5 Questions as updated rankings approach
The July evaluation period is now behind us and that means it's time to update New England rankings.
The class of 2016 will be up first, but before those rankings debut tomorrow, here's a look at five key questions we had to consider:
1. How far will Wenyen rise?
It's no exaggeration to say that Wenyen Gabriel is now the most highly recruited prospect in New England. With offers from Duke, Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina, the reality is that he's now one of the most recruited players in the entire country. Consequently, there's no denying that he'll be moving up from the 6th spot he sat in following the conclusion of the high school season. How far will he climb? The top 4 seems a foregone conclusion but can he break into the top two or three, or maybe even make a run at the top spot? That's one of the first questions that will be answered tomorrow.
2. How do we sort out the big men?
New England's big men collectively turned in a very efficient summer. It wasn't nearly as loud as Gabriel's rise but guys like Mamadou Diarra, Kevin Marfo, Chris Baldwin and Tyrique Jones all had very successful summers. How do we sort those guys out when the separation between them is narrow to say the least? Then, how will they fare next to the likes of Eddie Ekiyor and Jordy Tshimanga, who compete locally on the prep circuit but weren't nearly as visible this summer as they competed with grassroots teams from Canada and Texas respectively.
3. Will they slip or fall?
Without naming names, there were some players that didn't meet expectations this summer and while that will cause an inevitable slip in the rankings, we'll consider this summer with both their total body of work as well as their long-term potential to decide if they fall out of the rankings all together. That's certainly not to say that everyone who ends up lower than they were six months ago played poorly this summer. Not at all, sometimes it's just a matter of other guys playing so well that they jump up the list.
4. Whose stock will rise the most?
Gabriel may be the biggest stock riser but he won't be the only one. Who else can we expect to make a jump up the list? Well you can bet Tyrn Flowers and Elijah Pemberton will see their name higher on the list than ever before. Flowers continued to show increased flashes of his upside this summer with NY Rens while Pemberton had an equally impressive summer with the NY Lightning. Also don't be surprised to see Christian Vital jump a few spots following his summer with the PSA Cardinals.
5. How will we weigh potential vs. production?
As we've said many times in the past, measuring potential vs. production is a sliding scale that starts to tilt more and more towards production as prospects get older. In other words, if you're a rising senior and you're still just hanging your hat on being naturally talented, but haven't shown a learning curve or gotten much done in-between the lines, you're probably not going to like where the direction you're heading.