We continue our new Fall Player Rankings with our next release - the 2017 class fall player rankings for post players - completing our rankings for the 2017 class. Post players for the 2017 class looks to be strong as well, although not as deep as the point guards or small forward positions in the class. There are however numerous division-I prospects in this position as well - with many prospects that have potential to help college programs in the future.
Leading the way for our post player rankings, which include power forwards and centers in the 2017 class, is Tri City Christian High School's athletic and rapidly developing 6-foot-8 junior post Nigel Shadd. Shadd has quickly emerged as one of the very elite prospects in the class, and also is among the top overall performers in the state. While Shadd has yet to fully blow up with college coaches, it is just a matter of time before Shadd's college recruitment begins to soar. Shadd will get many more scholarship offers in the future, as he is a sure-fire recruiting target in the class - a long and athletic power forward that plays big and does not venture far away from the basket. He is still merely 15 years of age also, which suggests that he is still growing a great deal. He has a lot of room to grow still and should get to 6-10 when it is all said and done. - a scary thought.
Last season as a sophomore, Shadd was tremendous - averaging 15.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 4.2 blocks per/game. Look for those numbers to improve a great deal this season. He is still very young, and should really grow a lot over the next two years of high school. I look forward to watching him develop this season into a high-major recruiting target.
Mesa Mountain View HS 6-foot-8 junior forward Curtis Hodges makes his introduction into these new rankings and checks in at our #2 spot. Hodges emerged last spring and summer a great deal with strong performances on the club circuit during the spring and summer. A two-sport football prospect, Hodges is developing into a nice recruiting target for college programs in both sports. As a result, Hodges caught the attention this spring of many college programs and earned a nice scholarship offer from Grand Canyon University.
Hodges is a long and very athletic post prospect that is just realizing his true potential as a player. He still is very raw offensively and needs a lot of work to develop into the player that he will become over time, but what better coach to develop him over time than Mountain View HS head coach Gary Ernst - Arizona's winningest high school coach ever and a true developer of talent. In the past, Ernst has developed such players as Harper Kamp (CAL), Dennis Latimore (Notre Dame), Brendon Lavender (Arizona), Kendall Wallace (UNLV), Stephen Rogers (BYU) and Tanner Shell (Arizona State), just to name a few.
Hodges has the potential to develop into another serious prospect for the Mesa Mountain View program, and become one of the better overall prospects in Arizona's very loaded 2017 class of prospects.
Millennium HS 6-foot-8 junior post Morningstar Takapu is a very nice talent with loads of potential, and has been regarded as one of the elite prospects in this class for sometime. Takapu is a superior young talent in the state and a rare find at his size and skill level. This young man is a physical load and moves like a wing. He also has a variety of offensive moves that suggests that he will definitely become a nice looking stretch-four man for the collegiate level, and could become a mis-match problem for most opposing forwards. Already he is very mature and advanced at a young age, so it will be very interesting to see how much he does develop over the next two years.
Last high school season, Takapu averaged very modest numbers for a team that finished 11-10 on the high school season, but his overall statistical production this season should be very much improved, and I look for him to become one of the elite performers in the state this high school season.
After watching Takapu peform this club season on the club circuit, I was very impressed with his size and mobility. His size suggests that he should grow much more over the next two years and, if he continues to work hard on his craft, then we should see a serious college prospect for the mid-major or even higher division-I levels.
Brophy Prep 6-foot-9 junior center Sean Dunn checks in at a very high ranking among post players in the class, Dunn's first ranking among the class. Dunn is unlike many prospects in the state, regardless of class. Standing close to 6-10 in height and possessing excellent size and girth, there are not many prospects in the state that have his combination of size and skill level. In fact, there may not be another prospect in the state that simply possesses his size.
Dunn is a rare find in the state of Arizona - a larger post prospect with excellent size and skill level. Dunn is massive physically and he also runs the floor like that of a prospect much smaller. An excellent looking prospect for the future, that I fully believe will develop into a division-I prospect. He has very good hands and feet for his size, runs the floor well and is a good finisher around the basket with a soft touch. Dunn has good low-post footwork. He is a strong rebounder that gets excellent inside post position at all times, and is difficult to keep off the glass. He is also a capable shotblocker with good timing.
Since there are always few larger post prospects in the state, and not many in the West that are skilled and big, I look for Dunn to really make some noise with bigger college programs - once they catch a glimpse of him. This young man was one of my favorite surprise performers of the spring and I believe that he has a very bright future ahead of him.
Dunn, like many of his club teammates, emerged this spring as one of the elite prospects in the class. After helping lead his club program, Arizona D1 Nation 16U, to consecutive Double Pump tournament championships in the 16U Division this spring (won 3-consecutive tournament championships), Dunn became a serious prospect for the future.
Dunn will anchor a talented Brophy Prep lineup this season that will be in a transition, as former head coach Tony Fuller was relieved of his head coaching duties at the end of last season.
Other rising post prospects 6-foot-8 junior post Jake Hess (Horizon HS), 6-foot-6 junior forward George Faull (Flagstaff HS) and 6-foot-7 junior forward Buka Mbegbu (Central HS) are each very good prospects with potential as well, and each could see a rise in our next spring rankings with strong performances this season.
Here are our new Fall Player Rankings for post players, the power forward and center positions, in Arizona’s 2017 class. While we have not seen everyone at the position in the state, these individuals have proven to be the best at the position at this point in time.
Arizona Preps 2017 Class Fall Player Rankings – Post Players (In Ranking Order)
1. Nigel Shadd 6-8 JR PF Tri-City Christian HS (Chandler, AZ)
2. Curtis Hodges 6-8 JR PF Mountain View HS (Mesa, AZ)
3. Morningstar Takapu 6-8 JR PF Millennium HS (Goodyear, AZ)
4. Sean Dunn 6-9 JR C Brophy Prep HS (Phoenix, AZ)
5. Jake Hess 6-8 JR PF Horizon HS (Scottsdale, AZ)
6. George Faull 6-6 JR PF Flagstaff HS (Flagstaff, AZ)
7. Buka Mbegbu 6-7 JR PF/C Central HS (Phoenix, AZ)
8. Santino Duarte 6-6 JR PF Sunnyside HS (Tucson, AZ)
9. Jacob Jefferson 6-7 JR PF/C Buckeye HS (Buckeye, AZ)
10. Ethan Smith 6-6 JR PF/C Desert Ridge HS (Phoenix, AZ)
Fall Player Ranking Notes: Our player rankings have been determined by a body of work from each student-athlete. Each player’s body of work consisted of performances throughout the high school season, and also performances throughout the spring, summer and fall seasons. A top performance throughout the high school season impacts a player’s ranking a great deal. A student-athlete’s performance throughout the fall, spring and summer will have an even bigger impact, since our staff is able to observe Arizona players in competition against much better local, regional and national competition. The complete body of work has been taken into consideration for each of our player rankings. Player rankings are based on a particular student-athlete’s ability to play the game of basketball – not academic performance, although a player can help him or herself if he/she is an excellent student. Rankings are done to help aid college coaches in their ability to identify the top student-athletes by position and class in the state. These rankings are forwarded to college coaches at every level throughout the country. Rankings will be updated throughout the year.