With college coaches, scouts and media primarily focusing now on the 2018 and 2019 classes in the country, there are still numerous prospects from the 2017 class still on the board. Here are just some of the top available prospects still available this July for college programs to take a hard look at . . .
Top Available 2017 Prospects (In No Particular Order)
Caleb Simmons 6-6 SR SF Desert Vista HS (Phoenix, AZ)
Simmons has an excellent body already and uses his nice body to bully defenders on the low block, and is also able to step outside to the 3-point line, where he is able to hit shots. Still needs to become more consistent in his shooting stroke from longer ranges. Has a nice mid-range game. Able to score off the dribble and finish plays inside the paint and around defenders. A good ball handler with good versatility. A solid rebounder that needs to focus more in this area of his game. Good open court player and slasher. An active on-ball defender that plays passing lanes and gets deflections. Has good size. A solid looking prospect.
Malik Porter 6-4 SR SG/SF Cesar Chavez HS (Phoenix, AZ)
Malik Porter is the state's most athletic individual talent. Porter has NBA athleticism and very quick lift off the floor, where he is able to finish high above the rim on a vertical jump and in traffic. He is able to catch passes from almost anywhere on the floor and finish high-wire act dunks over defenders. He possesses a long, lengthy frame which allows him to play much bigger than his size suggests, and is an excellent defender that blocks shots like that of NBA superstar Lebron James. Porter is a very much unheralded prospect that has flown excessively well below the recruiting radar for some time. It is still unclear as to whether he will qualify academically, since he still needs to receive a passing test score. If he decides to go the juco route, this young man will become a hot commodity over time.
Terrell Handy-Johnson 6-4 SR SF Maricopa HS (Maricopa, AZ)
Handy-Johnson is a big-time sleeper prospect that has excellent length, broad shoulders and superior athleticism. He has a good motor and makes plays on both ends of the floor at a high level. A strong two-way player. A solid shooter that needs to add range on his shot consistently to maximize his potential as a player. A solid ball handler and passer. Has good versatility. An excellent finisher. An active and satrong rebounder and shotblocker. Runs the floor and is very good in the open floor. Has excellent potential for the future with good upside. Has the potential to become a serious division-I talent over time. Already is a mid-major prospect, but with a year or two of juco he could become a high-major prospect.
Carmelo Amaibi 6-6 SR PF San Gabriel Academy
An athletic and physically strong prospect that has good versatility and is a stretch 4-man that is capable of playing inside and out. He has a high motor and gets a lot done around the paint. He is a good shooter from mid-range and also can extend to three-point distance, but is at his best around the paint, where he is able to make plays and finish strong at the rim. A very good finisher that does not mind physical contact. An active rebounder and shotblocker. Runs the floor hard. Has excellent work ethic. A very good sleeper prospect that will be able to help any program immediately, as a result of his ready-made body and level of intensity he plays with. A great prospect late.
Morningstar Takapu 6-8 SR PF Millennium HS (Goodyear, AZ)
Takapu is a nice talent in the state and a rare find at his true 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 could see some time on the perimeter as he continues to develop and mature physically. He has a good feel for the game and is able to make plays for himself off the dribble, where he finishes strong at the basket. A good low-post player with good footwork and quickness for his size in the paint. A good mid-range shooter, but still needs to improve his consistency from longer ranges. An active rebounder that gets good low-post position. A good finisher inside that should become much more effective over time. A good ball handler for his size. OK passer. Good low-post defender. Struggles guarding quicker players on the wing, so needs to defend post players until he becomes quicker on the perimeter with his feet. Has the potential to become a very serious prospect over time. A nice sleeper prospect.
Donald Carter 6-0 SR PG Cesar Chavez HS (Phoenix, AZ)
Carter is among the better guard prospects in the 2017 class. A floor general of sorts that has a very good handle and surveys the floor with good court vision. Enjoys running a team and making plays for others. Also a capable scorer that can keep defenses honest with a solid perimeter shooting stroke. Has range on his shot. An excellent ball handler and passer that surveys the floor. An excellent penetrator and finisher. Pushes the ball up the floor. A very good defender with good lateral quickness. A solid guard prospect. A good sleeper prospect.
Darion Spottsville 6-4 SR SG Shadow Mountain HS (Phoenix, AZ)
Spottsville is a strong and well-built young prospect that has a good body and a nice motor. He is a very good scorer in transition, and also is a nice slasher and finisher in the open court. In the half-court set, he can get into the lane and finish or make perimeter shots to set up his drives. Has good range on his shot, but is at his best attacking the basket with the ball on drives. Plays well above the rim when he decides to attack the basket. A good ball handler and penetrator. A solid passer. A very good defender with good overall toughness. A talented guard prospect with nice potential for the future. A football star as well and should play football in college, but is capable of playing both at a high level.
Saikou Gueye 6-7 SR SF Mountain Ridge HS (Glendale, AZ)
Gueye is a long, athletic and versatile wing prospect with good promise for the future. He has very good versatility as a player and his ability to score inside and outside is a nice attribute to have. A left hander, Gueye is difficult to defend for many opposing wings in the state. He is able to make shots from the perimeter, but needs to improve his consistency from longer ranges. He is at his best when taking defenders off the dribble and making plays at the rim and around the paint. Gueye also is able to play much bigger than his size suggests, as he uses his length to play effectively around the paint, and also score in transition. Gueye's most intriguing attribute is his ability to defend, which makes him very valuable as a player. His same length allows him to play passing lanes and also block/change shots for opposing players. Gueye is able to defend wings and also opposing low post players in high school. At the collegiate level, he will be asked to defend small forwards, wings and off-guards, so he will need to continue to develop his foot speed to stay with athletic wings as he matures physically over the next two years. Physical strength will be very important in his continued development as a player.
Billy Jordan 6-7 SR SF Desert Ridge HS (Phoenix, AZ)
Jordan comes from excellent basketball bloodlines, as his father, Billy Jordan Sr., was a big-time prospect back in his day. Jordan is a skilled and tenacious wing prospect that competes at a high level and has great energy on the floor. Jordan has an ability to make plays for himself and others with the basketball in his hands, suggesting that he could develop into a serious point-forward over time. He has good size and length already, and his left-handed skillset makes him difficult to defend for opposing defenders. Has very good versatility. Very good mid-range shooter but needs to improve his consistency from longer ranges. As he adds more consistency to his jump shot, he will be able to open up his game, making him even more difficult to defend. A good defender as a result of his length and aggressive style of play. Has excellent potential over time. Needs to add physical strength for the future to improve as a prospect.
Nate Graville 6-7 SR SF Gilbert Christian HS (Gilbert, AZ)
Graville is a rare find, as a result of his size, length and ability to make shots from all over the floor. He has a very good shooting stroke with unlimited range, and also a good mid-range game which allows him to make plays for himself off the dribble. Needs to put it all together on the basketball court, and against top-rated competition - the final step in the process of developing into a top performer. Good ball handler. OK passer. A solid rebounder. OK defender.
Buka Mbegbu 6-6 SR PF Central HS (Phoenix, AZ)
A large, wide-body post prospect that is a strong rebounder on both ends of the floor and uses his body to gain good inside post position. A good finisher. Solid low-post footwork. Has good hands. OK shooter but still raw offensively away from the basket. Runs the floor hard. Solid low post defender. Capable shotblocker. Needs some work but has good overall potential if he will improve his work ethic.
Jacob Johnson 6-2 SR PG Casa Grande HS (Casa Grande, AZ)
Related to former NBA player and Suns announcer Eddie Johnson, Jacob is a skilled guard prospect with a good overall feel for the game and a nice approach to the game. Being around the game of basketball all of his life, this young man loves the game of basketball and it shows in his ability to play. He takes the game very serious and has a lot of self-confidence in his ability to play the game at a high level - a nice attribute for Johnson. Johnson has very good size for the point guard position, and is also capable of playing as a combo-guard as a result of his ability to shoot and score the basketball. He has a good feel for the game also, and has a good understanding of when the score or set up teammates on the floor. He knows how to run a team very well and also has good leadership qualities. He is an effective ball handler and passer and is simply a solid all-around guard prospect for a good smaller college program. He is also a very good student, and is already a full academic qualifier.