It took a while for the 2021 class to fully pick their places, but we were able to move on to the 2022 crop of talents a month ago to cover a bunch of decisions already taking place last spring. That was good, but this month’s entry is better. That’s because we’ve finally reached the point of the year in which we can discuss the future of the top-100 players in the nation monthly because of the high volume of commitments that are happening these days.
With almost 15 players (remember, that only accounts for top-100 247Sports Composite ranked kids) choosing where they want and will play ball come next season—the 2022/23 one, that is—this past month, it makes sense to go through all of their names and colleges of choice. And that word, “colleges”, is indeed the thing of the month as no player opted to declare himself as an upcoming “early pro” by pointing toward that route. It wasn’t that surprising, though, considering where most of the kids that picked places rank among the top-100 players at this point through the process.
We didn’t have a single decommitment in the past four weeks going back to the end of June, while the team rankings got super-shuffled during the last month given the large number of commitments that took place recently.
Who Are The Players And Where Do They Come From?
If you remember the numbers from past columns, we went from 10 top-100 players in the first entry (Jun. 2020 through Feb. 2021) to 13 in the latest one (March through June), to even more now with 14 top-100 kids making the cut this month of July alone. So, in a silly mathematical exercise, we went from barely a commit per month through the early, cold recruiting-season, to three in the Madness Run, and now 14 in just 30 days. Not bad, if you ask me.
While this crop of talents is surely not on par with those covered earlier—no top-20 prospect named his future school in July—the truth is that it is absolutely stacked with seven of the 14 players being top-50 players and an average rank of 60 between all of them. With such a large set of kids, of course, we had our fair share of guards, wings, and big men picking places, and a few colleges landing multiple talents this past month, quite a coup for the three such schools.
The players themselves are listed next, including their national ranking, position, current high school, bio, and star/ovr rating per 247Sports:
2022 HS Class - July 2021 Commitments
|2022||21||Jalen Washington||West Side (Gary, IN)||C||6'9||210||5||9.912||North Carolina|
|2022||31||Arterio Morris||iSchool Entrepreneurial Academy (Lewisville, TX)||PG||6'3||190||4||9.878||Texas|
|2022||33||Kyle Filipowski||Wilbraham & Monson Academy (Wilbraham, MA)||C||6'11||230||4||9.864||Duke|
|2022||44||Donovan Clingan||Bristol Central (Bristol, CT)||C||7'1||255||4||9.817||Connecticut|
|2022||47||Felix Okpara||Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, TN)||C||6'11||210||4||9.811||Ohio State|
|2022||49||Tyrell Ward||DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, MD)||SF||6'7||185||4||9.805||Xavier|
|2022||50||Derrian Ford||Magnolia (Magnolia, AR)||CG||6'3||190||4||9.795||Arkansas|
|2022||54||Zuby Ejiofor||Garland (Garland, TX)||PF||6'8||215||4||9.778||Kansas|
|2022||63||Jayden Epps||King's Fork (Suffolk, VA)||CG||6'2||195||4||9.737||Illinois|
|2022||77||Barry Dunning||McGill Toolen (Mobile, AL)||SF||6'6||205||4||9.670||Arkansas|
|2022||83||Kam Craft||Buffalo Grove (Buffalo Grove, IL)||SG||6'5||180||4||9.638||Xavier|
|2022||91||Ramel Lloyd Jr.||Sierra Canyon (Woodland Hills, CA)||SF||6'6||190||4||9.576||Nebraska|
|2022||99||BJ Edwards||Knoxville Catholic (Knoxville, TN)||PG||6'3||170||4||9.447||Tennessee|
|2022||100||Sencire Harris||St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, OH)||SG||6'3||160||4||9.445||Illinois|
Emoni Bates. Amari Bailey. Dior Johnson. Those three guys, all of them top-10 prospects in the 2022 class, we already covered here. Then Bates decommited from Michigan State and reopened his recruiting process. And now, we have gone through a month in which no top-20 player picked his next step toward stardom. No problem, though, as we still landed a five-star player in July’s article thanks to Jalen Washington (no. 21) committing to the Tar Heels of North Carolina. The big man might not be a top-tier talent—in fact, he ranks “only” as the fourth-best center in the ‘22 class—but he’s the best product to come out of the State of Indiana this year.
Four more state leaders (MA, CT, MD, and AL) committed to different colleges around the nation, and three of those five no. 1 state-prospects are centers, an interesting curiosity among the July prospects to pick places. No college was able to land two players ranked no. 1 in their state, but Xavier got to pair the best and second-best players from Maryland and Illinois respectively while the very own Fighting Illini snathed two second-best players from the states of Virginia and Ohio.
Have Those High Schools Any Track Record Of Top-Player Production?
Perhaps West Side (IN) is not the most heralded school out there when it comes to pumping out basketball talent, but when they do, they do it big. The Gary-based institution produced the no. 61 talent of the 2016 class 15 years ago (!) in Jamil Tucker and is now putting the 21st-best player on the 247Sports Composite rankings. Not bad, indeed. Tucker had a rough time in Virginia due to academic issues, and Jalen Washington will be the one tasked with trying to reach the NBA coming out of West Side for the first time in school’s history.
Though iSchool Entrepreneurial Academy (TX) had only one kid ranked by 247Sports in prior years, they have three prospects in the 2022 national board including the uncommitted no. 4 (Keyonte George) and the freshest Texas Longhorn and no. 31 Arterio Morris. Morris will state in-state playing for Texas in 2022/23, and we’ll see if the best prospect from the school joins him later through the recruiting process—that being said, 247Sports has him predicted to pick Baylor with a 75-percent probability.
While Wilbraham & Monson Academy (MA) is far from a steady producer of talent, it is also true that the schools has already put three players in the top-35 in three different years: 2014 no. 28 Goodluck Okonoboh, 2016 no. 15 Wenyen Gabriel, and now 2022 no. 33 Kyle Filipowski. That “low” ranking might make Fillipowski an afterthought, but this is a very important commitment as Kyle just became the first prospect to commit to the post-Coach K Blue Devils of Duke.
Very neat resume that of Hamilton Height Christian Academy (TN). That is mostly thanks to the couple of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Nickeil Alexander-Walker coming out of it as top-40 prospects in the 2017 class, but also 2020 no. 46 Samson Ruzhentsev who just played his freshman season for the Florida Gators.
Not a lot to add to what we’ve already written here about DeMatha Catholic (MD). Just peep some names and you’ll know the reason: Austin Freeman (no. 9), Victor Oladipo (no. 136), Jerami Grant (no. 48), Markelle Fultz (no. 5), etc, etc... Talent in bunches dropping from the pockets of the prep, which is now adding another top-50 prospect to the list in no. 49 Tyrell Ward.
In the same vein, Sierra Canyon (CA) has been overly great at producing talent of late, with its first ranked prospect coming out of the prep in 2016 and as many as seven top-50 players making the cut since then. Those include no. 1 Marvin Bagley III, to go with BJ Boston, Ziaire Williams, and both 2022 graduates no. 3 Amari Bailey and no. 14 Kijani Wright. Still to come, though, the most hyped player ever if only because of his background: 2023 no. 30 Bronny James.
Ah, quite a link the one between Sierra Canyon’s Bronny and St. Vincent-St. Mary (OH), isn’t it? Even though the Akron prep has never been that great at producing basketball prospects, we can all agree SVSM will always be part of basketball lore thanks to LeBron James and his magnificent high school run. The Ohio-based school had not produced another top player until it did with no. 34 of last year’s class in Malaki Branham and is now doubling down on that with another top-100 prospect in Sencire Harris.
No ranked prospects (as always using 247Sports Composite ranks and data) have ever come out of Bristol Central (CT), Magnolia (AR), Garland (TX), King’s Fork (VA), McGill Toolen (AL), Buffalo Groove (IL) or Knoxville Catholic (TN).
And The Most Important Thing... Where Are They Going To Play College Ball?
Here is the recruiting leaderboard from the past five years—which includes the senior HS classes from 2018 to 2022 and only accounts for top-50 players in their respective years, updated to include this month’s decisions:
- 18 Commits - Kentucky, Duke
- 10 - North Carolina
- 7 - Ohio State, Texas, LSU
- 6 - Florida, Oregon, Michigan, Gonzaga, Tennessee, Kansas, Memphis
- 5-to-1 - 50 Total Colleges
- Prep-to-Pros: 5 players
Kentucky and Duke are clearly the top two universities at getting (top) talent. On average, they have gotten 3.5+ top-50 players per class in each of the past five years and are now tied for the top spot in the leaderboard after Duke was able to land its first post-Coach K top-50 recruit. We’ll see if that stays the same, or if the Dukies fall by the wayside.
So, have things been different during the past few weeks when it comes to college commitments? Here is how the last month ended looking like:
- 2 Prospects added — Arkansas, Illinois, Xavier
- 1 — UConn, Duke, Kansas, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio State, Tennessee, Texas
No kid opted to declare himself an “early-pro” throughout the past month of July. It makes sense, considering it’s still super early in the process for all of these guys. That opened the door to NCAA squads to get a boost from those part of the 2022 class of HS seniors.
There was quite a shuffle in the team rankings, though not at the top as Ohio State retained the no. 1 spot after landing another four-star and top-100 player in July. North Carolina and Arkansas, though, we're able to jump their competition and get into the top-3 teams in the nation at this point through the recruiting process. The Tar Heels became one of only four colleges with a five-star player already in their books.
Illinois got close to the top-3 ranking no. 4 in the last board update after landing a couple of four-star players itself. While Duke finally caught a little break landing a near-top-30 prospect, it still ranks a low no. 20 by July 31. Kansas and UConn are the only other colleges inside the top-10 for 2022 that were active in July, while all of Xavier, Texas, Tennesse, and Nebraska keep fighting to break into that group of the 10-best teams in the nation—they range from no. 11 (Xavier) to no. 29 (Tennessee).