The Class of 2025 is rounding out its second year of high school basketball and, as sophomores, many are playing larger roles for their teams this season compared to their freshman year. Other than some rosters being hindered by Covid restrictions in place during their freshman high school season, which had minimal impact on teams after early January of 2022, this class of players has been able to showcase their skills and abilities on national and regional platforms more reminiscent of the pre-Covid era of prep hoops. 

After last year’s high school season, players from the Class of 2025 had four NCAA Live Periods during the Spring and Summer club season, in which they were able to highlight their game in front of college coaches and regional/national scouts and media. In addition to the NCAA Live Period events during the club season, some players also benefited from playing in the illustrious Section 7 event held in Arizona, which is a Scholastic NCAA Live Period event held during the month of June, and the seats are filled with college programs from all over the country. Other events of notoriety that provided players with quality exposure platforms were the Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp held in Long Beach, CA, the 2nd Annual Central Cali’s Next Up Showcase featuring the top freshmen and sophomores from the Central Section of California, the West Coast Elite Bakersfield and Fresno Exposure Camps, and the fall events hosted during the unofficial high school season with their high school teams. Lastly, the Class of 2025 is currently rounding out the last two weeks of their high school season, which means players have had all the preseason tournaments and showcases, including the holiday tournaments, to display their skill set and abilities in front of local/regional/national scouts and media. All of this is to say that the current sophomore class in the Central Section has been privileged to have the exposure platforms and opportunities that many of the players in the Classes of 2022-2024 missed out on due to the rigid Covid restrictions and protocols in place during their respective high school years. 

This is evident when you look at the level of player development, the interest and offers players have received from college coaches at this point in their high school careers, and the expanding media coverage within the Central Section to highlight player accomplishments and performances year-round. All of these factors have been critical for player exposure, which is necessary for players in an underrecruited portion of California. As I mentioned in my initial round of rankings for the 2025 Class, the depth and talent of this group of players, although not as deep as the current freshman class, looks to have multiple Division 1 prospects, as well as Division 2/Division 3/NAIA and Junior College prospects that resembles the recruitment realities for players in the years before the Covid pandemic. 

This is my second round of player rankings for the Class of 2024, and the list has expanded from 35 to 40 players. This list has been compiled over the past two 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). 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. I had planned on producing this list before the start of the preseason in November, but after the first month of the season, there were multiple players that caught my attention and needed to be added to this list, as well as some players moving up and others moving down based on play this season. 

This updated list includes seven new players to these rankings, with Zach Garnett of Frontier at the highest spot and breaking into the top 10. Conversely, James Miller Jr. of Roosevelt and Harold Duval III of Clovis East dropped out of the top 10, as both players have been sidelined up to this point in the season due to injury. Dereon King of Hoover has moved down three spots to #12, which puts him outside of the top 10 for this round of rankings. Furthermore, there were two players that have been removed from these updated rankings; previous #13 Isaiah Carter has left San Joaquin Memorial to return to Golden Valley of Merced, and previous #15 JC Turner of Hanford is not playing this season and there is no indication if he will return to the court of play. Given the current status of these players, I had to remove them from this round of 2025 Player Rankings because they do not meet the criteria. The remainder of this article provides an indepth look at the top 10 players in these updated rankings, as well as a brief discussion about certain players to keep an eye on moving forward. Below the written portion of this article is the updated rank of players. 

The top two spots of these updated rankings have not changed from the initial round published last June, and remaining at the top spot is Tounde Yessoufou of St. Joseph. Yessoufou burst on the scene last year and led the Knights in scoring and rebounding en route to earning a spot in the Section title game, which it would lose to Clovis West. Yessoufou played on the Nike EYBL Circuit with Southern California-based Team Why Not 15u squad, as this would give Yessoufou the national stage needed to make the initial ESPN Top 25 national rankings for the Class of 2025. In the recent update of those rankings, Yessoufou has moved up to the #16 spot nationally and has led the Knights in scoring, rebounding, and steals this season at 27.6, 10.9, and 4 per game respectively. Yessoufou earned Most Outstanding Player honors at the Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp and the Ron Massey Fall Hoops Classic, both of which were loaded with top regional and national prospects. Tounde has scored thirty points or more in 8 of the Knights 23 games this season, with a season-high of 40 against Bakersfield Christian at the inaugural Heart of California Basketball Classic in Fresno, CA. Tounde has garnered a lot of Pac-12 interest with offers from the likes of UCLA and Arizona, and this list will grow as he takes his game to the EYBL Circuit, which is the most heavily recruited of all the circuits (shoe company or independent). Yessoufou is not only the top prospect in the Class of 2025, but he is the top prospect in the Central Section regardless of class and will hold the top spot for his class as long as he is playing in the Section. 

Julius Olanrewaju of San Joaquin Memorial holds steady at the #2 spot in this updated list. Olanrewaju led the state of California in scoring as a freshman at 31 points per game while he was attending Coalinga High School. However, in order to get his game and name on a larger platform, Olanrewaju and his family made the decision to transfer to Central Section powerhouse San Joaquin Memorial, as he looks to be the next big-name player to put on a Panther uniform along with names like Jalen Green of the Houston Rockets and Joseph Hunter of Fresno State. Olanrewaju played a key role for West Coast Elite’s NorCal 16u UAA squad that won the 16u Under Armour Championship. Olanrewaju showed he was ready for the tougher competition for the Panthers during the unofficial high school Fall season, but was sidelined for 30 days to start the season per CIF guidelines. Olanrewaju was cleared for play after Christmas, as the Panthers headed to Southern California to take part in the illustrious Classic at Damien. It took a few games for the standout sophomore to find his grove, as San Joaquin is led by seniors Mike Davis and Armari Carraway, but the team is currently on an eight-game winning streak and Olanrewaju is averaging 11 points and 6 rebounds per game. Olanrewaju has generated interest from Division 1 schools but no official offer to date. That will change by the end of the Summer if not sooner.    

The first player movement we see in this updated list is Gabriel Gutierrez of Bakersfield Christian at #3. Gutierrez made the decision to transfer to Bakersfield Christian after his freshman campaign at Independence of Bakersfield and this move has already proven to be beneficial for both he and the Eagles. Gutierrez played for West Coast Elite’s Central 16u squad and had a solid July. Gutierrez was a top 10 performer at the 2nd Annual Central Cali’s Next Up Showcase but the main reason I have moved him up one spot has been his impact on the Eagle’s season once he was cleared to play. When Gutierrez was cleared to play, the Eagles had a record of 5-6 and were coming off a disappointing showing at the Mission Prep Christmas Classic. Since joining the line-up, Gutierrez has been the driving force behind the team winning 12 of its last 13 games, which has led to a 17-7 record to date. Gutierrez is coming off two impressive showings against his former team and Centennial of Bakersfield, with 20 points and 14 assists, and 29 points in those outings. Gutierrez has shifty moves and handles to break down a defense, elite court vision to find open teammates anywhere on the court, the shotmaking ability to score off the dribble from 3-levels, and is a lock-up perimeter defender creating turnovers and easy open court baskets. Gutierrez has been generating a lot of hype within the Central Section and needs to ensure he is in front of the right people during the club season to boost his stock as a prospect. 

Moving into the #4 spot in these rankings is sharp-shooter Loukas Jones of Clovis North. In Jones’ freshman season, he was a key player off the bench and provided a scoring punch with the 2nd unit, as the Broncos made a run to the Division 1 State Championship game. Jones played with West Coast Elite’s NorCal 15u UAA team and performed well at the prestigious Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp, earning a spot in the Top 60 Creme of the Crop Game. Jones was also a top 15 performer at the Central Cali’s Next Up Showcase. Jones’ role for the Broncos this season has expanded with the absence of junior Connor Amundsen due to injury, as Jones has been a top 3 scorer for Clovis North and has improved as a playmaker. Jones has quality handles, the moves to create off the dribble, better court vision to find open teammates when on the attack, rebounds well with the ability to push the pace of play in the open court, and can defend the 1 through 3 position effectively and forces opponents into perimeter turnovers. Jones has limitless range beyond the arc and is equally effective off the dribble or the catch-and-shoot. I am not sure if Jones is staying with West Coast Elite but regardless he will have a productive club season with the potential to get his name on more coaches radars.  

Darryl “DJ” Stickman Jr. of Clovis West stays at the #5 spot and has developed into a legit two-way swiss army knife that can impact the game in countless ways. Stickman, similar to Jones, played a key role coming off the bench last season for the Open Section Champs, but this season has emerged as the best long-term prospect for the Golden Eagles. Stickman might be the 2nd best athlete in this class behind only Tounde of St. Joseph, which is saying something given the elite athleticism he poses. Stickman uses his quick leaping ability and wingspan to rebound amongst the bigs, has the handle to push the pace of play, is a creative finisher around the basket, is improving on his perimeter shot, and is an elite-level perimeter defender with active hands and the reach to generate turnovers and steals. Stickman is set to play with Swoosh Elite at Adidas Gold Events and if has the eyes of scouts and coaches, he will get their attention with his all-around skill set and with room to keep developing. Stickman would heavily benefit from attending a Pangos Showcase like the Best of SoCal or Preview events to showcase his game in front of eyes that matter in the basketball world. He will be a key factor for Clovis West going down the stretch of the season and into the playoffs. 

Moving up one position to the #6 spot is the knockdown three-point shooter Abram Potts of San Joaquin Memorial. Potts made the most of his Spring and Summer club season with the Fresno Wildcats and was invited to participate in the Pangos Premier 80 Live Period Showcase to kick off the July Live Period. In Potts first year of varsity play he has already become an impact player for the Panthers, averaging nearly 10 points per game and a key piece of the team. Potts earned Top 30 Creme of the Crop honors at the Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp and was the Most Outstanding Player at the Central Cali’s Next Up Showcase. Potts has good handles, the moves to create off the perimeter, gets to his shot spots, and can hit with accuracy from fifteen feet to the 3-point line with range. He plays with great pace and moves well off the ball with the shooting efficiency to hit shots off the catch and shoot. Potts will be running with the Fresno Wildcats Elite for the club season and has gained some interest from Division 1 schools, as well as lower divisions. 

Moving up 3 places from the last round of rankings to the #7 spot is Remy Barnes of Hanford West. Barnes had an outstanding freshman season and was the team’s second-leading scorer, at 14 points per game. Barnes had a productive Spring and Summer club season playing for the Fresno Wildcats Elite 16u team, which was followed up by a top 15 showing at the Central Cali’s Next Up Showcase where he scored double-digits in both games, going for 22 points in the 2nd game. Barnes carried his high level of play into the high school season and has upped his season scoring average to fifteen and a half points and nearly 5 rebounds per game. Barnes is an elite perimeter defender with a long wingspan and quality footwork to stay in front of smaller guards, has active hands to create turnovers, and uses his length and athleticism to alter shots on the wing, as well as around the basket. Barnes has solid handles, shifty moves to get by his defender, has a smooth midrange jumper, and continues to improve his accuracy from the 3-point line. Barnes has attracted interest from Division 2 coaches and depending on who he plays for during the club season, if he is on the right platform has the skills and game to get the attention of scouts. 

The first newcomer to the top 10 is Elijah Wade of Garces Memorial at the #8 spot. It became clear by the end of the Rams Section title run last season that Wade would be a pivotal piece moving forward. Wade played with Bakersfield-based Hoop Phene 16u team during the club season and had some impressive showings during the Live Periods. Wade made some statements during the Fall individual player showcases in the Central Section and beyond. Wade earned top 15 honors at both Central Cali’s Next Up Showcase and as an underclassman at the Central Cali’s Junior/Senior Showcase. He would follow this up by earning a spot in the Top 25 Creme of the Crop Game at the Fall Pangos Diamond in the Rough Showcase. Wade has been one of the leading scorers and rebounders for the Rams this season and depending on what division it is in for the playoffs, he will be a key piece as it makes a run at a 2nd Section Title. Wade is a lock-up perimeter defender, does a solid job on the class, has the handles and court vision to push the ball in transition and make plays, gets downhill with the physicality to finish through contact at the basket. Wade continues to improve as a threat from the outside and does a great job of generating contact and getting to the free-throw line. 

Another newcomer to the top 10 of this update list at #9 is Amarius Rowel of Independence. Rowel was a key player in the rotation for the Falcons as a freshman and averaged 7 points per game, as well as being one of the team’s top 3-point shooters. Rowel played club ball last Spring and Summer with West Coast Elite Central 16u squad, which was followed up by a top 15 performance at the Central Cali’s Next Up Showcase, where he had the single-game scoring high of 29 points connecting on 5 threes. With the departure of fellow sophomore Gabriel Gutierrez to Bakersfield Christian and senior Tyron Tyler Jr. to Ridgeview, Rowel’s role for the Falcons has drastically increased. Rowel has been one of the leading scorers, alongside senior Prince Ellis, and is putting up double-digit numbers. Rowel has dynamic handles, the moves to create off the dribble, has nice touch on his floater, and is able to finish around the basket creatively over height. Rowel can light it up from beyond the arc and is just as effective shooting off the dribble or the catch-and-shoot. Defensively, Rowel has quick hands and good reaction time to generate turnovers and excels when attacking in the open court. 

Rounding out the top 10 is forward Zach Garnett of Frontier. Garnett is not just new to the top 10 but is new to the 2025 rankings, as he played junior varsity last season and I had not seen him play, which in turn led to him not being included in the initial round of rankings for this class. Garnett had a solid showing at the Central Cali’s Next Up Showcase but has really burst on the scene as one of the key players for the young Titans. Garnett has been the leading scorer and rebounder for the Titans, averaging 14 points and 8 rebounds per game and setting the tone for Frontier for the next few seasons, as he is accompanied by fellow sophomore Dallin Crawford (#21 in these rankings). Garnett has nice touch on his shot from the mid-post area, controls the glass, has solid court vision to facilitate from the high post, and has enough handle to put the ball on the deck and attack. Defensively, Garnett has enough agility to switch off and defend smaller players and the length and size to protect the post. I am not sure what Garnett has planned for the club season but getting him in front of eyes that matter will be key for him as an emerging prospect. 

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 (#11), Dallin Crawford (#21), Micah Cole (#22), Jaren Mayberry (#24), the seven-footer Enzo Lane (#27), and Brandon Keefer-Jones (#39) are all players that are 6’5” and taller, and most have shown the development in the post, as well as creating off the perimeter needed to be targeted by programs at the next level. 
There are also a number of guards that could make moves up this list or get back to where they were in the last round of these rankings when I update in late June, such as Dereon King (#12), James Miller IV (#13), Silas Rodriguez (#14), Jayden Nozil (#15), Gerald Perry Jr. (#18), Michael Gutierrez (#23), and Beckham, Klein (#25). 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 Summer of 2023, before the start of the high school season. 

RankPlayer NameHeightPostionHigh School (Location)
1 (1)Tounde Yessoufou6'6"WFSt. Joseph (Santa Maria CA)
2 (2)Julius Olanrewaju6'5"GWSan Joaquin Memorial (Fresno CA)
3 (4)Gabriel Gutierrez5'10"PGBakersfield Christian (CA)
4 (3)Loukas Jones6'3"SGClovis North (Fresno CA)
5 (5)Darryl Stickman Jr.6'0"CGClovis West (Fresno CA)
6 (7)Abram Potts6'3"SGSan Joaquin Memorial (Fresno CA)
7 (10)Remy Barnes6'3"GWHanford West (CA)
8 (14)Elijah Wade6'1"WFGarces Memorial (Bakersfield CA)
9 (11)Amarius Rowel5'10"CGIndependence (Bakersfield CA)
10 (NR)Zach Garnett6'5WFFrontier (Bakersfield CA)
11 (12)Carson Acevedo6'6"WFGarces Memorial (Bakersfield CA)
12 (9)Dereon King5'10"PGHoover (Fresno CA)
13 (6)James Miller IV6'1PGRoosevelt (Fresno CA)
14 (17)Silas Rodriguez5'10"PGSan Joaquin Memorial (Fresno CA)
15 (NR)Jayden Nozil6'0"PGMission College Prep (San Luis Obispo CA)
16(18)C.J. Jones6'2"WFSunnyside (Fresno CA)
17 (16)Malachi Barnes5'11"PGSunnyside (Fresno CA)
18 (22)Gerald Perry Jr.6'2CGSan Joaquin Memorial (Fresno CA)
19 (8)Harold Duvall III6'2"WFClovis East (Clovis CA)
20 (19)Asher Garde5'8PGGarces Memorial (Bakersfield CA)
21 (32)Dallin Crawford6'5"PFFrontier (Bakersfield CA)
22 (25)Micah Cole6'7"WFSanger (CA)
23 (21)Michael Gutierrez5'11"PGCentennial (Bakersfield CA)
24 (26)Jaren Mayberry6'5"WFClovis West (Fresno CA)
25 (NR)Beckham Klein6'3SGFresno Christian (CA)
26 (20)Michael Espinoza6'0"CGClovis West (Fresno CA)
27 (28)Enzo Lane7'0"CKingsburg (CA)
28 (29)Drew Minnear5'8"PGBakersfield Christian (CA)
29 (23)Ethan Eckels5'8"PGIndependence (Bakersfield CA)
30 (24)Jeremiah Posada5'9"PGSelma (CA)
31 (27)Jonavon Darrington5'9"PGSan Joaquin Memorial (Fresno CA)
32 (NR)Braylon Herron6'2WFRidgeview (Bakersfield CA)
33 (30)Jose Aguilar6'2"WFCentral (Fresno CA)
34 (33)Wyatt Haner6'2"WFNorth (Bakersfield CA)
35 (31)Dominic Contreras5'9"SGBakersfield (CA)
36 (NR)Nolan Birchall5'11"CGClovis North (Fresno CA)
37 (NR)Malachi Ficher6'3CGTulare Western (CA)
38 (34)Matt Williams6'2"WFClovis (CA)
39 (T-35)Chris Browe6'2"CGKingsburg (CA)
40 (NR)Brandon Keefer-Jones6'5"WFCentennial (Bakersfield CA)
41 (T-35)Max Wisnoff5'11"CGBakersfield Christian (CA)
42 (NR)Diesel Lowe6'2WGSt. Joseph (Santa Maria CA)