Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Michael Porter Jr. Replaces DeAndre Ayton Atop ESPN Rankings; Kentucky Has 5 Players in Top 32
Following his brilliant performance at the Hoophall Classic, Washington-bound forward Michael Porter Jr. has replaced Arizona signee DeAndre Ayton atop the 2017 ESPN 100.
The 7-foot Ayton is now ranked No. 2, with Duke-bound forward Wendell Carter at No. 3, uncommitted point guard Trevon Duval at No. 4 and uncommitted big man Mohamed Bamba at No. 5.
The 6-foot-10, 220-pound Porter Jr. has drawn comparisons to Kevin Durant and Paul George,and his virtuoso 36-point, 5-rebound, 4-assist performance for unbeaten Nathan Hale (14-0) against famed Oak Hill Academy at the Hoophall Classic did nothing to dissuade those perceptions.
Porter Jr. is currently projected as the No. 5 pick in 2018 by DraftExpress.com, but he figures to be in the mix for the possible No. 1 spot along Ayton.
“I think he’s gonna be like an NBA superstar,” said Brandon Roy, the former NBA All-Star and Porter Jr’s current coach. “I think he’s going to be the face of the NBA. I know it’s big shoes and it’s early, but I think he’s going to be like that Kevin Durant, that Steph Curry, that James Harden.”
Four of the top seven players in the ESPN rankings remain uncommitted in Duval, Bamba, No. 6 Brandon McCoy and No. 7 Kevin Knox.
Kentucky has five players ranked in the top 32: No. 11 Nick Richards, No. 14 P.J. Washington, No. 22 Quade Green, No. 23 Jarred Vanderbilt and No. 32 Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Duke has two Top-10 players in No. 3 Carter and No. 8 Gary Trent Jr.
Arizona has four Top-100 players in No. 2 Ayton, No. 34 Brandon Randolph, No. 67 Ira Lee and No. 94 Alex Barcello.
Kentucky and Duke both remain in the mix for Bamba and Knox, while Duke also remains involved for Duval. Arizona is in the mix for both Duval and McCoy, as well as No. 12 Brian Bowen.Follow Adam Zagoria on TwitterAnd like ZAGS on Facebook
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.