The class of 2024 is coming off an entertaining high school season in the Central Section, followed by the Spring NCAA-Live Periods, play with their high school teams in the month of June, which featured non-live and Scholastic Live Period events, and are rounding out the summer session of the NCAA Live Periods for club teams this past weekend. On top of the Spring and Summer club and high school events that I was able to attend and observe many of the players on this list, we held our 2nd Annual Prospect Preview in mid-May which provided me the opportunity to see some players I have yet to see live, and a few used that platform to make their way onto this updated list of rising seniors.
This is my third round of player rankings for the Class of 2024, and the list has expanded from 40 to 50 players. This list has been compiled over the past two and a half years, 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 (high school team, club team, and individual events). Given this group are rising seniors, next-level projection is weighted a bit heavier than in previous rounds, which resulted in some. Players moving up & others dropping spots. I received input from coaches, media, and other members of the high school basketball community in the Central Section on players in these rankings, but the order of the players is my own ranked order.
In the last round of these player rankings, Connor Amundsen had dropped out of the top stop due to missing his junior season with a shoulder injury and Rippen Gill of Centennial had taken over the top spot. Amundsen returned to play in early May and has made the most of his return to the court, earning Most Oustanding Player at our Prospect Preview Showcase and stellar play in the month of June with Clovis North, most significantly averaging over 24 points per game at the Inaguaral California Schalstic Live event and the illustrious Section 7 Scholastic Live event. This level of play is reflected in him returning to the top spot on this list.
Conversely, after an MVP season for Centennial of Bakersfield, Rippen Gill suffered some health issues that sidelined him for the playoffs through June and he missed all the Live Period events in Spring and June. Gill has returned to the court, but since his brief absence from play, Amundsen has left no doubt to anyone that covers the game that he is the top player in the 2024 class.
There are eight new players that have made the updated list, with Mikah Tolpenzninkas of Immanuel being the highest-ranked of those players at #16. There was one player that dropped out of this list because he no longer plays organized basketball, and a few other players that I dropped significantly, as it is unlikely they will play their senior season due to football-related reasons. That will be reflected in the next round of updated rankings for this class in the Fall/Winter. Furthermore, this updated list of 2024 Top 50 Player Rankings includes the following information: current rank, their previous rank in parentheses, the player’s name, height, player position, and current school attending.
As mentioned above, Connor Amundsen of Clovis North has returned to the top of this list and is the consensus top player for the 2024 class after the level of play seen from him since his return in mid-May through this past weekend’s last NCAA Live Period. Amundsen was the leading scorer at the Central Cali Prospect Preview, with games of 19 points and 23 points. He followed that up with stellar play in June, specifically during the two Scholastic Live events where he averaged 26.5 points per game at California Live and 22 points per game at Section 7 in the top divisions of each event. Amundsen wrapped up EYBL play with 10 points for Oakland Soldiers 17u EYBL in the PIT Championship loss to Team Why Not 17s at the Peach Jam. Amundsen does not seem to have missed a beat after being out for nine months, and has come back with a vengeance, as the offers have started rolling in from the likes of UC San Diego, Fresno Pacific, and others. The return of Amundsen to the Broncos roster will put them in contention for a consecutive TRAC title and one of the top seeds in the Division 1 Section Playoffs.
Holding steady at the #2 spot is Bentley Waller of Bakersfield Christian. Waller had a solid junior campaign and was part of the dynamic backcourt that upset Clovis North in last year’s Division 1 Sectional Playoffs, and battled eventually Section Champs St. Joseph for three-plus quarters before national rising junior phenom Tounde Yessoufou asserted himself down the stretch. Waller was named to 1st Team All-SYVL, BVartsity All-Area 1st Team selectee, and averaged 13 points per game for the Eagles. After the Spring club season running with Cali Stars 17u, Waller had a strong showing at the California Live event in Irvine, CA, as he caught the attention of coaches and scouts in attendance. Waller is a 6’4” lead guard that can create his own offense, as well as the court vision to make plays at a high level. Waller has received offers from CSU Bakersfield, and the interest amongst other Division 1 and Division 2 programs has ramped up. This upcoming season will be key for determining what the road after high school looks like for Waller, but he has established himself as one of the top overall prospects in the Central Section and his durability on the court will be the key variable coaches will be keeping an eye over the course of the season.
Rippen Gill of Centennial moves down two spots to the #3 position on this updated list. Gill had a dominant junior season, as he led the Golden Hawks to another SYRL title and was named co-MVP along with senior Jhace Boston of Stockdale. Gill put up impressive stats throughout the high school season, with 18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 assists per game. Unfortunately, Gill had a health-related injury that prevented him from participating in the post-season, as well as the Spring club season, before he was cleared to play in June. Centennial did play in the Modesto Christian Summer Classic, of which I was not able to attend and then pulled out of the California Live event, which prevented Gill from showcasing his game in front of nearly 200 college coaches and scouts. I did see Gill during the first NCAA Live Period at the ACES/EHA Cali Live tournament to kick off the Summer club season with Oakland Soldiers 17u EYCL. The reason I moved Gill down a few spots has much more to do with current next-level projections, as his level of play prior to his injury were as good as the two players above him on this list. However, as this list of players gets ready to start their senior year of high school, these rankings give slightly more significance to next-level projections. Given that Gill does not have the level of offers that Amundsen and Waller have, I made the decision to move him to the 3rd spot. Gill will be the core piece for Centennial, which will see the return of Coach Santiago back to the sideline, and he will have a chance to earn his 3rd straight league MVP. College coaches are looking to see how he plays this upcoming season, and at the moment he is a strong Division 2 prospect with Division 1 interest.
Logan Kilbert of Sierra remains at #4 for this updated round of rankings, as he is coming off a highly productive junior season winning NW Sequoia League MVP, and putting up big-time numbers, averaging 29 points, 8 rebounds, 2.7 steals, and 2 assists per game. Kilbert led the Chieftains to the Division 5 State Championship, where it fell short to Lynwood and standout freshman Jason Crowe Jr. Kilbert was the runner-up to Crowe for Division 5 Player of the Year, awarded by Cal-Hi Sports. Kilbert has played the Spring and Summer club seasons with Fresno Swoosh Elite 17u, and was one of the leading scorers for this squad who played on the Adidas Gold West Circuit. Kilbert is a pure scorer, but has the handles and court vision to play the lead guard position to be a true combo guard. As a prospect, Kilbert has interest coming from schools as high as Division 2, but the concern from coaches and scouts is the level of competition played and how his stats compare to other players being recruited at the same level who play tougher opponents. Regardless, I have seen him enough over the past two and a half years and I have him as a D2 prospect that could make an impact as a scorer coming off the bench right away.
Moving up two spots, and rounding out the top 5, is Zach Chauhan of Clovis West. Chauhan led the Central Section Division 1 top-seeded Golden Eagles in scoring this past season at 14 points per game, along with 6 rebounds per game, and was selected to 1st Team All-TRAC League. Chauhan was one of the leading scorers and rebounders for Fresno Swoosh Elite 17u, and carried that momentum into the month of June. Chauhan took his scoring numbers up another level at the annual Clovis West Nike Summer Shootout, which has become a solid warm-up event to the Scholastic Live Periods in California and Arizona. Chauhan scored 20 points against Bullard of Fresno, 23 points against Sheldon of Sacramento, and 26 points against Whitney of Rocklin, as he showed he is true a 3-level scoring threat that can create his own offense or knockdown shots off the catch and shoot. Chauhan is another player, similar to Kilbert and Gill, that is undervalued as a wing/guard that is a great athlete, is a versatile defender, and impacts the game in countless ways. Putting up scoring numbers in the upper teens will help his recruitment and value as a prospect, given the schedule and exposure that the Golden Eagles provide for their players year in, year out. Ceiling is Division 2, but would be a great get for a Division 3 or NAIA program.
Jordan Espinoza of Clovis North holds steady at the #6 spot in these updated rankings, as he is coming off a superb junior season that forced him to step up his level of play when teammate Connor Amundsen was ruled out for the season. Espinoza led the Broncos to a co-TRAC League Championship, and was named co-MVP of the TRAC, averaging 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists per game. These numbers increased significantly when you cancel out blowout wins where he played limited minutes. Espinoza was a top 5 performer at our Prospect Preview back in mid-May, and one of the top scorers and rebounders for Clovis North during the month of June, in particular at the two Scholastic Live Period events. Espinoza played the Spring and Summer club sessions with the Oakland Soldiers 17u EYCL squad, of which I only saw once in person and he was more of a role player. Espinoza is a great athlete, plays much bigger than his height reads, and is a productive scorer from 20 feet and in, with the ability to hit the 3-ball to keep the defense honest. Espinoza is a bit undersized for a wing/forward, which is why I have him as a very solid Division 3/NAIA prospect with the potential to play at the Division 2 level if he expands his play as a guard and increases his accuracy from the 3-point line.
Moving down a couple of spots at #7 is Deshawn Usochu of Liberty. Usochu put up great individual stats this past season, as he would average 18 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 steals per game. Despite putting up impressive numbers, the Patriots finished 3rd in SYVL play and struggled to win important games throughout the season, which impacted his bid for league MVP honors. Usochu was named 1st Team All-SYVL and BVarsity 1st Team All-Area. Usochu played with West Coast Elite 17u Central and Bakersfield-based AOB, and was the leading scorer for both squads. I did see Usochu during Summer League play in Bakersfield, and he was one of the top players throughout the month of June in league play. Liberty did not play in any of the Scholastic Live events and I did not see him outside of Summer League play, but he continues to thrive as a scoring guard with a deadly pull-up jumper. Usochu will have another shot at league MVP this upcoming season, as Liberty is likely to contend for a league title with Centennial, and will put up quality numbers as a four-year varsity starter. Usochu is currently a Division 3/NAIA prospect with JUCO being a likely route, but if he expands his game more as a lead guard and playmaker that would put him in conversation amongst D2 coaches.
Remaining at the #8 spot in this updated list of rankings is sharpshooter Jackson Young of Clovis West. Young had another solid season for the Golden Eagles, as he would help lead the team to the top seed in the Central Section Division 1 playoffs. Young was named co-MVP of the TRAC League, as he would average 11 points, 4 assists, and 2 rebounds per game. Young played his Spring and Summer sessions with Oakland Soldiers 17u EYCL team, and the one time I saw them live, Young was spraying the 3-ball from all over the place, as he has continued to do since entering high school. Young is one of the top 3-point shooters in the Central Section and can create shots off the dribble but is at his best when moving off the ball for catch-and-shoot looks. Young will be a key veteran for Clovis West this upcoming season, as it looks to avenge its loss in the Section Title game. After a productive club Spring and Summer as one of the leading scorers for the Soldiers EYCL 17u team, along with his accomplishments with the Golden Eagles, Young has garnered interest from Division 2 and Division 3 programs. I see Young being an instant impact guy at the D3 level, and likely more of a spark off the bench if he were to go the Division 2 route. There is always a place for players that can shoot the ball like Young.
Dre Davis of San Joaquin Memorial moves up one spot and comes in at #9. Davis is coming off a highly productive season for the Panthers, as it would win its first state championship in school history and Davis played a key part in that run. Davis stepped up his level of play around the basket this past season, and would average nearly a double-double in points and rebounds. Davis can space the floor with the 3-ball, is an effective rim protector, and does a solid job on the boards. Davis will be key for the Panthers this upcoming season, as he is the lone big man to hold down the paint on both ends. Davis played with Fresno-based Swoosh Elite 17u on the Adidas Gold West Circuit, and at his height with the ability to spread the floor makes him a next-level prospect. I would currently have him at the Division 3/NAIA level with the chance to jump up to Division 2 if he locks in on the weight room and agility training.
Rounding out the top 10, and making his debut in the top 10, is power forward Luke Jacobson of Mission Prep. Jacobson was a key piece for the Royals last season, as he has the size and strength to bully in the paint, and is accurate from the perimeter to be a stretch-four at the next level. Jacobson played the Spring and Summer sessions with BTI Elite 17u on the Pro16 Circuit and garnered attention from coaches at the Division 2 level and below. Jacobson did play in the California Live event with Mission Prep in June but I was not able to make any of their games. However, Jacobson has the size, can shoot the ball effectively from the wing, and plays with a great motor. I would have him at the Division 3 level as of now, but I could see him playing at the Division 2 ranks if he expanded his game with the ball in hand.
Below is a list of all 50 players in ranked order. Any coaches or scouts that need additional information on any of these players, please contact me and I can provide that information. I will update the classes of 2025 and 2026 before the end of Summer, as well as my first round of player rankings for the class of 2027. I will update this list at least one more time before the final rankings for this class next Summer.
|Rank||Player Name||Height||Postion||High School (Location)|
|1 (3)||Connor Amundsen||5'11"||PG||Clovis North (Fresno CA)|
|2 (2)||Bentley Waller||6'4"||PG||Bakersfield Christian (CA)|
|3 (1)||Rippen Gill||6'6"||WF||Centennial (Bakersfield CA)|
|4 (4)||Logan Kilbert||6'4"||CG||Sierra (Tollhouse CA)|
|5 (7)||Zach Chauhan||6'4"||WF||Clovis West (Fresno CA)|
|6 (6)||Jordan Espinoza||6'3"||WF||Clovis North (Fresno CA)|
|7 (5)||Deshawn Usochu||6'2"||CG||Liberty (Bakersfield CA)|
|8 (8)||Jackson Young||6'2"||SG||Clovis West (Fresno CA)|
|9 (10)||Dre Davis||6'8"||PF||San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno CA)|
|10 (18)||Luke Jacobson||6'8"||SF||Mission Prep (San Luis Obispo CA)|
|11 (24)||Kyshawn Johnson||6'6"||WF||Bullard (Fresno CA)|
|12 (13)||Zy’Kayvious Reese||6'4"||WF||West (Bakersfield CA)|
|13 (14)||Donquavious Bolton||6'5"||WF||Centennial (Bakersfield CA)|
|14 (9)||Justin Stroud||6'4"||PF||Central Valley Christian (Visalia CA)|
|15 (15)||Marshel Sanders||6'||CG||Clovis West (Fresno CA)|
|16 (NR)||Mikah Tolpenzninkas||6'4||WF||Immanuel (Reedley CA)|
|17 (22)||Va'Ron Mitchell||6'3"||CG||Edison (Fresno CA)|
|18 (19)||Nate Becerra||6'5"||PF||North (Bakersfield CA)|
|19 (NR)||Nolan Willison||6'4"||SG||Sanger (CA)|
|20 (12)||Jeremy Pierro||6'5"||WF||Clovis East (Clovis CA)|
|21 (13)||Jaleel Jackson||6'2"||PG||Bullard (Fresno CA)|
|22 (16)||Javier Torres||6'2"||PG||Dinuba (CA)|
|23 (17)||Louis Duarte||6'3"||WF||Bakersfield Christian (CA)|
|24 (20)||Ray Brown||6'2"||CG||Edison (Fresno CA)|
|25 (30)||McKay Olsen||6'2||WG||Clovis East (Clovis CA)|
|26 (NR)||Brice Watley||6'4||WF||Dinuba (CA)|
|27 (NR)||Tad Tibbett||6'3||WF||Immanuel (Reedley CA)|
|28 (26)||Jovarie "JoJo" Hayden||5'9"||PG||Ridgeview (Bakersfield CA)|
|29 (23)||Godwill Fomusoh||6'4"||PF||Centennial (Bakersfield CA)|
|30 (25)||Aiden Morillo||5'8"||CG||Liberty (Bakersfield CA)|
|31 (31)||Zach Soriano||6'1"||SG||Arroyo Grande (CA)|
|32 (27)||Treyvonn Sanderson||6'3"||WF||Clovis H.S. (CA)|
|33 (21)||David Rios Jr.||5'10"||PG||Bullard (Fresno CA)|
|34 (34)||Brooks Dawson||6'2"||WF||Stockdale (Bakersfield CA)|
|35 (35)||Skylarr Redwood||6'5||WF||Roosevelt (Fresno CA)|
|36 (NR)||Javon Hicks||6'2"||WF||Selma (CA)|
|37 (34)||Wendell Ware||6'3"||WF||Edison (Fresno CA)|
|38 (NR)||Darian Green||6'5||WF||Central East (Fresno CA)|
|39 (NR)||Lance Haworth||6'1||PG||Highland (Bakersfield CA)|
|40 (NR)||Jaxton Santiago||6'3"||WF||Centennial (Bakersfield CA)|
|41 (NR)||Luke Machnik||6'||PG||Selma (CA)|
|42 (32)||Arinze Onyeguli||6'6"||PF||Independence (Bakersfield CA)|
|43 (36)||Dilibe Allison||5'9"||PG||Clovis (CA)|
|44 (NR)||Cameron James Macabuag||5'8||PG||Ridgeview (Bakersfield CA)|
|45 (38)||Troy Lei||5'9"||PG||Bakersfield Christian (CA)|
|46 (40)||Kaden Lopes||5'10"||SG||Lemoore (CA)|
|47 (40)||Karl DiModica||6'4"||WF||Nipomo (CA)|
|48 (39)||Isaak Smith||6'5"||PF||Kingsburg (CA)|
|49 (28)||Trejon Fulton||6'3"||WF||Liberty (Bakersfield CA)|
|50 (29)||JaShaun Banks||6'4||PF||Clovis East (CA)|
|51 (33)||Cole O'Brien||6'2"||SG||Liberty (Bakersfield CA)|
|52 (37)||David Vasquez||5'9||PG||North (Bakersfiel CA)|
|53 (NR)||Mondo Castruita||6'3||WF||Highland (Bakersfield CA)|
|54 (40)||Jai'Yon Dixon||5'10"||CG||West (Bakersfield CA)|