Rivals Rankings Week: Roundtable on updated Rivals150 rankings
Now that the Rivals150 for the class of 2021 has been updated, our analyst team of Eric Bossi, Corey Evans and Dan McDonald conduct their usual roundtable. What were the toughest decisions? Whose rankings do they believe in, who could be too low and who do they hope backs up their faith in them?
RIVALS RANKINGS WEEK
Tuesday: Position rankings for class of 2021 | Roundtable
Wednesday: Team rankings storylines for class of 2021
Thursday: Rivals150 for class of 2022
1. The toughest decision in this rankings update was...
Bossi: This was obviously the most unique summer that any of us have had to deal with. We had to watch mostly online and then not everybody got a chance to play. Figuring out how to not penalize those who didn’t play while rewarding those who deserved to enter the rankings or move up was difficult and something that was always top of mind. Moving guys around to get them deserved recognition while also doing our best to keep those that couldn’t play about where they started the summer was no easy task.
Evans: Just how to deal with the uncertainty that the pandemic has brought. Never have we had to weigh someone’s potential and progress throughout a prolonged string of months against maybe someone that we may not have had the chance to see play throughout the travel season.
Take for instance Chet Holmgren. He didn’t play at all this travel season but how do we punish him by lowering him in the rankings compared to Jabari Smith, who has been playing practically every weekend and in doing so, displaying a much improved and well-rounded skill set? There are no definitive answers on how to rank someone that has played compared to someone that hasn’t, but the best that we can do is consider the book on someone up to now and project what he can be in the coming years.
McDonald: For me, the top four prospects in this class are the clear top tier. It's the order of the next few prospects between No. 5 down to around No. 10 where there are some really close calls we had to make. I like where we ended up with this based on what I've seen.
2. The reason I believe in this prospect's ranking is...
Bossi: Programs at all levels spend a lot of time discussing culture and character. I don’t know anybody in the class of 2021 who is a better example of what any coach would want from a player in those regards than Harrison Ingram. A versatile forward who ranks No. 9 overall, Ingram isn’t the best of athletes in the class and he isn’t the best shooter. But, he defends extremely well, is among the best passers regardless of position and is an ego free player who does any and everything to win. I see a highly successful college career and several years at the professional level in his future because his work ethic is just as strong as his talent.
Evans: I am all about Benny Williams. I saw the now five-star grind through a workout and what I saw is the epitome of a new age and successful wing-forward that has filled out into his 6-foot-8 frame. He’s got a super smooth skill set and a three-level scoring game that should transition well to college.
The Syracuse commit has always had the talent but it was more about his production and doing it consistently against the best. I guess we will see how right or wrong we were this winter when Williams competes on the national scale with the IMG prep bunch. There are various portions of his game that he needs to polish, but there is no reason that he will not stop getting better based on his progress to date.
McDonald: Josh Minott jumped up 34 spots in this rankings update and I completely support it. He's been really good this summer with Team CP25. He has the versatility at 6-foot-8 with great length and athleticism that could take him a long way. He's the perfect forward for the way most college programs play today,
3. The prospect I fear we have too low is...
Bossi: I really thought that UConn-bound big man Samson Johnson was due for a breakout spring and summer with the NY Jayhawks. Covid-19 had other ideas so we didn’t get a chance to see the athletic and mobile post. After playing alongside Jonathan Kuminga and Adama Sanogo during his junior season, I thought the past few months would be his turn to shine. My gut tells me that we have him way under ranked at No. 100 nationally, but my head tells me that we couldn’t justify a bold move up the rankings for him without the chance to see him play.
Evans: I would have gone a little higher with Peyton Watson. Granted, I haven’t had the chance to see the UCLA commit much in recent months, but the leaps and bounds that he had made and the need for someone in his mold, to go along with the talent he possesses, would equate to someone I would rank a little higher than 17th in America.
Sure, he is a solid five-star recruit but Watson boasts all of the intangibles that you look for in a next level guy. Toss in the fact that he is going to play for Mick Cronin, a coach that tends to only get the best out of his guys, and what you have is someone that I worry we ranked a bit too low.
McDonald: I only saw him once this summer, but Carter Whitt really jumped out to me with Reform Sports. He has good size for a point guard and has really good feel for the position. He's a capable scorer and I like his toughness and competitiveness. He has a really good chance to outperform his ranking.
4. The prospect that I hope proves us right and is not too high is...
Bossi: Manny Obaseki remains one of the premier one-on-one scorers in the class of 2021 and has the tools to be a big-time player at Texas A&M. He does need to refine his game some and get stronger before hitting the SEC and he has some work to do with his consistency and tightening up his all-around game, though. As a five-star ranked in the top 25 nationally, the expectations will be huge, so I’m hopeful he locks in and proves that we were right to rank him so highly.
Evans: We continue to raise the bar with Hunter Sallis quite frankly because he continues to raise the bar with his game. Ahead of him is just a group of five that has been well-known commodities in this space since practically their freshmen seasons. We are taking a bet on Sallis over a bevy of other more well-known prospects because the versatility, abilities, intangibles and upside correlate with his ascension to No. 6. He may not be done just yet, either, but he also must show that he is worthy of his new ranking.
McDonald:I always pick guys for this question that made a big jump. For that reason, I'm going with Sryracuse commit Benny Williams. He certainly fits the Syracuse combo forward prototype that Jim Boeheim has had so much success with in the past. I just always get a little nervous with prospects as thin as he is. I hope he puts a lot of work into getting bigger and stronger over the next year.