Rankings Week: Simmons Sits Atop Sophomore List
Only a year into their high school careers, many prospects from the class of 2015 have already secured collegiate scholarship offers, or played well enough to merit significant attention on the national hoops scene.
However, DunkDog.com continues to be the national trendsetter with regard to identifying talented middle school and high school underclassmen prospects as there are a number of members from the 2015 class who remain under the radar to other media outlets, but are sure to receive considerable attention in the very near future.
While rankings are a matter of opinion to even the most trained eyes, DunkDog.com’s head start is evidenced by the fact we are confident in simply updating our class of 2015 national rankings, as the list once again includes 150 ‘Top Dogs’ that accurately reflect the headliners of the rising sophomore crop.
Here’s an exclusive glimpse at the progress being made by several 2015 prospects, the majority of who form a class that continues to mature at a rapid rate.
SIMMONS SNAGS #1 TAG
While Benjamin Simmons made his United States hoops debut in June at the 2012 Pangos All-American Camp, thanks to DunkDog.com’s former Australian youth basketball coach Edward Smith, the rising sophomore has been on the DunkDog radar since entering high school. However, he makes his first appearance in the class of 2015 player rankings because it seems the question is now not if Ben Simmons enrolls at a United States high school, but when and where.
Sources say newly appointed LSU assistant coach David Patrick may have a strong influence over the situation and Simmons’ ultimate high school (and potentially college) destination. A native of Bermuda who was raised in Australia, Patrick and Simmons’ father Dave, a U.S. born Aussie league basketball player, are said to be close friends. While previously on the staffs at Nicholls State and St. Mary’s, Patrick was instrumental in recruiting Australian basketball stars, such as current NBA guard Patty Mills, to the United States.
As a prospect, Simmons is a downright stud, with a serious chance to be a bona fide star one day at the highest level. Standing 6-foot-8 and appearing to perhaps have a bit more growing left, the fifteen year-old Simmons is an athletic combo forward, who exploits mismatches while attacking the rim with aggressiveness and explosiveness. Known internationally as reliable rebounder, his ball-handling and perimeter shooting continue to improve, making him one of the world’s most versatile prospects both offensively and defensively.
Ultimately, when Ben Simmons’ move to the United States is official, DunkDog.com plans to be the first to report on the situation with all the details of the story. Regardless, it should go without mentioning that coaches, players, and fans should keep this special prospect currently residing “Down Under” on their hoops radar!
LOVETT GETS THE POINT, BUT WHO ELSE?
Once again, to emphasize that the majority of the nation is a step behind when it comes to the class of 2015, several of DunkDog.com’s current top-rated floor generals in the rising sophomore class are shockingly not even found on the ‘big boards’ or in the databases of any other service to date. Sure, by this point most are familiar with the absurd numbers that California’s Marcus LoVett produced during his freshman campaign, but what about the rest of the field?
Since catching our eye as an eighth grader with Illinois-based Team N.L.P. on the travel circuit, Jalen Brunson has only continued his steady play, and continues to grow more physically similar to his father; former McDonald’s All-American game MVP and NBA guard Rick Brunson. Not extremely explosive, the younger Brunson simply knows how to play, particularly when considering his age/grade in combination with his unbelievable feel for the game and for setting up teammates.
However, the Midwest region has a handful of potentially elite talents at the point guard position. Indiana-native Jalen Coleman and Ohio-native A.J. Harris are already generating significant collegiate interest, while recruiting buzz nearly engulfed Hyron Edwards during his national breakout this spring. Additionally, Illinois-natives Prentiss Nixon and Jordan Ash appear to be worthy of their early high-major offers.
Meanwhile young Hoosier State stars K.J. Walton and Joel Okafor project nicely in the lead guard category at this time. Add in current nationally-ranked Wisconsin-natives Brandon Key and newcomer Nick Noskowiak and you begin to see the potential impact that point guards in this region could have on the 2015 crop over the next three high school seasons. Other potential risers currently included on the point guard depth chart from the class of 2015 across the nation are Perry Dozier from South Carolina, Bryant Crawford from Maryland, and Nyck Smith from Tennessee.
TWO GUARDS BREAKING THE MOLD
Much of the early attention in the class of 2015 has predominantly been directed toward the WG spot and perhaps rightfully so. There are a handful of elite young talents at the position who have already emerged by embracing and excelling in the role of true ‘combo guards’. At the top of the list of scorers that can serve as primary ball-handlers and playmakers in a pinch are Tyler Dorsey from California, Isaiah Briscoe from New Jersey, Will Jackson from Georgia, Aaron Holiday from California, and Brandon Alston from Virginia.
The 2015 group also has several prospects that are simply wired as natural scorers and have created early reputations for absolutely torching the competition. Those rising sophomores already haunting opponents with their ability to turn digits on the scoreboard include Malik Newman from Mississippi, King McClure from Texas, Charles Matthews from Illinois, Jaylen Brown from Georgia, and KeVaughn Allen from Arkansas.
Also, if you are looking for a wing player whose strength is shooting look no further than the Texas duo of Austin Granstaff and Matt McQuaid as well as Luke Kennard from Ohio, Malachi Richardson of Pennsylvania, and TaWarren Grant from Alabama. Additional potential risers in the class from the wing-guard position include Dwayne Bacon from Florida, Franklin Howard from Maryland, Anthony Mathis from Oregon, Kwinton Hinson from Nevada, and Curran Scott from Oklahoma.
WINGS EARNING ACCOLADES
While the inclusion of aforementioned Simmons knocked all those at the WF position down one spot on the depth chart, four other wings are still in the overall top 25 nationally in the 2015 class. Texas’ Mickey Mitchell played a national schedule as freshman at Prestonwood Christian and had an excellent spring ‘playing up’ in the junior and senior divisions on the ultra-competitive NIKE E.Y.B.L. circuit.
Strangely, another prospect who had a huge freshmen year and strong showing on the circuit, yet has managed to go undetected by other services is Memphis, Tennessee native K.J. Lawson. Currently ranked inside the top 10 nationally by DunkDog.com, it is only a matter of time before others begin recognizing what a talent the rising sophomore is and the player that he could eventually become.
Potential breakout prospects on the wing that can already be found on our national 150 ‘Top Dogs’ list from the class of 2015 include Nick Pete from California, Kipper Nichols from Ohio, Cameron Walker from California, Jaylen Jenkins-Burkett from Arizona, and Ryan Fazekas from Indiana. However, other prospects like Jaelin Grant from Maryland, Kevon Purefoy from Alabama, Eric Turner from Florida, Donte Fitzpatrick from Tennessee, and Malcolm Evans from Mississippi will be names you’ll be reading more about if they can begin to turn their potential into more consistent production this summer and into the coming high school season.
STAR POWER OF CLASS IS INSIDE
The class of 2015 has several truly intriguing post forwards and centers that are sure to star at the collegiate level with continued development. However, DunkDog.com thinks so highly of this group of prospects that we believe one or more from this group will become the next dominant ‘bigs’ at the professional level; there is truly that much talent! While some anchor the interior and others work from the high post, there are many appealing prospects worth remembering here.
Currently providing depth in the center group, Karl Towns and Diamond Stone have slightly separated themselves from their positional peers, while names like Daniel Giddens, Stephen Zimmerman, and Elijah Thomas are already recognized prospects in their class. Additional names that will become familiar in the 2015 class include Jeremy Miller, Jessie Govan, and Derrik Smits. Big-bodied bullies on the block include Levi Cook from West Virginia, Samir Sehic from Texas, Nate Fowler from Ohio, Taron Oliver from Maryland, and Tyler Davis from Texas.
At the post forward position, productive prospects like Skal Labissiere, Marcus Derekson, Thomas Bryant, Jarred Reuter, and Henry Ellenson have all capitalized on early hoops success to secure multiple scholarship offers. Additionally the long list of those hoping to tap into their vast potential is headlined by names such as Ivan Rabb, Horace Spencer, Chris Egi, Trevor Manuel, Brodricks Jones, Jon Ross, Ravion Bell, Chase Jeter, Chance Comanche, and Josh Sharma.