Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Ten things to know about 2016 ESPN 25
By Reggie Rankin
The Class of 2016 is led by the super-talented trio of C Thon Maker, SF Josh Jackson and PF Harry Giles, giving this group an opportunity to be versatile and deep at a variety of positions.
Here are 10 things to know about the ESPN 25 Class of 2016, a small number of prospects who possess big-time potential.
1. Serious upside The Class of 2016 first and foremost could be better than the Classes of 2014 and 2015. The early report card is tremendous not only for the top 25, but from reports coming in from around the country about players who have yet to be evaluated and added to the rankings when they are extended to 60 then 100. The overall talent and depth and the number of potential NBA players could be the difference.
Thon Maker is a 7-footer with great length and greater upside.
2. Hitting the lottery There is a minimum of two potential NBA lottery picks -- Maker and Giles -- currently at the top of the Class of 2016. Maker, at 7 feet, has great length, touch and skill for his size. Think a young Kevin Garnett. Giles is a long, athletic, active finisher, and he handles well for his size. He has range out to 17 feet, rebounds, defends and is still growing. He’s in the process of rehabbing a knee injury, but expect him to return better than ever and not miss a beat. Think the combination of forwards Dontae Cunningham/J.J. Hickson/John Henson and a small version of Chris Webber. We have seen flashes of them all in Giles, who has off-the-charts upside.
3. Seventh wonder Seventh Woods is an elite athlete. He's as athletic, quick and explosive as anyone we have seen to date in the 2016 class. He excels in transition, where he is a highlight waiting to happen with his above-the-rim acrobatics. He attacks the rim and has the body control of a ballerina in the air that allows him to finish plays in heavy traffic. Woods is working to develop his skill and feel for the point guard position, but his God-given talent is simply special.
5. Built tough Small forward Josh Jackson could be the toughest and most competitive player we have seen to date in the 2016 class. He competes at a high level on both ends. Jackson is long and athletic and not afraid to do the dirty work.
6. Block party Power forward Juwan Durham is long with fast developing skill. He is the best shot-blocker we have seen to date in the class.
7. Geographic diversity The ESPN 25 Class of 2016 represents 19 states. Tennessee has the most players on the list with three, followed by two each from Virginia, Texas and North Carolina.
8. Winging it The strength of the ESPN 25 Class of 2016 is the wing position. The size, skill, versatility, production and pro potential is very much present at shooting guard and small forward.
9. Not on point There are some terrific point guards and combination guards in the class, but the number of them is small, which makes the position the weakness of the 2016 ESPN 25. We will be on the lookout for high-level point guards and combination guards who can excel on and off the ball.
10. Super scorer Scoring machine Langford is riding great momentum that dates to the high school season, when he proved he was without a doubt the best 2016 player in Alabama. Also, Langford was a late NBPA Top 100 Camp invitee who did more than hold his own against the best players in the Class of 2014. Langford is one who could continue climbing up the rankings as time goes on.