The class of 2014′s have arrived, and they have that new, shiny car look to them. It’s shaping up to be a strong class, and like many classes in the state of Indiana, the quest for big men begins. Following are blurbs on the class’ overall top 10, and complete rankings are available to 6-month and yearly subscribers.
Trey Lyles, 6’8” power forward; Indianapolis (Tech) – It’s hard not to like what Lyles does on the court. He has a versatile skill set, which is aided by his size, and he displays an advanced basketball IQ for a freshman in high school.
He’s a load inside with great hands and good footwork. He’s certainly strong enough to take contact, but he did struggle at times during the school season with double teams. As he passes better out of it and just gets stronger, that will take care of itself, and looking at him, it’s easy to forget he’s just completed his freshman year.
His shot mechanics are good, and as he develops more consistency in his release, he’ll be a pretty complete scorer at the high school level.
Jaquan Lyle, 6’4” shooting guard; Evansville (Bosse) – His length is his first noticeable asset, and it suggests he might still have some growing to do. An excellent ball handler who plays some point guard at Bosse, but being a good enough ball handler doesn’t make one a true point or one who can really facilitate an offense. That’s not really much of a criticism–more of an simple observation–and his ability to handle the ball put him in a position of being who they went to for key shots in big games.
Tyler Wideman, 6’7” center; Schererville (Lake Central) – Of the kids in the top 10, he could be one who sees the most movement. The first thing you notice about him is his size. He is truly a man among boys. The key will be can he be a man among men as others catch up to him physically. I love his hands, not just catching but securing the ball, and he has good—not great—foot work in the low post. He has played hard in the games I’ve seen and runs the floor well.
James Blackmon Jr, 6’1” shooting guard; Fort Wayne (Luers) – He may be on his way to Marion, as his father has taken the head coaching job at his alma mater. A very pure and pretty shot, and he’s excellent at getting his own shot. Love his composure with the ball, very efficient. He’s been solid defensively, and as a freshman on a tough schedule, he performed well on that end.
Trevon Bluiett, 6’6” small forward; Indianapolis (Park Tudor) – Improving outside shooter, adding range and quickening his release. He has a great body for a freshman, and while he may be done growing, he’s perfect for a prototypical SF with an eye toward developing more as a SG. Really, just a very nice combo wing, which will eventually be answered by who he can guard.
Sean Sellers, 6’5” shooting guard; Greensburg HS – Long a skilled, he had a tremendous freshman year. Didn’t get to see him during the school season, but he has 3pt range, handles the ball extremely well and scores off the dribble. Probably the most complete offensive skill set in the class aside from Lyles. Reminds me of Robert Barker, who was a 6’6” guard, and if so Sellers is probably a good option to slip into the post as well.
Kendall Rollins, 6’6” small forward; Indianapolis (Pike) – Like Tyler Wideman, Rollins is one who could do some moving up and down this list as he develops. He oozes with talent, and the skills are there. He has 3pt range. He has nice footwork in the post. He’s long. He’s athletic. He has a good motor and can rebound out of his area. He has good court vision with the ball.
Jaraan Lands, 6’5” small forward; Brownsburg HS – Pretty complete offensively and has a great low post game for a freshman. He’s old for his grade, and looks to be at his peak height. Transitioning his game to the perimeter, where he also isn’t the most dominating player on the court is where his game needs to go.
Jeremy Tyler, 6’1” point guard; Indianapolis (Tech) – Good length, great quickness, and an excellent ball handler, he has the requisite physical tools. He also has a nice outside shot with 3pt range. Defensively, he can be a ball hawk.
Keep in mind, HHR’s lists have a good bit of projecting in them, which is why we wait until after their school year and half their 15U season to publish rankings. These lists are always works in progress, and this gives each player a chance to put together a resume`, so to speak. At this stage, too, HHR’s complete list is far from comprehensive, just players we’ve seen enough of.
There are certainly some tough decisions when nit picking one kid vs. another, especially the top spot in the point guard list.