Mr. Basketball USA Chet Holmgren, national junior of the year Jalen Duren and two NBA G League signees highlight 27th 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 2020-21 All-American Elite Team, now published for the 27th consecutive season and on the Ballislife.com platform for the seventh time, includes forty-four of the nation’s best seniors, led by Mr. Basketball USA Chet Holmgren of FAB 50 No. 7 Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Minn.).
Seventeen seniors and three juniors, including class player of the year Jalen Duren of FAB 50 No. 1 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) headline the 20-player overall first team. The only repeater off last year’s team is junior Emoni Bates, who was a first five selection as a sophomore. Patrick Baldwin Jr., last season’s national junior of the year, sat out of majority of his senior year with injury. Another junior on last year’s first team, Mousa Cisse, re-classified up to the 2020 class.
A few of this year’s standout juniors may re-classify to the 2021 class. Already fourth team selection Scoot Henderson of Kell (Marietta, Ga.) has graduated early from high school to sign with the NBA G League Ignite. Fellow fourth five selection Michael Foster of Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.) has chosen to go to the professional route with NBA G League Ignite.
A 30-player second team includes 28 additional seniors. All underclassmen are eligible for Elite All-American selection, and this year’s second team includes one junior and national sophomore of the year D.J. Wagner of FAB 50 No. 5 Camden (N.J.). No freshman made this year’s honor squad and in 27 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 Ray Portela of Sunnyslope (Pheonix, Ariz.). He guided the Vikings to their third AIA crown in five seasons after Arizona almost didn’t have a season due to COVID-19. The Vikings ended up going 21-1, losing one game by two points, and finishing No. 46 in the FAB 50 as the highest-rated AIA team.
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 All-American Elite team more reflective of players who made state championship runs. This year’s team wasn’t chosen until the 2020-21 season was completed in every state of the country, which ended up being late June for California and Oregon.
This honors squad has been chosen in its current format since the 1994-95 season and is powered by Ballislife.com for the seventh 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 was cancelled for the second consecutive year due to COVID-19. To check out who has selected to play in the Ballislife All-American Game the past 10 years, please visit ballislifeallamerican.com. To view archived All-American teams published under this format, please visit GrassrootsHoops.net.
2020-21 All-American First Team
G — Kennedy Chandler, Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Air, Kan.) 6-2 Sr.
After earning underclass All-American honors at Briarcrest Christian (Eads, Tenn.), Chandler took his game to another level as a senior against one of the toughest schedules in the country. The Buffaloes finished as the No. 2 team in the FAB 50 and Chandler was their catalyst all season long. He led them to a 20-4 mark, with the losses coming to AZ Compass and three times to FAB 50 No. 1 Montverde Academy. Sunrise Christian Academy recorded one win over MVA, in which Chandler had 19 points, six rebounds and six assists. He also buried the game-tying 3-pointer to close out regulation. Chandler hit big shots throughout the season and finished with averages of 14.7 ppg (41.3 3-point FG), 4.2 rpg, 5.1 apg and 3.1 spg. He’s bound for Tennessee.
G — TyTy Washington, AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.) 6-4 Sr.
A nondescript D1 prospect his first two high school seasons at Ceasar Chavez (Laveen, Ariz.), no player enhanced his game and stock with college recruiters during the COVID-19 pandemic more than Washington. He was tough, poised and got better in crunch time during AX Compass’ biggest games. He was the MVP of the Grind Session in leading Compass Prep to the championship and had 23 points, nine assists, and four assists, plus the game-winning one, in the title game. Washington also led his team to the GEICO semifinals where they lost 51-49 to FAB 50 No. 1 Montverde Academy. In that MVA game, Washington did not turn the ball over one time. For the season, he averaged 20.2 ppg on 48 percent shooting from the field, including 41 percent from 3-point, and shot 88 percent from the free throw line for a 31-2 club while adding 6 rpg, 6 apg and 2.2 spg. Washington is headed to Kentucky.
F — Jabari Smith, Sandy Creek (Tyrone, Ga.) 6-9 Sr.
Of all the elite players in the country, Smith had the most “normal” senior season from November through March, while many of the top preseason All-American candidates had unique negative experiences this season (injury, COVID-19 cancellations, etc.). Some of the top players who didn’t have a complete season include Paolo Banchero (Duke), Jaden Hardy (G-League Ignite) and 2019-20 Junior of the Year Patrick Baldwin Jr. (UW-Milwaukee). As for Smith, he had Sandy Creek FAB 50 ranked for a majority of the regular season and led the team to a 28-5 mark against quality competition. The versatile forward averaged 23.4 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.6 spg, and 2.5 bpg and had the respect of talent scouts nationwide. He joined Mr. Basketball USA choice Chet Holmgren as the only other candidate to appear on all 10 ballots in the final season voting. After leading the Patriots to a state runner-up finish, Smith is headed to Auburn.
C — Jalen Duren, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 6-10 Jr.
After two strong seasons at Roman Catholic (Philadelphia), Duren made the move to MVA and made the most of his opportunity playing on a national stage. As a preseason national player of the year candidate, Duren was the eighth highest vote-getter, second behind third teamer Emoni Bates among juniors. By the end of the season, he was named national junior of the year and was third in the Mr. Basketball USA voting behind Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith. He led the Eagles to a 24-1 record and to the mythical national title, the program’s sixth No. 1 FAB finish in the past nine seasons. Duren was the most dominant interior player in the country by using his strength, touch, passing ability and discipline to average 14.3 ppg while shooting 65 percent from the field and adding 8.4 rpg and 2.2 bpg. He was the leading scorer for a talented team with four players averaging over 10.4 ppg. There is a possibility he could re-classify up to the 2021 class and/or go the pro route after high school.
C — Chet Holmgren, Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Minn.) 7-1 Sr.
Holmgren started off his school year with spectacular performances during fall competition when Minnehaha Academy played as a quasi club team before the sanctioned Minnesota season began. He made the most of it, including a made-for-TV contest vs. Ypsi Prep and Emoni Bates in which he had 31 points, 12 rebounds, and six blocks in a 78-71 victory. After teaming up with Jalen Suggs as a junior, Holmgren was just as individually dominant after his good friend moved on to Gonzaga. Minnehaha Academy finished 22-1 and No. 7 in the FAB 50, with its only loss to No. 3 IMG Academy, with Holmgren winning his fourth state crown since joining the Redhawks’ varsity as a 6-foot-6 seventh-grader. For the season, he averaged 20.8 ppg, 12.6 rpg, 4.4 apg, and 4.7 bpg (he averaged 4.9 bpg as a junior) and converted an incredible 157-of-194 of his 2-point field goal attempts (81%) and 21-of-67 3-point attempts (31%). Holmgren rarely took a bad shot and also completely dominated the defense end. For his efforts, he is the first player ever Mr. Basketball USA from Minnesota.
G — J.D. Davison, Calhoun School (Letohatchee, Ala.) 6-3 Sr.
Got his senior season off to a strong start by scoring a career-high 57 points and never looked back, earning Alabama Mr. Basketball honors for the second consecutive season. Although Calhoun School wasn’t able to repeat as Class 2A state champ, Davison left an indelible mark after averaging 32.4 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 4.9 apg, 3.6 spg, and 2.5 bpg. As a junior, he averaged 34.0 ppg and hit the game-winning 3-pointer in the state title game victory in which he finished with 34 points and 10 rebounds. Davison finished his career with 2,773 points while averaging 23.3 ppg in 114 games and earning McDonald’s and Jordan Brand All-American honors. One of the best all-around guards in the country, he often had to play on the front line for his team, but he’s cut out to be a big guard at Alabama.
G — Hunter Sallis, Millard North (Omaha, Neb.) 6-4 Sr.
After completing one of the most legendary careers of any player ever from the Cornhusker State, Sallis was named honorary co-captain with second teamer Chucky Hepburn, his junior high teammate. The state’s highest-ranked college prospect ever, Sallis backed that up with production, averaging 22.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg, and 3.8 apg for a 27-2 team that finished No. 15 in the FAB 50. Sallis has incredible size and length and used that to improve his passing and rebounding after scoring the exact number of points his senior year as he did his junior (644). Sallis led Millard North to its first Class A state crown and finished his career with 1,819 points, third most in Class A history behind third five all-American Andre Woolridge of Omaha Benson and Erick Strickland of Bellevue West, both of whom graduated in 1992. A McDonald’s All-American, Sallis also played in the Iverson Classic.
G — Trevor Keels, Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) 6-5 Sr.
We had to make a decision on how few games a player could participate in order to qualify for this honors squad and the cutoff was 10 games. Even though Keels was able to appear in only 11 games, he was definitely deserving after leading his club to a 7-4 mark and a No. 17 FAB 50 ranking. Although most teams in the DMV didn’t get a full season and some didn’t get a season at all, Keels was the best player in the region and likely would have been under normal circumstances. He averaged 28.7 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 7.2 apg and 3.8 spg and was named to both the McDonald’s All-American and Nike Hoop Summit teams. Keels also scored 12 points in the Iverson Classic and is headed to Duke where he’ll play alongside former Paul VI guard Jeremy Roach. The duo helped PVI win the VISAA D1 state crown in 2019-20 and Keels was also the WCAC Player of the Year as a sophomore in 2018-19.
F — Daimion Collins, Atlanta (Atlanta, Texas) 6-9 Sr.
From an East Texas town of approximately 5,500 people, Collins will be playing in front of three times that amount of people on a nightly basis at the University of Kentucky. One of the late bloomers in this group, Collins displayed his fast-twitch explosiveness and leaping ability at the Pangos All-American Festival in the fall of 2020 and it foreshadowed his monster senior campaign. He averaged 30.5 ppg, 13.6 rpg, 3.0 apg and 8.7 bpg for a 19-5 club that advanced to the UIL Class 3A regional semifinals. A three-time district MVP, Collins scored 2,533 career points for the Rabbits. The school’s nickname is definitely appropriate for one of the country’s best athletes and shot-blockers who was named to both the McDonald’s All-American Game and Iverson Classic.
F — Kendall Brown, Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Air, Kan.) 6-8 Sr.
Bound for Baylor, Brown’s raw numbers don’t do his impact on big games any justice. On a balanced and talented team, this do-it-all forward was the team’s leading scorer at 16.0 ppg. He also shot 62 percent from the field while averaging 4.4 rpg, 2.0 apg and 1.8 spg. Those numbers pale in comparison to some of the other elite All-Americans, but Brown impacted high level games on both ends of the floor as well as any player in the country. A native of Woodbury, Minn., transferring to an academy-type program definitely helped Brown take his game to the next level instead of playing out of position and putting up other-worldly numbers. He can score at all three levels with an improved jump shot and ball-handling, as well as create havoc by jumping passing lanes and coming up with big defensive plays. Brown was selected for the McDonalds and Jordan Brand all-star games, as well as the Nike Hoop Summit.
G — Nolan Hickman, Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) 6-3 Sr.
One of the smoothest guards in the country, when Hickman was on his game, it looked like he came down from a higher league to play high school basketball. A scoring point guard, Hickman is one of the best finishers around the rim in the country and is an accurate marksmen from deep. He teamed up with underclass All-American “Pop Pop” Isaacs to led the Tigers to a No. 8 FAB 50 ranking and 18-7 mark while competing in the National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (NIBC). Against stiff competition on a nightly basis, Hickman averaged 16.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 5.4 apg and 1.7 spg. Utah’s Gatorade State Player of the Year, Hickman will join fellow elite All-Americans Chet Holmgren, Hunter Sallis and Kaden Perry (second team) at Gonzaga.
G — Amari Bailey, Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) 6-4 Jr.
One of the most explosive players in the country end-to-end, Bailey capped off a spectacular junior season by earning California Mr. Basketball honors. Since the CIF state tournament began in 1982, the five juniors before him that have earned Mr. Basketball honors (Elite All-Americans John Williams of L.A. Crenshaw, Jason Kidd of Alameda St. Joseph, Tyson Chandler of Compton Dominguez, Aaron Gordon of Archbishop Mitty and Onyeka Okongwu of Chino Hills) all made it to the NBA. Bailey possesses that kind of talent and is quite versatile in how he helps the Trailblazers win games. A spark plug and defensive stopper his first two seasons, this year he was asked to carry more of the scoring load because of injuries and player defections and more than answered the call. The CIFSS Open Division co-Player of the Year averaged 29.2 ppg, 9.1 rpg and 6.5 apg for the state’s No. 4 ranked team that finished No. 40 in the FAB 50.
F — Caleb Houstan, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 6-8 Sr.
Sunrise Christian has two players on the Elite All-American first team so it only makes sense that the nation’s best team has a duo as well. Houstan was on the sophomore All-American team in 2019-20 and the only underclass starter on what is already considered one of the greatest high school teams ever assembled. He re-classified to the 2021 class in the off-season and displayed leadership while delivering big plays for the repeat FAB 50 champions. He averaged 13.2 ppg (second on team), 4.6 rpg (second on team) and 1.2 spg while shooting 53 percent from the field. At GEICO Nationals, Houstan averaged 13.8 ppg in three wins and had 16 points, all on 3-pointers, in the title game victory over No. 2 Sunrise Christian Academy. He’s part of a terrific Michigan recruiting class that includes fellow third five selection Moussa Diabate.
F — Emoni Bates, Ypsi Prep (Ypsilanti, Mich.) 6-8 Jr.
One of the most ballyhooed prospects of the past decade, Bates earns All-American acclaim for the third consecutive year and next season could be the second ever four-time high school All-American. 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. Last season, he was the first sophomore since LeBron James in 2001 to earn first five Elite All-American honors, averaging 32.3 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 3.0 apg and 2.1 spg. In 2020-21, he left his hometown MHSAA team for a start-up, independent prep program built around his talents and the reviews, production-wise, have been a mixed bag thus far. Because of COVID-19 and sanctioning regulations, Ypsi Prep didn’t have an easy time building a schedule and finished 10-3 on the season. Bates averaged 24.6 ppg while shooting 38.8 percent from the field and 26.2 percent from 3-point range. He also averaged 6.6 rpg and 2.4 apg. Despite the lower numbers this season, his talent level is off the charts and warranted a spot on this team.
C — Moussa Diabaté, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) 6-10 Sr.
Rates right with Chet Holmgren as the top shot blocker in the country, and was the defensive leader for one of the nation’s top teams. Diabate can really go out of his area to block shots and snatch rebounds and runs the floor well to get into position to score. He was a key cog on a talented team that went 22-3 and ranked No. 3 in the FAB 50. Diabate led the Ascenders in scoring (14.1 ppg) and rebounding (7.5) and shot 64 percent from the field. He will join fellow third five selection Caleb Houstan at Michigan along with talented Kobe Bufkin (who likely makes first team if not for a wrist injury) and Frankie Collins (who didn’t get to play his high school season in Nevada).
G — Scoot Henderson, Kell (Marietta, Ga.) 6-2 Jr.
This charismatic and talented point guard was named the GHSA Class 5A Player of the Year as a sophomore after leading the Longhorns to the state semifinals and was even better as a junior. He averaged 32 ppg, 7 rpg, and 6 apg in leading Kell to a 22-7 mark and the Class 6A state title game. He was named Class 6A Player of the year by both the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Sandy’s Spiel. Kell’s all-time leading scorer, Henderson was one of the nation’s best guards, regardless of class, and decided to graduate high school a year early to sign a professional contract with the NBA G League Ignite team, which he has committed to for two years.
G — Rahsool Diggins, Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.) 6-1 Sr.
One of the most highly-acclaimed guards in the country, Diggins’ career was capped off by a terrific senior season in which he was named Pennsylvania Class 6A Player of the Year. The four-year standout had lower scoring totals as a senior, but he improved his all-around game, defense, and leadership to lead the Vikings to the PIAA title game, a 19-1 record and No. 25 FAB 50 ranking. The UConn-bound point guard averaged 16.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4.7 apg, 2.8 spg, 1.1 bpg and 6.7 dpg. Diggins led the Vikings to their second Philly Catholic League title and in the state title game loss, he scored a game-high 26 points. Diggins was all-PCL three times, named the league MVP twice and finished his career as Wood’s all-time scoring leader (1,513 points).
F — Max Christie, Rolling Meadows (Rolling Meadows, Ill.) 6-6 Sr.
With the way the pandemic played out in Illinois, the players in that great basketball state were fortunate to get any type of season and this big guard made the most of it and had fun along the way. Christie led Rolling Meadows to a 16-0 record, averaging 24.0 ppg, 10.1 rpg, 3.9 apg, 3.1 spg, and 2.0 bpg after averaging 25 ppg as a junior, 25.5 as a soph and 20 as a frosh. He basically swept in-state player of the year awards (City/Suburban Hoops Report, Chicagoland Prep Hoops, Chicago Sun-Times, News-Gazette, Gatorade) and was also named to the McDonalds, Jordan Brand, and Nike Hoop Summit teams. Headed for Michigan St., Christie leaves Rolling Meadows with 2,132 career points, a number that could have been much higher had Illinois played a full slate of games.
F — Malaki Branham, St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) 6-5 Sr.
This powerful wing will likely transition to more of a perimeter spot at Ohio St., but he spent most of his time with the Fightin’ Irish inside with devastating results. Branham helped St. V’s capture two OHSAA D2 state crowns, including during his senior season when the Irish finished 25-2 and ranked No. 18 in the FAB 50. He also helped the program to a D1 state runner-up finish in 2019 and during his junior year in 2020 another shot at a state crown was shattered because of the COVID-19 pandemic. He was determined to get the job done as a senior, averaging 21.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 2.7 apg, and 1.8 spg while earning Ohio Mr. Basketball honors. A two-time first team all-stater, Branham finished with 1,501 career points and is St. V’s first Ohio Mr. Basketball choice since LeBron James, a three-time honoree in 2001-03.
C — Michael Foster, Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.) 6-9 Sr.
After attending Milwaukee Washington for his first two years of high school, including when he was named national freshman of the year in 2018, Foster made the move to Hillcrest Prep in Arizona to increase his chances at a pro basketball career. That came to fruition when he signed a pro contract with the NBA G League Ignite team after two seasons with the Bruins. As a senior, Foster averaged 32.2 ppg and 18.4 rpg for a 32-3 team that included post-graduates. A dominant force on the interior who has steadily improved his perimeter shooting, Foster is the second McDonald’s All-American choice from Hillcrest following three-time Elite All-American DeAndre Ayton in 2017.
2020-21 All-American Second Team
F — K.J. Adams, Westlake (Austin, Texas) 6-7 Sr.
G — Trey Alexander, Heritage Hall (Oklahoma City, Okla.) 6-4 Sr.
C — Nate Bittle, Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.) 7-0 Sr.
G — Pierre Brooks II, Douglass (Detroit, Mich.) 6-5 Sr.
G — Wesley Cardett, West Oaks Academy (Orlando, Fla.) 6-4 Sr.
F — Matthew Cleveland, Pace Academy (Atlanta, Ga.) 6-6 Sr.
G — Bijan Cortes, Kingfisher (Kingfisher, Okla.) 6-4 Sr.
F — Tucker DeVries, Waukee Senior (Waukee, Iowa) 6-6 Sr.
C — Jackson Grant, Olympia (Olympia, Wash.) 6-10 Sr.
F — Caleb Furst, Blackhawk Christian (Ft. Wayne, Ind.) 6-10 Sr.
G — Zion Harmon, Marshall County (Benton, Ky.) 5-10 Sr.
G — Jordan Hawkins, DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) 6-5 Sr.
G — Chucky Hepburn, Bellevue West (Bellevue, Neb.) 6-1 Sr.
F — Bryce Hopkins, Fenwick (Oak Park, Ill.) 6-5 Sr.
G — Tyrese Hunter, St. Catherine’s (Racine, Wis.) 6-1 Sr.
F — Trey Kaufman-Renn, Silver Creek (Sellersburg, Ind.) 6-9 Sr.
F — Arthur Kaluma, Dream City Christian (Glendale, Ariz.) 6-8 Sr.
G — Chris Livingston, Western Reserve Academy (Hudson, Ohio) 6-5 Jr.
G — Jahmai Mashack, Etiwanda (Etiwanda, Calif.) 6-4 Sr.
F — Ramses Melendez, Central Pointe Christian (Kissimmee, Fla.) 6-7 Sr.
G — Stevie Mitchell, Wilson (West Lawn, Pa.) 6-2 Sr.
F — Aminu Mohammed, Greenwood Laboratory (Springfield, Mo.) 6-5 Sr.
C — Kaden Perry, Battle Ground (Battle Ground, Wash.) 6-10 Sr.
G — Daeshon Ruffin, Callaway (Jackson, Miss.) 5-9 Sr.
G — Terquavion Smith, Farmville Central (Farmville, N.C.) 6-3 Sr.
F — Dontrez Styles, Kingston (Kingston, N.C.) 6-7 Sr
G — Malik Thomas, Damien (La Verne, Calif. ) 6-3 Sr.
F — Saint Thomas, Millard North (Omaha, Neb.) 6-7 Sr.
G — D.J. Wagner, Camden (Camden, N.J.) 6-2 Soph.
F — Keyondre Young, Del City (Del City, Okla.) 6-7 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.