2026 Rankings Primer

Breaking Down the Top

Similar to 2025, at this stage the top two of 2026 are in a tier of their own. 

AJ Dybantsa, 6-8 wing out of the Boston area, has quickly become a star for Expressions Elite in the EYBL as well as a high volume scorer and creator for St. Sebastian’s early on in his high school career. Loaded with quick twitch, Dybantsa has evolved as a shot-maker rather quickly over the last year or so. Plays above the rim, flashes high level playmaking reads and above everything else, plays with a real competitive edge. Reclassification could be in the cards down the line given his age, but for now, another dominant EYBL run could turn things up another notch.

Tyran Stokes has hit the ground running at the prep level, rapidly becoming a heavily leaned upon weapon for one of the best teams in the country. While Dybantsa is loaded with scoring instincts and twitch, Stokes on the other hand is stocked with extreme power at an early stage. Physical, hard-nosed and versatile, the 6-7 wing has shredded through competition his same age and shown to be a bruiser even while playing against guys four years older than him.

Following the top two, there’s no shortage of high level prospects oozing with intrigue early on.

Elijah Williams, the son of the Suns head coach Monty Williams, has advanced instincts and measurables early on. Given his processing ability, athleticism and youth, there’s a ton to like looking ahead as a versatile two-way wing.

Caleb Gaskins thoroughly impressed at 2022’s USA Basketball minicamp and at 6-8 with pop and advanced ball skills, he’ll be squarely on the radar for sometime. The Florida native is also nearly two years younger than several prospects in the same class. 

Caleb Holt, a 6-5 wing out of Alabama, impressed while playing up numerous levels with Game Elite (3SSB) last summer and led his Buckhorn Bucks team to a state championship in Alabama as a freshman. Twitchy, explosive and thrives playing in contact at an early stage, high majors have poured in for due reason.

Hitting The Ground Running

The strongest means for development is facing other elite competition. There’s no coincidence that many of those who steadily improved and dominant our winter and spring circuits last year, have now hit the ground running at the next level.

 Jason Crowe Jr eclipsed 1,000 points in just his freshman campaign at Lynwood in SoCal.

Jalen Montonati has continued to progress as a shot-make and plays with an advanced demeanor given his age. He leapt into a primary role with Owasso (OK) from the jump and has found extreme success.

Adam Oumiddoch ascended last winter on our winter circuit, now quickly becoming one of the most intriguing young prospects in the DMV and a heavily leaned upon offensive presence with Bishop O’Connell. 

Numerous others fall in the same boat, such as Alijah Arenas (Chatsworth, CA), TJ Crumble (Lutheran East, OH), Nasir Price (Seven Lakes, TX), Marcus Johnson (Garfield Heights, OH), Jacob Lanier (Maumelle, AR), Jamson Coulter (Rich Township, IL), Chidi Nwigwe (Bergen Catholic, NJ), Dezhon Hall (Tindley, IN) and Yusef Gray Jr (West Allis, WI) have produced at a high level in year one at the high school level.

Defensive Aptitude

There’s plenty more to play out, but an early plus of this class is the depth of enticing defensive prospects.

Jordan Smith Jr, a 6-3 guard with Paul VI (VA) and Team Takeover, is loaded with length and strength. Touts an elite motor, fast twitch and a nose for the ball. The tools to be an elite backcourt defender are ever-present.

Alex Constanza, 6-8 wing with Westminster (FL) and Nightrydas (EYBL), possesses real switchability on the defensive end early on. Fluid lateral movement ability, quick hands and advanced instincts. 

JJ Andrews, 6-6 wing out of Little Rock, Arkansas, is among the younger prospects within the class but has shown the ability to defend multiple spots and spark transition. 

As far as rim protection goes, there’s a trio that standing above the rest at this stage. Sam Funches, Kosi Mgbejiofor and Arafan Diane all project as high level rim protectors down the line, but are in different stages in terms of feel for the game and athletic ability at this point.


With being a first-of-it's-kind as we rank underclassmen, we will continue to prioritize transparency with our evaluation principles and scouting lens. 

For imagery purposes, we've attacked this process with an illustration in mind. With the NBA Draft at the very top, imagine every stage prior as a layer of a large filter. From college basketball through each high school grade, steadily over time the cream rises to the top. From a stagnated development, to an injury, to off the court habits, to capped physical maturation, prospects are slowly weeded out till only the elite remain over time. 

The further out you are, naturally the more difficult projection becomes. Mass fluctuation is inevitable, but given our placement in grassroots landscape, we're confident we have the largest sample size on underclassmen in order to best project them at an early stage.

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