On Wednesday, Phenom Hoops released our updated rankings for North Carolina's Class of 2025. There are always a ton of subplots and headlines worthy of attention, including which players have taken the biggest jump (whether ability or recruitment) and who is still being 'slept on' according to the masses. It's always important to remind the general public that rankings have no real significance in the bigger scheme of things. The common response to this is, 'well, college coaches look at these rankings.' Perhaps, but don't you think that discussions, scouting reports, and their own personal viewings would hold more merit than a numerical ranking' College coaches shouldn't be recruiting based on any ranking list(s). Regardless, let's take a closer look at five of the top risers from this collection of prospects'
#3: 6'8 Sadiq White (Myers Park)
Given the combination of tools, upside, and current production, it's pretty easy to see why Sadiq White made such a significant leap in rankings throughout the country. He's an extremely explosive, fluid, high-motor forward with the ability to dominate a game without ever needing to dribble or take a jumper. That being said, White has shown clear development as a creator and perimeter shooter. He understands how to find constant success and make a lasting impact alongside any collection of teammates. White is a problem in transition, both with or without the ball, and can finish pretty much anything he attempts around the rim.
#14: 6'3 Johnniyus Sharpe (Cummings)
Few guys in the state are as polished and productive as Johnniyus Sharpe, which makes it pretty obvious as to why he continues to climb in the rankings. His blend of IQ, pace, and ability to dictate the action with the ball in his hands makes him a nonstop problem for opposing guards. Sharpe gets basically wherever he wants on the floor, and is capable of piling on points in a hurry from anywhere in the arc. He's a sharp passer and capable three-point shooter, but prefers to touch the paint and make plays whenever possible. Sharpe is crafty, poised, and leads well on both ends of the floor. Expect his production to continue to skyrocket.
#18: 6'9 Trent Steinour (Lake Norman)
It should be pretty easy to see the obvious appeal with someone like Trent Steinour, who is still just beginning to harness his long-term abilities. He's a long, mobile, modern post prospect with constant flashes of inside-out skill and instincts as a rim-protector. Steinour is a solid finisher with perimeter shooting, touch out of the post, and useful instincts around the basket. He moves well for his size, alters shots at a high volume, and doesn't necessarily require the ball in order to be impactful. Steinour has all the tools to be a high-level prospect who only seems to get better with time, so it'll be exciting to follow his continued progression.
#26: 6'7 Taye Smith (1 of 1 Academy)
The entire 1 of 1 roster is full of talented prospects, and Taye Smith continues to quietly trend upward as one of the more intriguing names in the state. He's a big, strong, mobile post prospect with a high motor and sturdy frame. Smith is a well-rounded athlete with touch, toughness, and the ability to control the paint on both ends of the floor. He's a quality finisher with either hand and above the rim, but can also knock down jumpers at a solid rate. Smith understands how to effectively operate and capitalize on his opportunities within the flow of the action. Add in his rebounding, defensive presence, and overall low-maintenance identity, and it's easy to be enticed.
#27: 6'5 Malachi Simpson (Hendersonville)
Despite being the lone name listed from the western part of the state, Malachi Simpson has been seeing his stock rise in a major way over the last few months. He's a skilled, athletic wing prospect with great size and a blossoming two-way identity. Simpson can handle the ball, create his own shot, or find opportunities within the flow of the offense. He's a capable defender and rebounder who knows how to make his presence felt in transition. Simpson is a solid perimeter shooter and reliable finisher who should only continue to get better over the coming years.