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March 26, 2014
Stability reigns atop class of 2015 Rivals150
Since the last time the class of 2015 was ranked, there has been plenty of action. Play from the high school season has had a strong impact on the new Rivals150, and play in the upcoming months will surely force more changes. However, in the newest edition of the rankings Mississippi combo guard Malik Newman still holds the top spot and remains the player to beat moving forward.
Top 10 features stability
The biggest news of any ranking update is always at the top spot. Six-foot-3 combo guard Newman of Jackson (Miss.) Callaway was able to fight off all comers, and he continues to rule the class of 2015 roost. An explosive scorer who has added strength and become even more assertive attacking the rim to go along with his deep jump shooting, Newman is an offensive juggernaut deserving of the top spot after leading Callaway to a third straight state title.
In-state programs Mississippi State and Ole Miss would love to have him, but it's no surprise that elite programs such as Duke, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky and many others have been in to see him. So far, Newman has been pretty quiet about his recruitment, and he's not expected to decide any time soon.
Newman isn't the only one staying put near the top of the rankings. The entire top 10 remains intact -- and heavy with post players -- even though there has been a little bit of shuffling inside of it.
Currently pushing Newman the hardest for the top spot is Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd big man Ivan Rabb. The 6-foot-9 power forward has expanded his offensive arsenal some to go along with his high-end athleticism, rebounding and ability to run the floor.
Following Rabb, big men Diamond Stone, Stephen Zimmerman, Ben Simmons and Skal Labissiere are all closely packed together in Nos. 3-6. Stone is a polished and skilled low post player from Milwaukee, while Zimmerman is a tall and lanky big from Las Vegas who can run and is at his best facing the hoop. One of only two players in the top 10 who has made an early commitment, the LSU-bound Simmons is a 6-foot-8 native of Australia with abundant athleticism and a versatile game who plays in Florida. A native of Haiti, Labissiere is a slender shot blocker with great hands, good feet and a feel for scoring the ball who has been honing his craft in the Memphis area.
[ THE LIST: Updated Class of 2015 Rivals150 ]
The only other guard in the top 10 is Los Angeles combo guard Tyler Dorsey who checks in at No. 7. An early pledge to Arizona, Dorsey has good size at 6-foot-4, can score or distribute and is an outstanding rebounder.
Rounding out the top 10 are three more big men in Cheick Diallo, Elijah Thomas and Carlton Bragg. Diallo is a high energy rebounder and shot blocker from Mali who attends school in New York. A Texan, Thomas is a back-to-the-basket operator with sure hands, soft touch and a knack for corralling rebounds. Finally, Bragg is probably the most athletic of all the big men in the top 10. The Ohio native flies up and down the court, can make perimeter jumpers and is growing into his lengthy 6-foot-8 frame.
Two new five-stars
A product of Lincolnshire (Ill.) Stevenson, Brunson moved all the way up to No. 14 from No. 28. A 6-foot-1 floor general, he is a very dangerous southpaw shooter with an outstanding feel for the game. He also has tremendous bloodlines as his father Rick is a former Temple star who spent several years as a player and coach in the NBA.
Standing nearly 7-feet tall, Moore is an intriguing center prospect from Locust Grove (Ga.) Luella and made the jump from No. 38 to No. 16. At times, he can disappear from the game when his teammates don't involve him on the offensive end. But he's always a factor defensively and on the glass where his size, length and athleticism give him the ability to develop into a high-level rim protector. When he is involved offensively, he finishes strong at the rim and shows promising touch on short jumpers and jump hooks.
Fast risers and newcomers to keep an eye on
Though neither of them quite made it to five-star territory in this update, guards Justin Simon and Antonio Blakeney are both moving up the rankings quickly and need to be watched closely. A scorer from Florida with bounce and a dangerous jumper, the 6-foot-3 Blakeney rose from No. 56 to No. 29. More of a jack-of-all trades combo guard with 6-foot-5 size, Simon is the best available guard on the West Coast and moved all the way up to No. 23 from No. 80.
Another West Coast product making a big move is Las Vegas small forward Ray Smith. The 6-foot-7 wing put up huge numbers as a junior and climbed 34 spots from No. 66 to No. 32.
The highest ranked newcomer to the 2015 Rivals150 is 6-foot-9 power forward Deyonta Davis. A product of Muskegon (Mich.) High, he is an athletic big who attacks the glass, runs the floor and shows a lot of promise as a mid-range jump shooter. In many ways, he is similar to a young version of Adreian Payne, and like Payne, he's going to play his college ball at Michigan State.
Just behind Davis as a high ranking newcomer is another impressive big man. Greek-born Georgios Papagiannis came over to the States to attend the Westtown (Pa.) School and has made a large impact. At nearly 7-foot-2 with a big frame, he isn't a speed demon but plays with an edge and takes up lots of space. He enters the rankings at No. 44 but could make another big move as we learn more about him. It is important to note, though, that rumors keep swirling that he could return to Greece after his junior season to play pro ball.
Finally, shooting guard Admon Gilder made the single biggest move inside the Rivals150. A 6-foot-3 shooting guard from Dallas (Texas) Madison who is a savvy scorer and high-IQ player, Gilder won his second state title in 2014 and made a meteoric rise of 74 spots from No. 123 all the way to No. 49.
Eric Bossi is the national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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