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The 2020 high school recruiting class is loaded with talent and the typical blue-blood programs like Duke, Kentucky and North Carolina have landed a handful of top players. However, four of the top 20 players have elected to go a different route for the one year before the 2021 NBA draft and join the G League Select Team.
Potential top draft picks Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga are the two marquee players highlighting the inaugural team. Throw in five-stars Daishen Nix and Isaiah Todd and elite international player Kai Sotto and this is arguably the most talented young group of players to join one team in recent memory.
“I think our potential is through the roof because of how young we are,” Todd told Yahoo Sports. “We’re like sponges right now and us learning the NBA game this early is so beneficial for us. I think down the line, this team could be remembered for something great. This is the first of its kind.”
There have been other great college recruiting classes in the last few years, led by the Zion Williamson Duke class where four out of the top 10 players chose the Blue Devils over other programs. In 2016, John Calipari and Kentucky had six players coming in and every single one of them was a five-star recruit. For the upcoming 2020-21 season, both North Carolina and Kentucky have excellent recruiting classes coming in. The Tar Heels have four McDonald's All-Americans joining the squad and the Wildcats have two potential lottery picks in BJ Boston and Terrence Clarke.
“If we could play any college team this year, I would want to play Kentucky,” Green told Yahoo Sports. “I love going against [Boston] and they have a lot of good players coming in this year.”
Below we take a look at five top recruiting classes in the past four years and how they compare with the talent on this G League Select Team.
Williamson is a once-in-a-generation type player and has the talent to turn games around when he’s on the floor. He was the No. 1 pick in the 2019 draft and his teammate Barrett was the No. 3 pick. Reddish went No. 10 to the Atlanta Hawks and Jones is a projected first-round pick in the 2020 draft.
Head-to-head matchups are pretty even between players on this Duke team and the G League Select Team. Point guard Nix is a better passer and shooter, but Jones was one of the best on-ball defenders in college basketball this past season. At the 2-guard, it’s hard to pick against Green. His all-around game is more polished than Barrett and they both excel downhill and in transition. Kuminga is a bigger and stronger player at the wing and could dominate Reddish down low in iso situations. Williamson at the four against Todd would be the only mismatch and a possible game changer if these two teams were ever to play each another.
This was a historic class with all six players being rated as five-star recruits. Fox was a top-five draft pick after one year, and Adebayo and Monk were both lottery picks in the same NBA draft. This is probably one of the most athletic recruiting classes ever, filled with speed from Fox and Monk and high-flying dunks from Diallo and Adebayo.
The most intriguing matchup between the G League team and the 2016 Kentucky class would be in the frontcourt with Adebayo and Todd. The slight edge goes to Adebayo because of his strength in the post but Todd is a great rim protector and has started to develop his outside shot out of pick-and-pop situations. Fox wins the point guard matchup over Nix, while Green and Kuminga are too strong for Monk and Diallo to hang with.
North Carolina 2020
If there’s one coach hoping for a college basketball season this year it’s Roy Williams. This incoming class has all the talent in the world to redeem North Carolina from the embarrassing 14-19 record last year. The Tar Heels are led by point guard Love and power forward Sharpe — both top-20 players. Guard Davis and forward Kessler were both McDonald’s All-Americans. The last teams to have four McDonald’s All-Americans were the 2018 Duke recruiting class and the 2018 Kansas recruiting class.
The point guard matchup here goes to Love. He is definitely a player to watch this year and could be one of the best point guards in college basketball and hear Adam Silver call his name early in the 2021 draft. Love has a high basketball IQ and is a great playmaker for teammates. He has a decent outside jumper and has the speed to defend all three positions around the perimeter. Again, Green and Kuminga win the battle on the wings. Both players are just too talented and strong for any player in college basketball.
Coach Cal has the No. 1 recruiting class coming in next year, led by five-stars Boston, Clarke and Jackson. Both Clarke and Askew were originally in the 2021 recruiting class and reclassified to join the talented group coming into Lexington. Boston recently took 1,000 shots after a summer practice and finished an astonishing 73 percent. He played his senior year at Sierra Canyon High School alongside Bronny James. He is a long wing who can shoot from all over the court and is definitely a top-10 pick in the 2021 NBA draft. Clarke and Askew make up the rest of the backcourt with Askew at the point and Clarke as an athletic shooting guard who plays above the rim.
The key matchup between Kentucky and the G League Select Team is Green vs. Boston. Both players are familiar with one another after competing in Nike’s Elite Youth Basketball League and attended multiple USA Basketball training camps the last two years. They’re both long guards who are quick in transition and play above the rim. Boston is a better 3-point shooter, but Green is a stronger player who can get to the rim with ease.
Head coach Penny Hardaway and assistant coach Mike Miller got things done and brought in the top recruiting class heading into the 2019-20 season. Unfortunately, no one ever saw the potential of what this Memphis team could be after Wiseman was suspended for 13 games and ultimately left the team in December. Achiuwa is another potential lottery pick in this year’s draft class and led the Tigers, averaging a double-double with 15.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game.
Wiseman is a potential No. 1 draft pick this year and was the No. 1 player coming out of high school. He is an excellent shot blocker and has a strong back-to-the-basket game. Wiseman is almost unstoppable in the lane if he catches it deep and has started to develop an outside jumper. In a head-to-head matchup between Wiseman and Todd, Wiseman wins the battle. The G League Select Team wins out in every other matchup, with one of the closer ones being between point guards Ellis and Nix. Ellis can shoot lights out (although he didn’t really show much his freshman year at Memphis) and is a quick, playmaking guard. Nix was one of the best passers in high school basketball and reminds scouts of Lonzo Ball in the way he sees the court.
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