Gershon and myself) has put together because of the sheer amount of top tier talent.
The depth at the top of the 2016 class is notable and the class as a whole ranks as the best group since 2007, which produced the likes of Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin and James Harden.
The top 16 spots in the class were particularly tough to rank, as each player you could make a case for a spot in the top 10.
For more on the depth and a breakdown of the top 10, check out Gershon’s article, which takes a deeper look at the top 10 and what we think are positives and negatives of each prospect.
Top tier grows by one
For as long as we’ve ranked the 2016 class, Josh Jackson, Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum have been argued as the top three players. But as the coverage of the 2016 class closes out, Markelle Fultz added his name to the conversation.
While those four players were considered for the top spot, ultimately the decision came down to Jackson and Giles.
While Giles has kept the pole position for majority of his high school career, with his second ACL injury and the continued development of Josh Jackson, we opted to move Jackson into the No. 1 spot.
Jackson, a 6-foot-7 wing, is a talented athlete that projects as an elite level defender. He’s a terrific transition player, a tremendous passer and is as tough and competitive as a player you’ll see at the high school level.
Jackson won the McDonald’s All-American MVP with 19 points on 9-for-11 shooting, while also playing stellar defense on the Duke-bound Tatum.
Jackson’s move to No. 1 certainly isn’t a knock on Giles. Unfortunately he suffered his injury at the beginning of his senior season and didn’t get the opportunity to fight off tough competition for the top spot.
When Giles has been healthy, he’s been arguably the top talent. At 6-foot-10, Giles has good size and athleticism for the power forward spot. He’s one of the best rebounders in the class and has a versatile scoring package. Assuming he gets back to 100-percent and returns to form, which is expected, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.
Fultz, who hit the national scene just prior to his junior season, moved his way up to No. 3. Fultz is a 6-foot-5 versatile, lead guard that can play the role of facilitator or scorer. His continued development has been impressive and he’s been on a steady incline as a prospect since we first evaluated him in October of 2014.
Futlz has a rare ability to easily change his speeds and break down defenders with ease. He’s tracking as a good on ball defender, is a talented passer and while he’s not necessarily a shooter, he’s certainly capable of making shots. He’s an elite level prospect that is tracking as a future lottery pick.
The toughest part of moving Fultz into the top three was it meant Tatum, a 6-foot-8 wing out of St. Louis (Mo.) Chaminade, had to drop to No. 4. The truth is, Tatum just like the three prospects ranked above him, could make a case as the top prospect in the class.
Tatum’s advanced skill set, scoring package and elite work ethic are some of his biggest strengths as a prospect. He has great size for the wing position and his footwork and creativity as a scorer from the mid-post and attacking off the dribble is unique for a high school prospect. His long distance shooting improved during his senior season and it will likely continue to do so.
- A pair of players added a fifth star in the updated rankings. With his move from No. 35 overall up to No. 17, Ike Anigbogu added a fifth star. Tony Bradley, a UNC signee, also was bumped into five-star status.
- Although Scout doesn't rank prospects not in North America, we do rate them on a star scale. Omer Yurtseven and Lauri Markkanen were evaluated as five-star prospects, while Sam Timmins, Harry Froling, Killian Tillie, William McDowell-White, Richard Freudenberg and Rui Hachimura were rated as four-star recruits.
- The ACC has compiled the most talent reeling in 23 prospects rated as four-star prospects or higher. Seven prospects five-star prospect, including four of the top 10, are headed to the league.
- The Pac-12 is bringing in the second most top 100 prospects with 17 players headed to the league. Markelle Fultz and Lonzo Ball are two of the seven five-star prospects headed to play in the Pac-12. Arizona and UCLA currently have top five recruiting classes.
- As it usually happens, Texas, California, Florida and Virginia produced the most talent in the 2016 top 100. The state of Texas has 10 prospects ranked on the list. California produced nine ranked players, while Florida and Virginia each had eight.
- Kentucky and Mississippi State have the most prospects signed to attend their schools on their list. Each school will bring in five top 100 prospects. Four of Kentucky’s incoming recruits are rated as five-star prospects.
- Duke and Michigan State each reeled in four top 100 prospects. Duke has three five-stars and two of the top five (Giles and Tatum). The Spartans have a pair of five-star prospects in their class.
- There seven newcomers to the final 2016 top 100. Markell Johnson, Markus Howard and Kodye Pugh all joined the rankings, due to reclassifying from 2015. The other newcomers are Clevon Brown, Eli Wright, Myles Powell and Kostas Antetokounmpo.
- Arizona State Arizonta State signee Sam Cunliffe was the biggest mover in the rankings, as he jumped up 36 spots and into the top 50. Gonzaga signee Zach Collins was the second biggest mover, as he jumped 33 spots.