Similar to what we recently did for the Class of 2014, Student Sports takes a look at the top prospects in the Class of 2015 and makes a case why each should be considered its No. 1 prospect. There’s a strong group at the top and long-term it could surpass the top players from 2014.
RELATED: Who’s No. 1 in 2014?
Tyler Dorsey, St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) 6-5 G
Why he’s No. 1: Similar of Emmanuel Mudiay in the 2014 class, Dorsey’s combination of size, ball skills and scoring ability make him unique in this class. He’s a bull in the lane, with the ability to drive in the key from either direction. He’s also one of the best in the country at pulling up in the lane and converting with contact. Dorsey was bothered by an ankle injury during this past high school season, but he got to show his complete package this spring and summer and nobody in the class has his skill set.
Why he’s not: No player in this class has risen his stock more over the summer than this combo guard, but he’s only in the No. 1 conversation because of how much improvement he’s shown, not because he’s the No. 1 player. He didn’t have a great sophomore season of high school ball, but he’s improved enough to be in the conversation. With the elite big men in this class, Dorsey has to show more true point guard skills and have a dominant high school season in order to pass them.
Cheick Diallo, Our Savior New American (Centereach, N.Y.) 6-9 PF
Why he’s No. 1: With his length and athleticism, it’s a strong argument to make Diallo No. 1 because of his production. He was the MVP at the NBPA Top 100 Camp where he showed he is more than just an energy defensive player. He was the leading rebounder (7.8) and was sixth in scoring (11.0). Scoring used to be his weakness, but not anymore. Even then, his offense is a plus because he can impact the game so much with his defense, shot-blocking, and ability to run the floor.
Why he’s not: Diallo is not consistent enough to be No. 1. As good as he was at the NPA Top 100 Camp, he didn’t produce at the same level at the LeBron James Skills Academy. Although he runs the floor well and gets good lift on his short jumper, his offense is not polished enough for him to take over the top spot. He’s not a seven footer and in today’s game, Diallo needs more offense as a four-man.
Malik Newman, Callaway (Jackson, Miss.) 6-3 G
Why he’s No. 1: Last year’s returning Student Sports National Sophomore of the Year has the best first step in high school basketball. He uses it to deadly results and can score as well as any other guard in the country. He’s not only quick, but Newman has a strong step-through move and has one of the better mid-range game at this level. He’s also got a good basketball IQ, even though he has a scorer’s mentality.
Why he’s not: He’s not an elite enough defender, nor does he elevate his teammates enough, to be the nation’s top player from the two-guard position. Newman’s is a terrific individual talent, but has to create more for his teammates and develop more point guard skills. When he plays against other elites, he dominance wanes and that’s not a good sign for the next levels.
Ivan Rabb, Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.) 6-9 PF
Why he’s No. 1: Over the last year, Rabb has lost the gangliness and is much more assertive on each possession. Rabb knows how to create space and is aggressive on the block. He’s a good athlete and even a better competitor. After he played in the Under Armour Elite 24 last Saturday, he played in a local all-star game across the country less than 24 hours later. Naturally, he was co-MVP of the event. That kind of competitiveness tells a lot about this young man.
Why he’s not: He’s not strong enough yet, nor does he have enough face-up game, to be the best player among this group. Rabb strictly operates in the post, and even though he is a good post passer, he’ll have to develop more of a perimeter game to be dominant on the next level. We actually like the fact Rabb doesn’t float on the perimeter like some talented bigs do, but not being a face up threat limits his game when he’s matched up against other elite bigs.
Stephen Zimmerman, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) 6-11 C
Why he’s No. 1: This left-hander is arguably the most skilled big man in the country — in any class. He can pop from the elbows, hit turn arounds on the baseline or make the correct decision if he’s not shooting. Not only is Zimmerman a good passer, he runs the floor well and has solid hands. He’s as complete a 6-foot-10 plus package as you’ll find outside of college.
Why he’s not: Zimmerman struggles at times against wide body pivots and against players that are physical with him. He’s improved in this department, but in order to be the consensus No. 1 player he has to be more consistent and not shy away from defenders. He also isn’t consistent with his approach. One game he looks all-world and the next he doesn’t have quite the same impact. This is knit-picking, however, as a strong case can be made for Big Zimm compared as anyone.
Note: Ben Simmons of Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) is also be in the running for the No. 1 spot in this class, but we didn’t see him on the trail this summer. He didn’t begin playing for the 2013 Student Sports FAB 50 national champions until the National High School Invitational.