Five-Star Summer Awards: 10 Super Sophs
Fabulous as freshman, this group of rishing sophs scorched the 2011 summer circuit
While the biggest, most experienced names on the circuit stole most of the attention this summer, many freshmen proved they could compete with the top players in the country. After a competitive summer, here are the ten rising sophomores who emerged as the best young talent in the nation.
Shaqquan Aaron (SoCal All-Stars): Aaron stands at 6-7 and is equipped with long arms, a killer instinct and deadly jumper. This summer, he displayed the ability to play the one, two and three positions. Aaron can pass in the open court, get to the rim at will and knock down the perimeter jumper. Playing alongside Katin Reinhardt and Xavier Johnson at Mater Dei should only improve the youngster's development. If he can put some more weight on his frame, he will be a force on the circuit for years to come.
Cliff Alexander (D-Rose All-Stars): It's pretty scary to think Alexander and fellow 2014 Windy City big man, Jahlil Okafor have three more seasons of going at it in the tough Chicago Public School League. At 6-9, 240, Alexander spent much of the summer playing with the D-Rose All-Stars 15U squad, but impressed with a very raw yet freakishly athletic skill set. He has plenty of time to refine his game, but folks have already taken notice. His current offer list includes Ohio State, Michigan State, UConn, Illinois, DePaul, Tennessee and Florida State.
Dakari Johnson (New York Gauchos): Johnson’s in the midst of following St. Patrick coach, Kevin Boyle, to Montverde Academy (Florida) and is being courted by a band of heavyweights, including Georgetown, Kentucky and Syracuse. The 6-10 center balled for the New York Gauchos on the circuit, leading the New York-based program to a fourth place finish at 17U AAU Nationals and a No. 24 standing in the Five-Star Top 25 with adept moves around the basket and ability to control the glass.
Tyus Jones (Howard Pulley Panthers): How real is Howard Pulley PG Tyus Jones? He dropped 40 points on Seattle Rotary at EYBL Dallas, falling just one point shy of Jordan's Price single-game high for League play. Jones didn't miss the mark at Peach Jam, putting up an event-high 31 points in an upset win over then-No. 1, BABC. Need more proof? ESPN recruiting guru Dave Telep compared the crafty 6-1 guard to Chris Paul and recently said "he would be the No. 1 point guard in the Class of 2012 right now and No. 2 in 2013 behind only Andrew Harrison."
Jaquan Lyle (Eric Gordon All-Stars): The 6-4 combo guard from Evansville, Indiana has garnered rave reviews. He split the AAU season between the EG All-Stars and the 15U Spiece Indy Heat. His performance has already earned him offers from Illinois and Indiana and that list should continue to grow as time passes. Look for him to work on consistency with his jumper as he already possesses the ability to get into the lane and find teammates or score for himself.
Emmanuel Mudiay (Texas Pro): Mudiay burst onto the scene this summer playing up on a loaded Texas Pro 17U team that featured Isaiah Austin, Danuel House and Chicken Knowles. Standing out among that trio is impressive and the sensational 6-4 combo guard will have to do more of the same this high school season, as he'll play alongside Austin and Knowles again at Arlington, Texas' Grace Prep.
Jahlil Okafor (Mac Irvin Fire): Okafor’s a Chicago native and resident Five-Star blogger, but this 2014 big man was on the move all summer long. Okafor posted an 18-point, 14-rebound effort for a Team USA gold medal victory at the FIBA Americas U16 World Championship in Cancun, Mexico. While Stateside, he propelled Mac Irvin Fire 16U to a No. 21 ranking in our final Top 25. He provides length and strength with grace and skill,
Theo Pinson (CP3 All-Stars): Analysts have found no shortage of complimentary adjectives to describe Pinson's game — from efficient, to cerebral, to confident. Elite athleticism and a high basketball IQ have made the shooting guard from Greensboro one of the top prospects in the class of 2014. Pinson, who played this summer with the CP3 All-Stars' 17s, said in his Freshman Friday interview back in June that he was honored to be considered a top 2014 prospect and that his game closely resembles that of CIA Bounce standout Andrew Wiggins.
Wayne Selden (BABC): While Selden served as a steady scoring option off the bench for BABC 17s, he was the primary offensive threat for BABC’s No. 1 16U squad and AAU National Championship-winning 15U team. The sturdy swingman from Tilton H.S. (New Hampshire) pulled an all-nighter and still managed to drop 20 points and five assists in the title game. Look for Selden to collect even more hardware as he laces them up with Nerlens Noel, Georges Niang and Goodluck Okonoboh at Tilton this winter.
Andrew Wiggins (CIA Bounce): The 6-7 small forward led the 17U CIA Bounce squad to a Top-15 finish in our rankings. He finished the season by leading Canada to a second place finish at the Nike Global Challenge and did an impressive job on Jabari Parker in doing so. Wiggins was named the MVP of the All-Tournament International Team and will head off to Huntington Prep this year where he should continue to raise his game.