Our boys basketball coverage for Gold Club VIPs continues with a first look at the state’s top incoming ninth-graders. The freshman (2020) class has some elite talent at wing, but many in the group are already mature and it’s important to keep that in mind when projecting future success, especially for post players who often develop later. Some of the state’s better freshmen also won’t contribute right away because they are joining strong programs with veteran players.
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Related: California’s Top 8th Graders Since 1982
The first 2020 Cal-Hi Sports Top 25 for the 2016-17 school year is based on evaluations from this past summer’s NCAA viewing periods and non-viewing showcases and middle school events over the past year.
The baseline of where we begin with each prospect begins with high school basketball, so keep that in mind when you view the initial rankings for the 2020 class because none of them have played a regulation varsity basketball game yet. These rankings will expand as we see varsity games this winter and change over time as players develop and new ones emerge during the 2016-17 high school season. Cal-Hi Sports realizes some talented ninth-graders will sit behind talented upperclassmen, while a select few remain in junior high this school year. We did not factor in projected playing time with the high school team into our rankings. We also realize not every 2020 prospect participated in a spring or summer showcase or with their high school team this fall and we might not have had an opportunity to evaluate them. That’s why we limit this list to 25 players.
There was a spirited debate at the top, but when the dust settled we placed small forward Kyree Walker of Moreau Catholic of Hayward at No. 1. Walker is a physically developed wing who has guard skills and has been pushed as a big guard. Walker is a well-known commodity in the Bay Area and the speculation as to where he would enroll for high school over the past year was big news on the Grassroots scene. Walker will join a program that features NorCal’s top point guard in Damari Milstead and a program that plays in many big showcase games. Walker will get his opportunity to prove why he was such a ballyhooed middle school prospect, but with that attention comes a bulls-eye on his chest.