The Class of 2025 has been less impacted by the negative effects of Covid-19 protocols and restrictions in California than the previous graduation classes from 2021-2024. Players from the Class of 2025 were still in middle school during the height of Covid restrictions and their freshman year of high school was not nearly as impacted by the strict protocols as seen in the previous year. Although players in California were still required to test weekly, which led to programs playing games without full rosters or a reschedule of postponed games, the 2021-2022 basketball season looked much more similar to that of the pre-Covid era. This gave freshmen from the Class of 2025 the opportunity to highlight their basketball skills and development during the 2021 Fall showcase and preseason periods, as players would be given the chance to show if they were varsity ready and capable of being a contributing factor. 

The relative normalcy of the 2021-2022 high school basketball season is part of the reason that players from the Class of 2025 have been able to garner more exposure and recognition. The other reason players have been able to generate more name recognition is the skill and depth of the 2025 Class. This class is shaping up to be one of the deepest pools of talent since the Class of 2021, which had players like Cole Anderson (UC Santa Barbara), Jaden Geron (Rice), AJ George (CSU Long Beach), Jincho Rivera (Chicago State), Qiant Myers (Western Oregon), Samuel Bazunga (Hawaii Pacific), Cedric Coward (Eastern Washington via transfer from Willamette), and Seth Marantos (Fresno Pacific) along with other players that went the junior college route. The Class of 2025 already has one player that has received multiple Division 1 offers, and another player that has generated interest from at least two coaches I have spoken with in the past two weeks. This group has it all, height, skill, upside, and depth that make for an intriguing recruiting class over the next few years. 

Unlike the Class of 2024, who lost an entire year of exposure and recognition due to the Covid shutdowns, restrictions, and protocols, the Class of 2025 did not face those same challenges and were able to benefit from the exposure during the Fall showcase period, high school-sanctioned season, Spring club basketball, and Summer play in June. Furthermore, I have been able to co-host multiple events since last Fall that were designed to provide myself and other media/scouts an opportunity to evaluate and gather information on players in the sophomores and freshman classes in the Central Section. Events like our Next Up Showcase (freshmen and sophomores) and the Central Cali Prospect Preview Showcase (with showcase games featuring players from the Class of 2025) have been pivotal in helping players garner attention, as well as showing how players stack up against their peers. Recently, I was able to attend the Clovis West Summer Tournament and the Modesto Christian Summer Classic to provide the most up-to-date evaluations possible to put together a comprehensive list of players for this initial ranking for the Class of 2025. 

The Class of 2025 Top 35 Player Rankings has been compiled over the past year, with the criteria for these rankings being based on a combination of potential to play at the collegiate level, as well as performance in the three arenas of prep hoops basketball (high school team, club team, and individual events). I received input from coaches, media, and other members of the high school basketball scene in the Central Section on players in these rankings, but the order of the players is my own ranked order. We begin the Class of 2025 Rankings with a no-brainer at the #1 spot in Tounde Yessoufou of St. Joseph (Santa Maria CA).

Yessoufou had a very productive freshman year that has continued into Summer high school basketball play. The physical and athletic wing/guard averaged 26 points and 12 rebounds a game in his freshman campaign en route to earning the Central Coast Mountain League MVP. Yessoufou followed this up by earning a spot on EYBL’s Team Why Not 15u team, was awarded an invite to the illustrious Pangos All-American Camp in Las Vegas, and recently was named MVP of the 2nd Annual Modesto Christian Summer Classic, which featured 64 teams from Northern and Central California. Yessoufou had a solid showing at Section 7 in Arizona and has received offers from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, UC San Diego, Arizona State, Portland, and most recently, UC Santa Barbara. Yessoufou is emerging as the top overall prospect in the Central Section, as the big guard is making his name known nationally with three years of high school basketball left to play. 

Julius Olanrewaju of San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno) comes in at #2 in the 2025 Rankings. After a remarkable freshman campaign, where the big guard averaged 31 points and 13 rebounds per game at Coalinga High School, Olanrewaju made the decision to transfer to Central Section powerhouse San Joaquin Memorial Panthers, where he will be able to display his game and skillset on a larger platform and against a high-level of competition. Olanrewaju earned MVP of the West Sierra League, will play on the Under Armour Circuit for West Coast Elite’s NorCal 16u UAA team in July, and, after an impressive weekend at Section 7 in Arizona, has garnered the attention of Division 1 coaches. Although Olanrewaju has not earned the accolades that Yessoufou has up to this point, he is already one of the more coveted players in the Central Section regardless of grade. 

The top two spots in the 2025 Player Rankings were pretty straightforward considering the achievements both have accumulated over the past year. However, as mentioned above, this class is loaded with talent and the remaining 8 players in the Top 10 of these rankings all are true prospects that have the potential to play collegiate basketball at some level. Coming in at the #3 rank is Clovis North shooting guard Loukas Jones. Jones played a key role coming off the bench as a freshman for the Broncos, as they made a run to the Division 1 State Championship Game. Jones has limitless range from the 3-point line, good size to get shots off over perimeter defenders, the handles to create his own scoring opportunities, and is a pesky defender that creates turnovers that lead to easy transition points. Jones is playing club basketball with West Coast Elite’s NorCal 15u UAA team and will be called upon to provide more scoring as the Broncos look to make a run at a Section Title.    

Gabriel Gutierrez of Bakersfield Christian is #4 in the 2025 Rankings, as he put together a sensational freshman campaign running the lead guard spot for the Independence Falcons (Bakersfield). Gutierrez has transferred to Bakersfield Christian, as the Eagles look to reload after graduating over 95% of last season’s scoring. Gutierrez has elite handles, keeps his head on a swivel to find open teammates when on the attack, and has great foot speed and energy to lock down opposing point guards. Gutierrez will be able to orchestrate the offense, which will allow players like rising junior Bentley Waller to be the recipient of Gabe’s impressive court vision. Gutierrez brings a great blend of skill and grit to the court and has displayed that during the club season with West Coast Elite Central’s 16u team. 

Rounding out the top 5 for these player rankings is Darryl Stickman Jr. of Clovis West (Fresno). Stickman, who played significant minutes off the bench as a freshman for the Open Division Sectional Champs in Clovis West, has shot up my rankings to #5 due to his play throughout the Spring club season and June high school period. Stickman has been one of the leading scorers in West Coast Elite’s Grassroots XL Series 15u Division playing club basketball for Fresno/Clovis-based Swoosh Elite’s 15u team. Stickman continued his high level of play on both ends of the court at Clovis West’s Summer Tournament and Modesto Christian’s Summer Classic, as was a key contributor scoring the ball, led the team in steals, and uses his superior athleticism to rebound amongst the bigs. Stickman is a player to watch, as he still has room to improve as a shooter and learns to change up his pace of play.   

Roosevelt’s (Fresno) lead guard James Miller IV comes in at the #6 spot. Miller had an outstanding freshman season, as he led the Roughriders in scoring at 19 points per game. Miller has shifty handles and moves to create off the dribble, has solid court vision to make plays when attacking the defense, and is capable of hitting tough shots from all 3-levels of scoring. I have only seen Miller once since the end of the high school season, which was at the Clovis West Summer Tournament where he controlled the pace of play and showed the skills I witnessed during the season. It would be good to see Miller in an individual showcase format or with his club team, as this would show how his game stacks up against his peers in the Central Section and throughout the Western region of the U.S.

Abram Potts of San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno) holds down the #7 spot in these rankings. Potts has arguably made the biggest leap in his development over the past year of any player in these rankings for the Class of 2025. Potts did not play Varsity as a freshman, as the Panthers were senior-heavy and kept their younger guys on junior varsity so they could develop chemistry together for the next three years. Potts has been one of the leading scorers for the Fresno Wildcats Elite 15u squad throughout the Spring club season, which has spilled over into the June high school period that was highlighted by a 15-point performance at Section 7 in Arizona, as he connected on five three-pointers. Potts has good size for a combination guard, has a nice shooting form, is developing into a scoring threat from all 3-levels, and has the handles and court visions to make plays when pushing the ball up the court. 

Clovis East’s Harold Duvall III is at the #8 spot in these rankings and was a key reason why the Timberwolves achieved the level of success it did in a season many saw as a rebuilding year. Duvall is an enforcer on the boards, has a nice touch on finishes around the basket, draws fouls and is efficient from the charity stripe, and is accurate with the mid-range shot. Clovis East has a strong incoming freshman class, but players with Varsity experience will be relied upon to lead the Timberwolves. Duvall plays football as well and from what I have heard, he will focus more on that moving forward but for now, he has shown to be one of the top 10 prospects for the Class of 2025. 

Dereon King of Hoover (Fresno) is one of the top true lead guards for the Class of 2025 in the Central Section, provided solid point guard play off the bench as a  freshman, and is #8 for these player rankings. King has shifty handles, solid court vision to make plays when attacking the defense, is efficient from the 3-point line, and is a creative finisher over size around the basket. King has been impressive during the Spring club season, as he has been running the point for the Fresno Wildcats Elite15u team. Furthermore, King showed the leadership that will be needed for the Patriots, as he was making plays and getting to his shot spots at the Clovis West Summer Tournament. King, along with rising senior Z.J. Cotton, will be required to help lead a young and inexperienced Hoover team this coming season. 

Rounding out the Top 10 for these payer rankings is Remy Barnes of Hanford West. The lengthy and athletic wing prospect played a major role for the Huskies during his freshman campaign. Barnes was the second-leading scorer for the Huskies, at 15 points per game, and was pivotal in providing a needed scoring balance alongside rising senior Jaden Haire. Barnes impacts the game on both ends, does a great job slashing off-ball to get open for easy looks, can space the floor with the 3-ball, and has the length and agility to defend the one through three positions effectively. As Barnes continues to develop and improve his overall skill set, he is a player that could be one of the better long-term prospects from the 2025 Class. Barnes has been playing with the Fresno Wildcats Elite 15u team and will be playing in quality events throughout the July NCAA Live Period. 

There is a lot of talent in the top 10 of these rankings, but there are some intriguing players to keep an eye on throughout the rest of these rankings, which could move up this list over the next few years. There are several players with height in this list that I will be keeping an eye on as college coaches are always looking for size. Carson Acevedo (#12), Isaiah Carter (#13), JC Turner (#15), Micah Cole (#25), Jaren Mayberry (#26), Dallin Crawford (#32), and the seven-footer Enzo Lane (#28) are all players that are 6’5” and taller, and if they develop the ability to play in the post, as well as create off the perimeter these players could be highly sought out by coaches. 

There are also a number of guards that will be intriguing to watch over the next three years, such as Amarius Rowel (#11), Elijah Wade (#14), Silas Rodriguez (#17), Michael Gutierrez (#22), and Jonavon Darrington (#27). As these players are handed more responsibilities over the next few seasons, their ability to make plays and provide scoring will determine how valuable these players are as collegiate prospects. The depth, talent, and versatility of the 2025 Class should place a number of these names on college rosters after their high school careers are over. I will update these 2025 Rankings in the Fall of 2022, before the start of the high school season, and at least two times a year moving forward. 

RankPlayer NameHeightPostionHigh School (Location)
1Tounde Yessoufou6'5"WFSt. Joseph (Santa Maria CA)
2Julius Olanrewaju6'5GWSan Joaquin Memorial (Fresno CA)
3Loukas Jones6'2"SGClovis North (Fresno CA)
4Gabriel Gutierrez5'10"PGBakersfield Christian H.S. (CA)
5Darryl Stickman Jr.6'0"PGClovis West (Fresno CA)
6James Miller IV6'1PGRoosevelt (Fresno CA)
7Abram Potts6'2"CGSan Joaquin Memorial (Fresno CA)
8Harold Duvall III6'2"WFClovis East (Clovis CA)
9Dereon King5'10"PGHoover (Fresno CA)
10Remy Barnes6'3"GWHanford West H,S. (CA)
11Amarius Rowel5'9"CGIndependence (Bakersfield CA)
12Carson Acevedo6'6"WFGarces Memorial (Bakersfield CA)
13Isaiah Carter6'7"PFSan Joaquin Memorial (Fresno CA)
14Elijah Wade6'1"WFGarces Memorial (Bakersfield CA)
15JC Turner6'5"PFHanford H.S (CA)
16Malachi Barnes5'11"PGSunnyside (Fresno CA)
17Silas Rodriguez5'10"PGSan Joaquin Memorial (Fresno CA)
18C.J. Jones6'2"WFSunnyside (Fresno CA)
19Asher Garde5'8PGGarces Memorial (Bakersfield CA)
20Michael Espinoza 6'0"CGClovis West (Fresno CA)
21Michael Gutierrez5'11"PGCentennial (Bakersfield CA)
22Gerald Perry Jr.6'2CGSan Joaquin Memorial (Fresno CA)
23Ethan Eckels5'8"PGIndependence (Bakersfield CA)
24Jeremiah Posada5'9"PGSelma H.S. (CA)
25Micah Cole6'5"WFSanger H.S. (CA)
26Jaren Mayberry6'5"WFClovis West (Fresno CA)
27Jonavon Darrington5'9"PGSan Joaquin Memorial (Fresno CA)
28Enzo Lane7'0"CKingsburg H.S. (CA)
29Drew Minnear5'8"PGBakersfield Christian H.S. (CA)
30Jose Aguilar6'2"WFCentral (Fresno CA)
31Dominic Contreras5'9"SGBakersfield H.S (CA)
32Dallin Crawford6'5"PFFrontier (Bakersfield CA)
33Wyatt Haner6'2"WFNorth (Bakersfield CA)
34Matt Williams 6'2"WFClovis H.S. (CA)
T-35Chris Browe6'0"CGKingsburg H.S. (CA)
T-35Max Wisnoff5'11"CGBakersfield Christian H.S. (CA)