Coast to Coast
The best prospects on the circuit from all 50 states
A version of this article appeared in the 2012 Five-Star Basketball Summer Preview Magazine, which will be available at all of the premier events this summer.
Alabama: Jimmie Taylor (Junior, Greensboro)
A 2011-12 USA Developmental National Team selection, Taylor is best known for erasing and altering shots around the rim. At 6’10”, the All-State first-teamer already owns a 3A state title and is being courted heavily by a bevy of SEC programs. Taylor can haul in boards, score over either shoulder and brings lots of energy.
Alaska: Augustus Simmers (Junior, Anchorage Christian)
Simmers is a 6’3” swingman who can pull it from deep or just as easily hit from mid-range or around the cup. He hit several late-game shots in the state tourney as a sophomore and is being heralded as a sleeper at the next level. The spring track & field star can be dangerous on the hardwood in transition.
Arizona: Torren Jones (Junior, Basha)
Jones collected a scholarship offer from Arizona before ever suiting up for his high school team. Now, he’s a consensus top-100 player nationally and is a double-double threat every night. A 6’7” four-man, Jones is built for the next level and can finish inside with unrelenting authority.
Arkansas: Trey Thompson (Sophomore, Forrest City)
Thompson is only 6’7”, but he can play anywhere in the frontcourt. He sports a strong basketball IQ, soft hands and a solid understanding of the game. He was even the first freshman starter in school history. Defensively, Thompson sends back shots at a rapid rate, using a quick bounce and excellent timing to get his hands on plenty of attempts.
California: Aaron Gordon (Junior, Archbishop Mitty)
The San Jose product is already being billed as the next Blake Griffin for his serious bounce. Gordon, who can play the three or four, gets off the ground in a hurry, racking up points on tip-ins, put-backs and fast break bangers. At this rate, it won’t be long before the 6’7” combo forward is on his brother Drew’s level, who plays at New Mexico.
Colorado: Jordan Scott (Junior, Lewis-Palmer)
He may not have the bulk, but Jordan Scott is a physical forward at 6’6”, 190 pounds. He gets his hands on a lot of loose balls, can rebound well for his size and can match up with multiple positions defensively. Scott picks up most of his points as a perimeter slasher. With refined range, there’s a lot of upside to his game.
Connecticut: Kuran Iverson (Junior, Northwest Catholic)
With a surname like Iverson, it’s no surprise that the talented 6’8” power forward comes equipped with guard-like skills. He can put the ball on the deck, light it up from downtown, create for teammates or himself, and score in the paint. Iverson’s skill set and ability to play four positions make him a highly-coveted player and matchup nightmare for opposing big men.
Delaware: Austin Tilghman (Sophomore, Saint Andrew's)
Hovering slightly over 6’0”, this talented floor leader’s every move has been followed since his middle school days. Tilghman has a rock solid frame, which he uses handily to overpower opposing guards in the lane. He can create space for teammates, dole out the rock and convert on the pick-and-roll. With two more years in front of him, there’s a good chance he’ll become a national name.
Florida: Chris Walker (Junior, Holmes County)
Walker has quickly shot up to 6’10” over the last couple of years and retained a perimeter game that allows him to effectively play both forward positions. He has plenty of room to grow out his 195-pound frame, but he can face-up on the block or step out to knock down the mid-range jumper. Walker combines agility and length to rebound and finish in traffic.
Georgia: Brannen Greene (Junior, Mary Parsons)
Kansas-commit Brannen Greene is a long, versatile wing with a smooth outside touch. He excels in the classroom and has the basketball savvy that makes coaches salivate. Greene can handle the rock, attack the seams in transition and shoot over smaller guards. He’s a terrific athlete and slasher. Jayhawk fans are going to love him.
Hawaii: Nick Fisher (Junior, Pahoa)
Fisher’s been leading his team since he was a freshman. Now a junior, Fisher was the one who hit the two critical free throws down the stretch as his team won its first ever Division II state championship his sophomore year. The 2011 Offensive Player of the Year and Elite 18 nominee is an undersized forward, but makes up for height
with strength and skill, and is one of the island’s most potent scorers.
Idaho: McKay Cannon (Junior, Shelley)
With a few years of varsity experience under his belt, Cannon’s quiet confidence can be unassuming. But that ends when the 6-foot floor leader takes the court. The playmaker has an explosive first step, deadly outside jumper and can thread the needle on the fast break. Cannon can hurt teams beyond the arc, but if you play him too close, he’ll easily blow by defenders and take advantage of the numbers situation.
Illinois: Jabari Parker (Junior, Simeon Career Academy)
Some consider Parker to be the most talented player in the country, regardless of class. The 6’8” combo forward can do everything: pass, rebound, slash, defend and knock it down from all three ranges. Parker has an uncanny feel for the game, rarely forces plays and uses his IQ and skill effectively.
Indiana: Trey Lyles (Sophomore, Arsenal Technical)
A future Indiana Hoosier, Lyles is one of Tom Crean’s biggest in-state gets since taking the helm. Lyles stands 6’7” and comes equipped with an arsenal of post moves that are not typically seen for a player his age. The skilled four-man scores effortlessly from inside and outside, and can stymie shots in the defensive paint.
Iowa: Jalen Jones (Sophomore, Clinton)
Jones played up on the travel circuit last summer and is widely considered a top-25 player in his class. The 6’5” small forward uses his speed to get to the cup with ease. He can haul in boards at both ends of the floor and has the versatility to ignite and finish fast breaks.
Kansas: Conner Frankamp (Junior, North)
Fearless, fervent and ferocious are just three ways to describe Frankamp’s competitive spirit and well-tooled game. The 6-foot guard is committed to his state’s flagship program, KU, to play for Bill Self. The Jayhawks are landing a winner with a wicked jump shot, unmatched court savvy and the guts to close out tight games.
Kentucky: D'Angelo Russell (Sophomore, Montverde)
Russell is the best sophomore in the state and a top-25 caliber player in the country. The 6’3” southpaw shooting guard can get buckets at the rim or torch defenses all day from mid-range. A crafty passer and decision maker, Russell’s versatility to play the 1, 2 and 3 positions make him highly desirable among college programs and tough to guard in the backcourt.
Louisiana: Jarell Martin (Junior, Madison Prep)
Martin doesn’t come to the table with much summer experience, but his upside is not to be ignored. Blessed with unending athletic ability, Martin attacks the offensive glass relentlessly and can finish high above the cylinder. His high ranking is based solely on potential, but Martin has the poise, passion and work ethic to meet expectations.
Maine: Matt Cimino (Junior, Worcestor)
Cimino is a modern day stretch four-man who can extend defenses with his feathery outside touch. He’s very slim for his 6’9” frame, but is skilled enough on the low block to cause match-up problems with less agile bigs. He can score with either hand around the basket and becomes a definitive threat when he is knocking down jumpers off the pick-and-pop.
Maryland: BeeJay Anya (Junior, DeMatha Catholic)
Anya is a man among boys inside the key at the high school level. After reshaping his 6’8”, 265-pound presence, Anya can carve out space in the middle to become an efficient scorer. Despite his size, he’s light on his feet and can rack up rejections quickly on the defensive end. The fun-loving big man could be really dominant if he develops a mean streak and continues to improve every time he steps on the court.
Massachusetts: Noah Vonleh (Sophomore, New Hampton)
Vonleh has shot up the national rankings over the last year as his talents turned to skill. The fast-rising four-man possesses an enviable combination of range, which extends beyond the arc, and a superior driving ability. His physical attributes — a 7’3” wingspan, incredible leaping ability and huge hands — have put him on the radar of NBA front offices. Vonleh’s upside makes him one of the most targeted sophomores in the country.
Michigan: James Young (Junior, Troy)
Young is on the path to shatter his school’s all-time scoring record while forcing the nation’s college powerhouses to pay attention. A left-handed 6’6” shooting guard, Young is a habitual 20-plus point scorer who can handle the rock, dish it and explode off the ground. He can single-handedly take over high school games with his athletic ability.
Minnesota: Tyus Jones (Sophomore, Apple Valley)
How many veteran sophomores do you know? This 6-foot floor general has started for Apple Valley since eighth grade and has blossomed into a top 25 national talent in the 2014 class. He’s a pure pass-first point guard who makes the right plays at the right times, all while minimizing turnovers and making his teammates better.
Mississippi: Moses Kingsley (Junior, New Albany)
The 6’9” Nigeria native is still learning the game, but is also rapidly becoming an imposing defender in the lane with his instinctive shot blocking skills. He has a high motor and seemingly enjoys battling for rebounds. Kingsley dabbles on the gridiron, but his first love is basketball, which puts a smile on the face of the many schools beginning to show interest in the big man.
Missouri: Ishmail Wainright (Junior, Montrose Christian)
Wainright’s from the “Show Me State,” but plays his high school ball for nationally touted Montrose Christian. He’s a fluid 6’5” swingman with an impressive physique and skill set. Defensively, he can pester ball handlers, control their direction and get in position to draw the charge. On the offensive end, Wainright packages strength,
fundamentals and the ability to score off the dribble.
Montana: Josh Bray (Junior, Stillwater Christian)
Montana may not be known as a hotbed for hoops talent, but the wing from Stillwater Christian has made a name for himself. The junior is a consistent 20-point scorer and will also grab his share of rebounds. Oh, and Bray can also throw it down with authority when he gets the chance.
Nebraska: Akoy Agau (Junior, Omaha Central)
A 6’8”, 215-pound power forward, Agau holds down the interior for his team. He also shows a good feel for shotblocking — he utilizes his timing more than athleticism to reject his opponents and gets most of his buckets around the rim.
Nevada: Rashad Muhammad (Junior, Bishop Gorman)
As the younger brother of the nation’s top 2012 prospect, Shabazz Muhammad, Rashad shares the knowledge,
wherewithal and competitive nature of his brother. Most of the time, Rashad works from the shooting guard slot and is capable of getting teammates involved or initiating his own offense, depending on what the defense allows him to do.
New Hampshire: Kaleb Joseph (Sophomore, Cushing Academy)
A point guard with immense physical tools, Joseph now has to translate his potential into production on the hardwood. Joseph stays composed under pressure, makes quick shifts of direction and keeps the defense off balance with his ability to shoot the rock on the catch or off the bounce.
New Jersey: Jaren Sina (Junior, Gill St. Bernard's)
The former Alabama commit is being recruited by high-major schools all over the country — especially nearby programs in the Big East. Sina is a 6’2” point guard and a gritty floor leader who sets up his teammates with smart passes and knocks down the three ball with ease.
New Mexico: Bryce Alford (Junior, La Cueva)
How does a smooth shooting stroke from distance combined with craftiness with the ball, a “play-hard-at-all-times” mentality and a solid, 6’3” height sound? Sounds about right for the son of former Indiana Hoosier National Champion and current New Mexico Lobos head coach, Steve Alford, doesn’t it?
New York: Isaiah Whitehead (Sophomore, Lincoln)
A sharp-shooting, 6’4” combo-guard with the ability to get to the rack or set his teammates up with nifty passes is always in high demand. That’s why the “next” one out of NYC is being recruited by high-major programs from around the nation. With Whitehead’s size, speed, shooting ability and willingness to include his teammates, it should be interesting to see how he develops in the coming years.
North Carolina: Theo Pinson (Sophomore, Wesleyan Christian)
There’s no question that Pinson has an outstanding feel for the game. His speed and athleticism are lethal to defenders and his instincts allow him to make plays off the ball defensively. For Pinson to reach his lofty ceiling, he will need to play with intensity at all times and gain more of a feel for the flow of the game. Fortunately, he has more than enough time to turn into the player that many expect him to become.
North Dakota: Jake Hagler (Junior, Northstar)
Over his high school career, Hagler has made a distinct name for himself within the borders of North Dakota by being an excellent game manager. Hagler has a knack for putting his teammates in a position to be successful, which has made him worthy of being known outside North Dakota’s boundaries as well.
Ohio: Marc Loving (Junior, St. John's)
The top prospect in Ohio and a 2013 Ohio State commitment stands at 6’8”, but he’s far from an interior warrior. Loving has made a name for himself on the AAU circuit with his accuracy and feathery touch from distance, along with his ability to put the ball on the floor to create space on the offensive end. Loving still needs to add strength to his frame and improve his willingness to rebound on both ends.
Oklahoma: Juwan Parker (Junior, Booker T. Washington)
The definition of a scoring guard, Parker shoots the ball from distance or can get to the rim with ease. The key to this junior’s development will be his ability to play with consistent effort so that he is more productive. When that happens, watch out. Parker has schools from almost all of the major conferences on him, and rightfully so.
Oregon: L.J. Westbrook (Junior, North Salem)
Westbrook asserted himself as a dangerous point guard on the national level during AAU play last summer. Fortunately for the Oregon State Beavers, they secured a commitment from Westbrook before the explosive
point guard’s stock went up in the summer.
Pennylvania: Rondae Jefferson (Junior, Chester)
A 6’6” small forward, Jefferson is absolutely lethal off the bounce and can create offense with his passing ability just as well as he scores the ball himself. When Jefferson adds a serviceable jumper to his repertoire, he will become even more dangerous at the high school level and beyond.
Rhode Island: Charles Correa (Junior, St. Rafael)
A fantastic playmaker and ballhandler, Correa is unflappable under defensive pressure with the ball in his hands. Playing the lead guard position, Correa brings toughness, athleticism, awareness and a winning mentality to the table.
South Carolina: Sindarius Thornwell (Junior, Lancaster)
Thornwell is a 6’4” guard who creates mismatches for his team with his playmaking prowess. While his jump shot
leaves a lot to be desired, his elite athleticism, ability to penetrate the gap and to make pristine passes make him a high-major player.
South Dakota: Lane Meyer (Junior, Ipswich)
Standing at just 6’2” tall, Myer plays with toughness and gets the job done on the interior; he averaged a double-double his sophomore season with 15.6 points and 10 rebounds per contest.
Tennessee: Nick King (Junior, East)
Anytime you have a 6’7” small forward who can knock down jumpers from 15-18 feet just as well as he gets to the rim, you have a star on your hands. The lefty is tough to stop when he picks up a head of steam on the way to the rim. Once he adds strength to his frame and develops more mental toughness, King should reach his full potential.
Texas: Julius Randle (Junior, Prestonwood Christian)
One of the most talented players in the nation regardless of class, Randle brings enough size, skill and athleticism to the table to impress coaches at any level. Possessing the handle of a guard, increasingly dangerous passing and shooting skills and a willingness to bang inside, the southpaw is simply a nightmare for opposing teams.
Utah: Nick Emery (Junior, Lone Peak)
Nick is a southpaw who combines deep range on his jumper and a soft touch on his floater with his developing lead guard skills. Emery committed to BYU and will follow in the footsteps of his brother, Jackson, who recently graduated after having a successful career alongside Jimmer Fredette.
Vermont: Daquan McNeil (Junior, Vermont Academy)
This year, McNeil has worked on being a more consistent player day-in and day-out for his team. McNeil scores the ball and drops dimes to teammates with regularity.
Virginia: Troy Williams (Junior, Phoebus)
The nephew of summer hoops legend Boo Williams, Troy has a well-rounded scoring repertoire and utilizes his athleticism to take advantage of his opponents at both ends. Williams has excellent length for the small forward position and has decent range on an albeit streaky jumper.
Washington: Zach Lavine (Junior, Bothell)
He is listed as a point guard, but Lavine can score as well as anyone. He’s long and thin but can handle the ball and knock down the open jumper. The 6-footer enjoyed perhaps his finest performance at the high school level when he dropped 39 on Martin Luther King Day in 2011. Lavine currently boasts offers from UCLA, Washington and Gonzaga.
West Virginia: Jon Elmore (Sophomore, South Carleston)
One of the best pure shooters in the country, Elmore plays the game with an excellent basketball IQ from the point or shooting guard positions at this stage in his career. Elmore could become a nightmare with a few more inches of height and some work on his lateral quickness.
Wisconsin: Bronson Koenig (Junior, Aquinas)
Before committing to Wisconsin, Koenig had Duke and UNC tracking his progress. This heady point guard has good size (he’s 6’2”) and plays within himself at all times. The bottom line is that when you play as hard and as smart as Koenig does, the top programs will take notice.
Wyoming: Cisco Taylor (Junior, Lyman)
Taylor is a junior guard who is one of the more decorated players in the state. The two-time All-State selection consistently nets around 15 points per game while playing smart defense and coming away with a few steals. Taylor also possesses some talent on the gridiron, but for now, look for him on the basketball court.
A version of this article appeared in the 2012 Five-Star Basketball Summer Preview Magazine.