The collective basketball world is in a rut at the moment as the COVID-19 pandemic has stopped the ball from bouncing across multiple levels of the game.
The team at Ballislife is here to keep you updated on all things hoops related as we navigate this difficult time and there’s no better way to do that than to give you the inside scoop on which high school players you need to keep your eyes on when we’re able to get back in the gym.
In this piece, we take our second look at some of the absolute must see players in high school basketball right now. Not only are these guys worth the price of admission as prep players, but that will likely be the case in college and at the professional level.
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6'8" - SF - 2022
Emoni Bates, Ypsilanti (Mich.) Lincoln: It’s already a well-known fact that the 6-foot-8 wing is one of the best prospects regardless of class as he was the first sophomore to be named Gatorade National Player of the Year and a first-five selection to our All-American Elite Team. Bates can do it all on the floor from scoring off the bounce in isolation with power dunks to step-back three’s and everything in between. What makes Bates standout among his peers is how effortless he makes the game look when the ball is in his hands. The best prospect since LeBron James? Perhaps. Certainly all eyes will be on him over the next two years and beyond.
6'8" - SF - 2021
Jonathan Kuminga, Hillside (N.J.) The Patrick School: Kuminga belongs on any must-see list because he’s always good for a handful of highlights each time he takes the floor. The top-ranked prospect in the 2021 class is both a powerful, explosive and smooth athlete, attributes which make him nearly impossible to guard in the half-court and transition settings. Kuminga has the ball handling ability, quickness and counter-moves in his arsenal to break down a defender in isolation for a paint bucket or a rhythm step-back three-pointer. His strength, next level ready frame and scoring feel should make him one to watch for years to come.
7'0" - C - 2021
Chet Holmgren, Minneapolis (Minn.) Minnehaha Academy: Holmgren fits the mold of a modern big man to perfection with his combination of size and skill. The 7-foot junior is mobile, has impressive ball skills for his size, can stretch the floor to the three-point line and score down low with his post IQ, soft hands and fundamental footwork. Where Holmgren is a game changer is on the defensive end of the floor. His defensive instincts and timing as a rim protector and shot blocker, to go along with his rebounding and accurate outlet passing, are what translate best to the next levels.
5'10" - PG - 2021
Zion Harmon, Benton (Ky.) Marshall County: Don’t let the 5-foot-10 height fool you, this class of 2021 point guard has all the tools you look for in a floor general with some flash to go along with it. Harmon is a crafty ball-handler who uses changes of speed and direction to get to his spots in both transition and half-court situations. He hits perimeter jumpers with ease, breaks down defenders in isolation with crazy combos and has vision and a passing feel that are off the charts. Harmon has one more year of high school ball to play before he heads to Western Kentucky to play college hoops.
6'7" - SF - 2021
Peyton Watson, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly: There are few players in the country who have risen the rankings faster or higher than Watson. The 6-foot-7 wing was handed the keys to the Jackrabbits’ squad this season and he embraced that challenge all while elevating his game. Watson, a junior small forward, is one of the more versatile players in the 2021 class with his ability to initiate offense as a lead ball-handler or play off the ball with his knack for slashing and scoring or smooth three-point shot. Watson plays with some edge and a chip on his shoulder due to being a guy who was unranked a year ago only to be considered one of the top 10 players in his class right now.