New England 2017 Rankings Announced
If it were only a matter of ranking current levels of productivity, it wouldn’t be so difficult.
Ranking sheer potential is harder, but not impossible if you have a context to provide key markers for success.
Finding the balance between production and potential is where it gets especially challenging, and ultimately what makes ranking prospects, especially young prospects, such an inexact science.
That’s also one of the reasons why NERR chooses to rank only a select few underclassmen. Far too many youngsters view rankings as a status or destination and the bottom line is there isn’t a player in the class of 2017 who has accomplished anything yet.
Instead, they’ve been given natural talent and what will ultimately decide how these rankings play out over the next two years will be who does the most to maximize their talent.
With that in mind, here are the top ten 2017 prospects in New England:
It begins in the same spot as Tomas Murphy, ranked 21st overall in the country in the ESPN 25, remains the top ranked rising sophomore in New England. Six-feet-seven inches tall and still rapidly growing, could he end up combining his older brother Erik’s size and shooting stroke with his Alex’s athleticism?
Jermaine Samuels is right on his heels as the 23rd overall prospect in the ESPN 25. He’s a man among boys right now in this class and if his game continues to evolve and blossom, he’ll have as good a chance as anyone of ending up in the top spot.
When it comes to production, there wasn’t another freshmen in New England who could have done what Tremont Waters did for South Kent last year in Class AAA of the NEPSAC. Skeptics will question his size, but even if he doesn’t grow, he may be good enough so that it won’t matter.
Cushing Academy forward Kimani Lawrence made consistent strides during his first season at Cushing and in the long run he may have just as much upside as anyone in the class. If he commits himself to being the best he can be, he’s another who could make a claim for #1 in the coming years.
When it comes to current levels of production and winning basketball games, there might not be anyone in the class more valuable than Jerome Desrosiers is today. He combines physical strength, toughness, intelligence, and evolving skill to be one of the most mature and advanced prospects in New England.
Hassahn French was an early bloomer. He was taller and stronger than his peers at an early age, and dominant as a result. Then he did something few expected and grew another two inches in the last year and at six-foot-seven, and potentially still stretching, he is a major problem.
There isn’t a prospect in this class who has come on stronger this spring than Jarrod Simmons. He’s another who is now sprouting at a rapid rate, but he’s not just taller but stronger, more assertive, and showing flashes of what suddenly looks like a huge upside.
When it comes to upside and long-term potential, Jordan Hardwick could have as much as anyone in this class. His combination of size, length, and athleticism is unmatched in the class right now, and as his skill set starts to catch up he could start leap-frogging people on this list.
Keeping up with the recent theme, Sunday Okeke also appears to have added a couple of inches this year. He’s a beast inside the lane and so depending on where his size tops out at, he could very well end up being the best true big man in the class.
AJ Reeves first appearance on the 2017 rankings will also be his last as he’s set to reclassify to the 2018 class next season at Brimmer & May. He’s got length, playmaking tools, and a frame that looks bound to keep growing and could end up the top ranked prospect in next year’s freshmen class.