Class players of the year DeAndre Ayton (Juniors), Romeo Langford (Sophomores) and Charles Bassey (Freshmen) headline the 2015-16 Underclass All-American team
Six juniors and one special sophomore named to the 22nd Annual All-American Elite Team headline a group of 65 elite players selected to the 2015-16 Underclass All-American team powered by ballislife.com.
Center DeAndre Ayton of Hillcrest Academy (Phoenix, Ariz.), this year’s National Junior of the Year, and junior guard Chris Lykes of Gonzaga College (Washington, D.C.), were named to the overall All-American first team. Ayton was first five selection with Lykes a fourth five choice.
National Sophomore of the Year Romeo Langford of New Albany (Ind.) made the All-American second team.
The seven All-Americans and 58 other underclass honorees all had standout campaigns for their respective high school teams, while others are sure to emerge this summer as bona fide 2016-17 All-America candidates. Nearly every summer on the grassroots circuit, well-known players are eclipsed by lesser-known commodities, and every so often a prospect comes out of nowhere to emerge as a Mr. Basketball USA candidate.
It’s a yearly ritual for some underclass All-Americans to change programs. Michael Porter Jr. of Father Tolton (Columbia, Mo.), one of the four juniors on the All-American second team, is expected to move to the Pacific Northwest after his father joined the coaching staff of the University of Washington. De’Sean Eikens will leave Williston (N.D.) and enroll at Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) for his junior season. Forward Kamaka Hepa will leave his native Barrow (Alaska) and enroll at Jefferson (Portland, Ore.), where he will join a club that could crack the 2016-17 preseason FAB 50 next fall.
Expect more player movement, and perhaps some reclassification, as the summer rolls on.
This performance-based squad 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 the Underclass All-American Team more reflective of players who made state championship runs.
Our national coach of the year is Trey Mines of H.D. Woodson (Washington, D.C.). He led his club to the DCSAA title and a perfect 32-0 mark. H.D. Woodson finished No. 17 in the final FAB 50 National Team Rankings.
2015-16 UNDERCLASS All-American Team
Juniors to Watch (2017)
G — Jose Alvarado, Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.) 5-11
F — Aguek Arop, Omaha South (Omaha, Neb.) 6-5
C — DeAndre Ayton, Hillcrest Academy (Phoenix, Ariz.) 7-0
C — Mohamed Bamba, Westtown School (West Chester, Pa.) 6-10
G — Alex Barcello, Corona del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.) 6-2
F — Brian Bowen, La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.) 6-8
G — Troy Brown, Centennial (Las Vegas) 6-6
C — Wendell Carter Jr., Pace Academy (Atlanta) 6-10
G — Jalek Felton, Mullins (S.C.) 6-2
G — Justin Forrest, Greenforest Christian Academy (Decatur, Ga.) 6-1
G — Marcus Garrett, Skyline (Dallas) 6-5
G — Jordan Goodwin, Althoff Catholic (Belleville, Ill.) 6-3
G — Quade Green, Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia) 5-11
G — Jermaine Jackson, Macomb (Dakota, Mich.) 5-9
F — Kevin Knox Jr., Tampa Catholic (Tampa, Fla.) 6-8
G — Chris Lykes, Gonzaga College (Washington, D.C.) 5-8 Jr.
C — Brandon McCoy, Cathedral Catholic (San Diego, Calif.) 6-11
G — Jaylen Nowell, Garfield (Seattle) 6-5
F — Chuma Okeke, Westlake (Atlanta) 6-8
F — John Petty, J.O. Johnson (Huntsville, Ala.) 6-6
F — Michael Porter, Father Tolton (Columbia, Mo.) 6-8
G — Paul Scruggs, Southport (Indianapolis, Ind.) 6-3
G — Gary Trent Jr., Apple Valley (Minn.) 6-5
F — James “M.J.” Walker Jr., Jonesboro (Ga.) 6-6
G — Lonnie Walker IV, Reading (Pa.) 6-5
G — Nick Weatherspoon, Velma Jackson (Camden, Miss.) 6-2
C — Austin Wiley, Spain Park (Hoover, Ala.) 6-10
G — Lindell Wiggington, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 6-2
F — Kris Wilkes, North Central (Indianapolis, Ind.) 6-7
G — Trae Young, Norman North (Norman, Okla.) 6-1
2016 National Junior of the Year: DeAndre Ayton
This 7-footer originally from the Bahamas has been one of the best players in the nation regardless of class the past two years and was the only junior named first five all-american. Ayton’s school situation and his recruitment is noteworthy considering his prodigal talent. Last season he attended Balboa City School in San Diego, Calif. and this year attended an academy-type program that cannot play AIA programs and is not eligible for the FAB 50. He is eligible for individual honors, but some insiders believe he’ll never play in college despite his insistence it’s the route he’ll take to an eventual pro career. Despite the murky school situation, Ayton’s pro potential is undeniable, as he averaged 29.2 points, 16.7 rebounds and 3.8 blocked shots per game for Hillcrest Academy. He’s the first player ever honoree among 11th-graders from an Arizona program.
Sophomores to Watch (2018)
F — Riley Battin, Oak Park (Calif.) 6-7
C — Jordan Brown, Woodcreek (Roseville, Calif.) 6-10
G — Devon Dotson, Providence Day (Charlotte, N.C.) 6-2
F — De’Sean Eikens, Williston (N.D.) 6-6
G — Darius Garland, Brentwood Academy (Brentwood, Tenn.) 5-11
G — Mason Harrell, Carl Albert (Midwest City, Okla.) 5-8
F — Kamaka Hepa, Barrow (Alaska) 6-9
F — Brandon Johns, East Lansing (Mich.) 6-7
G — Tavon Jones, Linden (N.J.) 6-4
G — Romeo Langford, New Albany (Ind.) 6-4
G — James Lewis, Westlake (Ga.) 6-3
F — Gerald Liddell, Steele (Cibolo, Texas) 6-7
G — Alex Lomax, East Memphis (Memphis, Tenn.) 5-11
G — Foster Loyer, Clarkston (Mich.) 5-11
G — Jordan McCabe, Kaukauna (Wis.) 5-10
F — Khavon Moore, Westside (Macon, Ga.) 6-8
G — Luther Muhammad, Hudson Catholic (Hudson, N.J.) 6-4
C — Ikey Obiagu, Greenforest Christian Academy (Decatur, Ga.) 7-0
G — Immanuel Quickley, John Carroll (Bel Air, Md.) 6-3
G — Courtney Ramey, Webster Groves (Mo.) 6-3
F — Simi Shittu, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 6-8
G — David Singleton, Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.) 6-3
G — Javonte Smart, Scotlandville Magnet (Baton Rouge, La.) 6-3
F — Zion Williamson, Spartanburg Day School (Spartanburg, S.C.) 6-6
F — Robert Woodard, Columbus (Miss.) 6-5
2016 National Sophomore of the Year: Romeo Langford
Hoosiers love their hoops and crazed fans in Indiana have a new favorite son in Langford, who led New Albany to the Class 4A state crown. The only sophomore to make the overall All-American team, he was also the leading vote-getter on the Indianapolis Star’s prestigious all-state team. Langford averaged 29.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists for a 27-1 team that finished No. 31 in the FAB 50. The last tenth-grade honoree from Indiana was DeShaun Thomas of Bishop Luers in Fort Wayne for the 2007-08 season.
Freshmen to Watch (2019)
G — Bryan Antoine, Ranney School (Eatontown, N.J.) 6-3
G — Cole Anthony, Archbishop Malloy (Queens, N.Y.) 6-2
G — LaMelo Ball, Chino Hills (Calif.) 5-10
G — R.J. Barrett, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 6-6
C — Charles Bassey, St. Anthony (San Antonio, Texas) 6-10
G — Tyger Campbell, La Lumiere (LaPorte, Ind.) 6-0
F — Chandler Lawson, Memphis East (Memphis, Tenn.) 6-9
C — Onyeka Okongwu, Chino Hills (Calif.) 6-9
G — Cassius Stanley, Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood, Calif.) 6-4
F — Trendon Watford, Mountain Brook (Birmingham, Ala.) 6-7
2016 National Freshman of the Year: Charles Bassey
Became a known commodity during the John Lucas Enterprises grassroots events last year and blew up at the Pangos All-South Frosh/Soph Camp with his unique blend of size, athleticism, timing and ball skills. It translated over to the high school game for the native Nigerian who was discovered at age 12. He was named TAPPS Class 5A all-state and averaged 20.2 points, 17.1 rebounds and 5.9 blocked shots per game for the Tapps 5A runner-ups. He also had 14 points and 12 rebounds in the Jordan Brand Classic international game. Bassey is the first ever ninth-grade honoree from the state of Texas dating back to our first honor in that class for the 1976-1977 season.
National Coach of the Year: Trey Mines, H.D. Woodson (Washington, D.C.)
Note: Grassroots Hoops selections 2013-2015; 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.
Ronnie Flores is the national Grassroots editor of Ballislife.com. He can be reached at [email protected]. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores