Breaking down the best of the 2019 recruiting class

The Class of 2019 is taking shape, with the early signing period starting Wednesday. So who are the best of the best? We took a look at the top recruits in five important categories.

Best NBA prospect
No. 1 James Wiseman

Wiseman is already projected as the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA draft, and he still has plenty of room to grow in the game. He owns all the physical and athletic attributes of an NBA center. His size, length and reach measure out favorably at 7 feet, with an enormous wingspan of 7-6 (the NBA looks for a plus-four on wingspan). His standing reach is almost 9-foot-4, which makes it easy for him to score at the rim and protect it. For his size he runs extremely well and moves laterally with ease. NBA bigs who are mobile can hedge and switch ball screens. His scoring skill and instincts on the blocks are advanced at a young stage. His signature move is a jump hook over his right shoulder along with a countermove that will be worth millions someday. Eventually he will make NBA 3s because his shot is evolving. Right now his midrange jumper is dependable. One area that needs his attention is free throw shooting. Wiseman’s final schools: Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis and Vanderbilt.
Runner-up: No. 4 Jaden McDaniels.

Most college ready
No. 5 Isaiah Stewart

He rarely wanders outside of the paint, unless it’s for a short jumper as he runs in straight lines from rim to rim seeking to own the inside real estate. Once inside the paint, he utilizes a physically imposing frame with broad shoulders, lower power and overall body strength along with an impressive vertical bounce. He is a committed rebounder. Not flashy but extremely productive. “I love his consistent high energy level,” said Don Showalter, head coach of USA Basketball’s youth division. Stewart’s final schools: Duke, Michigan State, Kentucky, Syracuse and Washington.
Runner-up: No. 3 Vernon Carey Jr.

Best offensive player
No.2 Cole Anthony

Comfortable and confident with the ball in his hands, Anthony can score at a moment’s notice. He understands how to navigate and operate in ball screens. He scores in many different ways, which makes him hard to stop. Finishes very well at the rim with either hand and has a pull-up game along with a 3-point shot. He is looking at North Carolina, Oregon and Notre Dame, among others. “What makes him special is that he is a tremendous competitor who wants to be the best,” said Steve Smith, his coach at Oak Hill Academy in New York. Anthony is considering Georgetown, Miami, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Oregon and Wake Forest.
Runner-up: Tyrese Maxey (committed to Kentucky)

Most versatile
No.14 Isaiah Mobley

Mobley has the size of a power forward with the skills of a point forward. He is one of the few in the class who can rebound off the defensive backboard and effectively initiate the break. When the game slows down against a set defense he can facilitate to set up his teammates with a strong passing vision and a willingness to move the ball. His jumper displays a soft feathery touch beyond the arc, and he will post up defenders who are his size. Mobley is smooth, fluid and a matchup problem. And he can guard centers, power forwards and small forwards. He’s committed to USC.
Runner-up: No. 18 Wendell Moore (committed to Duke)

Most athletic
No.22 Jalen Lecque

Because of his ridiculous explosiveness and speed, Lecque has been compared to a young Russell Westbrook. Lecque dominates the action with his elite athletic ability and good size for a point guard. He is a highlight waiting to happen whether in attack mode at the rim or pursuing a chase-down block. His impact comes with elite open-court speed and the ability to finish above the rim. His pull-up jumper has strong bounce and accuracy. On the defensive end he can extend ball pressure, anticipate for steals and cause problems for opponents. He is learning how to read the defense and become a better shooter beyond the arc. Lecque committed to NC State but is considering entering his name in the upcoming NBA draft.

Runner-up: No. 25 Cassius Stanley

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