As we get into the top 10, we arrive at prospects that have begun making waves throughout the state and should only further solidify their placement over the next two years.
The current rankings can be found at the links below.
(6) 6’3” Will James Jr. (Holly Springs)
James is a strong, athletic wing prospect that had maybe the most beneficial summer in the state. His calling card right now is his shot-making as he’s grown exponentially in his ability to make difficult shots off the bounce from multiple levels. He’s a confident and capable outside shooter that’s seen a ton of growth in his efficiency and mechanics in the last 18 months. He finishes around the rim at a high rate thanks to his elite strength at his position. There’s a lot of untapped potential as a passer and overall playmaker, evidenced by some of the elite passing reads he makes and his ability to rack up assists. As his handle continues to improve, look for him to grow into someone that can run the show at a D1 level. James is an elite rebounder and defender and has all the tools to grow even more on that side of the ball. James has more room left to grow than maybe anyone else in this class and this coming winter will tell us a lot as far as how much of that potential he can ultimately tap into.
(7) 6’8” Cash McSweeney (Cardinal Gibbons)
McSweeney is a steady stretch big that plays with a high IQ and understands how to impact the game without dominating the ball. He made a huge jump this past high school season, jumping from 3p/3r as a freshman to 13p/9r as a sophomore. His ability to stretch the floor has grown over the past 12 months and he’s more confident than ever taking and making C&S threes. He can put the ball on the floor and attack, using the threat of his shooting to draw defenders out of place. He has good touch with either hand and uses crafty footwork to create separation down low. He absorbs contact well and has the frame and skill to cause mismatches with weaker bigs. McSweeney is a promising defender, using his good instincts and size to contest shots, wall up, and occasionally jump passing lanes.
(8) 5’10” Derek Ross Jr. (Jordan)
Ross is an electric point guard with insane burst and elite passing vision. His handle and quickness make him virtually impossible to stay in front of. He shoots it well from deep and is comfortable taking and making from volleyball line range if defenses sag back. He’s an elite finisher through traffic with excellent body control and touch. He’s incredibly creative with his passes and sees plays unfolding before anyone else on the court. His passes are very accurate and always seems to hit his teammate in just the right spot to shoot, finish, or drive. Ross will be asked to carry a much bigger creation load for Jordan this year, with their top three scorers departing. If he can handle added physicality in a bigger and more primary role, it will do a lot to silence any skepticism about the highest-ranked player under 6’ tall in this class.
(9) 6’1” Nathan Fife (Sanderson)
Fife is a savvy point guard that knows how to manipulate the game in every possible way. His best trait is his elite feel for the game which is on display every time he has the ball. He was everything for the Sanderson offense last year, arguably no one in the county was more important to their team. He put up elite production with averages of 21p/6r/5a/2s. During the summer with SW15H Elite, he was still a critical piece, but the burden of production was lifted, and we saw another side of Fife’s game. He was very effective running a team, hitting pretty much every open three, handling pressure and setting up the offense consistently, and defending at a plus level. He’s a great finisher despite perceived athletic limitations. He’s very crafty with his timing and footwork on drives and throws shot blockers off with his pacing. He absorbs contact well and doesn’t force up shots that aren’t there. There’s no doubt that he can be a very productive piece at the next level, and he should have a wide variety of suitors next summer.
(10) 6’2” Kamran Prince (Trinity Academy)
Prince is the latest addition to the triangle’s elite, a guy who should immediately turn heads this season on a bigger platform. He’s an athletic guard that scores it at all three levels, defends at a solid level, and can create for others. He’s a very well-rounded prospect that should make plenty of schools very comfortable recruiting him, as he’s rarely going to give you a bad game. He’s an exceptional rebounder at his size, taking great pride in his ability to earn extra possessions. He’s a capable shooter but thrives getting downhill and scoring in a variety of ways. He plays with a good IQ and has a knack for creating plays for others, something that should be expanded upon even more this year with Trinity Academy. Prince has all the tools to thrive this year and should be a new name that programs are tracking.