Evans Seven: Class of 2023 players creating early buzz
In this week’s Evans Seven, we look at some of the class of 2023 prospects who have already created some buzz with their play this winter - even though we are still some time away from publishing the first rankings for the current freshmen crop.
1. BRONNY JAMES
What, you thought that the son of King James would be left out? There are still questions to just how good Bronny James can and will be - along with if whether will get any bigger - but there is talent in the freshman. He has seen his minutes come and go, thanks to playing on an absolutely loaded, nationally ranked Sierra Canyon High team this winter, but there is no denying the pull that James has already.
Whether it is throwing down his first alley-oop dunk earlier this week, being hit the in the back with a wad of paper at the Hoophall Classic or selling out an NBA arenas that the local pro franchise can't even fill, the spotlight has never been bigger on someone so young. The way that James carries himself despite all of the attention driven toward him deserves respect, and so does the progress he has made as a shot-maker, passer and defender.
2. MIKEY WILLIAMS
While Bronny James might be the most talked about and known prospect in the 2023 class, Mikey Williams is not too far behind. Originally a teammate of James’ on the travel circuit two summers ago, Williams has already become a YouTube sensation, thanks to his dunking exploits.
However, the San Diego native is more than just a raw athlete but rather a three-level scorer, an underrated playmaker and someone that brings poise and composure to the backcourt. Some have already begun to knock Williams for what he can't do, but let’s spotlight just how polished he is already. He is a sure-fire five-star prospect and if you get a glimpse of one of his San Ysidro’s games you will walk away impressed by another freshman standout, Jurian Dixon, who will most definitely be a Rivals150 prospect.
3. DJ WAGNER
DJ Wagner is for real. The son of former NBA guard DaJuan Wagner and the grandson of Milt Wagner, there might not be a better 14-year old walking the planet than the Camden High, New Jersey, standout.
Playing for Rick Brunson this winter, Wagner has already been schooled on the dos and don’ts of the game. He is mature beyond his years with how he goes about carrying himself. Tough-minded by nature, the freshman boasts great length, an advanced feel for the game, willingness to take the big shot and also the desire to compete and scrap on the defensive end.
Wagner’s story is just beginning, but there is a strong chance that - if he continues on this path - he will make his family the first to have a grandfather, father and son be named to the prestigious McDonald’s All-American Game.
4. ELIJAH FISHER
Canada has become a hotbed for some of the best talent in the prep ranks. Many in the country have garnered the "next man up" label in recent years, and Elijah Fisher might be the next in line.
The 6-foot-6 freshman already has the physical gifts in tow, but he is more than just that. He is a decently skilled, athletic wing that fits the mold of a positionless prospect that can play a variety of spots and on both sides of the floor. Fisher’s upside is tremendous and so is the value that he brings to the court. His shot selection could improve, but not many players his age showcase such a high ceiling, current-day production and physical frame.
5. MATT AND RYAN BEWLEY
It's not too often that twins come along that are as good as the Bewley brothers. The pair of forwards are talented, athletic and versatile.
Just last month, Rivals National Analyst Eric Bossi had the chance to see the two south Florida natives: “Matt is the more skilled and active of the two, but you have to love Ryan's desire to dunk everything around the rim,” Bossi said. “There is big-time potential with the duo.”
From all accounts, the Bewley’s were awesome at the famed Tarkanian Classic. Prior to that, they had already shown that they were two of the more talented players in their home state. They will be a heavily recruited duo and could follow the Morris, Collins and Lopez brothers and play high-major ball together.
6. OMAHA BILIEW
The in-state Iowa Hawkeyes have already offered Omaha Biliew, but landing scholarship offers will be the last thing that the freshman standout will have to worry about down the road. Biliew is a 6-foot-7 forward that can play the role of the valuable small-ball power forward while defending various spots, making shots and also driving the gaps.
He has already been invited to two USA Basketball events and proved that he belonged competing against others much older than him. Biliew will be one of the more talked about prospects from his class and he looks to be one of the best from the state of Iowa in recent memory.
7. KANAAN CARLYLE
Playing for one of the more respected high school programs in the state of Georgia, Kanaan Carlyle has already made a name for himself with the Milton High program. While he has more growing and filling out to do, the talent and know-how out of the freshman guard is something special. A pure bucket-getter with quick-twitch speed, Carlyle has shared backcourt duties alongside top 25 sophomore Bruce Thornton this season. And while the elder guard has taken on a large share of ball-handling and scoring duties, Carlyle has already displayed that he is not only one of the best guards in the state, but also the nation. His offer list includes Auburn, Clemson, Florida and Ole Miss, and many more are on the way for a guard that could become coveted by blueblood programs sooner rather than later.