Mr. Basketball USA Cade Cunningham, NBA G League signee Jalen Green and two-time honoree Evan Mobley highlight 26th annual All-American Elite Team produced by Ballislife.com Grassroots Editor Ronnie Flores. Elite honor squad includes 20-man first team and 30-man second team.
The 2019-20 All-American Elite Team, now published for the 26th consecutive season and on the Ballislife.com platform for the sixth time, includes 47 of the nation’s best seniors, led by Mr. Basketball USA Cade Cunningham of FAB 50 No. 1 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.).
Seventeen seniors, two juniors and one sophomore, first five selection Emoni Bates, headline the 20-player overall first team.
A 30-player second team includes 30 additional seniors. All underclassmen are eligible for Elite All-American selection, but this year it was determined to honor the senior class as much as possible, as the 2021 class has yet to make the national splash the 2020 class did at the same time a year ago. There has also been talk of some 2021 elites re-classifying to the 2020 class.
This year’s 20-man first team includes a player who re-classified up from the 2021 class early in the school year: third five selection Terrence Clarke of Brewster Academy in Massachusetts. In the 26 seasons of publishing annual All-American teams (and on the retroactive teams dating back to the 1954-55 season), no freshman has ever made the first team.
Our national coach of the year is Thomas Ryan of Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.). He guided the Cavaliers to their fourth consecutive SCHSL Class 5A state crown and Dorman is now 84-4 vs. South Carolina competition in that time frame. Dorman finished 30-1 with its only loss to FAB 50 No. 9 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.). The No. 10 Cavs qualified for GEICO Nationals, but the event was cancelled this year over COVID-19 concerns.
National Grassroots Editor Ronnie Flores selects this performance-based All-American team with input from Mr. Basketball USA panelists. It is chosen after the conclusion of the season, which makes the Elite All-American team more reflective of players who made state championship runs. This honors squad has been chosen in its current format since the 1994-95 season and is powered by Ballislife.com for the sixth consecutive season. This team is chosen regardless of class and is not exclusive or preferential for seniors named to the Ballislife All-American Game, which has been cancelled this year due to COVID-19. To check out who has played in the Ballislife All-American Game the past nine years, please visit ballislifeallamerican.com. To view archived All-American teams published under this format, please visit GrassrootsHoops.net.
2019-20 All-American First Team
G — Cade Cunningham, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 6-5 Sr.
Of all the Mr. Basketball USA choices in recent years, and many years for that matter, Cunningham has the most modest individual statistics. One of the most overlooked aspects of Cunninghan’s game is how much he improved his 3-point shooting this year (48 percent) while taking disciplined shots and being the distributor on one of the best high school teams of all-time. Cunningham was first in scoring (13.9 ppg) and assists (6.4 apg) for a club that only had one team play it within 20 points. Cunningham is the third Mr. Basketball USA selection from Montverde Academy in the last six years and those teams went a combined 92-1. Cunningham is the first ever Mr. Basketball USA to sign with Oklahoma St.
G — Jalen Green, Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.) 6-5 Sr.
One of the most athletic two-guards to come down the pike in California in many years, Green developed more consistency to his game over the past year. As a senior, Green led Prolific Prep to a 31-3 mark and all three losses were to teams the team at least split with. Green averaged 31.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg and 5 apg while earning co-MVP honors of the Grind Session (a mix of academy and independent programs) with third five selection Dashien Nix. Green broke the Prolific Prep single-season scoring mark with 1,008 points (missed two games) and combining his three seasons at San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno, Calif.), Green amassed 3,299 career points. Green was a legit Mr. Basketball USA candidate and with Prolific Prep set to open GEICO Nationals against FAB 50 No. 1 Montverde Academy, he’s clearly one of those players whose season was affected by the cancellation of events because of COVID-19.
F — Scottie Barnes, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 6-7 Sr.
The best description of this Florida St. commit is a Swiss-Army Knife. He is useful in a variety of situations and gets the job done when you need him most. Barnes didn’t get much preseason National Player of the Year attention, but many observers felt he took an already fabulous team to the next level with his versatility and forced his way onto the first five. He and Cade Cunningham are the first pair of high school teammates to earn first five Elite All-American honors since future NBA players David Greenwood and Roy Hamilton at Verbum Dei (Los Angeles) in 1974-75. Barnes was third on the MVA team in scoring (11.6 ppg), second in rebounding (6.5), second in assists (4.6 apg) first in deflections (1.7 dpg), and first in steals (1.9 spg). He impacted both ends of the floor as much as any player in the country and could dominate with his ability to defend inside and out. It’s his rebounding, passing, intensity and will to win that made Barnes of the mot highly-decorated glue players in high school history.
F — Emoni Bates, Lincoln (Ypsilanti, Mich.) 6-8 Soph.
He’s been an easy choice for class player of the year the past two seasons and is now getting honors that put him in rare air among high school sophomores. Bates is the first sophomore since LeBron James in 2001 to be named first five Elite All-American and clinched this by finishing fourth in the Mr. Basketball USA Tracker with 48 out of 100 points behind Cade Cunningham (95), Evan Mobley (81) and Jalen Green (77). As a freshman, Bates led Lincoln to the MHSAA D1 state title and he was named D1 State Player of the Year after averaging 29.8 ppg and 10.2 rpg. This past season, Bates had Lincoln on the FAB 50 bubble with a 19-3 record and into the District 18 tourney semifinals when the season was stopped short by COVID-19. He keeps improving his game and as a tenth-grader averaged 33.1 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 2.9 apg, and 2.3 spg. Along the way he became the first sophomore ever named Gatorade National Player of the Year and might one day be recognized as the best Michigan high school player ever.
C — Evan Mobley, Rancho Christian (Temecula, Calif.) 7-0 Sr.
Although Mobley wasn’t named Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Basketball (he also wasn’t named Riverside Press Enterprise Player of the Year), he’s a deserving first five selection. For one, he’s the best true post player in the country and we always want a post player on our elite teams and second, he was runner-up to Cade Cunningham in the final Mr. Basketball USA balloting. He moves up from the fourth five after averaging 19.2 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 4.7 bpg, and 3.3 apg as a junior. This season Mobley averaged 19 ppg, 12 rpg, 4 apg, 4 bpg, and led his 22-8 club in all four of those statistical categories. Some evaluators would love to see him be more physically aggressive on a consistent basis, but he does things athletically we haven’t seen from a 7-footer from California since first five Elite All-American Tyson Chandler of Dominguez (Compton, Calif.) in 2001. As a junior, Mobley was named Cal-Hi Sports State Junior of the Year over Jalen Green and was No. 3 in the Mr. Basketball USA balloting. He capped his career by earning Gatorade State Player of the Year for the second time and honored with the Wooten Award National Player of the Year among players selected for the McDonald’s All-American Game.
G — Sharife Cooper, McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.) 5-10 Sr.
Last season, Cooper was a first five Elite All-American when he led McEachern to a No. 2 FAB 50 ranked and 32-0 record. This season, the Indians didn’t quite have as much team success, and Cooper’s local honors reflected of that. In 2018-19, Cooper was named Georgia’s Mr. Basketball and national player of the year by one publication, but this season second teamer Walker Kessler was the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Player of the Year and fellow second teamer Deivon Smith was the sandysspiel.com Mr. Basketball. Still, it doesn’t take away from the incredible season and career the Auburn-bound Cooper had. He actually upped his scoring this season (30.6 ppg) while averaging 7.8 rpg and 3.6 spg for a 22-7 club that advanced to the GHSA Class AAAAAAA semifinals. Along the way the four-year starter became McEachern’s all-time leader in scoring and assists and never lost a home game in his career. Cooper was also named to both the McDonald’s All-American and Jordan Brand all-star games.
G — Deivon Smith, Grayson (Loganville, Ga.) 5-11 Sr.
It didn’t make sense for us to go against credible local consensus in the case of Smith. Although Sharife Cooper is one of the best players in the country, Smith had an incredible season for a team than came within a whisker of the GHSA Class AAAAAAA title. Smith was the catalyst for a 30-2 team that finished No. 26 in the FAB 50 by averaging 17.3 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 8.4 apg, and 3.2 spg. In the 82-76 victory over Cooper and McEachern in the state semifinals, Smith went for 22 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. It was a typical outing during a spectacular season for a senior who rose in All-American talks as high as any player in the country. Smith is headed to Mississippi St.
G — Jalen Suggs, Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Minn.) 6-3 Sr.
Moves up from the second team as a junior after having another spectacular season and closing out a high school career that rivals any Minnesota player ever. Not only is Suggs the highest-rated recruit ever to commit to Gonzaga, he’s likely the nation’s top Grid-Hoop Player who was named the 2019 Minnesota Mr. Football as a signal-caller on the gridiron. Suggs has won three Gold Medals as part of USA Basketball so far, won three state titles and was named class player of the year as a freshman and sophomore. Suggs was looking to lead his team to a fourth consecutive Class 3A state crown, but his team’s quest was cut short by COVID-19 while sitting at 25-3 and No. 15 in the FAB 50. Suggs was named state Mr. Basketball after averaging 23.3 ppg, 7,5 rpg, 5.0 apg and 3.9 spg and finishing just shy of 3,000 career points (2,945) while playing varsity basketball at Minnehaha Academy since seventh grade.
F — Brandon Boston, Jr., Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) 6-6 Sr.
Not only was Boston named the CIF Southern Section Open Division Player of the Year, and SoCal Player of the Year, he was named Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Basketball. As a junior, he was named to the Ballislife Underclass All-American team at Norcross (Ga.) and made the most of his only season out West. He was the big shot-maker and leading scorer (20.8 ppg) on the No. 17 team in the FAB 50 that was ranked No. 1 in the state before COVID-19 concerns shut down its season two days prior to the CIF Open State Championship Game. He’s an effortless scorer and terrific transition player, while his coach Andre Chevalier calls Boston an underrated passer and an instinctual offensive rebounder. Playing alongside second team choice Ziaire Williams (who missed the first 14 games of the season), Boston also averaged 7.0 rpg, 2.6 apg and 2.4 spg. He’s headed to Kentucky.
F — Greg Brown, Vandegrift (Austin, Texas) 6-7 Sr.
Always an explosive athlete, Brown displayed an improved overall skill set this season, knocking down 38 percent of his 86 3-point attempts. A two-time all-state selection, Brown concluded a stellar four-year career by averaging 26.1 ppg, 13.2 rpg, 2.1 apg and 3.5 bpg for a 33-3 club that lost in the UIL Class 6A state regional quarterfinals. He concluded his career with 3,007 points, 1,493 rebounds and 427 blocks in 121 games. A McDonald’s All-American, Brown was also named Gatorade State Player of the Year for his athletic and academic (3.74 GPA) prowess. He recently chose hometown Texas after mulling over a pro offer from the NBA’s developmental G-League.
G — Daishen Nix, Trinity International (Las Vegas, Nev.) 6-5 Sr.
This physical point guard has taken an unconventional road to high school All-American acclaim, as he was born in Fairbanks, Alaska and grew up in Anchorage. At the advice of his mother (who played college basketball at Alaska-Fairbanks), Nix moved to Las Vegas to gain more mainstream exposure. He’ll now take an unconventional path towards the NBA by playing in the G League’s professional pathway program, where he joins first five selection Jalen Green and Isaiah Todd, after originally signing with UCLA. As a junior, Nix averaged 19.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg and 5.1 apg for a team that won its second consecutive NCSAA D1 title. Nix is considered by some recruiting experts as the top point guard prospect in the 2020 class, and in 42 games as a senior he showed why, averaging 32 ppg, 10 rpg, 10 apg, 4 spg and 2 bpg while earning McDonald’s All-American acclaim.
G — Cameron Thomas, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 6-3 Sr.
Long-time head coach Steve Smith has mentored 33 McDonald’s All-Americans at the famous Southwest Virginia boarding school and was a bit perplexed this sweet-shooting guard was not No. 34. After all, Thomas leaves the storied program as its all-time leading scorer and had a spectacular senior season. Thomas scored 1,258 points, just shy of the single-season school record of 1,312 points held by 2008 Mr. Basketball USA Brandon Jennings. He averaged 31.4 ppg for a 37-3 team that finished No. 9 in the FAB 50. Thomas also displayed improved shot selection as a senior and combined that with a terrific all-around offensive game (6.0 rpg, 3.4 apg) while finishing second on the team with 91 steals. He was also named MVP at the Iolani Classic and Bass Pro TOC and joins a terrific recruiting class at LSU.
G — Terrence Clarke, Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N. H.) 6-6 Sr.
A big scoring guard with elite skill, Clarke played for a program that includes post-graduates, but he’s eligible for Elite All-American honors as a player still within his eighth semester of high school. Clarke actually re-classified from the 2021 class and is talented enough to be named a McDonald’s All-American and to the Jordan Brand Classic. He parlayed a quality summer into stellar performances for a team that has long been a NEPSAC power. Brewster Academy finished its season 34-3 and was named National Prep co-Champions with Putnam Science Academy (Conn.) after their March 12 championship game was canceled due to COVID-19. On a team with a plethora of D1-bound players, Clark scored a team-leading 16.8 ppg. The Kentucky recruit shot 51 percent from the field, 61 percent from 2-point range, 32 percent from 3-point range, and 72 percent from the free throw line to go along with 5.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game.
F — Patrick Baldwin Jr., Hamilton (Sussex, Wis.) 6-8 Jr.
Already named our National Junior Player of the Year, Baldwin is one of three underclassmen to make the elite team, joining first five selection Emoni Bates and fourth five selection Moussa Cisse. Terrence Clark and a handful of other elites have re-classified or are thinking about re-classifying, so there is still plenty to be decided at the top of the 2021 class. Based on the first three years of high school for the class, Baldwin rates as one of the early contenders for 2021 Mr. Basketball USA with his elite skill and vast accomplishments, including National Sophomore of the Year honors in 2018-19. A three-time all-state selection with a season to go, Baldwin was named Gatorade State Player of the Year after leading his team to a 22-3 mark and into the sectional finals before COVID-19 cut Hamilton’s season short. For the season, Baldwin averaged 24.3 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 4.2 apg, and 1.7 bpg. The son of UW-Milwaukee coach Patrick Baldwin, it will be interesting to see where Baldwin Jr. lands in 2021-22 because he can play for any school in the country and he’s talented and mature enough to play pro basketball.
C — Hunter Dickinson, DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) 7-0 Sr.
A dominant post presence, Dickinson improved his game each of his four seasons in the storied Stags program and saved his best for last. He has good shooting touch, passes out of double teams well and developed into a rim protector while leading DeMatha Catholic to the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference tourney title. The Stags finished with a 30-3 mark and No. 4 FAB 50 ranking and some key wins, including a victory over first five selection Evan Mobley and Rancho Christian (Temecula, Calif.) behind Dickinson’s 28-point, six-rebound, three-block performance. A three-time all-WCAC choice, Dickinson averaged 17.7 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 3.8 apg and 2.1 bpg as a senior and was named WCAC Player of the Year. A Michigan recruit, Dickinson was also named Washington Post All-Met Player of the Year, Maryland Gatorade State Player of the Year and was selected to play in the Jordan Brand Classic.
G — Jaden Springer, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) 6-4 Sr.
The Ascenders opened up as preseason FAB 50 No. 1, but injuries and player defections kept them from reaching their full potential. The play of Springer helped them remain at a national level and they were the only club to play competitively with eventual FAB 50 No. 1 Montverde Academy, which started No. 2 in the rankings. Springer put up even better overall marks than his junior averages (18.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.5 apg) although he too missed some games due to injury and played through others with an ankle sprain. He led IMG Academy to a 19-6 mark (three losses to MVA) and No. 5 FAB 50 ranking by averaging 17.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 5.1 apg while shooting 52 percent from the field and 81 percent from the floor. The Tennessee recruit averaged 21.3 ppg in three 2019 GEICO Nationals victories which clinched the Ascenders’ FAB 50 title. They were invited once again to the event, but were unable to defend their title because of COVID-19 concerns.
G — Reece Beekman, Scotlandville (Baton, Rouge, La.) 6-2 Sr.
Simply put, Beekman is one of the best all-around players in the county and Scotlandville went 126-11 during his four-year career. Beekman’s production impacts winning, as Scotlandville won four consecutive state crowns with this Virginia recruit in the lineup. In fact, the Hornets were one of the last teams to play this year after the COVID-19 outbreak, as it finished its season on March 14 by defeating then FAB 50 No. 50 St. Augustine (New Orleans), 66-39, behind Beekman’s 16 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists. Over the last two years, triple-doubles were the norm for Beekman as he followed up a junior season where he 21.9 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 10.2 apg, 3.6 spg, and 2.6 bpg with averages of 10.0 rpg, 9.2 rpg, 2.1 spg and 2.6 bpg for a team that went 34-3 and finished No. 29 in the FAB 50. He finished his career with averages of 16.1 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 6.8 apg, 2.6 spg and 1.7 bpg.
F — Samson Ruzhentsev, Hamilton Heights Christian Academy (Chattanooga, Tenn.) 6-7 Sr.
As we mentioned in the preseason rankings where HHCA opened up at No. 19, Ruzhentsev could turn into a household name if he had a big senior campaign and that’s exactly what happened. It almost had to happen at another program, as a small enrollment nearly forced HHCA to shut down at the end of the 2018-19 school year. After averaging 17.4 ppg and 4.6 rpg as a junior, this athletic and explosive Russian wing went for 19.2 ppg and 6.3 rpg for a 28-3 club that finished No. 6 in the FAB 50, including a win over No. 3 Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.). In that game, HHCA rallied from a 15-point deficit to win 61-59, as Ruzhentsev hit the game-winning free throws and finished with a game-high 19 points. “Samson has grown tremendously over the past three years at Hamilton Heights, mainly because of his focus and willingness to work,” HHCA coach Zach Farrell said. “He absolutely loves being in the gym and getting better.”
F — Carlos “Scooby” Johnson, Benton Harbor (Mich.) 6-5 Sr.
Although first five selection Emoni Bates earned national accolades, it was “Scooby” who was named Michigan Mr. Basketball. The powerful and athletic Johnson has enough skill to do damage on the perimeter as a small forward and can overpower high school defenses inside as a power forward with his NBA-type body. He led Benton Harbor to a 20-2 record while averaging 25 ppg, 11 rpg, 6 apg 3 spg and 3 bpg. Johnson led Benton Harbor to a Class B state crown as a sophomore and was a three-time Detroit News Dream Team honoree.
C — Mousa Cisse, Lausanne Collegiate (Memphis, Tenn.) 6-10 Jr.
We always strive to place true post players on the Elite All-American team and the talented Cisse is the next in line after a spectacular junior season. He played for two seasons at Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) before relocating to Memphis and leading the Lynx to the TSSAA Division II Class A state crown. In the 54-44 title game victory over First Assembly Christian School of Cordova, the talented power forward prospect with a penchant for blocking shots was named tourney MVP after scoring 15 points, 10 rebounds and swatting nine shots. For the season, Cisse averaged 23.2 ppg, 14.2 rpg and 8.7 bpg. There was plenty of speculation Cisse would re-classify to the 2020 class, but his high school coach recently stated that is unlikely.
2019-20 All-American Second Team
G — Adrian “Ace” Baldwin, St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.) 5-11 Sr.
F — Jaemyn Brakefield, Huntington Prep (Huntington, W.V.) 6-8 Sr.
G — Josh Christopher, Mayfair (Lakewood, Calif.) 6-4 Sr.
G — Dominque Clifford, The Vanguard School (Colorado Springs, Colo.) 6-5 Sr.
F — Henry Coleman, Trinity Episcopal (Richmond, Va.) 6-9 Sr.
G — Jalen Cook, Landry Walker (New Orleans, La.) 6-0 Sr.
G — Andre Curbelo, Long Island Lutheran (Glen Head N. Y.) 6-0 Sr.
F — Johnny Davis, Central (La Crosse, Wis.) 6-5 Sr.
F — Jyare Davis, Sanford School (Hockessin, Del.) 6-7 Sr.
G — R.J. Davis, Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.) 6-1 Sr.
C — Dawson Garcia, Prior Lake (Minn.) 6-11 Sr.
F — Sam Hines, Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 6-5 Sr.
C — Walker Kessler, Woodward Academy (College Park, Ga.) 7-0 Sr.
G — Anthony Leal, Bloomington South (Bloomington, Ind.) 6-5 Sr.
F — Justin Lewis, Poly (Baltimore, Md.) 6-8 Sr.
G — Caleb Love, Christian Brothers (St. Louis, Mo.) 6-3 Sr.
G — Selton Miguel, West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.) 6-5 Sr.
F — Adam Miller, Morgan Park (Chicago, Ill.) 6-4 Sr.
G — Ethan Morton, Butler Area (Butler, Pa.) 6-5 Sr.
F — Micah Peavy, Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas) 6-7 Sr.
G — Jeremy Roach, Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) 6-2 Sr.
C — Day’Ron Sharpe, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 6-9 Sr.
G — D.J. Steward, Whitney Young (Chicago, Ill.) 6-4 Sr.
G — Myles Tate, Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.) 6-0 Sr.
G — Bryce Thompson, Booker T. Washington (Tulsa, Okla.) 6-5 Sr.
F — Earl Timberlake, DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) 6-5 Sr.
F — Lance Ware, Camden (N.J.) 6-9 Sr.
G — C.J. Wilcher, Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.) 6-5 Sr.
F — Terrence Williams, Gonzaga (Washington, D. C.) 6-6 Sr.
F — Ziaire Williams, Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) 6-8 Sr.
Note: ESPN selections 2010-2012; EA SPORTS selections 2003-2009; Student Sports selections prior to 2003; Selections are based on high school accomplishment, not future college/pro potential, and are reflective of those that lead their teams to state championships. The editors of Ballislife.com do not knowingly select fifth-year players, and those ineligible due to age or academics, Mr. Basketball USA or to its various All-American teams.