If you have been following and reading us for a while now, you know I’ve been running a monthly column in which I’ve covered the last commitments for the upcoming 2020 season coming from prospects part of the ‘20 HS class — here is the last installment, on May’s decisions.
Perhaps you have not realized amid the ongoing COVID pandemic, but we’re hitting mid-2020 and that means that this year’s class is basically done when it comes to picking places. What does that mean? That we should be already be turning our attention to the shiny and mostly virgin class of 2021 hoopers. And that’s exactly what I’m doing here. Following the format used for the 2020 entries, this is the first column covering the ‘21 class decisions.
To put you all on the right track and refresh my own brain, we’re going to go through the commitments that have taken place since the first one happened more than half a year ago, back in November of 2019 (shouts to Keisei Tominaga for becoming a trailblazer!). Since that moment, there have been 50 players to name a school and I’ll be highlighting those with the most prominent names (I’ve set the cutoff at top-50 in the 247Sports prospect rankings) here so we start gearing up for what will be coming during the next few months. Let’s get it going!
Who Are The Players And Where Do They Come From?
Not bad to be covering as many as 12 of the 50 total already-committed players here, right? Of course, the cream of the crop is pretty much still undecided and pondering their options, but we already have a future Dukie among those listed and the only one to be currently ranked inside the top-25 players of the class.
As for the other 11 kids, they all rank among the 29th- and 47th-best players of the 2021 class, which is a great crop crammed into just 19 spots, all of them inside the top-50 per 247Sports composite rankings (those average what multiple recruiting sites are doing with their rankings, creating a reasonable picture of where and how the prospects are seen by different outlets).
The players themselves are listed next, including their national ranking, position, current high school, bio, and star/ovr rating per 247Sports:
2021 HS Class - Nov. 2019 to Jun. 2020 Commitments
|2021||7||AJ Griffin||Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, NY)||SF||6'7||200||5||9.974||Duke|
|2021||29||Manny Obaseki||Allen (Allen, TX)||CG||6'2||160||4||9.884||Texas A&M|
|2021||30||Caleb Furst||Blackhawk Christian School (Fort Wayne, IN)||PF||6'8||215||4||9.880||Purdue|
|2021||31||Isael Silva||Jesuit (Carmichael, CA)||PG||6'3||185||4||9.874||Stanford|
|2021||32||Jerrell Colbert||Cornerstone Christian (San Antonio, TX)||C||6'9||210||4||9.870||LSU|
|2021||34||Zach Clemence||Sunrise Christian (San Antonio, TX)||PF||6'9||210||4||9.863||Kansas|
|2021||36||Bryce Hopkins||Fenwick (Oak Park, IL)||PF||6'7||220||4||9.857||Louisville|
|2021||39||Zion Harmon||Marshall County (Benton, KY)||PG||5'10||160||4||9.843||Western Kentucky|
|2021||41||Ernest Ross||Santa Fe (Alachua, FL)||PF||6'9||210||4||9.842||NC State|
|2021||43||Bryce McGowens||Wren (Piedmont, SC)||SG||6'5||165||4||9.840||Florida State|
|2021||45||Will McClendon||Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV)||SG||6'3||190||4||9.835||UCLA|
|2021||47||Reese Dixon-Waters||St. Bernard (Playa Del Rey, CA)||SG||6'5||195||4||9.827||USC|
Texans seem to be quick with their decisions having three players on the list already, followed by California with two, and seven other states contributing one player each. There are hoopers of all sizes and shapes, ranging from a 5-foot-10 point guard from Benton, KY to three 6-foot-9 biggies coming from Alachua, FL and San Antonio, TX.
Have Those High Schools Any Track Record Of Top-Player Production?
As no single prep put two different players on this first list, let’s go through them with a quick bunch of notes and names that they have nurtured and served home to in the past (if that’s the case!)
The tale of AJ Griffin has everything to turn into the golden story of Archbishop Stepinac (NY) as he’s the most talented kid to come out of the New York prep since RJ Davis was ranked no. 46 last year. The other four players to come out of it where all outside of the top-185 of their respective classes at the very least.
Pretty much the same is happening at Allen (TX), as Manny Obaseki is the first player to rank above the 272-best player of any class to come out of the high school. While the school had sent five other players to the NCAA since 2003, non of them ever came close to Obaseki’s talent.
While Blackhawk Christian School (IN) has always pumped another kid into the NCAA circuit back in 2010 (Russell Byrd), the truth is that both Russell Byrd and 2021 Caleb Furst were and are top-100 prospects. Byrd went to Michigan State and never truly panned out, but he’s still balling in the Canadian league. A similar story goes for Jesuit (CA) as the Cali-prep has now sent two ballers to the collegiate ranks in James Moore (2010) and Isael Silva this year.
During his existence, Cornerstone Christian (TX) has been a pipeline to NCAA-college Oral Roberts having sent a trio of players there before the turn of the 2010s decade, back in 2007. Other than that, they also packaged a guy to Valparaiso in 2006 and have an uncommitted 2020 prospect to name his college of choice. They had never produced even a top-450 player but they have the 32nd-best of 2021 in Jerrell Colbert and also the 67th-best 2022 prospect (Austin Nunez) waiting on the wings. The other San Antonio school with a player here, Sunrise Christian (TX), has its first ranked player ever in Zach Clemence—not a bad start considering he’s a top-35 prospect!
Fenwick High (IL) can be deemed as a forgotten high school. While it had three prospects in the 247Sports Composite ranks spanning from 2003 to 2008 they stopped pumping top-talent until 2014 and even then the best they could do was produce a no. 281 player. No more names have popped since then, but now Bryce Hopkins (no. 36 of 2020, 2nd-best player from Illinois) will put his school’s name on the national spotlight once more.
They’ve had to wait 15 years to see another kid make the list, but Marshall County (KY) boasts the no. 39 prospect of the 2020 class in Zion Harmon now. The last—and only other—time they put a name out there was all the way back in 2006 when they sent no. 170 Daniel Ard to Murray State. In the exact similar situation we find Santa Fe (FL), as this HS also pumped a 2006 kid into the NCAA system and none other since then until now.
Wren High (SC) has never had a ranked player, with no. 43 Bryce McGowens becoming its first after committing to play ball at Florida State.
Moving to California, St. Bernard (CA) will add its four kid to the historical list of ranked players with no. 47 Reese Dixon-Waters after he committed to USC. Other than that, the best prospect the school ever nurtured was Brandon Randolph, who ranked as a top-100 player in the class of 2013.
Last—but far from least—we have a staple prep in Bishop Gorman (NV). Bishop is clearly the leading high on this batch. It has been around forever and the names it’s pumped through the NCAA veins can’t be defined on a high enough grade. Starting in 2003 and to this date, the prep has generated 25 ranked players including Shabazz Muhammad (2012 no. 2) and Zach Collins (2016 no. 30) just to name a few. Will McClendon is the 45th-best player of the 2021 class but they are still holding the no. 44 kid of this year’s class in Zaon Collins, who has yet to commit, and they also have the no. 172 in Christian Bento.
And The Most Important Thing... Where Are They Going To Play College Ball?
As a quick recap of everything we’ve covered up to this point, these are the colleges to get themselves a 2021 top-50 player during the past few months:
- Duke (1): AJ Griffin (no. 7)
- Texas A&M (1): Manny Obaseki (no. 29)
- Purdue (1): Caleb Furst (no. 30)
- Stanford (1): Isael Silva (no. 31)
- LSU (1): Jerrell Colbert (no. 32)
- Kansas (1): Zach Clemence (no. 34)
- Louisville (1): Bryce Hopkins (no. 36)
- Western Kentucky (1): Zion Harmon (no. 39)
- NC State (1): Ernest Ross (no. 41)
- Florida State (1): Bryce McGowens (no. 43)
- UCLA (1): Will McClendon (no. 45)
- USC (1): Reese Dixon-Waters (no. 47)
Taking those top-50 commitments and all of the rest into account, the team rankings are already starting to take shape. It’s way early in the process (just look at what has happened with the 2020 class and their top players waiting to late-April to give their word to different colleges) but this is how things stand by the start of June:
- USC (no. 1 / 3 commits / 94.79 average commit-rating)
- Wisconsin (no. 2 / 3 commits / 94.49 average commit-rating)
- DePaul (no. 3 / 2 commits / 97.62 average commit-rating)
- NC State (no. 4 / 2 commits / 96.98 average commit-rating)
- Ohio State (no. 5 / 2 commits / 94.91 average commit-rating)
- Loyola Marymount (no. 6 / 3 commits / 89.49 average commit-rating)
- Butler (no. 7 / 2 commits / 88.47 average commit-rating)
- Duke (no. 8 / 1 commits / 99.74 average commit-rating)
- Texas A&M (no. 9 / 1 commits / 98.85 average commit-rating)
- Purdue (no. 10 / 1 commits / 98.81 average commit-rating)