Emmanuel Mudiay, the most physically dominant guard in the country and the nation’s No. 2 ranked prospect, leads voting in preseason Student Sports Mr. Basketball USA Tracker, now in its seventh year. Jahlil Okafor, Stanley Johnson and Cliff Alexander also collect first-place votes.
Last season, after a slow start by Jabari Parker (Duke) because of a lingering foot injury, the Mr. Basketball USA selection process became a coronation of sorts for Andrew Wiggins of Huntington Prep (Huntington, W. Va.), now at Kansas.
After last season, it appeared the 2013-14 campaign could unfold in the same manner for Jahlil Okafor. He was named the Student Sports National Junior Player of the Year after averaging 20.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.9 blocks for a Whitney Young (Chicago) team ranked No. 6 in the Student Sports FAB 50.
Things can change quickly in high school basketball.
Okafor was impressive at times on the grassroots circuit, but on other occasions he left national scouts and media unsatisfied with his performances. The door was left open for other highly-regarded prospects to emerge in the conversation as the nation’s best player coming into the 2013-14 high school season and that is reflected in the preseason Student Sports Mr. Basketball USA Tracker.
After finishing in fourth place (46 points) in last year’s final balloting behind three graduated seniors, Okafor came in tied for third place (62 points) with small forward Stanley Johnson of Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.). The leader in the clubhouse, meanwhile, is point guard Emmanuel Mudiay from Prime Prep Academy (Fort Worth, Texas). The 6-foot-4 power guard with an improved jumper received recognition as the top national player of the year candidate by two members of StudentSportsBasketball.com’s 10-man panel and finished with 76 points on nine ballots. Finishing in second place with 66 points was center Cliff Alexander of Curie (Chicago).
Mudiay’s point total is the lowest for the top preseason candidate in the seven-year history of the Mr. Basketball USA Tracker. In the inaugural tracker for the 2007-08 season, Samardo Samuels of St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.), the eventual runner-up to current Detroit Pistons guard Brandon Jennings, finished with 80 points on nine ballots.
As the panel’s ballots clearly indicate, there has never been so much discrepancy among the top candidates to begin a season as this one. Okafor garnered the most first-place votes (four), while Johnson collected three, but the opinions of those two players’ candidacy varied greatly.
What makes Mudiay the early front-runner is consistency. He received two first place votes, but what gave him the edge over Alexander (the fourth player to receive a first place vote) was five second-place votes. While the panel generally disagrees on whom the top national player of the year candidate, all but two of them believe Mudiay is one of the top five candidates.
In this season’s preseason tracker, 18 players received recognition by StudentSportsBasketball.com’s panel. Last year, there were 17 national player of the year candidates to begin the season. With the range of opinions at the top, the actual in-season performances of the candidates will be scrutinized more heavily and be a bigger factor than any season in recent memory.
Stay logged in to StudentSportsBasketball.com to track the progress of the nation’s top individual players and the nation’s Top teams.
|1||21T||Emmanuel Mudiay (9)||Prime Prep||2||5||0||0||1||76|
|2||10T||Cliff Alexander (9)||Currie||1||0||2||4||2||66|
|3T||NR||Stanley Johnson (8)||Mater Dei||3||1||1||1||0||62|
|3T||4||Jahlil Okafor (7)||Whitney Young||4||0||2||0||1||62|
|5||6||Tyus Jones (8)||Apple Valley||0||2||0||1||4||53|
|6||NR||Malik Newman (5)||Callaway||0||0||1||1||1||31|
|7||17T||Tyler Dorsey (3)||St. John Bosco||0||0||2||0||0||21|
|8||NR||Myles Turner (3)||Trinity||0||0||1||1||0||20|
|9||NR||Ben Simmons (3)||Montverde||0||0||1||1||0||19|
|10||21T||Stephen Zimmerman (3)||Bishop Gorman||0||0||0||1||0||16|
|11||NR||Rashad Vaughn (3)||Findlay Prep||0||0||0||0||0||13|
|12T||NR||Josh Jackson (2)||Consortium||0||0||0||0||0||9|
|12T||NR||Thon Maker (1)||Carlisle||0||1||0||0||0||9|
|15||19T||Daniel Hamilton (2)||St. John Bosco||0||0||0||0||0||8|
|16||NR||Kelly Oubre (1)||Findlay Prep||0||0||0||0||1||6|
|17||NR||Cheick Diallo (1)||Our Savior||0||0||0||0||0||5|
|18||NR||Reid Travis||De La Salle||0||0||0||0||0||5|
About Mr. Basketball USA Tracker Panel
Student Sports’s panel of 10 experts, which includes six McDonald’s All-American selection committee members, casts its vote for the top national player of the year candidates. Each panelist lists his top seven candidates regardless of class. The votes are then tabulated on a 10-point scoring system with a first-place vote equaling 10 points, a second-place vote earning nine points and down to four points for a seventh-place vote. The number in parenthesis refers to the numbers of ballots on which a player appeared and previous rankings refers to position in last season’s final tracker.