New England 2020 Rankings Announced
With the Elite 75 Frosh/Soph Showcase and the Zero Gravity Path to the Belt now complete and the beginning of the school season upon us, fall has officially ended and winter begun, at least from a basketball perspective.
With the changing of the season comes the initial release of New England's 2020 rankings.
A year ago, we opted against releasing conventional freshmen rankings and instead published 25 names to know in the class of 2020. Lots has changed in the last year though, as it always does. While it still remains very difficult to differentiate the players atop the class, we are starting to see certain characteristics start to emerge.
One of the most noteworthy in this class, is the presence of playmaking guards. There's a relatively long list of them and they all have something unique about them. Taelon Martin is likely the most naturally gifted. Quest Harris quite possibly the quickest and most accomplished to date. Bensley Joseph has that instinctive feel for the game that can't be taught. Bok Akot quite possibly the tightest handle of the group. Dallion Johnson may have the most complete skill set of the bunch. Enoch Cheeks and Shemar Dennis are both bigger, physical, and athletic guard. Cheeks is as competitive as they get and Dennis may be a little more of a natural lead guard at this point. DeMarr Langford shares similar characteristics but is probably more wing than true guard right now.
The interesting thing about this group is that, at the moment, some of the best guards in the class are undersized. In order for that to hold-up long term, these guards will need to continue to prove themselves at the very highest levels. Size isn't a necessarily a requisite for being recruited at the highest level, but historically speaking the numbers show it is much more likely.
There are only a select few forwards or bigger wings at the top of the class. DYondre Dominguez has the length, athleticism, and budding skill to be special while Matt Cross is as polished a face-four as you'll find at this early stage. Trey Hall has as much natural talent as potentially anyone in the class and has made some positive strides this year. Kyle Jenkins is another skilled big wing loaded with natural talent who just needs to discover a bit of a nasty streak.
Then, of course, there are the incoming prep products on the list, many of whom fall into that frontcourt category. Richard Springs and Kareem Reid are the two leading candidates for the top ranking in the class at this point and both project out as versatile four-men long-term. Anthony Thomas is a more prototypical wing and loaded with natural talent.
There are a handful of other first year prep products that didn't make the cut just yet but are bound to down the road once we get to evaluate them in something other than an open gym setting. Symir Torrence looks like a top ten prospect in the class while Hassan Diarra will be in the mix as well. Kerem Ozturk, Jair Currie, Kerick Walker, and several others impressed us this fall in open gym settings but haven't yet had the chance to measure their abilities against other top sophomores in the region.
In total, this initial ranking includes 40 names in New England. The specific order is extremely debatable this early in the game and will undoubtedly be decided by the work-ethic, priorities, and humility of each prospect as much so as their natural gifts.
In there lies perhaps the best lesson for young prospects. If you are on this list, consider it positive reinforcement to continue working hard, both academically and athleticially. If you aren't on this list, or think you belong higher, then use that as motivation to work even harder and prove it in the coming months.