Mr. Basketball USA R.J. Barrett., two-time selection Zion Williamson and Indiana recruit Romeo Langford highlight 24th annual All-American team produced by Ballislife.com Grassroots Editor Ronnie Flores. Elite honor squad includes 20-man first team and 30-man second team.
The 2017-18 All-American Elite Team, now published for the 24th consecutive season and on the Ballislife.com platform for the fourth time, includes 46 of the nation’s best seniors, led by Mr. Basketball USA R.J. Barrett of FAB 50 No. 1 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.).
Sixteen seniors and four juniors, including National Junior of the Year Vernon Carey Jr. of FAB 50 No. 2 University School (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), headline the 20-player overall first team.
A 30-player second team includes 30 additional seniors. It has been determined no juniors, sophomores or freshmen will supplant any of the seniors of the second team although underclassmen are indeed eligible. Barrett, last year’s National Sophomore Player of the Year, re-classified to the 2018 class.
In the 24 seasons of publishing annual All-American teams (we have retroactive teams dating back to the 1954-55 season), no freshman has ever made the first team. Last year’s national junior of the year, Marvin Bagley III of Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.), made the second team as a freshman in 2014-15 while at Corona Del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.). He left for college after his junior season at Sierra Canyon and is expected to be a high lottery pick in the 2018 NBA Draft after one season at Duke.
The class player of the year among tenth-graders on this year’s Underclass All-American team is 6-foot-3 guard Jalen Suggs of Minnehaha Academy (Minneapolis, Minn.). Last season, he was the first-ever underclass player of the year (dating back to the 1969-70 season) from the state of Minnesota and has been a varsity player since seventh grade. Suggs has led Minnehaha Academy to consecutive Class AA state titles. Our class player of the year among ninth-graders is center Michael Foster Jr. of Washington (Milwaukee, Wis.). The 6-foot-9 post player who is already committed to Arizona St. is the first-ever underclass player of the year from Wisconsin, which has two players on this year’s 10-man freshman All-American team.
Our national coach of the year is Josh Luedtke of Creighton Prep (Omaha, Neb.). He guided the Junior Jays to the NSAA Class A state crown with a 56-46 win over Bellevue West. It was the third state crown for Luedtke, whose program finished No. 46 in the final FAB 50 National Team rankings with a 26-1 mark. In 2015, the Junior Jays won the Class A crown and finished No. 49 in the FAB 50 at 27-2. In both seasons, Creighton Prep avenged its losses. The program won its first state crown under Luedtke’s leadership in 2008-09.
This performance-based All-American team is selected by National Grassroots Editor Ronnie Flores with input from Mr. Basketball USA panelists. It is chosen after the conclusion of the season, which makes this All-American team more reflective of players who made state championship runs. This honors squad has been chosen in its current format since the 1994-95 season and is powered by Ballislife.com for the fourth consecutive season. This team is chosen regardless of class and is not exclusive or preferential for seniors named to the Ballislife All-American Game. To check out who has played in the Ballislife All-American Game the past eight years, please visit ballislifeallamerican.com. To view archived All-American teams published under this format, please visit GrassrootsHoops.net.
2017-18 All-American First Team
G — Foster Loyer, Clarkston (Mich.) 6-0 Sr.
One of the most highly-honored players ever from the state of Michigan, Loyer was a cinch choice for A.P. State Player of the Year and Mr. Basketball honors. As a junior, he led Clarkston to its first-ever state title whole scoring 29 points in the state title game and was even better this season. Loyer tallied 27 ppg, 4 rpg, 7 apg, and 3 spg for a team that won another Class A title with a 26-1 record and finished No. 25 in the FAB 50 rankings. In this year’s state semifinals, he netted 42 points and came back with 40 in the state title game, making 13-of-22 3-point shots and 17-of-18 from the free throw line. Loyer also put together a string of 199 consecutive made free throws during his career. Clarkston had a 95-6 record over his four years and Loyer was named all-state in each season.
G — R.J. Barrett, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 6-7 Sr.
Moves up from the fourth team to the highest individual honor a player can receive as this season’s Mr. Basketball USA honoree after leading Montverde Academy to a wire-to-wire FAB 50 No. 1 finish. Last season, he was the only tenth-grader on the All-American first team and was named national sophomore of the year before reclassifying up. The left-handed power guard was Montverde Academy’s leading scorer in each of his three seasons with the Eagles, including 22 ppg in 2016-17 and 28.7 ppg for this year’s unbeaten club that won 15 games against FAB 50 or previously ranked foes. Barrett led the Eagles to their fourth mythical FAB 50 national title by averaging 26.7 ppg in three wins at GEICO Nationals and is the third foreign-born national player of the year in the past six seasons, joining NBA players Andrew Wiggins (2013) and Ben Simmons (2015).
G — Romeo Langford, New Albany (New Albany, Ind.) 6-4 Sr.
Indiana’s favorite son since Damon Bailey, Langford finished his prep career with 3,002 points, No. 4 on the all-time state list. Bailey, the 1990 Mr. Basketball USA choice, is No. 1 with 3,134 points. Langford led New Albany to a Class 4A state crown as a sophomore and this past season it took a miracle shot to knock the team off in the state semifinals. For the season, Langford averaged 35.5 ppg and led New Albany to a 25-2 record and No. 28 FAB 50 ranking. The Hoosier State rejoiced when Langford decided to attend Indiana University.
F — Zion Williamson, Spartanburg Day School (Spartanburg, S.C.) 6-7 Sr.
Moves up from the second five after another successful season from a team and individual perspective despite missing nine games because of various injuries. As a junior, Williamson averaged 36.8 points and 13 rebounds per game and netted 51 points in a state title game victory. As a senior in 2017-18, Williamson led Spartanburg to a third consecutive SCISA Class 2A state title, as SDS went 20-8 and was regionally-ranked. Of those eight losses, the Duke recruit missed five of those games. For the season, he averaged 36.3 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 4.7 apg, 2.4 bpg and 3.6 spg while shooting 78 percent from the field. A national celebrity and arguably the most viral player of the mixtape generation, the Duke-bound Williamson finished his career with 3,202 points (32.0 ppg), 1,131 rebounds (11.3 rpg), 304 steals (3.0 spg) and 293 blocks (2.9 bpg).
F — Vernon Carey Jr., University School (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) 6-9 Jr.
Had a breakout junior campaign for the Sharks, leading them to the FHSAA Class 5A state crown with dominant performances. University School went 35-2 and finished No. 2 in the FAB 50, avenging its loss to No. 3 Oak Hill Academy with Carey going for 29 points while making 13-of-19 shots from the field. The son of a former NFL lineman, Carey averaged 20.3 ppg and made 27-of-42 shots from the field in three GEICO Nationals game, as University lost in the final to No. 1 Montverde Academy. Against stiff overall competition, Carey averaged 26.0 ppg, 10.4 rpg and 4 bpg while edging second teamer Nassir Little for Florida Mr. Basketball honors.
G — Darius Garland, Brentwood Academy (Brentwood, Tenn.) 6-0 Sr.
With Garland at the helm, Brentwood Academy won a record-tying four consecutive TSSAA Division II-AA state crowns. After averaging 23 ppg and leading his team to a 30-2 mark as a junior, Garland stepped up to average 28.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg and 4.2 apg to lead the Eagles to a 25-5 record against a national schedule and a No. 34 FAB 50 ranking. One of the best pure point guards in the country, the Vanderbilt-bound Garland dished out 11 assists at the McDonald’s All-American Game. He also participated at the Jordan Brand Classic and was a three-time Mr. Basketball recipient for his classification.
G — Javonte Smart, Scotlandville Magnet (Baton Rouge, La.) 6-4 Sr.
One of the most highly-honored players in recent Louisiana lore, Smart earned Gatorade State Player of the Year and LSWA Mr. Basketball honors for the third consecutive season. After earning Class 5A MVP honors as a freshman, Smart led the Hornets to Division I state titles the past two seasons and was state tourney MVP twice. Smart has experience playing point guard for USA Basketball, but this season took on a big scoring role and had to play inside a majority of the time with spectacular results. He averaged 32.9 ppg, 10.2 rpg, and 5.9 apg for a 30-5 club. Smart scored 15 points and hit three 3-pointers in the Jordan Brand Classic and went for 21 points in the Ballislife All-American Game.
F — Emmitt Williams, Oak Ridge (Orlando, Fla.) 6-6 Sr.
More known for his football exploits as a youth, this late bloomer turned into one of the most explosive players in the country after starring at Lehigh Senior (Lehigh Acres, Fla.) as a freshman. He averaged 15.3 ppg and 11.2 rpg in ninth-grade and last season was one of the best players on a IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) team that finished 26-2 and No. 8 in the FAB 50. As a senior, Williams averaged 15.5 ppg and 11.3 rpg, for a team that won the FHSAA Class 9A state crown. Although the numbers seem modest, Oak Ridge had plenty of talent at its disposal and Williams’ team finished No. 8 in the FAB 50 against a tough schedule. Williams had 18 points and 11 rebounds against fellow LSU commit and second five selection Naz Reid, a record 44 points at the Jordan Brand Classic and turned in another MVP performance at the Ballislife All-American Game (31 points, 12 rebounds.).
F — Nassir Little, Orlando Christian Prep (Orlando, Fla.) 6-7 Sr.
Similar to Mitchell Robinson last season, Little used the post-season all-star circuit to catapult his All-American standing and he’s now considered the No. 2 prospect in the national 2018 class by 247Sports.com and Rivals.com. He was Team MVP at the McDonald’s All-American Game after scoring a game-high 28 points and grabbing five rebounds. He was also MVP at the Jordan Brand Classic after turning in a 24-point, 6-rebound performance. A Florida Mr. Basketball finalist along with Emmitt Williams, he came in No. 6 in the Mr. Basketball USA voting after leading OCP to its second consecutive Class 3A state crown. Bound for North Carolina, Little finished with senior season averages of 21.7 ppg and 9.2 rpg.
F — Naz Reid, Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.) 6-10 Sr.
One of the biggest and most powerful post players in the country, Reid put it all together as a senior to lead Roselle Catholic to a championship campaign. Against a rugged in-state and national schedule, Reid averaged 16.5 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 6.5 apg, and 2.5 bpg for a team that finished 29-4 and No 14 in the FAB 50. Reid tries to incorporate some of Magic Johnson in his game and doesn’t mind going out on the perimeter, but when motivated he’s a dominant force on the block. Luckily for Lions’ fans, Reid was on his game all season long, as Roselle Catholic won the NJ TOC title while Reid was named NJ.com Player of the Year. For his career, Reid won three section titles and was part of two state and TOC title-winning clubs. The LSU recruit had 15 points and 11 rebounds (game-high) at the McDonald’s All-American Game and a team-high 23 points at the Ballislife All-American Game.
G — Tre Jones, Apple Valley (Minn.) 6-2 Sr.
Although Apple Valley’s season ended in heart-breaking fashion in the Class 4A state finals, it doesn’t diminish from the individual success Jones had this season and the past five years. Similar to Jordan Brown, Darius Garland, Romeo Langford, and Foster Loyer, Jones moves up from the 2016-17 second team after averaging 22.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 5.9 assists for a 26-5 team. Jones joins his older Tyus as a state Mr. Basketball selection and All-American, which Tyus achieved in both 2013 and 2014 (second five). Jones, who like his older brother will play for Duke, led Apple Valley to two state titles and even played on the varsity as an eighth-grader while leading Apple Valley to a 143-13 mark in those five seasons.
G — Coby White, Greenfield (Wilson, N.C.) 6-3 Sr.
Netted the most career points of any player from the basketball-rich state of North Carolina (NCHSAA or NCISAA), breaking the NCHSAA record of former Eastern Alamance (Mebane, N.C.) standout JamesOn Curry (3,307). Although, NCISAA players can begin playing varsity ball in seventh grade, White only needed four seasons to amass his point total of 3,573. As a senior, White led Greenfield to the NCISAA Class 1A state final while averaging 30.2 ppg, 10.3 rpg and 9.1 apg. This year’s A.P. State Player of the Year, White is also a two-time Gatorade State POY. This North Carolina recruit played in the Jordan, McDonalds, and Ballislife All-American Games with his best performance being a 21-point, 5-rebound performance at the Jordan Brand Classic.
F — Keldon Johnson, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 6-6 Sr.
The emotional and statistical leader for one of the best teams in the country, Johnson led Oak Hill Academy to a 44-2 season and No. 3 FAB 50 ranking. One of the best practice players ever to play for long-time Oak Hill coach Steve Smith, Johnson averaged 22.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg, and 4.1 apg while supplying excellent defense. Those defensive abilities were evident in the McDonald’s All-American Game, where Johnson scored eight points and had three assists. Johnson is headed to Kentucky.
F — Jalen Smith, Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.) 6-10 Sr.
One of the most highly-honored frontcourt players in the country, Smith led a regionally-ranked 35-4 club by averaging 23 points, 12.5 rebounds and three blocks per game. Blessed with tremendous length and shot blocking ability, this four-year standout led Mt. St. Joseph to 120 wins and four titles in the competitive Baltimore Catholic League. Not only was he a two-time BCL Player of the Year, he was also named Maryland Player of the Year by Gatorade twice in addition to being the Baltimore Sun’s All-Metro Player of the Year in consecutive seasons. This Maryland recruit scored 2,122 career points and had 14 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in the Jordan Brand Classic.
C — Jordan Brown, Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.) 6-11 Sr.
After three successful seasons at Woodcreek (Roseville, Calif.), Brown continued his development at the academy-type program in California’s Napa Valley. The son of a former NBA Draftee, Brown averaged 21.5 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 3.7 apg, 1.8 bpg for one of the top academy teams in the country. He was a two-time all-state pick at Woodcreek, including last season when he averaged 26.3 ppg and 15.8 rpg while leading his team to the NorCal Open Division title. Brown also won a Gold Medal with Team USA at the 2016 FIBA 17U World Championship and was a McDonald’s All-American. Brown, who chose Nevada as the final elite player to make his college decision, had 26 points and eight rebounds in that national all-star game.
G — Andrew Nembhard, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 6-4 Sr.
With the Eagles possibly fielding their best team in the Kevin Boyle era, we chose to place a second Montverde Academy player on our elite first team. That player is Nembhard, who recovered from a serious stomach ailment suffered near the end of his 2016-17 campaign to earn All-American acclaim. Similar to fellow Canadian and teammate R.J. Barrett, Nembhard re-classified to the 2018 class and made the most of his final high school season, running point guard duties while averaging 14 ppg, 4 rpg and 8 apg for the nation’s top-ranked team. Nembhard, who is from Vaughn, Ontario and will attend Florida, averaged 10.7 ppg and 8.3 apg in three victories at GEICO Nationals. He also had nine points, nine rebounds, six assists and three steals at the Jordan Brand Classic.
G — Quentin Grimes, College Park (The Woodlands, Texas) 6-5 Sr.
After the Cavaliers failed to make the playoffs in his first two seasons, Grimes’ stellar play changed the team’s fortunes the past two years. One of the country’s best scoring guards, he averaged 29.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game as a senior as College Park went 21-13 and won its first District Title in the Grimes era. Bound for Kansas, Grimes had a 50-point outing and was a relatively easy player of the year choice by the Houston Chronicle. Grimes closed his high school career with 14 points in the McDonald’s All-American Game and 15 points, nine rebounds and four steals in the Jordan Brand Classic.
F — Onyeka Okongwu, Chino Hills (Calif.) 6-9 Jr.
After a somewhat slow start to his junior campaign, Chino Hills struggled to adjust to the new offensive system of its third coach in three years, Okongwu became a dominant force once the Huskies figured out they would perform best with him as the focal point. He put forth stellar individual performances down the stretch, including a 38-point, 16-rebound, 5-block performance in a section title game victory. The Big O also had a 37-point, 17-rebound, 9-dunk performance in the playoffs and closed out the season with 27 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks in the CIF D1 state title game win. Okongwu averaged 28 ppg, 12 rpg and 4 bpg for a 26-11 team that won its final 11 games and the recent USC commit was named Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Basketball.
F — James Wiseman, Memphis East (Memphis, Tenn.) 6-11 Jr.
It was a tough decision for the final spots of the elite first team, but we went with this talented junior big man who missed six games because of an eligibility ruling over senior guard and teammate Alex Lomax (14.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 7.0 apg) and Class AAA Mr. Basketball Tyler Harris. Wiseman, netted a team-leading 18.5 ppg to go along with 8.2 rpg and 2.8 bpg for a 31-3 team that finished No. 4 in the FAB 50. Wiseman performed favorably against the other big men on East’s schedule and will be a serious Mr. Basketball USA candidate next season. Wiseman has committed to Memphis, where he’ll play for his high school coach this season at East: local legend Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway.
C — Charles Bassey, Aspire Academy (Louisville, Ky.) 6-10 Jr.
After earning National Freshman of the Year honors two seasons ago, Bassey has maintained his status as one of the nation’s top big men regardless of class. The powerful and nimble big man averaged 19.3 ppg, 11.4 rpg and 2.9 apg competing for an academy-type club that played most of its games on the Grind Session, which consisted of 32 core teams where basketball development is a major focus. Bassey has also starred in grassroots and international play, including 13 points and a game-high 16 rebounds in the World Select Team’s 89-76 victory over Team USA at the Nike Hoop Summit.
2017-18 All-American Second Team
G — James Akinjo, Salesian (Richmond, Calif.) 6-0 Sr.
F — Jamal Bey, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) 6-7 Sr.
F — Rechon “Leaky” Black, Cox Mill (Concord, N.C.) 6-7 Sr.
C — Bol Bol, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) 7-1 Sr.
F — Matt Bradley, Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) 6-3 Sr.
C — Moses Brown, Archbishop Malloy (Queens, N.Y.) 7-1 Sr.
G — Ayo Dosunmu, Morgan Park (Chicago) 6-4 Sr.
G — Devon Dotson, Providence Day (Charlotte, N.C.) 6-2 Sr.
G — Dane Goodwin, Upper Arlington (Columbus, Ohio) 6-5 Sr.
G — Mason Harrell, Carl Albert (Midwest City, Okla.) 5-8 Sr.
F — Jermaine Harris, Rock Creek Christian Academy (Upper Marlboro, Md.) 6-8 Sr.
G — Tyler Harris, Cordova (Memphis, Tenn.) 5-9 Sr.
F — Jaylen Hoard, Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.) 6-9 Sr.
F — Talen Horton-Tucker, Simeon (Chicago, Ill.) 6-5 Sr.
F — Brandon Johns, East Lansing (Mich.) 6-8 Sr.
F — Gerald Liddell, Steele (Cibolo, Texas) 6-7 Sr.
G — Alex Lomax, East Memphis (Memphis, Tenn.) 5-11 Sr.
G — Jordan McCabe, Kaukauna (Wis.) 5-10 Sr.
G — Mac McClung, Gate City (Va.) 6-2 Sr.
F — David McCormack, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 6-9 Sr.
F — E.J. Montgomery, Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 6-10 Sr.
F — Landers Nolley, Langston Hughes (Fairburn, Ga.) 6-7 Sr.
F — Daniel Oturu, Cretin-Derham Hall (St. Paul, Minn.) 6-10 Sr.
F — Kevin Porter, Rainier Beach (Seattle, Wash.) 6-5 Sr.
G — Immanuel Quickley, John Carroll (Bel Air, Md.) 6-3 Sr.
G — Jahvon Quinerly, Hudson Catholic (Jersey City, N.J.) 6-2 Sr.
F — Reggie Perry, Thomasville (Ga.) 6-8 Sr.
F — Cameron Reddish, Westtown School (West Chester, Pa.) 6-7 Sr.
G — Joe Wieskamp, Muscatine (Iowa) 6-6 Sr.
F — Robert Woodard, Columbus (Miss.) 6-6 Sr.
National Coach of the Year: Josh Luedtke, Creighton Prep (Omaha, Neb.)
Note: ESPN selections 2010-2012; EA SPORTS selections 2003-2009; Student Sports selections prior to 2003; Selections are based on high school accomplishment, not future college/pro potential, and are reflective of those that lead their teams to state championships. The editors of Ballislife.com do not knowingly select fifth-year players, and those ineligible due to age or academics, Mr. Basketball USA or to its various All-American teams.