With grassroots basketball season really kicking into gear on Friday with the first live evaluation period of the spring season, here are some names you need to be aware of heading into the next few months of play.
While this list isn’t necessarily the 25 best college basketball prospects at the current moment, it does include many of them, and a lot of exciting players from multiple classes round out the group. If you’re a fan of college basketball, start getting yourself familiar with this crop of the game’s next stars.
Class of 2016
Josh Jackson, 6-foot-7 wing, Detroit, Michigan — An electric open-floor talent, Jackson is a high-level athlete who can also rebound, pass and defend.
Harry Giles, 6-foot-10 forward, Winston-Salem, North Carolina — Nipping at the heels of Jackson is the smooth and skilled Giles, who is an adept passer for a big man with advanced moves in the post for his age.
Jayson Tatum, 6-foot-8 wing, St. Louis, Missouri — With great size on the wing, a killer mid-range game and a great feel for the game, Tatum can play nearly any position on the floor at the high school level.
Dennis Smith, 6-foot-3 point guard, Fayetteville, North Carolina — One of the best point guard prospects in the nation, Smith is a great athlete who started to improve his efficiency towards the end of last summer.
Terrance Ferguson, 6-foot-6 wing, Dallas, Texas — Another high-flyer in the 2016 class, Ferguson also has a feathery jumper from deep and can really score if he gets rolling.
Lonzo Ball, 6-foot-5 wing, Chino Hills, California — One of the best passers of the last few years, Ball, a UCLA commit, can make baskets easy for others while also improving his own offensive game.
Malik Monk, 6-foot-3 guard, Bentonville, Arkansas — The son of former Arkansas star wide receiver Marcus Monk, Malik is one of the best volume scorers in the class and he can score from nearly anywhere on the floor.
Derryck Thornton, 6-foot-1 point guard, Henderson, Nevada —If he doesn’t reclassify to the 2015 class, Thornton will push for the top point guard in the country honors.
T.J. Leaf, 6-foot-9 forward, El Cajon, California — The Arizona commit is one of the most skilled forwards in the class and a real threat from the perimeter at 6-foot-9. Seeing how he plays against physical competition will be something to track.
De’Aaron Fox, 6-foot-3 guard, Katy, Texas — Fox can dabble in a bit of both guard spots and he’s quick and athletic enough to be a force off the dribble. He’s also a good scorer off the ball as well.
V.J. King, 6-foot-7 wing, Fairfax, Virginia — A natural wing scorer, King gets at done at multiple levels as a shooter and has pretty solid ball skills.
Kobi Simmons, 6-foot-5 guard, Alpharetta, Georgia — Simmons has a ton of upside as a big guard who can play some point, but his play has been erratic at times over the last year. If more consistent, he can push for top guard honors.
Tyus Battle, 6-foot-5 guard, Gladstone, New Jersey — One of the premier off guards in the country, Battle can score with the best off them and will be coveted by the schools still on his list.
Jamal Murray, 6-foot-3 guard, Kitchener, Ontario — One of the next big things out of Canada, Murray was strong at the end of last summer and can do a lot of damage as a scorer.
Seventh Woods, 6-foot-1 guard, Columbia, South Carolina — The electric guard can rise with the best of them, but can he recapture his elite form after missing much of last spring and summer with injury?
Markelle Fultz, 6-foot-4 guard, Hyattsville, Maryland — One of the biggest stock risers of the high school basketball season, now Fultz gets to test himself on the national stage.
Isaac Humphries, 6-foot-10 center, La Porte, Indiana — After moving from Australia and attending La Lumiere, now Humphries gets to face all of the top national talent on the grassroots circuit.
Braxton Blackwell, 6-foot-7 wing, Nashville, Tennessee — A multi-faceted wing talent who can do a bit of everything, Blackwell
Class of 2017
DeAndre Ayton, 6-foot-11 center, San Diego, California — Some national scouts believe he’s the best prospect in all of high school basketball and Ayton has the physical tools to dominate this summer if he wants.
Michael Porter, 6-foot-8 forward, Columbia, Missouri — His dunk during the high school season had the nation buzzing, but there’s far more to Porter’s game than his athleticism.
Troy Brown, 6-foot-6 guard, Las Vegas, Nevada — With great size at guard, Brown can do a lot with the ball in his hands and he is the current leader in the clubhouse as 2017’s top guard prospect.
Jarred Vanderbilt, 6-foot-7 forward, Houston, Texas — A versatile forward who has many layers to his game, Vanderbilt is noted as a good passer in the front court while also being able to score.
Zach Brown, 7-foot center, Miami, Florida — A massive prospect, Brown owns a good set of hands and is nearly unguardable at the high school level when he gets good post position.
Jalek Felton, 6-foot-3 guard, Mullins, South Carolina — The nephew of Ray Felton is already committed to North Carolina but now comes the time when he has a chance to be in the conversation for top guard in the 2017 class.
Class of 2018
Marvin Bagley, 6-foot-10 power forward, Tempe, Arizona — Already the owner of multiple high-major scholarship offers — beginning when he was 14 — Bagley has been tabbed the next big thing by many national recruiting analysts.