Point guard Cole Anthony of Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) and center Evan Mobley of Rancho Christian (Temecula, Calif.) tie for lead in latest Mr. Basketball USA Tracker powered by Ballislife.com, now in its twelfth year. As a result of the tracker panel not being overly enthralled with the seasons the top 2019 prospects are having, this is the most wide open national player of the year race of recent memory. Which top candidate will make the strongest push in the post-season?
Just as was the case in the preseason, 22 elite players received recognition as legitimate national player of the year candidates in the updated 2018-19 Mr. Basketball USA Tracker powered by Ballislife.com. The results, however, show plenty of difference in terms of whom may win the prestigious honor and reflect just how wide open the race is. As many as seven players have a legitimate chance to join a Who’s Who list in basketball as the nation’s best high school basketball player for several reasons.
First, there is not one elite senior who is having monster season that is head and shoulders above the field such as NBA All-Star Ben Simmons did in 2015 for Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.). There is varying opinions on whom is the most talented player in the national 2019 class and that is clearly reflected in the 10-man tracker panel’s voting results. Six players received first place votes with one, 7-foot junior Evan Mobley of FAB 50 No. 10 Rancho Christian (Temecula, Calif.), receiving three of them.
It also means the overall point totals for the top vote-getters are much lower overall. Over the years, the top vote-getter usually appeared on nine or all 10 ballots and hovered in the high 80s or low 90s (out of a possible 100 points). This time, however, the two players in first place received a total of 64 points and appeared on eight ballots. As a sign of the varying opinions of the elite players this season, 7-foot James Wiseman of Memphis East (Tenn.) received two first-place votes, but only appeared on one other ballot (seventh place) to tally 24 points. That combination of first place votes and total points has never been seen in the 12-year history of the Mr. Basketball USA Tracker.
“It’s a tough vote since there aren’t no brainer guys like (R.J.) Barrett, (Zion) Williamson, (DeAndre) Ayton, and (Marvin) Bagley that separate from the rest,” said Van Coleman, COO of Global Sports Television, a long-time McDonalds All-American voter and tracker panelist. “This will need at least two more votes to get it right. Cole Anthony is trending downward and Evan Mobley upward and I’m not sure that before this is done, the juniors may be 1-2.”
Coleman’s comments regarding Anthony reflect the thinking of dominant stats and winning at a high level are required to earn an honor such as this (Listen to “In The Paint” Podcast about factors that make top candidates). Anthony, arguably the nation’s top point guard for Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson Va.), tied Mobley for first place in the voting with 64 points, down from his preseason positioning of 81 points. In the preseason, Anthony was the only candidate to appear on all ten ballots, but this time around he’s on seven ballots. Anthony is averaging 18.7 ppg, 9.6 rpg and 10.1 apg, but the Warriors are not having the season quite expected of them and it will be interesting to see where Anthony falls in the next go around after FAB 50 No. 16 Oak Hill was shocked 80-72 by unranked Teays Valley Christian (Scott Depot, W. Va.) after the ballots were sent out and compiled.
The juniors Coleman was referring to that could surpass all the 2019 players with strong closings are Mobley, who is averaging 19.2 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 2.5 apg, and 5.5 bpg, and junior point guard Sharife Cooper, who has McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.) sitting at No. 2 FAB 50 rankings with averages of 28 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 9.2 apg, and 4 spg while shooting at a 50-40-90 clip for an unbeaten club. Cooper’s production on a team exceeding expectations is reflected in the voting, as he went from appearing on one ballot (seventh place) in the preseason to garnering 36 points and appearing on five ballots, including three third place votes.
Will Cooper and Mobley, one of three players to appear on eight ballots along with Anthony Edwards of Holy Spirit Prep (Atlanta, Ga.) and Isaiah Stewart of FAB 50 No. 1 La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.), continue to gain traction as the season concludes? Or will a player from the 2019 class stand up and take charge of the race? (Listen to our podcast on this topic)
It will be interesting to follow since only a few of the game’s immortals (Jerry Lucas, Lew Alcindor, LeBron James) have been Mr. Baketball USA honorees as juniors.
Stay logged in to Ballislife.com to track the progress of the nation’s top individual players and the nation’s Top teams.
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.
|1T||3||Evan Mobley (8)||Rancho Christian (CA)||3||0||1||1||64|
|1T||1||Cole Anthony (8)||Oak Hill (VA)||2||4||1||0||64|
|3||5||Isaiah Stewart (8)||La Lumiere (IN)||1||2||0||1||59|
|4||4||Anthony Edwards (8)||Holy Spirit (GA)||1||1||1||2||56|
|5||2||Vernon Carey (6)||University School (FL)||0||1||2||2||44|
|6||20T||Sharife Cooper (5)||McEachern (GA)||0||0||3||0||36|
|7||6||James Wiseman (3)||Memphis East (TN)||2||0||0||0||24|
|8||14T||Scottie Lewis (3)||Ranney School (NJ)||1||0||0||2||19|
|9T||19||Cade Cunningham (3)||Montverde Academy (FL)||0||0||0||2||18|
|9T||10T||Precious Achiuwa (2)||Montverde Academy (FL)||0||2||0||0||18|
|11||7||Jaden McDaniels (2)||Federal Way (WA)||0||0||0||1||12|
|12T||9||Onyeka Okongwu (2)||Chino Hills (CA)||0||0||0||0||11|
|12T||NR||Trendon Watford (2)||Mountain Brook (AL)||0||0||0||1||11|
|14T||8||Jalen Green (2)||San Joaquin Memorial (CA)||0||0||0||0||9|
|14T||20T||Matthew Hurt (2)||Marshall (MN)||0||0||0||0||9|
|16||12T||Nico Mannion (1)||Pinnacle (AZ)||0||0||1||0||8|
|17||14T||Patrick Baldwin (1)||Hamilton (WI)||0||0||0||0||6|
|18T||NR||Greg Brown (1)||Vandergrift (TX)||0||0||0||0||5|
|18T||20T||Khalil Whitney (1)||Roselle Catholic (NJ)||0||0||0||0||5|
|20T||17T||R.J. Hampton (1)||Little Elm (TX)||0||0||0||0||4|
|20T||12T||Jonathan Kuminga (1)||Our Savior New American (NY)||0||0||0||0||4|
|20T||NR||Cassius Stanley (1)||Sierra Canyon (CA)||0||0||0||0||4|
About Mr. 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 last season’s final tracker.