The Class of 2023 has completed their high school basketball careers and, despite the negative impacts of Covid protocols, a number of players will be taking their games to the collegiate level, with most going the route of junior college. This class of players was by far the most impacted by the Covid pandemic when it comes to player development and exposure. However, the reliance on the transfer portal by four year programs at every level of college basketball is the main reason that many of the players in the 2023 class will be playing at the JUCO level next season, with only a few players getting scholarship offers from four year programs. As I stated in my last updated rankings, the pathway to playing at the next level looks much different for players looking to extend their basketball careers and it is very evident with this class of seniors. Having said that, there are plenty of players on this list that will have the opportunity to play at the next level, and could make it to a four year college if they put in the work and development needed to get those looks and offers.
I have been evaluating most of the players in these rankings since their freshman year and have expanded the list from 45 to 55 players for this final round of player rankings for the class of 2023. This is the first class I have compiled player rankings for all four years of their high school careers, as I started doing player rankings in 2020, which was their freshman year. Along with my observation of these players over the past three and a half years, these final rankings include the Fall individual showcases and camps, the entire 2022-2023 high school basketball season, and any events played as unsigned seniors after the high school season ended. The criteria for these player rankings are based on a combination of potential as college prospects, as well as performance in the three arenas of prep hoops: high school team, club team, and individual events. I received input from coaches, media, and other members of the basketball community in the Central Section on these players, but the ranked order and final decision of the players is based on my own personal evaluations. We begin these rankings with the top spot being the same for the 3rd consecutive round of these rankings.
This is the final round of player rankings for the Class of 2023 and University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley commit Jamar Howard retains his hold on the top spot of this list. Howard had a sensational high school basketball career and went down as one of the most prolific scorers in Mission Prep history. After a very productive club season, with JJ being one of the leading scorers and rebounders for West Coast Elite’s NorCal team, Howard transferred over to the football field during the Fall portion of the prep hoops season. As football game to an end, Howard let it be known he had not lost a step on the hardwood, as he would have multiple 30-point games in the annual Mission Prep Christmas Classic. Howard earned 1st Team All-League honors for the Central Coast Mountain League, averaged nearly 25 points and 8 rebounds per game for the season, and led the Royals to the 2nd round of the Division 1 Sectional Playoffs before falling to eventual runners-up Clovis West. Howard suffered a serious neck injury in the last game of his high school career against Culver City in the regional state playoffs, which put him in a neck brace for a duration of time. JJ has moved to Texas and has started with the basketball team, but is limited at the moment and still healing. However, knowing JJ, this will only push him to even greater heights in basketball and beyond. Howard is the only player in the class of 2023 that earned a Division 1 scholarship, combined with his impressive high school statistics making him the clear-cut #1 player for this class in the Section.
After starting off at the top of this list in the initial round of ranking for this class over 3 years ago, and then dropping to the fourth spot in the last round of this updated list, Mike Davis Jr. of San Joaquin Memorial jumps back to the #2 spot in for the final 2023 player rankings. Davis moves back up to this spot because of the phenomenal senior campaign that he put together, which was capped off with leading the Panthers to their first-ever state championship (Division 2). Davis was co-MVP of the County-Metro League, averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds per game for the season, and was named the California Division 2 Player of the Year by CalHi Sports. Although there was intrigue from some Division 1 schools, Davis will be taking his talent to Fullerton College, who recently won the California JUCO state championship and will be in a position to attract more D1 attention once he builds up his resume with Fullerton. For all of the reasons mentioned above, I moved Davis back up to the #2 position for this final list.
The player that has made the most progress in his development for this class, which has been reflected in his drastic movement up this list, is forward/center Caedin Hamilton of St. Joseph, going from #26 two rounds ago to the #3 spot in this final ranking. Hamilton was an unstoppable force for the Knights all season, but ramped it up in the post-season run, which resulted in a Central Section Division 1 Title and a NorCal Open Division Regional Title. Hamilton earned 1st Team All-Central Coast Mountain League honors, averaged 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game for the season, and put himself on the radar of low-major Division 1 programs, as well as countless Division 2 schools. At the moment, it appears that Hamilton will reclassify and do a postgraduate year similar to former teammate Dre Roman the previous year, but that has not been finalized as of this writing. The post moves, dominance on the glass, and improved agility in the paint have made him a fast-rising commodity that will play at the four-year level at some point, as long as he keeps up the hard work and dedication.
Luis Marin of St. Joseph moves down two spot to #4, but that is not to take away from the stellar senior campaign he put together as a pivotal piece for the California Open Division State runner-ups. Marin, who finished his career a two-time Central Section champion (2021 Open Division and 2023 Division 1), put up impressive numbers this past season, with averages of 12.5 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists per game, and was named to the 2nd Team All-Central Coast Mountain League. Marin will be furthering his basketball career at Concordia of Irvine (Division 2), where he will join former Bakersfield Christian standout Jackson Tucker next season. Marin did have Division 1 interest but this was contingent on him reclassifying to the class of 2024 but he decided to make the move to college at a quality institution.
Jaden Haire of Hanford West rounds out the top 5, which is a slight move down two spots from the previous rankings. Haire had another phenomenal season for the Huskies, where he was named Tri-County Kings Canyon League MVP, averaged an impressive double-double at 21 points and 11 rebounds per game, and was a top 5 rebounder for the Spring session of the UAA Circuit. After considering playing for WCE 17u UAA for the Summer to see if any of the Division 1 interest would materialize, Haire decided to stay relatively local and will continue his basketball career at College of Sequoias, which has become one of the top tier programs amongst junior college programs in the Central Section and throughout the state. Haire will likely be an impact guy next season and will use this platform to enhance his resume for a better chance at a Division 1 opportunity.
Moving up one spot from the previous round of rankings is Jhace Boston of Stockdale of Bakersfield coming in at #6. Boston had a great senior campaign, was named South Yosemite River League co-MVP for the second year in a row, put up stellar numbers of 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists per game, and led the Mustangs to the Central Section Division 1 semifinal. Boston also led the Mustangs to a program-record 27 wins this past season. He will continue his basketball career at the University of Redlands, where he will be playing alongside former Independence of Bakersfield standout Cameron Brown.
Armari Carraway of San Joaquin Memorial comes in at #7 and is the top point guard for the 2023 class. Although Carraway did slip a few spots, this has much more to do with the increased level of play by Hamilton and Boston this past season. Carraway was co-MVP of the County-Metro League, averages 16 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds per game, and was pivotal as the second leading scorer for the Panthers en route to their Division 2 state championship. Carraway made strides this past season in proving he could be a more traditional point guard that runs the offense, sets up teammates, and looks to facilitate when attacking off the dribble. This showed scouts and coaches that he was more than a scorer and a good leader on the court. Carraway will continue his hoops career at Eastern Arizona College, which should not be a tough transition as he played his sophomore year in Arizona during the Covid year.
Making his top 10 debuts is Tyron Tyler Jr. of Ridgeview at the #8 spot. Tyler transferred from Independence of Bakersfield to Ridgeview for his senior season and it paid dividends, as he would be awarded the South Yosemite River League co-MVP, averaged 19 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists per game, and helped the Wolfpack return to relevance in the Central Section. Tyler will be making the move to Oregon where he will attend Blue Mountain Community College. The upside for the lengthy wing/guard is at the four-year level and if he puts the work and dedication in he will make that happen.
Another player making his debut in the top 10 for this final round of rankings is Mykayle McCoy of Roosevelt at #9. The forward/wing had an impressive senior campaign and led the Rough Riders to an NYL title. McCoy was named North Yosemite League MVP, averaged 16 points and 11 rebounds per game, and has great upside that was on display at the Central Cali Senior Showdown back in May. Since then, he has decided to extend his basketball career at Ventura College and his upside is definitely the four-year level. Definitely, a player to keep an eye on for Division 2 coaches.
Rounding out the top 10 is the highly decorated shooting guard from Clovis West, Issac Martinez. Martinez did slip a few spots, but again, this has more to do with the improved level of play from a few of the players ahead of him as next-level prospects. Martinez earned his second TRAC co-MVP award, helped lead Clovis West to another TRAC title, and averaged 13.5 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists. Martinez will continue his hoops career at Reedley College, which is bringing in a solid group of 2023 Central Valley prospects. Below is a full list of the top 55 players for the class of 2023 and outside the 10 mentioned above, there are some quality players that will be taking their games to the JUCO ranks next season and should be on the radar of four year coaches. I will update my player rankings for the classes of 2024, 2025, and 2026, as well as drop my first round of 2027 player rankings by the start of the next high school basketball season.
|Rank (Previous Rank)||Player Name||Height||Position||High School||College|
|1 (1)||Jamar "JJ" Howard||6'6"||WF||Mission Prep (San Luis Obispo CA)||The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley|
|2 (4)||Mike Davis Jr.||6'7"||PF||San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno CA)||Fullerton College|
|3 (6)||Caedin Hamilton||6'9"||PF||St. Joseph (Santa Maria CA)||Postgraduate|
|4 (2)||Luis Marin||6'5"||CG||St. Joseph (Santa Maria CA)||Concordia University Irvine|
|5 (3)||Jaden Haire||6'6"||WF||Hanford West H.S. (CA)||College of Sequoias|
|6 (7)||Jhace Boston||6'3"||CG||Stockdale (Bakersfield CA)||University of Redlands|
|7 (5)||Armari Carraway||5'11"||CG||San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno CA)||Eastern Arizona College|
|8 (13)||Tyron Tyler Jr.||6'5"||WF||Independence (Bakersfield CA)||Blue Mountain College|
|9 (12)||Mykayle McCoy||6'6"||PF||Roosevelt (Fresno CA)||Ventura College|
|10 (8)||Issac Martinez||5'11||SG||Clovis West (Fresno CA)||Reedley College|
|11 (10)||Joaquin Rios||6'2"||CG||Stockdale (Bakersfield CA)||Bakersfield College|
|12 (9)||Kaleb Cole||6'6"||PF||Sanger H.S. (CA)|
|13 (16)||Jaylen Bryant||6'4"||WF||Clovis North (Fresno CA)|
|14 (11)||Yaj Vance||6'1"||PG||Edison (Fresno CA)|
|15 (17)||Dylan Swillis||6'5"||WF||Central (Fresno CA)||Pasadena City College|
|16 (NR)||Malik Musleh||6'8||FC||Clovis North (Fresno CA)||Fresno Pacific|
|17 (21)||Josh Nicholson||6'4"||WF||Roosevelt (Fresno CA)||Feather River College|
|18 (14)||Prince Ellis||5'10"||PG||South (Bakersfield CA)|
|19 (15)||JayJay Jones||6'3"||WF||Centennial (Bakersfield CA)|
|20 (18)||Will Kuykendall||6'3||WG||St. Joseph (Santa Maria CA)||University of Arizona|
|21 (20)||Nicholas Esparza||5'11"||PG||Selma H.S. (CA)||Reedley College|
|22 (35)||Connor McFall||6'2||GW||Kingsburg H.S. (CA)||Reedley College|
|23 (22)||Demell Argus Turner||6'1"||PG||Lemoore H.S. (CA)|
|24 (19)||Henry Madden III||6'4"||WF||Central (Fresno CA))||West Hills College - Lemoore|
|25 (NR)||Demareya Cooks||6'||CG||Mira Monte (Bakersfield CA)||Reedley College|
|26 (23)||Daniel Rodriguez||6'2"||SG||Robert F. Kennedy (Delano CA)|
|27 (41)||Adam Silmon||6'2||WF||Arroyo Grande (CA)||Allen Hancock College|
|28 (24)||Yash Patel||6'2"||WG||Righetti (Santa Maria CA)||Cuesta College|
|29 (32)||Lucca Hart||5'11"||SG||Nipomo H.S. (CA)||Willamette University|
|30 (33)||LaDanian Streets||6'1||CG||Central (Fresno CA)|
|31 (NR)||Jayden Abuyen||6'1||SG||Centennial (Bakersfield CA)||Reedley College|
|32 (NR)||Lucas Sousa||6'1||PG||Sierra Pacific (Hanford CA)|
|33 (NR)||Deven McCullough||6'5||WF||McFarland (CA)||West Hills College - Lemoore|
|34 (26)||Devon Riggins||6'4"||WF||Central (Fresno CA)|
|35 (NR)||Aaron Blake||6'||CG||Rosamond (CA)||Feather River College|
|36 (25)||Gilbert Maravilla||6'2||PG||Sierra Pacific (Hanford CA)|
|37 (27)||Riley Bermke||6'4"||WF||Lemoore H.S. (CA)|
|38 (28)||Juvon Manzanales||6'3"||WF||Mt. Whitney (Visalia CA)|
|39 29)||Karsten Adeleye||5'10||CG||Stockdale (Bakersfield CA)|
|40 (31)||Charlie Stump||6'5"||PF||Bakersfield Christian H.S. (CA)|
|41 (NR)||Christian Calvillo||6'1||SG||Clovis North (Fresno CA)|
|42 (42)||Carmine Ficher||6'0"||PG||Tulare Western H.S. (CA)|
|43 (34)||Ki'mauri Washington||6'2||GW||Edison (Fresno CA)|
|44 (38)||Mark Williams||5'10||CG||Bullard (Fresno CA)|
|45 (NR)||Louis Monroe III||6'1||CG||Fresno Christian (CA)||Boyce College|
|46 (NR)||Jefferson Banaag Jr||5'11||SG||Cesar Chavez (Delano CA)|
|47 (37)||Gustavo Chavez||5'11"||SG||West (Bakersfield CA)||Porterville College|
|48 (30)||Mekhi Johnson||6'1"||SG||Ridgeview (Bakersfield CA)|
|49 (45)||Cooper Schimpf||6'6||PF||El Diamante (Visalia CA)||Reedley College|
|50 (NR)||Shane Carr||6'2||WF||South (Bakersfield CA)|
|51 (36)||CJ Bell||6'4"||WF||Atascadero H.S. (CA)|
|52 (43)||Nasr Chaudhary||6'3||WF||Clovis North (Fresno CA)|
|53 (39)||Elijah West||5'10"||PG||Centennial (Bakersfield CA)|
|54 (40)||Isaiah Perry||6'0"||PG||Garces Memorial (Bakersfield CA)|
|55 (44)||Shawn Wong||5'10"||CG||Clovis North (Fresno CA)|