oming up with final rankings are always difficult but in a loaded class where you have over 15 prospects who could easily be Top 10 guys, it's a much bigger challenge.
While the next group of prospects after the Top 10 are players we absolutely expect to be very good college players - and potentially successful pros - putting the group at the top in an order we were comfortable with was a serious challenge for the Scout staff.
Here's a look at many of the reasons for optimism - and questions - we had about Scout's final Top 10, which helped shape the final rankings.
Jackson earned the top spot due to his combination of elite floor and ceiling. The Kansas signee is a freak athlete with a high level motor who competes each time out. Jackson has very good vision and is an unselfish player who will do what it takes to help his team win. He always has been and will continue to be an exceptional defender. We fully expect Jackson to have a terrific career in basketball. He'll need to keep developing his handle and jumper to reach his ultimate potential, but we were willing to bet that he will.
A 6-foot-10 power forward with a 7-foot-3 wingspan to go along with high level athleticism and motor and the skill set to face the basket or post up, there aren't a whole lot of concerns with Giles on the court. If the Duke signee can stay healthy, there's every reason to believe he's going to be a terrific player for a long time. However, Giles has torn both ACLs in high school, the second of which cost him his senior season. It's not enough to drop him below 2nd nationally in a big time class, but the bottom line is we had to take it into consideration when comparing Giles and Jackson.
One of the most important tools in evaluation is taking a player's developmental curve and applying it forward. If someone didn't get much better over four years in high school, there's probably not a great reason to think that will suddenly change in college. With Fultz, his progression has been drastic and it's been constant. He's a 6-foot-5 point guard with long arms, vision, handle and shooting ability. The future Washington Husky is an elite player now but if he improves at the same rate, the bottom line is he has the chance to pass guys above him on this list. 3rd seemed like a fair compromise, even without the body of work of some of the players below him.
Tatum at fourth wasn't easy due to the fact that the Scout staff fully expects him to have a really successful career. He's a 6-foot-8 wing with a 6-foot-11 wingspan who always plays hard and is one of the best scorers in the country. He can effortlessly create his own shot and will have the offensive versatility to play multiple positions at the next couple levels. The Duke signee has pretty consistently been ranked 3rd on Scout - behind Jackson and Giles - and ultimately the freak improvement of Fultz put him one spot ahead. It wasn't an easy decision between the two given the fact that Tatum has one of the highest floors in the class; it was just a bet on Fultz' upside.
You can place Isaac in the Fultz category of watching a player make consistently big leaps as prospects and choosing to bet that they're going to continue to improve at the same rate for the foreseeable future. The Florida State signee is a 6-foot-10 hybrid forward with a 7-foot-1 wingspan who is a plus athlete, can knock down shots and rebound. He's quickly improved for two years straight and was at his best at the Nike Hoop Summit last month in Portland. His frame will allow him to get plenty stronger, which will only help his game. We're betting he doesn't stop improving from here.
Heading to Kentucky next season, Fox is a tough player to rank in the Top 10 due to the fact that his ceiling is extremely high. He's a 6-foot-4 point guard with a 6-foot-6 wingspan and has blazing speed. He's capable of using his quickness and handle to create his own shot or find teammates. Fox is a score-first point guard but does have the vision to set guys up when he wants as well. If Fox can become more efficient as a scorer while making consistently better decisions with the ball, he has the physical tools to overachieve from where he's slotted.
Finding a comfortable place for Ball on this list was extremely difficult. He's about as good of a passer as you'll see at the high school level and that's obviously a very important quality for a point guard. Not just an elite passer, Ball has good size for the position at 6-foot-5, can really rebound and does a good job using his length to rack up deflections. Moving forward, the questions will be if Ball can improve his stroke, stay in front of athletic point guards and handle ball pressure against size, length and athleticism. His ridiculous vision will make him a fascinating prospect to follow next season at UCLA and beyond.
Bolden was a pretty safe player to rank in the final Top 10 given his upside based on his physical tools. He has extremely impressive measurables at 6-foot-11 with a 7-foot-6 wingspan and 9-foot-4.5 standing reach. Bolden has good hands, moves well for his size and is capable of hitting midrange jumpers or finishing around the rim. He'll need to continue to develop his footwork, toughness and motor but that is often the case with young bigs. Bolden's upside is just too high to bet that much against him. He is undecided for college.
Maker is surpassing college to enter the NBA Draft since he graduated from high school a year ago and has long been a polarizing player. He's a 7-foot power forward with a 7-foot-3 wingspan and plays with a relentless motor. Maker has made a living bullying and out-hustling smaller opponents, which won't happen nearly as frequently moving forward, but he still has plenty of attributes that make him appealing. It's hard to find too many guys at his size who consistently play so hard, which makes him really valuable in transition. He has a lot of value as a guy who defends, rebounds and blocks shots, while also capable of hitting the open jumper. Maker has relatively small hands, lacks leg strength and is pretty physically mature in his upper half so there's not a super high upside, but he still has plenty of value.
A torn ACL kept Dennis Smith out for his senior year and he ultimately enrolled at NC State in January, so our last viewing of the point guard was in August 2015. The progress that Smith showed throughout his high school career up until the injury to go with elite athleticism made finding a way to keep him in the Top 10 important. Smith is 6-foot-2 and is a big time athlete who can also really handle the ball. He's flashy but extremely difficult for defenders to stay in front of. If Smith can continue to improve his feel while keep improving as a shooter, he's going to outperform this spot in the Top 10.