- Paul Biancardi, Basketball Recruiting
We are halfway through the summer, and it's time to take note of the players in the class of 2015 who have been most impressive during the grind of a competitive June and July. This is based on performance and not by ranking, so let's examine the 10 best of the summer so far.
Best all-around offensive player: Ben Simmons (Montverde, Florida/Montverde Academy)
Committed to: LSU
When it comes to scoring, passing and driving the ball, Simmons impacts the game and is highly productive inside the arc. He causes matchup problems with his versatility, especially when it comes to his passing skills. He is a terrific triple-threat player in the half court and excels in the transition game, running the break, facilitating or finishing.
Most impressive prospect: Jaylen Brown (Alpharetta, Georgia/ Wheeler High School)
From start to finish of every game, Brown competes, produces and dominates the competition with his elite skill level and athletic ability. He has a combination of power and finesse on the perimeter, in the paint, in the conversion game, and in the half-court set; he can score in a variety of ways. Defensively, Brown will anticipate and get his share of steals while being a constant on the glass.
Best big man: Caleb Swanigan (Fort Wayne, Indiana/Homestead High School)
The front court is what makes the class of 2015 special, and Swanigan has the best paint game. With a wide body, secure hands and nimble footwork, he has a back-to-the-basket game and a face-up jumper that extends to 19 feet. He continues to be a presence on the glass through size and effort and blocks shots on a consistent basis.
Best shot-blocker: Skal Labissiere (Memphis, Tennessee/Evangelical Christian School)
This long, thin post makes it a priority to protect the basket with his enormous wing span and reach. He can make multiple blocks per possession and can do so on his man or come over from the weak side and swat the attempt away.
Best motor: Cheick Diallo (Centereach, New York/Our Savior New American School)
He is in constant motion all game long and his passion to compete powers his talent. He influences the game with his hustle and energy, outworking his opponents in areas such as running the floor, rebounding and blocking shots. Diallo plays the game with urgency from beginning to end regardless of the score.
Best athlete: Derrick Jones (Philadelphia/Archbishop Carroll High School)
He has a rare combination of tremendous length and an explosive vertical leap, which helps him contribute on both ends of the floor. Offensively, he stands out finishing in transition with tip dunks and straight line drives. On the defensive end, his lateral quickness keeps him in front of his opponent. As the skills catch up to his athletic ability, he will be even more productive.
Best shooter: Ryan Cline (Carmel, Indiana/Carmel)
Committed to: Purdue
Always known as an outside shooter with deep range and accuracy, he was on the big stage last weekend in the championship game at the Adidas Super 64, where he went 7-for-10 from distance in a spectacular performance. He is shot-ready when he catches the ball and is not afraid to launch it when he is open. He exudes tremendous confidence as he never lets the last shot affect the next attempt.
Best scorer: Allonzo Trier (Las Vegas/Findlay College Prep)
He’s a dangerous and lethal 3-point shooter who can drive it hard to the rim and score or get fouled. His mentality is to keep attacking the defense. He is frequently at the free throw line, a clear-cut sign of his scoring instincts. At times, he is a volume point scorer, but there is no denying his natural gifts to score the basketball.
Most underrated: Jawun Evans (Dallas/Justin F. Kimball High School)
He is in the ESPN 100 at No. 63, but he has performed above that. At 5-foot-11 with a 6-4 wing span, Evans can really defend, and he displays quickness with the ball in the open floor. He can penetrate any defense, and he distributes the ball with the talent to score by the drive or the jumper. He is a no-nonsense type of player.
Best defender: Justin Simon (Temecula, California/Temecula Valley High School)
Committed to: Arizona
Simon works on the defensive end, trying to keep his man out of the lane with size (6-foot-5) and good lateral quickness. He gets in a low, wide stance to defend opposing point guards and has a good reach to contest shots from shooting guards.