The state of Texas continues to produce more and more quality basketball prospects year in and year out. While it’s nowhere near the number of football prospects Texas produces, college coaches are beginning to take notice of all the talent in the Lone Star State and for good reason. Inside Texas’ Timothy Preston and Blake Munroe takes a look at the Top 20 in the state and give a brief run down of each player.
1. Isaiah Austin (Arlington Grace Prep / Center) – Consensus top three player in the country and a guy that will be an instant contributor at the next level. Elite athleticism and length with the ability to put the ball on the floor and abuse power forwards/centers off the dribble and in the mid range. Has the ability to be a terrific weakside defender/shot blocker and rebounder in traffic. Must continue to play with effort and positive attitude every possession but as gifted as anybody in the last three years out of high school.
Committed To: Baylor2. Cameron Ridley (Fort Bend Bush / Center) – A true center prospect, even at this rank Ridley is only scratching the surface of his talent. After leading Bush to a state title his sophomore year, Cameron became a marked man last year and delivered all season long. Huge hands, a gigantic wingspan and terrific body control for a big help make him a prospect that has few peers as a sure fire post in the country.Committed To: Texas3. Marcus Smart (Flower Mound Marcus / SF) – One of the most fundamentally sound and intelligent players in the country, Smart brings toughness and ability all over the court. Smart has awesome court awareness and vision and a very good handle for a wing. Maybe doesn’t excel at the highest of levels at any one dimension of the game but is good to very good at legitimately everything.
Considering: Baylor, KSU, North Carolina, Marquette, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas4. Rasheed Sulaimon (Houston Strake Jesuit / SG) – Sulaimon is a do everything kind of guard that has the ball handling to break down players from the combo guard position while also having plus speed and shooting in transition and off the ball. Very quick player that can get hot and take over games.
Committed To: Duke5. Shaquille Cleare (Houston The Village School / Center) – True to his namesake, Shaquille is an enormous dude with enormous talent. Cleare has very good feet and does a nice job of utilizing his weight in traffic and around the rim. If he can stay in shape, he may have the best upside of any player in the state.Considering: Texas, Texas A&M, Arizona, Baylor, Maryland, North Carolina, Kansas6. LJ Rose (Houston Westbury Christian / PG) – The best perimeter defender in the class, Rose has very good athleticism and handles the ball with great command in the open court and out of sets. Above average court vision and passing but probably more of a combo guard than a true lead guard at this point.Considering: Texas, Kansas, Kentucky, Arizona, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Duke7. J-Mychal Reese (Bryan / PG) – Super fast with the ball. Reese is a lightning quick point guard that plays with great pace and unselfishness. Faster with the ball in his hands than you are without it. Inconsistent shooter but is good at creating angles in penetration and has a knack for finishing around the basket.Considering: Kansas, Baylor, Memphis, Louisville, Oregon, Wake Forest, Oklahoma8. Wanaah Bail (Lamar Consolidated / SF) – Maybe the most athletic forward in the country, Bail comes with a ton of baggage. Wanaah plays with very good pace and bounce and is tailor made for an up tempo offense. If he can figure out the rest of his life, his basketball potential is very, very high.Considering: Kansas, Texas, Baylor, Indiana, Houston9. Prince Ibeh (Garland Naaman Forest / Center) – Strong athleticism and defensive awareness. Ibeh is still figuring out his way around the offensive end but the talent is there. Very high upside.Considering: Baylor, Iowa, Marquette, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Missouri10. Jelon Hornbeak (Arlington Grace Prep / SG) – Like many guards of late, Hornbeak is solid in penetration and can shoot from three but needs work in the mid range. Jelon is a slasher and plus athlete but has work to do to be a more complete player.
Considering: Arizona, Iowa, Texas, Pitt, Stanford, West Virginia, Missouri, Oklahoma11. Zach Peters (Plano Prestonwood Christian / PF) – Peters is a victim of his own early success…and limited athleticism. Peters has strong fundamentals and is a very heady player but the question always comes back to his overall upside. He is widely regarded as a finished product and is considerably older than most of those in his grade. Still an excellent player but not the top 10 talent he was thought, nationally, a few years ago.
Committed To: Kansas12. Danuel House (Houston Hightower / SF) – Strong, bouncy athlete with a decent handle and improving range on his jumper. Very thin. Progressing rebounder and defender.
Considering: USC, Houston, Baylor, Texas, Oklahoma, Florida State, Iowa, Oregon13. Niem Stevenson (Carrolton Ranchview / SG) – Stevenson is an intriguing prospect because he is a kid that has some intangibles (good footwork, good body control, long reach, plus athleticism) but he’s still got a long ways to go with court vision and ball handling.
Considering: Oklahoma, UNT, Utah State, Arkansas, Arizona, Clemson, Texas Tech14. Chad Rykhoek (Fort Worth Christian / PF) – Another big with good athleticism and explosion. Has good feel around the basket and can finish. Lefty. Not a super athlete and has work to do with defensive awareness.
Considering: Texas A&M, Gonzaga, William & Mary, SMU, UC-Santa Barbara15. Phil Forte (Flower Mound Marcus / PG) – Reminiscent of Rotnei Clark in many ways. Terrific shooter and a great teammate. Pretty limited, physically, but will really be able to help a team with his basketball IQ and attitude.
Considering: Oklahoma State, TCU, SMU, Texas Tech, UNT, Missouri State16. Jordan Mason (Ennis / SG) – Good range and quick release on his jumper. Average vision and playmaking ability. More of a scoring point guard but a good one.
Considering: Houston, Tulane, South Alabama, UTA17. EJ Reed (Mesquite / PF) – Undersized by super aggressive forward that plays with abandon on the court. Not overly skilled by has good instincts and plays with great pace, especially on the move and on help defense. Good shot blocker.
Considering: Colorado, TCU, UTA, New Mexico State, UNT, Richmond, SMU18. Maurice Letcher-Ellis (Houston Yates / Center) – Long athletic big man that moves well and can finish at the rim with ease. Like most Yates players, is a winner and can run all day.
Considering: Arkansas-Little Rock, Wichita State, Detroit
19. Chris Washburn (Duncanville / Center) – A terrific player in the paint, Washburn does an excellent job of scoring down low and even better job of rebounding. He has the size and skill to become a force at the mid-major level.
Considering: Memphis, Villanova, Detroit, LSU, Creighton
20. Nick Banyard (Flower Mound Marcus / PF) – Banyard has a ton of upside and will either play at wing or power forward. A great rebounder and he does a great job running the floor as well.