With the rosters for the Jordan Brand Classic being released today, we can finally take an inventory of which players were (and weren't) invited to the three major postseason high school events coming up next month.
This helps build somewhat of a consensus about fwho is considered to be the top senior prospects in high school basketball, even if it is far from perfect due to the way the different rosters are constructed. The politics of the sneaker world prevents some otherwise deserving players from being invited to the Jordan Brand Classic for example, as they understandably have no desire to promote the likes of those who have spent the last few years playing for adidas or Under Armour affiliated grassroots programs. In addition, the Nike Hoop Summit invites (made by USA Basketball) are known to be made up exclusively of athletes who have devoted their time and energy to playing for USA Basketball over the past few years.
First, we look at the raw invite list for each event: McDonald's All-American Game
(Chicago, Illinois, April 1)Allonzo TrierAntonio BlakeneyBen SimmonsBrandon IngramCaleb SwaniganCarlton BraggChase JeterCheick DialloDedric LawsonDeyonta DavisDiamond StoneDwayne BaconHenry EllensonIsaiah BriscoeIvan RabbJalen BrunsonJawun EvansJaylen BrownLuke KennardMalachi RichardsonMalik NewmanP.J. DozierStephen ZimmermanThomas BryantNike Hoop Summit
(Portland, Oregon, April 11) USA RosterAllonzo TrierCaleb SwaniganChase JeterHenry EllensonIsaiah BriscoeIvan RabbJalen BrunsonJaylen BrownLuke KennardMalik NewmanStephen ZimmermanWorld Team
(unofficial still)Ben SimmonsSkal LabissiereJordan Brand Classic
(Brooklyn, New York, April 17)Allonzo TrierCaleb SwaniganHenry EllensonIsaiah BriscoeIvan RabbJalen BrunsonJaylen BrownLuke KennardMalik NewmanStephen ZimmermanAntonio BlakeneyBen SimmonsCheick DialloDedric LawsonDeyonta DavisDwayne BaconMalachi RichardsonThomas BryantAustin GrandstaffCharles MatthewsEric DavisJalen ColemanMalik BeasleySkal LabissiereTyler DavisTyler DorseyAnalysis
The following is an index of which players received invites to which events. This listed was sorted using the 247Sports Composite Rating
, which, similar to the RSCI, compiles the recruiting rankings of the major services in attempt to reach a consensus rating for who the top prospects in high school basketball are.
As you can see in the chart, eleven athletes received invites to all three events: Ben Simmons
, Jaylen Brown
, Malik Newman
, Ivan Rabb
, Stephen Zimmerman
, Henry Ellenson
, Isaiah Briscoe
, Caleb Swanigan
, Allonzo Trier
, Jalen Brunson
and Luke Kennard
Brunson (Villanova) and Kennard (Duke), ranked 20th and 22nd in the 247 Composite rating, look like the outliers here, but both were invited for good reason. Despite not possessing top-shelf athleticism or unlimited upside, Brunson has an excellent feel for the game and is arguably the purest point guard in his high school class. This makes him an ideal player to have in a setting like the Nike Hoop Summit, which is a highly competitive event where the US group are often younger and far less experienced than their international peers. Many of the same things can be said about Kennard, a tremendous shooter and all-around team player who can be trusted to play a role and be competitive on defense.
On the other end of the spectrum are those who might have a case for feeling snubbed. Chief among those is Diamond Stone
(uncommitted), the #5 consensus prospect in 2015 according to 247Sports. Stone has as much USA Basketball experience as any player in his class, playing a key role on gold medal winning squads at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship and the U17 World Championship the last two summers, and taking part in two USA Basketball Developmental National Team minicamps in 2012 and 2013 as well. Missing the 2014 Developmental camp in October due to his high school homecoming may have hurt his chances. Not surprisingly, he also wasn't invited to the Jordan Brand Classic, as he's been playing for Under Armour sponsored teams on the AAU circuit the past few summers. Skal Labissiere
(Kentucky) is the highest rated prospect not invited to all three events, as he is reportedly ineligible for the McDonald's All-American game due to playing for a high school that is not certified by a state association (even if that's been enforced somewhat inconsistently). Being invited to the Jordan Brand Classic and the Nike Hoop Summit international team means that he will get seen plenty next month. Thon Maker
(uncommitted) recently tweeted that he will attempt to reclassify to the 2015 high school class, which immediately prompted all the recruiting services to move him into 2015 from 2016. Playing at a high school in Canada already makes him ineligible for the McDonald's All-American game even if that was a realistic option. Even though he played on a Nike EYBL team two summers ago, he is widely considered to be loyal to adidas, as he spent all of last spring and summer on their circuit (including the adidas EuroCamp in Treviso, Italy), which likely eliminates him from contention for being invited to the Jordan Brand Classic. It's unknown if he would consider accepting an invite to the Nike Hoop Summit international team, as the final roster has yet to be released. Brandon Ingram
(uncommitted) is considered an adidas guy, which explains his exclusion from the Jordan Brand Classic. He's surprisingly never participated in any USA Basketball settings, which helps understand why players rated below him in the 247 consensus ranking got invited to the Hoop Summit over him.
Other highly rated prospects who have traditionally been affiliated with adidas grassroots programs that did not get invited to the Jordan Brand Classic include Chase Jeter
(Duke) and Carlton Bragg
With that said, two players who did get into Jordan Brand, despite being adidas guys are Jaylen Brown
and Tyler Dorsey
. Brown, arguably the #1 player in his class, is currently uncommitted to a college and holds offers from two Nike powerhouse programs: Kentucky and North Carolina. If Nike were to make an exception for any player, it would certainly be for him and the star power he brings to the event. Tyler Dorsey
recently committed to Oregon, which may have helped his cause here.
Finally, the #16 prospect in the 247Sports Consensus rankings, Ray Smith
(Arizona), was not invited to any event, as he tore his ACL in July, forcing him out of action for his entire high school senior season.