Now that the high school season has ended, all of the dust has settled and all of these players have now completed their freshmen seasons it is time to release the Class of 2015 basketball prospect rankings. Today we release the boys rankings, with the girls list to be posted in the next couple days.
Once again these lists are posted to give college coaches a resource when recruiting and to give the kids an idea of where they stack up compared to the other top players in their grade. Players are eligible to to ranked on here whether they go to an NHIAA school, a prep school or an out-of-state private school (like Berwick Academy, Central Catholic, Saint John's Prep). As long as they reside in NH we cover them (so if a kid is from Ohio but just happens to go to Brewster Academy he's not eligible).
There have been a few recent prep school transfers that have affected which players are on this list. Ian Sistare and Max Kirsch were two of the best freshmen in the state this year, but they have both transferred to prep school and reclassified to the Class of 2016. Meanwhile Collin McManus will be repeating his sophomore year after transferring from Bedford High to Northfield Mount Hermon.
McManus checks in as the top ranked prospect in the initial rankings for this class. You simply cannot teach 6'10". Not only does McManus have the size and frame for the next level but he also has the work ethic and a rapidly improving skill set. Add in the fact that he'll now be playing in the most competitive prep school league in the country (for a program that is graduating four Division I players) and running with the NE Playaz on the AAU circuit and you have a player with a ton of upside.
Jourdain Bell is a strong pick for the #2 spot. Bell is an extremely athletic point guard who can score the basketball at will but also makes his teammates better due to his great court vision and unselfishness. He's quick off the dribble when attacking the rim, can get up and down the floor as quick as anyone, has great leaping ability and gets after it on defense.
Ben Judson is another player with plenty of upside. Look for the Plaistow resident to get a lot more playing time next season as Saint John's Prep graduates 8 seniors (including all 5 starters). Judson (pictured above) is 6'4" but has the quickness and skill set of a kid who's 5'11". The lefty has a pure shooting stroke from the outside, a smooth pull-up and solid versatility.
Two players who play on the same high school and AAU team round out the top 5. Kabongo Ngalakalundi and Oumaru Kante both attend Manchester Memorial High and they both star on the Bishop Elite 15U AAU squad (alongside Bell). Ngalakalundi is a wing player while Kante is a point guard, but both of them can flat out score and defend the basketball.
Andrew Houde from Pembroke and Pinkerton's Luke Testa check in just shy of the top 5. Both of them showed flashes of brilliance this season while serving as the 6th man on their high school team. Look for both of them to start for the next three years and really make some noise.
There is a definite Manchester/Concord area flavor to this particular list, and that trend continues as Central's Brett Hanson, Concord's Zack Jones and Memorial's Wenyin Gabriel round out the top 10. Hanson had a very strong showing at the recent BST Basketball Prospect Camp, Jones was the second leading scorer this past winter for Concord High and Gabriel is a long, athletic wing with lots of potential (younger brother of Mabor Gabriel).
Next up on the list is a couple more Concord/Manchester area players, with two-guard Sam Marquis followed by point guard Wade Gop. Jones, Gabriel and Gop are also on that Bishop Elite 15U team.
This is definitely a guard-heavy class, but a couple of forwards come in next, with Bedford's Ryan Brown (younger brother of McKenzie Brown) and Dominic Timbas from Pembroke. Both of them are strong scorers and rebounders inside while also being able to face-up from away from the basket and make plays. Sandwiched between those two forwards is Austin Franzen, a scrappy point guard who can really shoot the basketball and has good toughness.
Rounding out the rankings are Portsmouth's Justis Mattis and Alex Hill from Souhegan. Mattis can hit shots from the outside but also battle inside, while Hill is a two-guard with good quickness and a strong work ethic (another Bishop Elite kid).
I'm sure that over time the rankings will fluctuate, but this is a good start. Fans of NH basketball and college coaches should have all 17 of these kids on their radar and should look for big things from them over the next few years.
To view the rankings in their entirety, click here.