While the AAU is the most public platform for recruits to show their talents, the 2020 rankings are far from set in stone. Year after year, we’ve seen fringe five-star players have very productive high school campaigns that result in a fifth star to their name, and sometimes invitations to an event on the all-star circuit. Based on their play over the summer combined with a projection of their high school season, I’m going to give you three names that I think will make a strong push for the top tier once it’s all said and done.
I’ve always thought Miller was pretty underrated, but he really caught my eye with an epic three game stretch in the EYBL at the end of May. The Chicago-guard blew up for 36, 39 and 35 points in back-to-back games. Throughout that stretch, he was 20-47 from three (not a typo), Miller is a flamethrower whose shot diversity is very impressive. He sported a A:TO below 1 as the primary ball handler, which isn’t ideal, but his microwave ability as a scorer is something special. Miller hasn’t committed at the next level yet, but I would be really intrigued to see him used in a more off-ball action. That isn’t a knock on his self creation because he’s one of the best pull up shooters in the class, but a lot of his attempts were extremely difficult. I think he could be even more effective from deep if he had more sets run for him as a shooter, rather than just as an initiator. Regardless of usage, Adam Miller is fun, creative and lethal. I expect him to have a huge year at Chicago-powerhouse Morgan Park this year.
The biggest sleeper of the three, is recent Syracuse commit Kadary Richmond. After a summer where he picked up serious momentum, the Brooklyn native is garnering early rave reviews at Brewster Academy. The 6’5” lanky combo guard is the epitome of versatile. On offense, his slick combos and complex understanding of the game allow him to do unique things on the basketball court. Richmond is lethal when getting downhill, and his spin move is very effective. I was most impressed by some of the live dribble passes he made, while he isn’t built like a one, I think it’s fair to assume he’ll initiate a lot of offense for Brewster this year. He jumped over 200 spots in the 247 composite rankings this summer, and I think it’s safe to say he’s just getting started.
I’ve been calling for this since last winter and Timberlake has only made his case even stronger. During the high school season, he dominated the best conference in the country night in and night out, over the summer, he was the catalyst for Team Durant and led them to a Peach Jam appearance in their first EYBL season. There aren’t many players with more two way value/potential than Timberlake in this class. Standing at 6’5” with an exuberance of strength and bounce, he is a top tier athlete. The DeMatha Stag is relentless when getting to the hill and makes finishing through contact look far too easy. Over the two years, Timberlake’s two of his biggest knocks have been decision making and shooting, and he has taken huge steps in both of those categories recently. During the live period with DeMatha, Timberlake excelled at initiating the offense. His awareness is getting better each day, and he really knows how to leverage his rim gravity to create for teammates. While his three point percentages were only in the high 20s during the EYBL season, his mechanics and confidence have taken a major leap, and it’s worth noting that players at youth levels with high usage often have lower percentages. I expect Timberlake to have another huge year for DeMatha and he’s my preseason pick for WCAC Player Of The Year, that should make him a prime candidate to earn a fifth star from ESPN and 247.
While there are certainly more players who will burst onto the scene, these are three guys who I passionately believe are being underrated. This will definitely be a fun story to look back on throughout this high school season and beyond.