By: Wake Hoops

As we move into the top 15, we look at five guys who each impact winning in major ways.

You can see the updated rankings at the links below.

Tier 4 (9-12)
Tier 5 (13-16)
Tier 6 (17-22)
Tier 7 (23-28)
Tier 8 (29-34)
Tier 9 (35-39)
Tier 10 (40-44)
Tier 11 (45-50)
HM Part 1
HM Part 2


(11) 5'9' Tye Cain (Green Level)

Cain is a dynamic point guard with a strong and physical frame and the ability to score at all three levels. He's quick off the bounce and gets paint touches consistently. He has the strength and body control to finish through traffic over bigger defenders, something that is vital for small guards to succeed at higher levels. He has a very strong pull-up mid-range jumper, something that, combined with his finishing ability, allowed him to shoot 53% from inside the arc last season. He has a shifty handle and can get to his spots or create advantages regularly. He's a quality outside shooter and is comfortable off the catch or the dribble. Defensively, he's a lethal on-ball defender who plays with toughness, instincts, and physicality. He has a real chance to win SWAC DPOY this season and will be in the running for our All-Defensive teams.

(12) 6'1' David Mirikwe (Chapel Hill)

Mirikwe is an athletic combo guard with a great frame and length. His ability to get downhill and pressure the rim cannot be overstated. His athleticism and length allow him to finish above, around, and through contact when scoring at the rim. His underrated passing ability and potential as a true playmaker make him unique. He has a good sense of where his teammates are on the court and actively seeks out the correct read. He led Chapel Hill in assists the past two seasons, a feat not many combo guards can accomplish. Defensively, he brings a lot to the table thanks to his positional size, motor, and instincts. He takes pride in playing defense with high intensity. His POA defense is incredible as he rarely gets beat and applies great pressure to the ball. Off-ball, he's great at making plays in passing lanes and it's only a matter of time before he's a legit threat as a weakside rim protector.

(13) 6'5' Javier Ortiz (Jordan)

Ortiz is a high-level glue guy who does all the little things that teams need to win games. He's a big, strong, and athletic wing who is one of the best all-around defenders in the triangle. His intensity, willingness, and overall toughness on that side of the ball are rarely matched by anyone at the high school level. He's a talented scorer in transition, able to run the floor and finish at high speeds and through contact. In the half-court, he's consistently growing as a spot-up shooter and as a polished scoring threat when attacking closeouts. He has a relatively high floor thanks to his efficient inside scoring, high-level defense, and overall motor. His ceiling is enticing and will be determined by his continued development as a shooter and handler. Ortiz will play a pivotal role on both sides of the ball for Jordan on their hunt for their third straight conference title.

(14) 6'1' Michael Downing (Rolesville)

Downing is a skilled and intense point guard who's comfortable playing on or off the ball. He's a dominant defender who takes pride in making opposing guards uncomfortable. He presses up without getting beat, keeps his hands active, and comes up with a lot of 50-50 balls. This summer he showed off the full arsenal offensively. He shined as a shooter, both off the catch and the bounce. He finished at the rim well by attacking hard and initiating contact before defenders were fully ready. He also showed that he can effectively and efficiently run a team as the main playmaker. He took care of the ball and made the right play for the team consistently. He's shown improvement in making advanced passing reads, which is only making it easier for him to create for both himself and others.

(15) 6'6' Trey Manhertz (Green Level)

Manhertz is a high-IQ hybrid wing/forward that continues to grow as a perimeter threat. He can play the 3-5 on both sides of the ball thanks to his ability to shoot, handle, finish, pass, and defend at least at a solid level. Defensively, he's very versatile and can handle a lot of responsibility. He has an advanced understanding of rotations and reads the floor well. He's good at communicating, plays with active hands, and is constantly in the right position. He's a strong rebounder and has the potential to be a double-double threat this season. Offensively, as mentioned above, he has a well-rounded game and does a bit of everything well. His ability to fit into seemingly any role should be something that college coaches see immense value in, especially given Manhertz's willingness to play team basketball.