With basketball events from the summer complete, Scout’s basketball recruiting team put their heads together and compiled an updated 2017 top 100.
Although there were plenty of changes in the new list, the top of the list remained pretty much intact, as DeAndre Ayton and Mohamed Bamba are still regarded as the top two prospects in the 2017 class.
Ayton, a near 7-footer, played well throughout the spring and summer playing with California Supreme. Ayton had dominant moments, especially at the Nike Peach Jam, where he averaged 19.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.
There have been questions about Ayton, who goes to Phoenix (Ariz.) Hillcrest, regarding his consistency and positional identity. Ayton proved when focused and playing hard, which he did a much better at during the summer, that he’s the best prospect in the class. To go with his tremendous size, length, mobility and athleticism, Ayton has a unique skill set that allows him to impact the game inside and out, as well as on the defensive end.
“Prospects with Ayton's size, length, athleticism and skill set are extremely rare,” Scout analyst Josh Gershon said. “He's made progress in his consistency and motor, which were two of his biggest concerns heading into his junior year. With his ability to face up and play inside, pass, rebound and block shots at his size and athleticism, there's a reason he's already very firmly on NBA teams' radars.”
While Ayton currently ranks No. 1, it’s not inconceivable that Bamba, a 6-foot-11 post player, could catch him.
Bamba’s measureables are well publicized at this point, as he has a 7-8 wingspan and a ridiculous 9-7 standing reach. But that’s far for the only reason he’s so highly regarded. Bamba has made consistent improvements and strides to his game over the past two years.
Although he was forced to the sidelines in the spring, Bamba made the USA Basketball u18 team, won a Gold Medal and had a strong showing at the Nike Peach Jam with Terrence Williams’ PSA Cardinals. Scout colleague Brian Snow raved about his potential and all around talent.
“Mo Bamba is one of the more unique talents in the class,” Snow said. “He has an absurdly long wingspan which allows him to really protect the rim, and then also he has developed into a dominant rebounder. Beyond that Bamba is an excellent athlete with some skill on the offensive end. As he continues to get bigger and stronger he should only continue to improve, and is what you look for in a new age big man who can defend the rim and move his feet on the perimeter.”
Although the top 5 players in the 2017 class have stayed the same, there’s been a slight shuffle to the order.
Last rankings, Wendell Carter checked in at No. 3, but with Trevon Duval's massive summer and consistent effort at every event he played in, the 6-foot-3 guard has been moved from No. 4 overall up to No. 3.
Duval is the top point guard prospect in the class and boasts ball handling abilities that are unmatched by his peers in the 2017 class. Not only does he have the ball on a string, but also has very good size and length for the position, good athleticism, speed and defensive potential. Duval also happens to be arguably the best finisher in high school basketball and has impressive vision and passing ability.
Duval led We R 1 to an Under Armour Finals championship, while also showing well at the Nike Skills Academy, adidas Nations and most recently at the Elite 24, where he was a co-MVP and clearly the best prospect in the event.
UCLA is a serious contender for Duval, as well as Arizona, Kansas, Oregon, Connecticut and Villanova.
Carter, a 6-foot-9 center prospect, checks in at No. 4. A steady and productive post player, Carter is efficient on the block and well versed as an offensive threat that scores it well on the block and is a particularly good passer.
Washington signee Michael Porter is the only committed player in Scout’s top five. Porter, a 6-foot-8 wing, had a very good July and helped lead MoKan Elite to the Peach Jam Championship.
Depth The Story of the 2017 Class
With every recruiting class there seems to be a theme. The 2015 class was always considered extremely light at the top and we saw that play out in this summer’s NBA Draft, with things being considered a crapshoot after the first two picks.
In 2016 the story of the class was the fact that was so much high end talent. We fully expect that to be the talk of the 2017 draft as well, given there will be so many good options in the lottery.
In 2018 there isn’t a ton of high end talent at the top and so far, there isn’t much depth either. In 2019, the talent at the top makes a major comeback.
When it comes to the 2017 class, there is no doubt that the story is the ridiculous depth. When working on these set of rankings, we got to about 15 available spots in the Top 100 for a group of roughly 50 qualified candidates.
Of course, that’s an impossible task and there was a great argument for every single one of the players who got left off the Top 100.
The Scout staff awarded those left out with four stars and ranked them on the positional list, but there’s no doubt that there will be a large group of players who aren’t ranked in the Top 100 who we expect to have very successful college careers, many of which at the high major level.
Prospects such as Aamir Simms, Elias Harden, Mayan Kiir, Lance Thomas, Galen Alexander and Kevin Samuel are just a handful of the group of over 30 prospects who had claims to be Top 100 guys but in such a deep class, difficult decisions have to be made.
What’s most impressive about the depth in this class is that there are still roughly nine months to go before final rankings, meaning the pool of legitimate Top 100 candidates will very likely only increase before it shrinks.
Ultimately, the 2017 class being somewhat light at the top but extremely deep will only help college basketball in the short term. There aren’t a ton of one and done type prospects and several players who should have a big impact at the college level for multiple years.
With 2018 struggling for a whole lot of talent at the top as well as depth, coaches will have to load up in 2017 and thanks to an unusually deep class, that’s very much possible.
OTHER RANKING NOTES
- Thus far 37 prospects in the 2017 top 100 have made verbal commitments. Auburn currently has the most top 100 pledges with three players ranked 41 and higher. Illinois, Louisville, UCLA, Washington and Wisconsin are the only other schools with two players ranked in the top 100.
- California and Georgia are the states with the most top 100 prospects. Each state has nine players ranked among the top 100 players. Indiana and Texas each have seven on the list.
- There are 14 newcomers to the 2017 top 100. Jase Febres, who emerged with Texas Pro, and Jericho Sims, a 6-foot-9 power forward out of Minnesota, made the biggest moves, jumping up to No. 47 and No. 48 respectively. The other new names to this update include Zach Brown, who jumped back in, Jacob Epperson, Darryl Morsell, Marcus Garrett, Branden Carlson, Wabissa Bede, Alex Barcello, Royce Hamm, Brad Davison, T.J. Starks, Brady Manek and Remy Martin.
- This updated lists consists of 29 players that have been evaluated as five-star prospects. Three players – Nick Richards, Malik Williams and Nick Weatherspoon -- that were elevated from four to five-star prospects.
- The 2017 class is full of high major minus type prospects, thus this update has 32 prospects outside of the top 100 rated as four-star prospects. Shooting guard is the deepest position with 33 players ranked as five and four-star prospects.
- The update also has extended player rankings at each position from 30 out to 35.