Florida Man: Storylines that will impact rankings week
The 2021 Rivals150 is set to be refreshed and finalized next week after the Iverson Classic All-Star Game in Memphis, and the internal debates on how things should shake out have begun. The fact that rankings haven’t been updated since January means there are plenty of moves in store for the update. This week in Florida Man, Rivals’ national recruiting director Rob Cassidy has a look at some of the storylines that will impact rankings week.
2023 Rankings: Top 30
1. WHO IS TOP DOG AT PG? Hunter Sallis vs. Ty Ty Washington vs. Kennedy Chandler
The number of possible outcomes makes this question one of the more intriguing ones left on the table. Gonzaga signee Hunter Sallis currently sits in the top spot at point guard, but Kennedy Chandler spent his senior season making a case to overtake the future Bulldog. A Tennessee signee, Chandler has spent the last handful of months shining against national competition and has proven that his game will immediately translate to the SEC level.
Then, there’s the Ty Ty Washington situation. No player in the 2021 class has risen more quickly than Washington, who has seen his stock soar over the past year by establishing himself as one of the premier scorers in the country and improving his court vision as well. Washington moved up 54 spots in the last Rivals150 update and is now knocking on the door of five-star status. Another impressive outing in the star-studded Iverson Classic this weekend could place the uncommitted star squarely in the mix to seize the top spot at point guard.
A FIFTH STAR IN STORE?
Jonas Aidoo’s case has already been made, as the Tennessee commit won’t participate in a national all-star game. That said, he did enough as a senior to create some internal chatter about where he should figure into the final Rivals150. The dynamic and athletic 7-footer currently sits at No. 33, just eight spots short of five-star range. Aidoo is clearly one of the most explosive bigs in the country and comes with NBA-type upside. Whether or not he’s done enough to earn five-star status, however, is still being discussed.
STOCK RISER: Tamar Bates
Tamar Bates, a 6-foot-5 guard, managed to stand out from the pack playing for an absolutely loaded IMG Academy team this season, which was no small feat. Every member of the Rivals rankings team seems to be in agreement that Indiana’s prized signee should slide up a little when the rankings refresh. All that’s left to determine is the size of the jump. Bates has developed as both a defender and a shooter over the last year and is now able to pair those things with good length, a monitor that doesn’t stop and high-level passing ability that sometimes goes under-celebrated. New Indiana head coach Mike Woodson made a massive statement by landing Bates just weeks after taking his new job, and the recruiting victory will likely pay dividends down the road.
WHO’S NO. 1? Chet Holmgren vs. Paolo Banchero
The most intriguing national discussion left involves the top spot, as current No. 1 Chet Holmgren, a Gonzaga signee, will attempt to hold off current No. 3 Paolo Banchero, who has long been signed with Duke.
If the 7-foot Holmgren reaches his potential, he’s the rarer prospect. The Gonzaga pledge handles the ball remarkably well for a big and is an absolute matchup nightmare because of his ability to step out on the perimeter. Banchero on the other hand comes with a higher floor because of his polish and college-ready build. The competition will likely boil down to the rankings cycle’s final weekend, as the two five stars will match up at the Iverson Classic in Memphis on May 8.
PARTY CRASHER: Brandon Podziemski
Illinois commit Brandon Podziemski will go from unranked to ranked when the final Rivals150 is released next week. That isn’t really up for discussion. What is, however, is how far the 6-foot-6 guard will rise. An elite shooter that became a well-rounded scorer as a senior, Podziemski’s skill and length give him enormous upside. He’ll likely break into the top 100 when all is said and done. The top 50 isn’t totally out of reach.
WHAT TO DO WITH? Brandon Huntley-Hatfiled
A five-star in the class of 2022, Brandon Huntley-Hatfield made the call to reclassify a few weeks back and will arrive on Tennessee's campus as a 2021 prospect this year. Whether or not we like his upside as much as we once did post-reclassification is a conversation worth having. The good news is that the SEC-bound forward will spend the coming weekend competing with the elite prospects in the 2021 class at the Iverson Classic, which should allow us to see how he stacks up against his new peers.