We continue our boys basketball coverage for Gold Club members with a final look at the state’s top college prospects in the freshman (2019) class. Our final 2019 Cal-Hi Sports Top 25 for the 2015-16 school year shows seven new prospects. This concludes our player rankings package for the just completed school year and our next rankings shuffle will include 2020 prospects.
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The final 2019 Cal-Hi Sports Top 25 is based on evaluations from the entire 2015-16 regular season, from the 2015 fall leagues to the CIF State Championships, plus this year’s spring evaluation period and individual camps. Our initial 2019 Cal-Hi Sports Top 25 was based on middle school tournaments and showcases we had the opportunity to view last year.
The baseline of where we begin with each prospect begins with high school basketball, so keep that in mind when you view the current rankings for the 2019 class because the majority of them have only played one high school season. These rankings will expand as we see these prospects during the summer evaluation period, showcases and next season’s fall leagues. Cal-Hi Sports realizes some talented ninth-graders sat behind talented upperclassmen this past school year, while others were in junior high. We also realize not every elite 2019 prospect has participated in a tournament or showcase and therefore we might not have had an opportunity to evaluate them just yet.
The play of elite ninth-graders during the 2015-16 season caused seven of them to crack the rankings with plenty of movement in the top 10. We want to reward production among the top prospects as much as possible — while at the same time keeping in mind potential down the line.
It was a cinch to move up Chino Hills big man Onyeka Okongwu all the way up to No. 2 after playing a key role in the Huskies’ national championship season. We actually knew about “The Big O” going all the way back to when he was in sixth grade because his older brother, the late Nnamdi Okongwu, used to work with trainer Jim Jones before he tragically passed away. Jones, a former standout at Coalinga and Oakland St. Elizabeth in the late 1960s, told us Onyeka was a fast learner, but not even he nor the Chino Hills coaching staff could envision the impact “The Big O” had in big games against high level competition. Most respected talent evaluators now consider Okongwu a top 10 national talent in this class.