With only a handful of uncommitted prospects left in the 2019 high school basketball recruiting class, each SEC team has most of their own classes filled out. Here are the top 5 teams in the conference who pulled the best group of recruits for this coming Fall. (Teams are ranked in descending order starting with the No. 1 class)
To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the Wildcats will be bringing in the best crop of recruits this year. Not only is this the best class in the SEC, but its now the best in the entire country after the commitment of four-star Johnny Juzang who is a consensus top-35 prospect.
Headlining this class are three five-star players who will all get significant playing time in Lexington this coming season: Tyrese Maxey, Kahlil Whitney, and Keion Brooks. Maxey is the star of this class. He is what scouts call “a complete guard”, and he is the betting favorite to lead Kentucky in scoring next season. Whitney is a hyper-athletic slasher who is also a decent jump shooter. Think of Brooks as a max-potential Wenyen Gabriel with more of an alpha mentality. Depending on the lineup, Brooks can play the 3 or the 4.
Rounding out the class is sharp-shooting Juzang at the small forward position, Kentucky’s own Dontaie Allen (4-star recruit), and grad transfer Nate Sestina from Bucknell (15.8 ppg, 8.5 rpg). Going off of ESPN’s top 100 ranked recruits, Kentucky will have 4 players in the top-35 coming to Lexington and that’s not even counting Allen and Sestina.
Where things really get scary is that the Wildcats are projected to land Jaden McDaniels who is a consensus top-10 prospect. Many scouts say that he will be a top-5 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Adding McDaniels to what’s already the best class in the nation is a scary thought for the rest of the SEC. It’s safe to say that Coach John Calipari is still one of the most dangerous recruiters in the country.
— Al Ward (@AWProductions1_) May 2, 2019
Make fun of him all you want, but the truth is that Tom Crean is pretty awesome at recruiting high-level basketball players. 247sports considers Florida to have a slightly better class than Georgia, but I have to disagree. While the margin is very close between the two (more on that later), the fact is that the Bulldogs have Anthony Edwards and the Gators do not.
While James Wiseman is widely viewed as the best player in this class, I believe that title should belong to Edwards. The 6’4 five-star shooting guard is a highlight reel dunker who possesses game-changing athleticism. He is a complete scorer who gets incredible lift on his jump shots. I see him as a mesh between Dwyane Wade and Victor Oladipo. I believe Edwards will be the first overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Anthony Edwards is drawing comparisons to James Harden.
— UGA Hoops Fans (@UGAHoopsFans) May 9, 2019
Georgia’s class isn’t all about Edwards. Crean was also able to net four other top 100 recruits (based off 247sports’ list). All four are ranked between 65 to 100, but there is some real talent here. After Edwards, small forward Christian Brown is considered the Bulldogs’ next best prospect. Georgia will also be adding two more forwards with the commitments of Jaykwon Walton and Toumani Camera. However, the most interesting player here is 5’8 point guard Sahvir Wheeler. Despite his small size, Wheeler will probably be the starting point guard for the Bulldogs in 2019.
I’m not sure how good Georgia will be this upcoming season, but I can guarantee that they will be marginally better thanks to this outstanding class.
While I do like Georgia’s class just a smidge better than Florida’s, the Gators will be welcoming in two five-star prospects which is very impressive. Scottie Lewis is the headliner as the 6’5 small forward is very athletic but also very defensively sound. He will be asked to do a lot for Florida as their best defender and possibly as their best scorer.
Scottie lewis feet are so fluid, he vaporizes those screens, and wiseman so good with those weak side shot blocks pic.twitter.com/QiSp7jFkKy
— Ben Pfeifer (@Ben_Pfeifer_) April 14, 2019
The other five star player is point guard Tre Mann. Depending on how you feel about LaMelo Ball, Mann is widely viewed as the second-best true point guard in this class. Remember his name because he will be the starting point guard for the Gators in the 2019-2020 season.
— Overtime (@overtime) April 29, 2019
Rounding out the class is four-star center Omar Payne who is a consensus top-50 prospect. Florida also added two other three-star prospects to their class as well. Overall, netting two McDonald’s All Americans is very impressive, and this would be seen as the best class in most conferences.
New Head Coach Nate Oates has put together a pretty nice haul for 2019. While there are no All Americans or five star players coming in, the Crimson Tide will be adding three top-100 players. These three consensus four-star prospects are Juwan Gary, Jaylen Forbes, and Jaden Shackelford.
Gary is considered to be the best prospect coming in as he is ranked as the 63rd best player in the class by ESPN. Shackelford and Forbes are scoring guards who will be asked to try and improve the Crimson Tide’s offense. They will also be joined by three-star center Raymond Hawkins from Findlay Prep.
Oates also did some work on the transfer trail as former West Virginia and Covington Catholic star James Bolden will be suiting up for Alabama in 2019. Overall, I’m impressed by the depth here in this class. There isn’t a big-time star here, but adding in four quality players for Oates’ first season is great news for Crimson Tide fans. Oates will be a significant improvement over Avery Johnson.
Bruce Pearl is getting another good recruiting class as he will be welcoming in three four-star players along with two three-star prospects. The headliner is small forward Isaac Okoro who is viewed as a top-40 prospect across multiple recruiting websites.
Okoro is a high-energy slasher who can play both the 2 and the 3. Where his potential will truly shine will be on the defensive end. Okoro already has a chiseled frame and great athleticism which will allow him to become very important defender on the wing for the Tigers.
— Overtime (@overtime) February 22, 2019
Joining Okoro are fellow four-star prospects Tyrell Jones and Jaylin Williams. All three of these players will be asked to play a lot in the upcoming season as Auburn will have substantial losses coming off of March’s impressive Final Four run. Overall, Okoro is a nice addition, but I think this class is just a little underwhelming.