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Freshmen Focus: Meet The Class Of 2017
by Jason Pratt, Future150 (3:24 PM CT, Mon February 3, 2014)
Austin Wiley (left) and Wendell Carter are among 2017s best.
Austin Wiley (left) and Wendell Carter are among 2017s best.
Jason Pratt
Jason Pratt:

Future150 Senior Recruiting Analyst. Covering high school basketball nationally.

Nashville, TN (Future150) -- Each year another group of talented freshmen enters the high school ranks with great anticipation and expectations thrust upon them.

For four years, the best prospects in each class are dissected again and again by analysts and coaches attempting to determine which players will have the greatest collegiate impact.

The process of rolling out new rankings is daunting, but with high school freshmen, it's even more difficult. In theory, the list accounts for potential as well as production, but the youth of the prospects in question means room for growth will be analyzed more heavily.

The reality is, this list will be refreshed and revisited many times during the next several years, but this is an ideal starting point to begin to organize the elite talents within the Class of 2017.

Now for the results...

#25. Lavar Batts, 2017 PG, J.M. Robinson (NC): Perhaps the most physically gifted floor general on the list, Batts hasn't wasted anytime posting varsity numbers, and ACC programs in the Carolinas have taken notice.

#24. Nate Pierre-Louis, 2017 CG, St. Peters (NJ): Wired to score, Pierre-Louis is working to enhance his lead guard skills, but can put the ball in the basket as well as anyone in the current freshmen class.

#23. Billy Preston, 2017 PF, Mater Dei (CA): Preston is receiving a lot of deserved attention on the West Coast, but needs to demonstrate consistency and stability following his recent transfer.

#22. P.J. Washington, 2017 PF, Prime Prep (TX): Skilled, seasoned, and confident, Washington is playing major minutes and producing for one of the nation's premier high school teams.

#21. Chyree Walker, 2017 G/F, Paul VI (VA): Walker is the future for WCAC power Paul VI and backcourt partner Aaron Thompson just missed this list as well. The pair should keep Team Takeover competitive during the next few years on the circuit.

#20. Trevon Duval, 2017 CG, St. Benedicts (NJ): A big-time athlete and developing playmaker, Duval is Dexter Strickland-esque. He could rise higher if his point guard tools continue to develop.

#19. Mitchell Ballock, 2017 G/F, Eudora (KS): Overshadowed by teammate Michael Porter (scroll down page) on the travel circuit, Ballock is major talent in his own right, and his high school scoring numbers as a freshman are among the nation's best.

#18. Matt Coleman, 2017 PG, Maury (VA): The cerebral lefty is a pure point guard with quickness, athleticism, and an improving jumper. A leader that can make the big play, and isn't afraid to do so, he's the top natural point man in the class right now.

#17. Jeremiah Tilmon, 2017 PF, East St. Louis (IL): Oozing with upside but limited current production make him a high risk-high reward candidate. He's worth the gamble at this position because of the physical tools at his disposal.

#16. D.J. Harvey, 2017 WF, DeMatha (MD): Hoping to avoid the pitfalls of being an early phenom, he's in a nurturing environment where he can continue to develop on all fronts. Flashes of improvement and production are there currently.

#15. Zach Brown, 2017 C, Miami Beach (FL): A huge physical presence, he appears to have found stability off the court, and new confidence on it. Being agile with improving touch and feel is a big deal when attached to the phrase 'seven-footer'.

#14. Kris Wilkes, 2017 WF, North Central (IN): He has arguably the best blend of potential and production outside of the current top five group. Confidence and personality are evolving constantly as are his physical traits and skill set.

#13. Brian Bowen, 2017 G/F, Arthur Hill (MI): His versatility is best in the class among perimeter prospects right now and his skills are only beginning to develop. He competes and utilizes all his physical tools at both ends.

#12. Austin Wiley, 2017 F/C, Spain Park (AL): Excellent defensive presence, second only in the class to top-ranked Ayton at this juncture. He alters and blocks shots and rebounds at a high rate on both sides of the ball. Improving as a finisher as well.

#11. Tomas Murphy, 2017 PF, Prout School (RI): He has obvious basketball bloodlines and the top offensive skill set among face-up forwards to this point. A bit of toughness provides a competitive advantage against opponents and separates him from peers early.

#10. M.J. Walker, 2017 WF, Jonesboro (GA): A high-flyer, he is aggressive in the lane, and punishes with his physical brand of play. His perimeter skill set must continue to evolve but he has an enormous head start on the rest of the class.

#9. Jermaine Samuels, 2017 WF, Rivers (MA): He's the top player and prospect in New England and is constantly adding new pieces to his game. The versatile forward is already producing yet has enormous room for growth across all areas.

#8. Jordan Tucker, 2017 G/F, White Plains (NY): He is a long-range specialist with excellent size. He opens up the floor offensively, can pass, and is making strides with his handle. Expanding his game off the bounce will make him lethal offensively.

#7. Jalek Felton, 2017 CG, Mullins (SC): Extremely poised, he can play the role of scorer and facilitator, and posseses great athleticism. The leadership, energy, and motor he brings to the court are immeasurable traits.

#6. Troy Brown, 2017 G/F, Centennial (NV): Arguably the most versatile backcourt prospect on this list, he can play the role of primary ball-handler, and has the ability to get by defenders. He has outstanding vision and constantly makes plays on both ends.

#5. Wendell Carter, 2017 F/C, Fulton Leadership (GA): A budding man with superb touch from the high and low posts. He's one of the youngest prospects on the list and his consistency should spike as he continues to mature in all areas.

#4. Cody Riley, 2017 PF, Sierra Canyon (CA): He's perhaps exhausted what he has to offer physically, but he's a bruising presence, and is owner of a budding high post game. The most productive and decorated player on the list, those that pass him will have to earn it.

#3. Michael Porter, 2017 G/F, Father Tolton (MO): He's one of a trio in the conversation as the top prospect in the current freshman class. Advanced offensively is an understatement and his learning curve is steep due to playing out of position for his school.

#2. Jarred Vanderbilt, 2017 G/F, Victory Prep (TX): The lefty's game is absolutely effortless. He's smooth offensively and can change a game defensively when focused. Showing competitive spirit and ramping up his motor are critical components moving forward.

#1. DeAndre Ayton, 2017 F/C, Balboa City (CA): There's been little news since he left the USA for his home in the Bahamas late last summer. The travel circuit is where Ayton exploded onto the scene, and it would be a great stage for his reemergence.

So there you have it, has counted down from number twenty-five to the #1 ranked player in the Class of 2017.

In the coming weeks, an expanded ranking of the group will available, featuring many new names as well as updates on more well-known prospects.


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Blue Devils / Guest

No knock on Mr. Carter, but I feel there should be some mention on future150 about Preston Horne, Jr of the 2017 class. He is the starting 5 on the 2014 Georgia state 6A champ team that went through Tri-Cities, Lovejoy, Hillgrove 2013 runner up, Norcross 2013 state champs, and Wheeler 2013/2014 #1 GA state team all year. So he battle 6’9 245 lb Lubin UCON commit from Buford, Lorenzo Carter UGA commit Norcross, Giddons & Staley 6’10 & 6’8 Wheeler and Staley Mississippi St commit, out of region games USA # 1 Montverde, Lake Highland prep out of Florida, and he held his own and each of them was dunked on by him. Watch the game film. I mean the resume don’t get any better. He proved it against talent we will be watching on ESPN next year. voted him Freshman of the year in the state of Georgia. You guys are missing a good one in the 2017 class.

Posted: 4:20 PM UTC, Thu March 20, 2014

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