Barrett holds on to top spot in 2019 rankings expansion

Eric Bossi, National Analyst
Rivals Basketball Recruiting
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Other than an expansion from a top 75 to a top 100, there isn’t a lot of change in the class of 2019 rankings. As the first of April’s two evaluation periods kicks off this weekend, elite wing prospect R.J. Barrett continues his stranglehold of the top spot while a group of big-time post players tries to catch him.

MORE: Rivals 2019 player rankings | Predicting 2018 commitments

BARRETT MAINTAINS SPOT ATOP RANKINGS

A native of Canada who plays at Montverde (Fla.) Prep, R.J. Barrett has firmly established himself as the top player in the class of 2019.

Standing nearly 6-foot-7, he has skill, he has strength, he has toughness and maybe most importantly he’s a competitor who does whatever his team needs him to win. In many ways, he is similar to Rivals.com’s No. 1 player in the class of 2012, Shabazz Muhammad, only he is bigger, a little more athletic and a bit more skilled. Arizona, Baylor, Oklahoma, USC, Utah and UCLA are among those to offer already, and while there haven’t yet been reports of official scholarship offers, others like Duke, Kansas and Kentucky are very much involved as well.

Immediately behind Barrett, the No. 2 and No. 3 spots remain the same. Six-foot-10 Charles Bassey of San Antonio (Texas) St. Anthony and 6-foot-9 Vernon Carey Jr. of Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) University continue to impress with their size, athleticism and overall skill.

The big mover in the top 10 is James Wiseman. A 6-foot-10 power forward from Nashville (Tenn.) Ensworth, Wiseman jumps all the way from No. 9 up to No. 4. Carey’s teammate, seven-footer Balsa Koprivica, rounds out the top five.

Checking in at No. 6 is high-scoring forward Matthew Hurt from Minnesota, while athletic combo forward D.J. Jeffries from Mississippi moves up a spot to No. 7 overall. The top 10 is completed by high-scoring combo guard Cole Anthony, athletic wing Scottie Lewis and tough as nails small forward Christian Brown.

BY THE NUMBERS

There are a total of three new five-star prospects in the 2019 rankings update. The highest-ranked of the newly minted five-star prospects is Roeland Park (Kan.) Bishop Miege forward Jeremiah Robinson-Earl. Robinson-Earl’s father, Lester Earl, was a McDonald’s All-American in 1996 before playing at LSU and Kansas. Also earning bumps to five-star status are forward Precious Achiuwa (No. 18) and productive wing Romeo Weems (No. 20).

The only five-star prospect who has made his college decision is point guard LaMelo Ball. Ranked No. 16 overall, he’s headed to UCLA where his oldest brother, Lonzo Ball, just had a big-time freshman season and where his other brother, LiAngelo Ball, will be a freshman next season. The only other prospects in the top 100 who have made commitments are four-star point guards Markese Jacobs (Kansas) and Sahvir Wheeler (Texas A&M).

Making the highest debut in the expanded rankings is 6-foot-6 small forward Kahlil Whitney from New Jersey, who debuts at No. 53 overall. Other impressive debuts are made by North Carolina wing Patrick Williams at No. 67 and Majok Deng, a wing from Arizona, who enters at No. 68.

Versatile forward Patrick McCaffery from Iowa is responsible for the single biggest jump in the expanded top 100. The son of Iowa’s head coach Fran McCaffery, he leaps 37 spots from No. 60 to No. 23 overall. Also making a jump of over 30 spots is Virginia big man Armando Bacot, who rises from No. 67 to No. 35.

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