Yags’ Point Forward - 2019 Big Board
As we did with the release of our recent 2018 rankings, we'll publish two unique perspectives in 2019 to illustrate a point that we've always prefaced updated rankings with, they're always subjective. Up first is Mike Yagmin's big board below, which will be followed by NERR rankings later this week:
Now that the New England State Associations have decided their champs, the entire region is heading into the grassroots season. It’s a good time to apply what we saw throughout the ’17-’18 campaign and adjust the 2019 rankings. Since Fink led off with NERR’s updated 2018 list, I’ll kick things off for New England’s next group of graduates.
This prospect class will obviously look much different at this time next year, when new additions arrive to prep programs in our six states. If our last five graduating classes are any indication, we can expect about 6-7 newcomers to land in the top-20 of the final 2019 rankings. Two or three will most likely crack the top-10. Brewster, by itself, has added an average of four new top-20 prospects to each graduating class in New England since 2014.
There will also be dozens of local high school seniors looking to improve their stock with a prep year in ’18-’19. At least a handful have clearly stated their intentions to do so but I wouldn’t feel right adding them to these rankings without them making the announcement first.
HEAD OF THE CLASS: 1-10
I’m always bullish on our local prospects because I know they’re getting challenged on the court against other legitimate D1 prospects all season and from the coaches in our area year round. That said, I truly believe that this entire group, along with a few more from 11-20, are top-150 prospects in the 2019 national class. They’ll have the chance to prove that to the rest of the country in the next few months.
|1||Jaiden Delaire||6'9||Wing||Loomis Chaffee|
|2||Akok Akok||6'9||Wing||Putnam Science|
|3||Tre Mitchell||6'9||Big||Woodstock Academy|
|5||Brycen Goodine||6'3||PG/Wing||St. Andrew's (SYRACUSE)|
|7||Maxwell Lorca-Lloyd||6'9||Big||Northfield-Mt Hermon|
|9||Mika Adams-Woods||6'3||PG/Wing||New Hampton|
We’ve discussed who sits at the top of our class multiple times, so I know Akok will be #1 in NERR’s rankings. And for good reason! The 6’9” wing is truly an elite shooter and displays characteristics within his shot mechanics that translate really well to the next level. Akok gets his shot off quick, as his entire body gets straight up-&-down early in the process and there is very little wasted movement from catch-to-release. On top of his size and shooting skills, Akok is also an elite shot blocker who has added some wiry strength to go along with his impeccable timing and ability to regularly pin shots above the square. The only aspect of Akok’s game that is lacking right now is the ability to put the ball on the floor and create shots for himself and teammates on a regular occasion. Akok’s work ethic and stone cold demeanor bodes well for progress to be made on that front.
Delaire has steadily improved his stock over the last two seasons since arriving at Loomis. Despite missing time due to an overuse injury to his foot, Delaire was still able to show drastic improvements in multiple areas of his game after debuting in January. The 6’9” wing even acted as Loomis’ primary ball-handler for stretches, displaying the ability to create for others off the bounce and consistently score from anywhere on the floor. Delaire’s shot mechanics are angular due to his long limbs but remain fluid and simple. His ability to put the ball on the floor, lower his entire frame into a running back position and rise up to finish in traffic or through contact with either hand made him nearly unstoppable at the A-level this season. The most intriguing thing about Delaire is that his skillset seemingly expands by the day. He needs to apply himself and make a more consistent impact on the defensive end but all the tools are there.
Mitchell is the youngest player in the top-10 right now as the only “true junior” on the list. The improvements he’s made to his body since arriving at Woodstock allow you to project what his finished frame may look like. Mitchell is a throwback in the post but has more than enough range to be extremely dangerous in the modern game. He already owns offers from ACC, SEC, Big Ten and Big 12 programs.
Bouknight may have one of the highest ceilings in all of New England. Right now he’s a jack of all trades but a master of none. The 6’5” wing has shown glimpses of doing everything at a high level and should continue to rise in the national rankings during the grassroots season with the PSA Cardinals. The same can be said for Massoud, who is Bouknight’s teammate at MacDuffie and with PSA. Once the game slows down for this duo, and they realize how to take advantage of what the defense is giving them, their production will match their robust potential.
The third member of the PSA Cardinals in my top-10 took a huge step forward in his prospect development this season. Lorca’s athleticism, explosive bounce and elite length allowed him to impact the game on a nightly basis. His ability to finish around the rim off drop offs and lobs made him a force on both ends. There simply aren’t many players with his blend of size and agility available on a yearly basis.
Burton may have made the biggest rise in my rankings over the last year, even though I’ve been a fan of the 6’6” wing’s game for three years now. His body has matured and his ability to knock down shots from the perimeter has improved. Burton can finish over, around or through defenders right now and it’s allowing him to separate from the pack in my opinion.
Adams-Woods and Lee are the type of versatile, tough, athletic, do-it-all guards that help coaches create mismatches and win a lot of games. Adams-Woods is more of a true lead guard at this point and owns a pitbull’s mentality on both ends of the floor. Lee became stronger and more dangerous as a primary ball-handler as the season went on, helping to raise his stock considerably in my eyes. Lee’s bounce isn’t wasted in the layup lines like too many other young players either. While Adams-Woods’ wingspan and grit help him enforce his will against bigger opponents, Lee plays considerably larger than 6’3” by using his elite bounce to grab rebounds and finish amongst the trees in the post. The young man can flat out fly.
Last thing on this group: prospects like Goodine, who commit so early in their prep career, have a tendency to see their future feats fly under the radar. Goodine killed it at St. Andrew’s this season. His jumper is improving by the day and his fearlessness while attacking the rim is worth the price of admission. Since he’s off the board already, he’s not great click bait and nobody will hound him about his newest offers. But having that stability allows some players to focus on the task at hand and really prepare for the next level. It happened with Kellan Grady after he committed to Davidson in the spring of his junior year. That’s worked out alright so far. Goodine might not be available but it doesn’t mean he’s not out here getting better!
CAPITALIZING AND RISING: 11-20
|12||Wilden Leveque||6'9||Big||Gould Academy|
|13||Noah Kamba||6'0||Point Guard||Dexter|
|14||Noah Fernandes||6'0||Point Guard||Tabor|
|15||Daniel Buie||6'3||Wing||Gould Academy|
|19||K.K. Curry||6'5||Wing||St. Thomas More|
|20||Ryan Greer||6'2||PG/Wing||Northfield-Mt Hermon|
Coleman and Kamba are both “true juniors” who have the opportunity to reclassify to 2020 if it’s determined to be best for their development. This prep season marked the first extended stretch of games in which Coleman looked comfortable playing basketball. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who realizes how painful growth spurts can be. With those worries now behind him, Coleman can focus on getting into game shape and continuing his development. 7-footers who can stretch the floor are prized possessions and the young man has that skill. His upside is as high as anyone in the class.
It’s a coin flip between the two Noah’s and I’m taking the easy way out by giving the advantage to the young buck. Kamba and Fernandes are both jet-quick off the bounce and give opponents nightmares every time the ball is in their hands. While Kamba is more likely to finish at the rack after twisting an opponent’s knees, Fernandes favors the step-back dagger from 3. Both are equally efficient.
The same goes for Buie and Bertram in my mind. Both can catch fire and drop 30 on you before you’re able to adjust. Bertram’s rise came after he produced in some huge matchups this year, earning him offers and interests from dozens of mid-major programs. Buie is still flying under the radar heading into the grassroots season.
Meanwhile, Curry and Greer get things done is completely opposite ways but are both flying far too low under the recruiting radar of mid-major programs that would be grateful for their services. Both players impact the game on both ends and are the type of selfless teammates that every winning program needs.
TALENT RUNS DEEP: 21-40
|21||Joel Brown||6'1||Point Guard||Brewster|
|22||Chris Herren Jr.||6'2||PG/Wing||Tabor|
|26||Jared Garcia||6'7||Big||St. Thomas More|
|27||Idan Tretout||6'4||Wing||Wilbraham & Monson|
|29||Preston Santos||6'6||Wing||Brooks School|
|31||Gob Gabriel||6'8||Wing||Bradford Christian|
|32||Mitch Doherty||6'7||Big||Worcester Academy|
|33||Bas Leyte||6'10||Big||New Hampton|
|34||Moses Flowers||6'1||Point Guard||Thayer|
|35||Darion Jordan-Thomas||6'6||Big||Proctor Academy|
|36||Byron Breland III||6'4||Wing||Hamden Hall|
|37||Jordan Minor||6'7||Wingspan Big||Brimmer|
|38||Connor Raines||6'6||Wing||Notre Dame-West Haven|
|40||Hason Ward||6'9||Big||Springfield Central|
Stoddard, Reynoso, Raines and Ward could all end up in the class of 2020. With shooting at such a premium in today’s game, Stoddard is one of the region’s most unheralded recruits in my opinion. The 6’6” wing has a pure stroke and can get hot in a hurry. He could chose the highest of academic programs too. Reynoso has seen his stock improve alongside his athleticism as a playmaker from the wing. With the weapons he’ll be surrounded by with the Mass Rivals, he could become one of the more entertaining prospects to watch. Ward is rail thin but an emerging shot-blocker with easy athleticism.
Garcia has battled nagging injuries ever since arriving in New England but gave us flashes of his potential throughout the season. He could really rise if he plays to his capabilities this grassroots season. Gabriel’s size and pedigree make him another obvious prospect to keep an eye on as he runs with the DC Blue Devils.
Tretout and Mason own similar skillsets as marksmen from beyond the arch. They’ll both find homes at the next level for a staff that values their ability to spread the floor.