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Assessing The Top 2022 Senior High Schoolers’ August Decisions

The hotter the summer, the more the decisions. Or so they say. School is back, folks, and that means we’ve reached September and with it, we’re inching closer to the start of the 2022 NCAA D-I hoops season. August brought quality over quantity, as two top-5 kids picked places among other storylines regarding this crop... and we’re here to cover everything related to those decisions in the second monthly installment related to the 2022 HS class.

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: JUN 06 Pangos All-American Camp Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Remember when we covered the July commitments a month ago? Back then, no. 21 prospect Jalen Washington was the highest-ranked player to make his decision. Not bad, right? Wrong: the problem is that he was the only top-30 player to feature in that entry. This month? We have five top-25 kids to talk about. Uh, oh, talk about a month packed full of tasty decisions all around the nation.

By the end of August, up to 11 players named their future places of choice. Those 11 kids have a super-high average rank of around 38 in the latest 247Sports Composite update. That’s pretty insane, but reasonable when looking at the names involved in this month’s list of hoopers. We’re talking two top-10 players, two more top-20 prospects, one top-25, and two more inside the top-50. No joke.

And just in case all of that wasn’t interesting enough, no. 35 prospect Kamari Lands decided to decommit from his early pledge to Syracuse. Back in the recruiting “market”, a few colleges have already offered him—Kansas and ASU the last two—while Cuse got left in the dust after seemingly having landed Lands back in April. Cold world, Orange.

Who Are The Players And Where Do They Come From?

As ridiculous as it sounds, having five top-25 players in this past month alone is pretty much unheard of in this class to date. And it could have been even more incredible had Emoni Bates committed to Memphis while still being part of the 2022 crop—remember, Bates reclassified to the 2021 class.

I would have been very pleased covering 11 top-100 prospect commitments in a single month, as is the case for this August column, so having such top-tier talent picking places is just like putting the cherry on top of it all.

The players themselves are listed next, including their national ranking, position, current high school, bio, and star/ovr rating per 247Sports:

2022 HS Class - August 2021 Commitments

Yr Rk Name High School Pos Hgt Wgt Stars Avg College
Yr Rk Name High School Pos Hgt Wgt Stars Avg College
2022 2 Keyonte George iSchool Entrepreneurial Academy (Lewisville, TX) SG 6'4 185 5 9.989 North Carolina
2022 4 Dariq Whitehead Montverde Academy (NEWARK, NJ) SF 6'6 190 5 9.983 Texas
2022 12 Kijani Wright Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, CA) PF 6'9 235 5 9.951 Duke
2022 20 MJ Rice Prolific Prep (Napa, CA) SF 6'5 225 5 9.911 Connecticut
2022 24 Jalen Hood-Schifino Montverde Academy (Montverde, FL) CG 6'5 210 4 9.890 Indiana
2022 34 Kel'el Ware North Little Rock (North Little Rock, AR) C 7'0 210 4 9.856 Ohio State
2022 43 Bryce Griggs Hightower (Missouri City, TX) PG 6'2 180 4 9.819 Xavier
2022 58 Isaac Traudt Grand Island Senior Sch (Grand Island, NE) PF 6'9 205 4 9.763 Virginia
2022 69 Tarris Reed Link Year Prep (Branson, MO) C 6'9 230 4 9.711 Arkansas
2022 70 Tre Holloman Cretin Derham Hall (Saint Paul, MN) PG 6'2 175 4 9.709 Kansas
2022 86 Alex Karaban New Hampton School (New Hampton, NH) PF 6'7 190 4 9.600 Illinois
2022 HS Class - August 2021 Commitments

It really is not just about the kids, but the schools where they did and will keep on honing their skills. Those five top-25 prospects come from three powerhouse preps (Montverde, Sierra Canyon, and Prolific Prep) and the up-and-coming iSchool Entrepreneurial Academy (TX). Four of those five are also five-star players, with no. 24 Jalen Hood-Schifino falling just two spots short of that denomination as every kid down to the 22th-best in the class is labeled a five-star prospect.

Cali and Texas are the only states with two kids committing this past month, while other seven different places also added their names to the list. There were four no. 1 players from their respective states, one no. 2, and all of the rest ranking between the third- and sixth-best kids in their home states. We had yet to have a booming month when it came to commitments... and we can safely say August was the first—maybe the last?—one, at least so far through the year.

Have Those High Schools Any Track Record Of Top-Player Production?

Back-to-back appearances in the column for iSchool Entrepreneurial Academy (TX), which last month saw no. 29 Arterio Morris commit to Texas while this month features mighty no. 2 Keyonte George deciding to bring his talents to Baylor, also remaining in the Lone Star State. As I already introduced last month, iSchool only had a couple of players ranked prior to 2022, none of them above the 150th slot.

Dariq Whitehead keeps adding to the Montverde Academy (FL) list of great alumni—if we judge by his current ranking, at least, as he’s the top-4 player of the 2022 class. He does so hailing from Newark, NJ, and thus becoming the first player for such a state to ever make it to the 247Sports Composite rank playing for Montverde while settling in from NJ.

In a similar fashion to iSchool (read above), Sierra Canyon (CA) is back one more time after landing no. 12 Kijani Wright in USC. This is a fantastic decision if only because it goes against that of 2022 no. 1 Amari Bailey, who just weeks ago picked UCLA as his college of choice. Let’s hope the upside of those two kids truly materializes and they can battle each other for a good chunk of years at both the collegiate and professional levels of play.

The month of August came packed with top-tier prospects choosing where they’ll take their next developing states, and the same goes for actual institutions. Prolific Prep (CA), home of no. 20 MJ Rice, has made the column a few times already and it makes all of the sense: the last über-talented player to come out of it? No less than Houston’s new franchise player Jalen Green.

Even though KeVaughn Allen was the no. 64 prospect of the 2015 class and the best from his state, the North Little Rock (AR) product never truly panned out and had to find a career overseas after going undrafted in 2019. Much better positioned for a successful American tenure is no. 34 Kel’el Ware, who is committed to the Oregon Ducks and is the highest-ranked player from NLR to ever grace the national ranks.

Hightower (TX) went through a very dry spell of nine years without producing a single nationally ranked recruit, but they’ve done so now in back-to-back years. It is not that the school doesn’t have a resume at it, though, as you can find the likes of D.J. Augustin, Eric Moreland—he of the NBA chip with Toronto—, and Danuel House among his alumni.

One of the latest to join the party, Link Year Prep (MO) produced his first “recognizable” prospect back in 2016, though Wyatt Newman didn’t make the cut in 247Sports Composite list that year. It took the prep until 2020 to put a name in the list, though they’re peaking at this very moment with two top-70 players in their 2022 class and the 18th-best prospect of the 2023 class already playing in Brandon, MO.

Just three names adorn the Cretin Derham Hall (MN) list of nationally-ranked kids: 2011 no. 412 Raijon Kelly, 2018 no. 50 Daniel Oturu, and now no. 70 2022 Tre Holloman. Oturu has made headlines this offseason after getting traded from Minnesota to Memphis—thus leaving the state for the first time, as he played college hoops at Minny—while Tre Holloman will be a Sparty to kick his NCAA tenure off hoping to one day reach Oturu’s destination in the NBA.

Not many high school projects are as established as that developing in New Hampton School (NH). We need to go all the way back to 2003 to find a prospect from the school ranked in a 247Sports Composite board (that is, the first year they started to get done), and that has sustained over the years with at least one nationally ranked kid in all classes except 2005, 2020, and 2021. Although New Hampton hasn’t produced top-tier talent (only one 5-star player in Noah Vonleh back in 2013), they have always been involved in the recruiting/developing circuit. Alex Karaban is the sixth player to come out of New Hampton labeled a 4-star prospect and the first to do so since Kimani Lawrence in 2017.

No prospect had come out of Grand Island Senior School (NE) before Isaac Traudt made the cut as a top 2022 senior.

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:

  • 19 Commits - Duke
  • 18 - Kentucky
  • Prep-to-Pros - 12 players
  • 10 - North Carolina
  • 9 - Oregon
  • 7 - Ohio State, Kansas, LSU, Memphis
  • 6 - Florida, Texas, Michigan, Gonzaga, Michigan, USC, Tennessee
  • 5-to-1 - 47 Other Colleges

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 leading the way, as they have done for most of the last couple of decades. Not even Coach K’s departure seems to be affecting that, not at least for now. We’ll keep an eye on how this thing progresses, though.

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:

  • 1 Prospect added — Baylor, Duke, USC, Kansas, Indiana, Virginia, Oregon, Michigan, Michigan State, UConn
  • 1 Player gone Pro — Overtime Elite

While we had no news coming from the NBA-linked G League when it comes to signing HS seniors, we got to knew about Hightower’s prospect Bryce Griggs decision to join the recently born Overtime Elite. Founded in March 2021, the league promises to pay $100,000 a year to the kids getting into the program. Kudos to the young men out there taking this path, as they’ll be skipping college, getting compensated, and still have a high chance at reaching the L. Win-win for everybody involved.

Ohio State remains atop the national college ranks with regards to the 2022 recruiting classes, though the Buckeyes have yet to land a five-star player (they have three four-stars, and one three-stars). Arkansas (no. 5) dropped from the top-3, which is now completed by no. 2 Kansas and no. 3 North Carolina. While both Arkansas and NC have the same number of recruits, and both colleges boast a couple of 4* and one 3*, the fact that the players committed to the Tar Heels have a slightly higher rank is giving NC the edge through August. Getting into the top-4 is Virginia after landing its third 4* player of the class.

The folks at Duke went to work and ramping up their efforts to finish the year with the best class around the nation, ranking now no. 6 with two 5* players already committed to the Blue Devils—Duke is, of course, the only school with two such prospects. Baylor (no. 16), USC (no. 25), and Kansas (no. 2) were the other three colleges to land one five-star talent each, boosting their rankings up compared to our last update at the end of July.

As for the remainder of teams landing top-100 prospects during the past 30 days, they are ranked as follows: no. 6 Indiana, no. 9 Oregon, no. 11 UConn, no. 12 Michigan, and no. 28 Michigan State. Ohio State has the most recruits to date with four kids expected to don Buckeye threads a year from now, while 10 other colleges trail OSU with three commitments each.

Finally, a special mention (once more) to the kids going prep-to-pros. With the latest Overtime Elite signing this past August (no. 43 Bryce Griggs), it’s been already 12 top-50 players (and 17 top-100 prospects total) in the past four classes from 2019 to 2022 that have taken that route. And it’s not that the gamble hasn’t worked for those who became trailblazers: RJ Hampton and LaMelo Ball (2019 HS Seniors) Ball have already established themselves in the Association, while Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga (2020 HS Seniors) were both selected inside the top-7 picks of the last draft just a few weeks ago. The future is bright for those taking the least explored of paths, by the looks of it.