The final, expanded 2019-20 Mr. Basketball USA ballots are in and after they are tallied, there is a clear-cut top candidate. Oklahoma State-bound point guard Cade Cunningham of FAB 50 national champion Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) out paces preseason top vote-getter Evan Mobley of Rancho Christian (Temecula, Calif.) with 95 overall points out of 100.
Talent, on-court production and winning have always been tried and true factors in determining elite high school basketball individual accolades that truly take high school achievement as the No. 1 consideration.
Using those three factors in this year’s race for national player of the year is clearly reflected in the results of the final 2019-20 Mr. Basketball USA Tracker powered by Ballislife.com.
6'7" - PG - 2020
Cade Cunningham, a 6-foot-7 point guard, led Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) to a perfect 25-0 season and No. 1 FAB 50 finish as the leader of one of the most talent-laden rosters of all-time. Without the benefit of GEICO Nationals or the national all-star game circuit because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, what occurred during the high school season became more prevalent and that’s where Cunningham separated himself from the pack.
The Oklahoma St-bound big point guard led a team that beat 12 FAB 50 ranked opponents and have an average victory margin on 38.9 points per game. On a team with 12 sure-fire D1 players, three Nike Hoop Summit honorees (first time that has ever happened), three McDonald’s All-American selections (the second time that has ever happened) and potentially two first five All-Americans, Cunningham led the way. His unselfish offensive play led the way, as Montverde Academy coach Kevin Boyle had seven players averaging 8.3 ppg or more led by Cunningham’s 13.9. He also averaged 4.2 rpg and a team-high 6.4 apg for the best team in program history, one that captured its fifth mythical national title in the last eight seasons.
6'11" - C - 2020
Cunningham out-distanced preseason leading vote-getter Evan Mobley of Rancho Christian (Temecula, Calif.), 95 points to 81, the latter which was four points (77) more than third-place Jalen Green of Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.). Cunningham, a native of Texas, received seven of the 10 first place votes with Mobley nabbing two and Green one.
Cunningham, Mobley and Green were the only three out of 21 national player of the year candidates to garner at least a vote on all 10 ballots of the Mr. Basketball USA Tracker panel. Mobley collected three second-place votes and Green four. The main difference in their point total was a seventh-place finish for Green on one ballot.
“Cade was a great player and leader and reminds me of a combination of Jason Kidd and Oscar Robertson,” said Boyle said. “He is truly deserving of this prestigious award.”
“Cade Cunningham is a team first player and a great player,” said tracker panelist and McDonald’s All-Amerian voter Clark Francis of the Hoop Scoop. “He led the City of Palms in assists and (Kevin) Boyle has compared him to Oscar Robertson. He’s the reason Montverde Academy is the team to come down the pike perhaps ever.”
Mobley, the preseason top vote-getter with 95 points, including six first-place votes, averaged 19 ppg, 12 rpg, 4 apg, 4 bpg and led his team in all four of those statistical categories, but Rancho Christian went 22-8 and didn’t lead his team to the national-level victories that perhaps the panel wanted to see him do in order to retain his position at the top. Cunningham was able to gain five points from the preseason and take over the top spot despite only modest statistics because the panel rewarded him for his team’s play.
Green was likely the one candidate hurt the most from the COVID-19 pandemic as he could have used the big national stage that GEICO Nationals normally provides to enhance his candidacy. Prolific Prep was scheduled to open the eight-team event with FAB 50 No. 1 Montverde Academy. On Thursday, Green announced he would forgo a collegiate career to turn professional and join the NBA G League, where he will play on a select team that could potentially include other elite 2020 prospects.
6'8" - SF - 2021
Coming in fourth in the balloting was sophomore forward Emoni Bates of Lincoln (Ypsilanti, Mich.) with 48 points and coming in fifth place was Cunningham’s teammate, jack-of-all-trades forward Scottie Barnes, with 34 points. Bates and Barnes with the only two candidates to appear on eight ballots, with Bates getting one third place vote and Barnes two fourth-place votes.
Earlier this week, Bates became the first sophomore ever to earn the Gatorade National Player of the Year award. Will he become the first sophomore since LeBron James in 2001 named to the first five on the Elite All-American Team?
“I think Jalen Green is No. 2,” Francis said. “He transitioned himself from a great athlete into a good basketball player. He’s no longer a feast or famine type of guy. He brings it every night and now because of that he belongs in the elite group with Cunningham and Mobley.
“Mobley is the perfect example of how things can change in basketball. He still might be the guy with the best potential, but right now he deserves to be No. 3, but don’t write him off yet. Right now, Bates might be No. 1 based on potential and upside, but hasn’t earned a Top 3 spot yet. Nobody else has put themselves in that elite group. The rest of the group are not guys to get overly excited about.”
In light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, were grateful 21 candidates earned recognition as a national player of the year candidate in the final, expanded tracker. Actually were excited and grateful they were able to play enough games to even conduct final balloting despite not being able to incorporate all the elements that usually are part of the Mr. Basketball USA selection process (regular season, post-season, GIECO Nationals, all-star events).
Editor’s Note: Click on the “+” sign next to each player’s number to view how many first, second, third or fourth place votes he got and his overall point total. Preseason tracker results are also listed (“Prev.”).
|1||2||Cade Cunningham (10)||Montverde Academy (FL)||7||2||1||0||95|
|2||1||Evan Mobley (10)||Rancho Christian (CA)||2||3||3||0||81|
|3||3||Jalen Green (10)||Prolific Prep (CA)||1||4||3||0||77|
|4||6T||Emoni Bates (8)||Lincoln (MI)||0||0||1||4||48|
|5||13||Scottie Barnes (8)||Montverde Academy (FL)||0||0||0||1||34|
|6||9||Jalen Suggs (6)||Minnehaha Academy (MN)||0||0||1||1||32|
|7T||4||Terrence Clark (7)||Brewster Academy (NH)||0||0||1||0||28|
|7T||5||Sharife Cooper (7)||McEachern (GA)||0||1||0||0||28|
|9||NR||B.J. Boston (6)||Sierra Canyon (CA)||0||0||0||0||20|
|10T||17T||Greg Brown (6)||Vandegrift (TX)||0||0||0||0||19|
|10T||NR||Cam Thomas (5)||Oak Hill (VA)||0||0||0||0||19|
|10T||11||Ziaire Williams (3)||Sierra Canyon (CA)||0||0||0||2||19|
|13||10||Josh Christopher (2)||Mayfair (CA)||0||0||0||0||10|
|14||6T||Jonathan Kuminga (2)||Patrick School (NJ)||0||0||1||0||9|
|15T||15||Patrick Baldwin (2)||Hamilton (WI)||0||0||0||0||7|
|15T||16||Day'Ron Sharpe (2)||Montverde Academy (FL)||0||0||0||0||7|
|17||NR||Moussa Cisse (1)||Lousanne College (TN)||0||0||0||0||6|
|18||NR||Reece Beekman (1)||Scotlandville (LA)||0||0||0||0||4|
|19||NR||Dashien Nix (1)||Trinity International (NV)||0||0||0||0||3|
|20T||14||Chet Holgrem (1)||Minnehaha Academy (MN)||0||0||0||0||2|
|20T||NR||Deivon Smith (1)||Grayson (GA)||0||0||0||0||2|
2019-20 Mr. Basketball USA Tracker Panel
Paul Biancardi, ESPN National Director of Basketball Recruiting
Frank Burlison, BurlisonOnBasketball.com Publisher
Van Coleman, TheBasketballChannel.net VP of Content
Ronnie Flores, Ballislife.com National Grassroots Editor
Clark Francis, Hoop Scoop Editor & Publisher
Bob Gibbons, All-Star Sports
Jerry Meyer, 247Sports.com Director of Scouting
Scott Phillips, NBC Sports National College Basketball Writer
Patrick Stanwood, Patrick Stanwood Basketball
Dinos Trigonis, Fullcourt Press Editor & Publisher
About Basketball USA Tracker Panel
Ballislife.com’s panel of 10 experts, which includes six McDonald’s All-American selection committee members, casts its vote for the top national player of the year candidates. Each panelist lists his top seven candidates regardless of class. The votes are then tabulated on a 10-point scoring system with a first-place vote equaling 10 points, a second-place vote earning nine points and down to four points for a seventh-place vote. The number in parenthesis refers to the numbers of ballots on which a player appeared and previous rankings refers to position in the previous tracker.