1. Cade Cunningham, Oklahoma State
Deciding to play under his brother, who is an assistant coach, Cade Cunningham chose to play for a program that is banned from the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Although he won’t get a chance to shine in March Madness, Cunningham will still have a massive impact on college basketball. According to both ESPN and 247Sports, the 6-foot-7 point guard from Montverde Academy is the No. 1 and 2 recruit in the nation, respectively. As a big combo guard Cunningham will be an unstoppable force for the Cowboys, scoring with ease against shorter defenders. As an all-around athlete, he has the perfect blend of passing, scoring and defensive abilities; he’s compared to a smaller version of Ben Simmions. In high school Cunningham averaged 13.9 points, 6.4 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.4 steals through 25 games. He was also one of five finalists for the Naismith High School Trophy. Under head coach Mike Boynton, Cade Cunningham shows signs he’ll be a threat to the Big 12 and beyond.
2. Evan Mobley, USC
As a versatile 7-foot big man, Evan Mobley was the top recruit in the nation for months before finishing at No. 3. Mobley will be taking his talents to USC, where his brother is a freshman and his dad is an assistant coach. As a center, Mobley has incredible mobility and ball-handling skills. He has a natural fluidity to his game and can run the floor with a smooth gate. Boasting a 7-foot-5-inch wingspan, Mobley will come down crashing on the boards every chance he can get. As a senior in high school, Mobley averaged 11 rebounds per game, three of which were offensive. Many other high schools big men have tried to take on Mobley—Ziaire Williams, Makur Maker and James Wiseman—but have fallen short. On Dec. 30, Mobley helped hand Sierra Canyon, the No. 17 team in the nation at the time, its first loss of the season. Mobley was named tournament MVP after he tallied 16 points and 11 rebounds that game.
“He’s got a mixture of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant in his game, and he’s a great defensive player who can change the course of any game,” said Etop Udo-Ema, who coached Mobley on the Compton Magic AAU team.
“I’ve been coaching for 30 years and I’ve seen pretty much every top player that has been through Southern California, and if he develops, he can be better than any of them. Once he gets bigger and stronger, there is no ceiling for this kid.”
3. B.J. Boston, Kentucky
Playing with one of the deepest teams in all of high school basketball, B.J. Boston will continue his journey with a top-talent team in the nation. Finishing his high school career with Sierra Cannon, a team consisting of Lebron James’s son as well as Dwyane Wade’s, Boston became one of the go-to scorers and most talented players. As a senior, the 6-foot-6 star guard averaged 19.7 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. He was selected to play in the 2020 McDonald’s All-American Boys Game and the 2020 Jordan Brand Classic. Boston has shown he’s an athletic wing player who can play the guard or forward position. He’s deadly as a perimeter shooter, while also holding the skills of finishing at the rim. With an elite Kentucky roster, perhaps more talented than the 2014-15 team, B.J. Boston will fill the spot as not only one of the most lethal scorers on the team, but in all of college basketball.
John Calipari says 2020-21 roster is giving him 2014-15 vibes: “Yesterday’s practice yesterday reminded me of a team four or five years ago where two guys blocked a shot at the same time. Like, bam, bam. I told them, “That’s what I’m talking about.’”
— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) August 26, 2020
4. Ziaire Williams, Stanford
When the Top-10 prospect Ziaire Williams committed to Stanford in April, he became the Cardinal’s highest-ranked recruit since 2007. The 6-foot-8 small forward, who played alongside Bronny James and Kentucky signee B.J. Boston for Sierra Canyon High School (California) last season, decided to stay in the West over a final group that included Arizona, USC and North Carolina. Under head coach Jerod Haase, the starting forward will be joining two-time All-Pac-12 senior, Oscar da Silva, and a starting five who’ve got some experience under their belt. Williams will have an immediate impact for the Cardinal and diversify the team’s scoring capabilities. He’s an adept playmaker and an unstoppable off the dribble creator. While attending Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, for his first three years before transferring, Williamson averaged 27 points, 10 rebounds and three assists per game his junior year. With his athletic ability and basketball proficiency, Ziaire and the Cardinal will definitely be turning heads in the PAC-12 this year.
5. Scottie Barnes, Florida State
Joining the Seminoles this season, 6-foot-7 versatile power forward Scottie Barnes will deepen the team’s talents and provide some playmaking opportunities. Barnes, who played alongside No. 1 prospect Cade Cunningham his senior year at Montverde, put up 14.5 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. With a good build, broad shoulders and extremely long arms (7-foot-1 wingspan), Barnes is a strong modern forward with a huge defensive upside. Diverting himself from other top big men in his class, Barnes has a rare reputation: a tremendous passing and ball-handling ability. When the 19-year-old played for USA Basketball’s youth program, winning three gold medals along the way, he assisted on 16.8 percent of the baskets in the U19 World Cup. At Montverde, he averaged almost seven assists per game. His advanced playmaking skills and powerful size compares to Jabari Parker, and if he lives up to these expectations, Barnes will be a force to be reckoned with in the ACC this 2020 season.
6. Greg Brown, Texas
Anyone with a casual interest in local high school hoops probably knows about Greg Brown, the phenom from Vandegrift. The 6-foot-8 hybrid type four-man is most likely to be UT’s next one-and-done basketball standout. As a senior in high school, Brown averaged 26 points and 13.2 rebounds, along with many highlight-reel dunks. He’ll be an offensive asset for the Longhorns, with explosiveness not many can stop and efficient shooting capacity. Among all participants in the 17U Adidas Gold Gauntlet in 2018-19, Brown was the second-best player in efficiency rating (36.0). His run and jump ability combined with his size will be a threat to many opponents, and he’ll be looking to dunk on unsuspecting defenders at every chance he gets.
7. Joshua Christopher, Arizona State
From the day he steps onto the Desert Financial Arena, Joshua Christopher will be a player impossible to go unnoticed. The 5-star recruit and the No. 2 overall shooting guard in the 2020 class, per 247 sports, will be one of the most exciting watches among college basketball, because of his scoring capabilities. To say that the 6-foot-5 shooting guard is a pure scorer would be a complete understatement. Christopher, who played for Mayfair High School, averaged 25 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists as a junior. He followed that up by averaging 29.4 points, 11.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists over 29 games in his senior campaign. The guard is an elite player who has the capabilities of getting the ball in the basket at every level. His 205-pound profile allows him to attack the rim with force and break the defense down with ease. He can also shoot from 20-feet and beyond consistently. As a reliable shooter, Christopher shot 56 percent on 2-pointers and 33 percent on 3-pointers as a senior. His creativity, confidence and aggressive mentality will make him a go-to scorer for Sun Devils and one of the best scorers in college basketball.
“From Our Haus to Yours”