2016 Rankings Announced
Rankings prospects is no easy task, but ranking underclassmen can be especially tricky.
At the heart of the challenge is the sliding scale between production and potential. The ultimate goal of NERR’s rankings, like most other reputable sources, is to forecast projected performance at the next levels.
Given that current sophomores aren’t even halfway done with their high school careers, not to mention competing at vastly different levels of competition, the correlation between current and future production can be far less than most realize.
Instead, we’re looking for markers that suggest growth, development, and ultimately abilities that translate beyond the high school game.
One player who satisfies both is Mustapha Heron, the top ranked prospect in the New England 2016 class. A powerful and versatile perimeter player who has seemed to become both more athletic and skilled within the last year, Heron is also the region’s lone representative in the ESPN 25. While he’s made recent headlines more for his decision to leave Wilbraham & Monson mid-season and subsequently enroll at Sacred Heart High School in Waterbury, Heron is a guy who already seems destined for the highest levels of college basketball.
Sitting in the second spot is Vermont Academy big man Sedee Keita. Like Heron, Keita is already the subject of wide-ranging high-major recruitment. At six-foot-nine, his physical tools are off the charts with a long and athletic frame, and while his potential to develop into an inside-out scoring threat gives him as high an upside as anyone in the class, he isn’t yet ready to dominate a game offensively like Heron is.
Another Vermont Academy product, K.J. Santos, sits in the third spot. He’s missed the vast majority of the season thus far with injury but showed obvious ability this fall with the size and developing skill to play a multitude of positions.
Fourth ranked St. Andrew’s big man Terrell Brown is only just showing flashes of his potential at this point but has already participated in a Team USA training camp thanks to his undeniable upside that comes with his size, soft touch, and developing defensive instincts.
The question of potential vs. production is perhaps best illustrated in the class’ talented point guard crop. Ikenna Ndugba is likely the most qualified to make a current impact while Donovan Love’s speed and burst with the ball in his hands in unmatched, and yet it may be Makai Ashton-Langford who has the best chance to be on top when it is all said and done.
Sixth ranked Bruce Brown showed signs of breaking out this fall and is now doing just that. A well known athlete and elite defender, Brown is now adding the offensive game to match and shooting up this list as a result.
The 2016 New England rankings, which currently include 20 prospects, include a series of other guards like Christian Vital, Tyree Weston, Ryan Murphy, KeAndre Fair, and Matt Turner along with wings like Saul Phiri and Greg Kuakumensah, forwards like A.J. Brodeur and Garrett Stephenson, and big man Sam Ibiezugbe.
To view the entire list click New England 2016 by using the drop down menu under rankings.