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January 31, 2013
The high school season is approaching a stretch run and that means grassroots basketball is just around the corner.
While schools across the country are looking to find players in the class of 2013 to fill out rosters, word is starting to leak about 2014 players poised to take their game to a new level. Here's a look at 10 juniors -- five ranked, five unranked -- who have been getting positive buzz (listed alphabetically).
TEN JUNIORS WHO COULD BREAK OUT
PF Brekkott Chapman, Roy (Utah) High SchoolA 6-foot-9 power forward, Chapman was intriguing enough last summer to work his way into the 2014 rankings at No. 111 overall. He's long, he can run the floor and he has good skill around the rim and facing out to about 15 feet. The intel that has been passed along to Rivals.com so far this winter suggests that he's gotten a bit more physical and is one of the best post prospects out West. He also has uncanny agility and athletic ability for his size. Interest comes from schools such as Gonzaga, Utah, BYU and Arizona State, with more interest from the likes of UCLA and others. He's got a different game, but could he be 2014's Marcus Lee, a West Coast guy who blows up in the spring and summer?
PG Justin Coleman, Wenonah (Ala.) High SchoolEven listing him at 5-foot-10 may be a stretch, but the little point guard from Wenonah (Ala.) High has been putting together a monster junior season. Already ranked No. 134 nationally, Coleman is a jet-quick guard who plays with no fear and is capable of going on scoring binges. He's been to Aubrn within the last week and also has UAB, Alabama, Florida State, Arkansas and Kansas State among those tracking him.
SG Jerrelle Deberry, Milwaukee (Wisc.) DestinyIn the past couple of years, Milwaukee has proven to be a pretty good spot for players, so it is tough to discount the impressive numbers being put up by DeBerry. A 6-foot-4 shooting guard, DeBerry is averaging 27 points as a junior with a season high of 39 against a very good Milwaukee (Wisc.) Vincent team. He's a slick scorer with good athleticism who is starting to add some polish to his natural scoring instincts. Local mid-majors such as Wisconsin Green-Bay and Wisconsin-Milwaukee have offered while high majors such as Illinois, Maryland, Washington, Iowa, Oregon State and Marquette are starting to sniff around.
SF Ronnie Harrell, Denver (Colo.) EastIn the past year, the small forward at Denver (Colo.) East has grown from about 5-foot-10 to 6-foot-6 and he doesn't look to be done growing just yet. He's fluid, can handle the ball, shoots with range to the 3-point line and looks like he's just scratching at the surface of his potential. He's currently unranked but has offers from Wyoming, Northern Colorado and Montana State while Gonzaga, Colorado, Colorado State, San Francisco, Arizona State and more are taking note.
SG Silas Melson, Portland (Ore.) JeffersonPortland (Ore.) Jefferson has been putting out strong players for a while and the 6-foot-2 shooting guard appears to be the next high-major prospect from a school that has produced Aaron Miles, Thomas Gardner, Terrence Jones and Terrance Ross, among others. One of the best jump-shooters on the West Coast, Melson is a sneaky athlete who can be pretty crafty off the dribble. Washington offered the unranked three-star earlier this winter and Oregon, Oregon State, Portland, Portland State, Gonzaga and Washington State are involved as well.
PF Goodluck Okonoboh, Wilbraham (Mass.) Wilbraham and MonsonThe 6-foot-9 shot blocking machine isn't going to be sneaking up on anybody. However, at No. 71 overall in the 2014 Rivals150, he is underrated. In addition to his high-level shot-blocking, he's added some offense this year, is playing with much greater effort and he's started to fill into his lengthy frame.
PF Malik Price-Martin, Oakland Park (Fla.) NortheastLike Okonoboh, Price-Martin is already well-known and the No. 65 player in 2014. In the past he has teased with ability but hasn't been the most physical player. Word is that he's starting to fill out, is playing with more consistency and has become a bit more dominant athletically. The tools are all there to make a big climb up the rankings and if he produces in the spring, he'll be on the rise quickly.
C Myles Turner, Euless (Texas) TrinityA growth spurt of a couple of inches has the junior from Euless (Texas) Trinity pushing 6-foot-11 and he's easily one of the hottest names in the junior class. An unranked three-star, Turner is a slender big man who can run the floor, has great length and very good hands. He's become a heavy target of Big 12 programs and has earned offers from places such as Kansas, Oregon State, USC, TCU, Texas A&M and SMU. Others with interest include Baylor, Oklahoma, Washington, Oklahoma State and Kansas State. Look for him to be a guy that coaches flock to see when he takes the floor alongside 2014's No. 2 player Emmanuel Mudiay on Texas Select this spring.
PG Tyler Ulis, Chicago Heights (Ill.) Marian CatholicThere has always been something that Rivals.com has liked about the 5-foot-8 floor general from Chicago Heights (Ill.) Marian Catholic. Maybe it is his ability to control a game, maybe it is his toughness. Whatever it is, he's got a lot of attractive qualities for a point guard. On the other hand, he is small. In a class that is looking thin on point guards, Ulis is going to get every opportunity to earn high-level scholarships and Michigan State's Tom Izzo was out to see him play this week. He recently visited Oregon State and has an offer from the Beavers. Iowa has offered, as well along with several mid-major programs. Other high majors involved with the No. 105 player in the junior class include Minnesota, DePaul and N.C. State.
SF D.J. Wilson, Sacramento (Calif.)Capital ChristianOut West, 6-foot-8 small forward D.J. Wilson was limited in the summer by injury. Now that he's healthy, the big wing is drawing rave reviews for his recent play. His wing skills are legitimate, he's got good athleticism and he looks like he's ready to blow up this spring. Look for him to team with five-star small forward Malik Pope on Team Superstar to form one of the bigger and more talented wing combos on the grassroots circuit.
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