Class players of the year D.J. Wagner (Juniors), Ian Jackson (Sophomores) and Cameron Boozer (Freshmen) headline the 2021-22 Underclass All-American Elite team.
Three juniors named to the 28th Annual All-American Elite Team headline a group of 80 elite players selected to the 2021-22 Underclass All-American team powered by ballislife.com.
Shooting guard DJ Wagner of Camden (Camden, N.J.), this year’s National Junior of the Year, was named to the overall All-American Elite second five and came in fifth place in the final Mr. Basketball USA Tracker. Wagner has been named class player of the year in each of his first three seasons. Ron Holland, the ringleader for the No. 1 team in the FAB 50 at Duncanville (Texas), was also a second five selection. A third junior, Simeon Wilcher of Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.), was the lone underclassman to make the 30-man second team. Wilcher led his team to the final New Jersey Tournament of Champions title over Wagner’s Camden club. Wilcher averaged 17.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg and 7.1 apg for the No. 9 team in the FAB 50 and went for 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the TOC title game.
Each season, players classifying up in order to speed up the recruiting process or transfer in hopes the move will be more advantageous to their development and this off-season is no different.
Marvel Allen, a terrific guard from Calvary Christian Academy (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), has already announced he will spend his senior season at Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.). Forward Naasir Cunningham of Gill St. Bernard’s (Gladstone, N.J.), one of the top sophomores in the country, has announced he will forgo his final two seasons of traditional high school eligibility to sign with Overtime Elite. OTE was created as an alternative route to professional basketball outside the path the majority of prospects take, which is NCAA college basketball. Normally signing with OTE signals the end of amateur stats, as the fledging league has been promoted as one that offers a salary to young basketball players. It’s been reported Cunningham will forgo an OTE salary, which is designed to preserve his eligibly to play NCAA basketball should he choose that route after his time with OTE.
OTE will explore Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) endorsement deals for Cunningham. Some state laws prohibit or restrict NIL deals for high school athletes, but in most states it is not illegal or against state association rules to sign an endorsement deal, provided that endorsement is not facilitated with the athlete wearing or promoting garments or items trademarked and/or licensed by the state association or the NCAA.
Despite some of these underclass All-Americans being perceived with NIL valuations up to seven figures by recruiting networks, not many details for the few NIL deals that do exist for high school athletes have been made public.
Will NIL eventually have a major impact at the high school level in light of the various laws and policies around the country? NIL will eventually be regulated to some extent at the NCAA level since all the programs fall under the jurisdiction of the NCAA. That uniform regulation won’t exist at the high school level.
Regardless of where NIL is headed at the collegiate and high school level, expect more player movement as the summer rolls on.
National Grassroots Editor Ronnie Flores selects this performance-based squad 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 Joe Auer of Wichita Heights (Wichita, Kan.).
Juniors to Watch (2023)
G — Marvel Allen, Calvary Christian (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) 6-4
F — Matas Buzelis, Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.) 6-9
G — Layden Blocker, Sunrise Christian Academy (Bel Aire, Kan.) 6-2
G — Kylan Boswell, AZ Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.) 6-1
G — Stephon Castle, Newton (Covington, Ga.) 6-6
G — Isaiah Collier, Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 6-2
G — Gabe Cupps, Centerville (Centerville, Ohio) 6-2
G — Freddie Dilione, Word of God (Raleigh, N.C.) 6-5
G — Robert Dillingham, Donda Academy (Simi Valley, Calif.) 6-2
F — Justin Edwards, Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.) 6-7
C — Baye Fall, Denver Prep (Denver, Col.) 6-10
G — Caleb Foster, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 6-2
C — Brandon Garrison, Del City (Del City, Okla.) 6-9
F — Greg Jones, Hayfield (Alexandria, Va.) 6-6
F — Rayvon Griffith, Taft (Cincinnati, Ohio) 6-6
F — Amani Hansberry, Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.) 6-7
F — Ronald Holland, Duncanville (Duncanville, Texas) 6-8
G — Josh Hubbard, Ridgeland Academy (Madison Miss.) 5-10
F — G.G. Jackson, Ridge View (Columbia, S.C.) 6-9
G — London Johnson, Norcross (Ga.) 6-4
G — Ty-Laur Johnson, St. Benedict’s Prep (Newark, N.J.) 6-0
G — K.J. Lewis, Chapin (El Paso, Texas) 6-4
G — Jared McCain, Centennial (Corona, Calif.) 6-2
F — Mackenzie Mgbako, Gill St. Bernard (Gladstone, N.J.) 6-7
G — Ruben Rodriguez, Reading (Reading, Pa.) 6-1
G — Jackson Shelstad, West Linn (Ore.) 6-0
G — Reed Sheppard, North Laurel (London, Ky.) 6-3
F — Sean Stewart, Windmere (Fla.) 6-8
F — Dusty Stromer, Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks, Calif.) 6-7
F — Daily Swain, Africentric Early College (Columbus, Ohio) 6-6
G — R.J. Taylor, Grand Blanc (Mich.) 5-11
G — D.J. Wagner, Camden (N.J.) 6-2
F — Ja’Kobe Walter, McKinney (McKinney, Texas) 6-5
G — Simeon Wilcher, Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.) 6-4
G — Wesley Yates III, Beaumont United (Beaumont, Texas) 6-4
2022 National Junior of the Year: D.J. Wagner
Sophomores to Watch (2024)
G — Marcus Allen, Norland (Miami, Fla.) 6-6
F — Jason Asemota, Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.) 6-7
F — Airious Bailey, McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.) 6-7
C — Flory Bidunga, Kokomo (Ind.) 6-10
G — Tayshawn Bridges, Milwaukee Academy of Science (Milwaukee, Wis.) 6-1
G — David Castillo, Bartlesville (Bartlesville, Okla.) 6-2
F — Naasir Cunningham, Gill St. Bernard’s (Gladstone, N.J.) 6-7
C — Ayden Davis, Onsted (Mich.) 6-9
G — Zoom Diallo, Curtis (University Place, Wash.) 6-3
G — Isaiah Elohim, Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) 6-4
F — Donnie Freeman, St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) 6-8
G — Johnuel “Boogie” Fland, Archbishop Stepinac (White Plains, N.Y.) 6-3
G — Ian Jackson, Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.) 6-6
F — Morez Johnson, St. Rita (Chicago, Ill.) 6-9
G — Tre Johnson, Lake Highlands (Garland, Texas) 6-5
F — Karter Knox, Tampa Catholic (Tampa, Fla.) 6-5
F — Liam McNeeley, John Paul II (Plano, Texas) 6-7
G — Vyctorius Miller, Crean Lutheran (Irvine, Calif.) 6-4
G — Juni Mobley, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.) 6-0
G — Sir Mohammed, Myers Park (Charlotte, N.C. ) 6-5
G — Ahmad Nowell, Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.) 6-0
G — Paul McNeil, Richmond Senior (Rockingham, N.C.) 6-5
G —Travis Perry, Lyon County (Eddyville, Ky.) 6-2
G — Tahaad Pettiford, Hudson Catholic (Jersey City, N.J.) 5-11
G — Jamari Phillips, Modesto Christian (Modesto, Calif.) 6-4
F — Jarin Stevenson, Seaforth (Pittsboro, N.C.) 6-9
F — Bryson Tucker, Mt. St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.) 6-6
F — Dylan Warlick, Edmond North (Edmond, Okla.) 6-6
G — Robert Wright II, Neumann-Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.) 6-0
F — Sammie Yeahay, The Rock (Gainesville, Fla.) 6-8
2022 National Sophomore of the Year: Ian Jackson
Freshmen to Watch (2025)
F — Cameron Boozer, Columbus (Miami, Fla.) 6-8
F — Brayden Burries, Poly (Riverside, Calif.) 6-5
G — Josh Dixon, North Cobb Christian (Kennesaw, Ga.) 6-0
G — Jerry Easter, Emmanuel Christian (Toledo, Ohio) 6-5
F — Cooper Flagg, Nokomis Regional (Newport, Maine) 6-8
G — Isiah Harwell, Century (Boise, Idaho) 6-5
F — Bryce Heard, Kenwood Academy (Chicago, Ill.) 6-5
C — Parker Jefferson, Waxahachie (Texas) 6-10
F — Jamier Jones, Riverview (Sarasota, Fla.) 6-5
G — Trey McKenney, St, Mary’s Prep (Orchard Lake, Mich.) 6-3
F — Koa Peat, Perry (Gilbert, Ariz.) 6-7
G — Darryn Peterson, Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy (Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio) 6-5
G — Jovani Ruff, Poly (Long Beach, Calif.) 6-4
G —Cameron Ward, Largo (Upper Marlboro, Md.) 6-5
F — Tounde Yessoufou, St. Joseph (Santa Maria, Calif.) 6-5
2022 National Freshman of the Year: Cameron Boozer
National Coach of the Year: Joe Auer of Wichita Heights (Wichita, Kan.)
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.