Rivals Rankings Week: Roundtable on updated Rivals150 for 2021
The Rivals150 for the class of 2021 has been updated, but things remain constant at the top. Powerful wing Jonathan Kuminga of Hillside (N.J.) Patrick School is still the No.1-ranked player in the country, and the top five of No. 2 Paolo Banchero, No. 3 Patrick Baldwin Jr., No. 4 Chet Holmgren and No. 5 Jabari Smith remains unchanged.
The most notable movement in the upper echelon of the rankings is courtesy of Henderson (Nev.) Coronado’s Jaden Hardy. The 6-foot-4 scoring machine is the top-ranked guard in the country and has moved up to No. 6 and is putting serious pressure on those ahead of him.
Led by small forward Kendall Brown of Bel Aire (Kans.) Sunrise Christian, who checks in at No. 14 overall, there are five players who have moved up from four- to five-star status. Others getting the bump include shooting guard Trevor Keels (No. 15), small forward Peyton Watson (No. 19), and combo guards Hunter Sallis (No. 20) and Manny Obaseki (No. 21).
RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK
MONDAY: Updated 2020 Rivals150
TUESDAY: Updated 2020 position rankings
WEDNESDAY: Updated 2021 Rivals150
THURSDAY: Updated 2021 position rankings
FRIDAY: Updated class of 2022 top 75
Several players made giant since the end of summer, led by Maxwell Lewis of Phoenix (Ariz.) Compass Prep. The small forward from Las Vegas rises an impressive 75 spots from No. 146 all the way to No. 71. Also making jumps of 30 or more spots were California wing Jahmai Mashack (144 to 79), Delaware big man Nnanna Njoko (120 to 69), Washington big man Kaden Perry (134 to 94) St. Louis wing Jordan Nesbitt (122 to 83), Florida wing Alex Fudge (107 to 72), Kansas guard Tamar Bates (127 to 95) and Georgia forward Kaleb Washington (136 to 105).
Of the 13 players cracking the rankings this time around, LaPorte (Ind.) La Lumiere forward Jeremy Sochan makes the highest debut at No. 73 overall. Also entering the rankings as four-star prospects are Georgia big man Ryan Mutombo (84), South Carolina wing Ike Cornish (89), St. Louis wing Jaden Jones (91) and Florida forward Josh Minott (96).
1. The toughest decision in this ranking update was ...
Bossi: Where to put the cutoff between four- and five-star prospects. I’m pretty concerned about the overall depth and top-end talent of this class, and we only had 16 five-stars coming out of the summer. In fact, I would have been totally fine cutting down from that number and making the five-star cutoff at No. 10 Kennedy Chandler. In the end, we decided to go ahead and extend it out to No. 21 with Manny Obaseki because he and others that made the cut have shown enough promise to earn five-stars. But, moving forward the overall strength, or lack of it, in this class is definitely something to monitor.
Evans: I feel as if the top 15 or 20 prospects in the 2021 class have solidified themselves at the top. However, how to go about rounding out the remainder of the Rivals150 was not the easiest. Prospects in the 20-50 range are just that: prospects. They are not ready-made ballplayers compared to some groups that have preceded them but rather wait-and-see types that need further time to develop. We took a leap of faith with JD Davison, Obaseki, and Charles Bediako, while Zach Clemence, Bryce Hopkins and Rahsool Diggins continue to move up the rankings. In the 2021 class, outside of maybe the top five or six, there are no sure bets, which is why the junior ranks remain as fluid as ever.
McDonald:I think we're all on board here with Kuminga at No. 1. He's a ridiculous prospect. The next three prospects could go in any order. I wouldn't be shocked if Chet Holmgren ends up earning his way up to the No. 2 spot over the next year or so. He's just so insanely talented and unique with his skill level and his mobility at his size.
2. The reason I believe in this player's ranking is ...
Bossi: This time a year ago Peyton Watson wasn’t even a full-time starter at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly and he often had to play as a post player. Now, the 6-foot-7(ish) wing has blossomed into one of the best players in the country and he isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. If a high school junior can be considered a “late bloomer” then that’s Watson, and his ability on both ends of the court makes him one that I feel good betting on long term.
Evans: Trevor Keels was one of the biggest climbers in the new Rivals150 - and rightfully so. He may have been due for a bump months ago, but I guess it is better late than never. Keels has been awesome all winter long and has been a central figure to his Paul VI squad’s big wins on the national platform.
He was utterly dominant against IMG Academy last month and followed it up with an impressive showing at the Hoophall Classic. Keels might not be a super-athletic wing, but he is an underrated perimeter defender with an advanced IQ and feel for the game. Most of all, he can really shoot the ball. If I have to bet on someone, Keels is the guy, which is why his 15th overall ranking is more than deserved.
McDonald: I'm a big believer in Kowacie Reeves moving up from No. 42 to No. 35 and wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he continues to trend up into five-star range. He's a legit 6-foot-6, really athletic, and is one of the best shooters in the class. He has serious potential on the defensive end as well. He's been off the beaten path as he plays high school ball in south Georgia and doesn't play on a shoe circuit, but the secret is starting to get out as schools all over the country have been recruiting.
3. The player I fear we have too low is ...
Bossi: Roosevelt Wheeler made a big move up from No. 56 to No. 41 overall and I could see him climbing much more before the spring and summer end. The Virginia big man is pushing 7-feet tall and he can run. He is also starting to fill out his frame and he’s become productive as a scorer, rebounder and shot blocker. Physically, he reminds me a lot of former five-stars Jalen Smith and Myles Turner, and that’s pretty good company. Georgetown, Kansas, Miami, NC State, Providence, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest are among those who have offered, and I would expect his list to grow.
Evans: Jordan Longino has been hobbled by knee injuries that have limited his time on the court. Since we haven’t been able to see Longino at his best in over a year, a No. 78 national ranking is respectable, but he might be much better than that. Longino is a good-sized two guard that thinks the game, can score from each level and has the skill set that should translate to the next level. Villanova doesn’t just offer anyone, especially players from the Philadelphia area, but maybe Jay Wright and his staff are ahead of the game n their thinking of the four-star junior.
McDonald: Even at No. 7 overall, I'm a little worried that we don't have Duke commit A.J. Griffin high enough. He's just a ridiculous talent and I love his versatility at 6-foot-7. He's been consistently great when I've seen him, and he’s going to be a star in Durham.
4. The player I hope proves us right and is not too high is ...
Bossi: I’ll be the first to admit that French import Alex Tchikou can be a little inconsistent, and there’s always worry about a guy who has transferred around some. But the dude is also 6-foot-11, has range on his jump shot and is a long and wiry athlete with tremendous upside. He’s got a personality that matches his physical stature and he seems to be picking things up of late. Look, being ranked No. 25 nationally is a pretty big deal. But, he’s got the physical tools to push for the top 10 as he matures and rounds out his game.
Evans: Our regular readers should know by now that I think highly of Manny Obaseki’s potential. Maybe he’s not a household name to recruiting fans, but at Rivals.com we are advocates of what he brings to the floor and how good he can become.
In a class that is currently behind previous classes when it comes to depth and proven top-flight talent, why not give Obaseki a shot? Now a five-star, Obaseki is an uber-explosive, quick-twitch guard that has become a better shooter of late. He remains at his best as an in-your-face defender that excels in the open floor. Maybe he isn’t there just yet, but his ceiling is probably as high as any guard in the 2021 class.
McDonald:I wouldn't say I'm really worried about him being too high, but we were aggressive in moving J.D. Davison up 22 spots in this update. He absolutely needed to be moved up from No. 48, but I'm just curious more than anything else to see if we were too high, too low or just right on him over the next few months. He's an explosive athlete and an elite play-maker.