Our initial impression was that the point guard position within the high school class of 2014 (rising seniors) is fairly average in overall talent and depth, but the more we’ve seen, the higher we’ve assessed the crop. Consequently, we now view the class of 2014 point guards as a very strong aggregation headed by a deluxe quartet that it’s difficult to choose from among! Unsurprisingly, ACC schools are avidly pursuing some of the very best and already have verbal commitments from three of our top 10, with a great chance of landing a fourth.
Entering the major spring and summer events for those with remaining prep eligibility, the consensus among national scouts was that the best point guard in the class of 2014 was 6-1 Minnesotan Tyus Jones, followed closely by 6-4 Texan Emmanuel Mudiay, who certainly could be considered a wing or combo guard but prefers to be a point guard. Jones isn’t quite a jet athletically, but he’s a skilled ball-handler and accurate perimeter shooter who plays within the team concept and makes consistently good on-court decisions. Mudiay is more prone to force the action unnecessarily, but he has physical advantages over Jones, is a more effective driver, and has upgraded his previously erratic jump shot.
As for college choices, Jones has scheduled official visits to Baylor, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky and has been pursued hard by Michigan State and Ohio State. Meanwhile, Mudiay has trimmed his list down to Baylor, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahama State and SMU.
Regardless, based on what we’ve witnessed, we’re not sure that Jones or Mudiay is any better than either 6-1 Floridian Joel Berry (verbally committed to North Carolina) or 5-8 Tyler Ulis from the Chicago area. In fact, it could be argued that at the prestigious NIKE EYBL Peach Jam mid-July in North Augusta (SC), both Berry (who led Each 1 Teach 1 Elite to the championship) and Ulis were more outstanding than Jones. Compared with Jones, Berry is a stronger finisher and equal as a floor leader, passer, outside shooter and defender. And while Ulis (whose recruitment has become nation-wide) is awfully small, he’s the quickest of the lot and just as skilled as Berry or Jones.
Not far behind the first four rising senior point guards on our list are five others who project as clear-cut big-time prospects. They are 6-3 Josh Perkins, a Colorado native who has reportedly transferred to Huntington (WV) Prep; 5-9 Parker Jackson-Cartwright (committed to Arizona) of Los Angeles (CA) Loyola; 6-2 Ja’Quan Newton from Philadelphia (PA) St. John Neumann-Goretti (committed to Miami); 6-1 Quentin Snider (recently de-committed from hometown Louisville) of Ballard High; and 6-1 lefty Alex Robinson from the Longhorn State. Perkins is looking hard at Gonzaga and UCLA, with Kentucky, Minnesota and UConn also on his list.
Returning to the ACC, Wake Forest has an early verbal commitment from 6-3 top-20 caliber point guard Shelton Mitchell, a hard-driving North Carolina southpaw who’ll attend famed Mouth of Wilson (VA) Oak Hill Academy for his senior year. Maryland, which leaves the ACC in 2014, has gotten the nod from 6-2 Arlington (VA) Bishop O’Connell point guard Romelo Trimble, who impressed us in late December with his play at the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach.