Every year around the holidays, the city of Columbia hosts one of the biggest must-see events across the country in the Chick-Fil-A Classic. This year’s field is arguably the best in the event’s history, headlined by names like Anthony Edwards, James Wiseman, and Kyree Walker, among many others. This is also probably the best in-state group of teams since Zion Williamson shut down the gym and broke the single-game scoring record just two years ago. The final day of action was jam-packed with excitement and noteworthy performances from both gyms, so this article will focus on some of my favorite prospects on display.
6’5 ’19 Anthony Edwards (Holy Spirit Prep)
Widely-regarded as the top player in high school basketball, Anthony Edwards brings a certain flair to the game that other prospects simply cannot replicate. Every movement he makes looks like it’s going to lead to an explosive play, even if the result is just something regular. Edwards is incredibly fluid at all facets of the game and creates space/separation as well as anyone in the country. He’s a powerful athlete with phenomenal size for his position, which truly allows him to get anywhere he desires on the court. Edwards is a special prospect that scores from all levels with relative ease, but improved efficiency and defensive consistency could make him even better. No guard in high school possesses more natural tools than Edwards and that’s pretty obvious. He’s elite in so many categories that his ceiling is becoming limitless at this point, so it’ll be interesting to see if he’s able to continue dominating at the next level and beyond.
6’7 ’20 Brandon “BJ” Boston (Norcross)
Few prospects in the Class of 2020 have built a reputation quite like BJ Boston. He’s a long, wiry guard prospect with an extremely unique skillset on both sides of the ball. Boston brings a lot of intrigue on offense, as he’s able to handle the ball, create scoring opportunities, and shoot from well beyond the three-point arc. His ability to wiggle and slither through defenders is quite uncommon, but it allows him to consistently apply pressure in transition—both as the ball-handler and when running the floor. Though Boston is a walking mismatch on offense, he’s actually more reliable on defense right now. He can seamlessly defend three to four positions at the high school level, given his blend of length and athletic fluidity. It’s somewhat difficult to envision what he’ll look like as a finished product, but it’s going to be something special.
6’10 ’22 Jalen Duren (Roman Catholic)
Though just a freshman, it’s becoming clear that Jalen Duren possesses all the necessary tools to become a two-way star. He’s already physically overwhelming for most opponents, given his blend of size, strength, and athleticism. Duren is still developing his overall skillset on offense, but does a nice job of making efficient use of his touches and finishing above the rim. He plays a rugged, hard-nosed brand of basketball and runs the floor extremely well. Duren makes his biggest impact on defense and on the glass, as few guys are able to outwork or disrupt him. It’s still early, but Duren could realistically remain the top post prospect in the Class of 2022, even without a clear offensive identity.
7’0 ’19 James Wiseman (Memphis East)
The argument for the top prospect in the Class of 2019 should still be up for debate, considering James Wiseman looks about as promising as anyone in the country. Blessed with excellent size and athleticism, Wiseman is capable of destroying his matchup on every possession and often does just that. He’s big, strong, and so nimble for his size, which makes life miserable for most opposing big men. Wiseman does an incredible job of monitoring and anchoring the paint on defense, while also showing the ability to move and reliably defend in space. He’s an unbelievable athlete that looks to play above the rim whenever possible. Wiseman is never physically outmatched, yet does a great job of showcasing his skill, and overall comfort level on offense. He finishes effectively from the low-block and displays great touch with either hand, but is especially reliable when going over his right shoulder. Wiseman can shoot from the perimeter, but poses a bigger threat when slotted near the basket and looking to impose his will against others. At this rate, he’s going to become a dominant two-way player, especially if he continues to add offensive polish next year at Memphis University.
6’5 ’19 Asanti Price (Keenan)
It seems like this Keenan squad tends to win every single time that Asanti Price shoots the ball at a high level, which has been a relatively common occurrence lately. He’s added noticeable muscle over the last few months, yet continues to score with poise and consistency. Price is still somewhat wiry, but understands his identity and applies nonstop pressure as a shot-maker. He’s gradually gone from a scorer to a legitimate two-way wing that can defend and operate within two to three dribbles. Price is a positive rebounder and passer, but can continue to add polish as a playmaker, especially given his unselfish nature. He isn’t going to necessarily “wow” you a ton, but he’s reliable and has a clear-cut role on both sides of the ball. Even if Price doesn’t develop any further, he’ll remain a coveted prospect. It’s crazy to look at his recruitment, since he should at least hold five to ten more Division I offers, but that’ll likely come with time.