Rivals Rankings Week: Breaking down updated position rankings
After updating the 2021 Rivals150 on Monday, we have now updated the 2021 positional rankings. Who is the top gun at each position? Who is coming on strong and how does each position group look as a whole. National Analyst Eric Bossi breaks it down.
RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK
Tuesday: Position rankings for class of 2021
Wednesday: Team rankings storylines for class of 2021
Thursday: Rivals150 for class of 2022
Top gun: We were never able to watch all of the best at this position go head to head, but Hunter Sallis did enough this summer to justify moving into the No. 1 spot at the point guard position. The 6-foot-5 product of Omaha can play either the one or the two but his ability as a playmaker for himself and others dictates that the ball is going to be in his hands on the next level and beyond. Great size, great demeanor and he just keeps getting better.
Coming on strong: Down to a final three of Alabama, Providence and UCF, Darius Johnson has been streaking up the charts. Heading into the summer, the 6-footer from Virginia rated No. 37 overall in the point guard group as a three-star. Now he’s all the way up to No. 19 as a four-star and it isn’t out of the realm of possibility for him to eventually climb into the top 10 or 15 of the 2021 floor generals.
Thoughts on the group: If you are a college fan then you really like this group. There isn’t a bunch of one-and-done type talent among the 32 point guards that made the Rivals150. However, there are several guys that project as multiple year starters and in terms of playing style it is a pretty diverse group.
Top gun: Jaden Hardy looks to be on his way to a wire to wire run as the top shooting guard in the senior class. He has ideal size, can heat up from deep and has proven he can get it done time and time again at the highest level. Kentucky, Oregon and UCLA are thought to be the primary players for his commitment, but there’s also a chance that the skilled scorer could skip college entirely and go to the G League or overseas.
Coming on strong: Now a four-star prospect, C.J. Noland has been a prospect that has caused some serious debates among our team over the years. Built like a four-star linebacker, he exudes toughness and at this point his winning attitude, production and what he brings to a locker room dictate that he make a big move. A commitment appears to be on the horizon with Kansas State and Vanderbilt getting the most talk of late.
Thoughts on the group: This is another group that should be an overall win for those who want to see guys stick around the college game for multiple years. One thing that sticks out is that as a whole it is a group with pretty good size. Most are at least 6-foot-4 and have good looking frames for their future strength coaches to build on. Like the point guards, 32 appear in the Rivals150.
Top gun: Headed to Duke, A.J. Griffin has NBA bloodlines and the type of game you would like to see from a big-time small forward. He’s well put together, has a balanced inside/out game and he’s a high-flying finisher in transition when he needs to be. He’s not flashy, but he gets the job done and is a reliable scorer that should step in and be immediately productive in Durham.
Coming on strong: It’s too close to call between Josh Minott and Jaylon Tyson. Headed to Memphis, Minott is a long and lean wing with tremendous ball skills to go along with open floor athleticism. He has improved at an incredible rate. The same can be said for the improvement rate of Tyson, who is headed to Texas Tech. Tyson is developing into a potentially lethal jump shooter from the wing and has gotten much stronger while adding to his game off of the dribble.
Thoughts on the group: Along with the power forwards, the small forwards are the strength of the class. Thirty-seven made the Rivals150 and it isn’t too hard to imagine 10 or more of these guys eventually playing in the NBA. The overall size, athleticism and defensive versatility of this group is really impressive.
Top gun: The top-ranked player in the class, Patrick Baldwin Jr. could have fit at the small forward position too. The amount of skill he plays with at around 6-foot-10 is incredible. He handles the ball deftly, is among the best shooters in the class and is a big-time passer and alert rebounder. We slot him at the four because that’s where we see him causing the biggest mismatches.
Coming on strong: Although he didn’t rise from No. 5 in the position rankings, Daimion Collins went from a four-star ranked No. 20 overall to a five-star ranked No. 10. He still has to get stronger and he still has to get more consistent, but man is his game trending up. He’s a freaky athlete with long arms who is starting to shoot the ball with some range and has gotten sneaky good off the dribble. An elite rim protector, Collins is just scratching at the surface of his considerable potential.
Thoughts on the group: The power forwards don’t go quite as deep as some of the other groups with only 26 making the Rivals150. But, at the top, the group is pretty strong and features a good mix of surefire NBA guys with potentially impactful college players. If the school you cheer for didn’t find their guy early, they could be scrambling.
Top gun: Ranked No. 3 overall, Chet Holmgren is clearly the top five man in the class and it could certainly be argued that he could be a four man as well. His ability to shoot with range, put the ball on the floor and score it with the best of them combined with his rim protection make him a matchup nightmare. He may be thin, but don’t mistake that for him lacking in toughness.
Coming on strong: Sam Ayomide Onu is trending up in a big way. Here’s a guy that is 6-foot-11 and 255 pounds who loves contact and who understands that he is a force in the paint. He’s not trying to float around the perimeter, he just wants to rebound the ball, play tough defense, set crushing screens and then score around the rim when given the opportunity.
Thoughts on the group: While many college programs are moving towards small ball and the top two guys are more new age fives who can shoot, the majority of this group are throwback kind of guys. The class features many big and strong guys who just want to punish people around the rim.