The Class of 2026 is shaping up to be one of the deepest classes of talent the Central Section has seen since the Class of 2021, which is a reflection of the state of California overall with multiple players already ranked nationally in the top 50.The talent of this class is fairly spread out as far as schools represented, but with the transfers of a few players from this class, Bullard has been the biggest beneficiary adding Dalen Felder and Sean Smith-Sharkey. Clovis East still has a great group of sophomores despite the loss of Felder, which should keep them trending in the right direction. Overall, a majority of the names on this list will be key pieces to their team’s success and should lead to an interesting update to this list in the Spring of 2024.
I have updated this list to include the Spring and Summer club sessions, the Scholastic Live Periods of June, and the Fall individual and team showcases and events leading into the start of the 2023-2024 high school season. I have expanded this list from 30 to 40 players from around the Central Section. Along with the high school season, the individual showcases and team events throughout the end of the Summer and the Fall have provided countless platforms for players from the 2026 Class to showcase their skills and capabilities. Recently, The 3rd Annual Central Cali Next Up Showcase, Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp, and the Clovis West Fall Showcase are some of the key events that have allowed me ample opportunities to evaluate and observe the play of a majority of the top sophomores in the Central Section.
This list of players was compiled using my own evaluations, along with feedback from knowledgeable media, coaches, and other relevant basketball personnel from the Section, to make up the top 40 sophomore prospects for this updated round of player rankings for the 2026 Class. However, the order of players on this list is my own. I will update these rankings at least two times a year over the next two and a half years and it will expand to 50-plus players by the start of their junior year.
This list takes into consideration two key factors in determining where players are ranked, and will be the same criteria used each time this list is updated. The criteria for these rankings are as follows: current skill level and production on the court, as well as future projection at the collegiate level. Although this class appears to have more players with Division 1 potential compared to the 2024 and 2025 class of players, I do not see any reaching the national status of standout junior Tounde Yessoufou of St. Joseph in Santa Maria. Nevertheless, the depth of this class combined with the immediate impact many had on their high school varsity team led to some impressive statistics and numbers that will set some on track to achieve key milestones and even school records. We begin this updated list with sophomore sensation Julius Price.
Holding down the #1 spot for this updated list of player rankings is super sophomore Julius Price of defending NorCal Open Division Champs St. Joseph. Price was a lead catalyst in scoring for the Knights in its run to the Open Division State Championship Game and was the team’s best 3-point shooter. Price played on the prestigious Nike EYBL Circuit for Team Why Not’s 15u squad and put his name on the national radar, as Rivals currently has him ranked #52 for the class of 2026. Price was one of the leading scorers at the Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp in late September and, despite not being able to stay for the Top 30 All-Star Game, was one of the top 5 players at the camp, with the likes of Tyron Stokes, Brandon McCoy, Elias Obenyah, and Brayden Kyman. Price is an elite lead guard that can facilitate or create his own buckets. Price has a strong handle on the ball, keeps it on a string to survey the floor, makes nice reads in tight windows, and makes great use of the hesitation to keep his defender off balance. Price has the moves to create separation off the dribble, gets nice lift on the mid-range jumper, has the physicality to finish through traffic down the lane, and is a creative finisher around the basket. What makes Price a true scoring threat is his accuracy from the 3-point line, where he can knock it down off the dribble or the catch and shoot, as he moves fluidly off the ball to get open looks. Price will be heavily relied upon this season as the second scoring option behind junior phenom Toude Yessoufou.
Moving up to the #2 spot in Ja’Vance Coleman of Bullard. Coleman has continued to move up the top 10 since the initial round of player rankings for this class, as he started at #8, then up to #4, and now only one spot behind the top. Coleman has shown continued growth as a true point guard, and was the play maker for a loaded Fresno-based EBO 15u squad that featured multiple players in this list during the club season. Coleman followed that up with impressive individual showings at Fall player showcases. He was named Most Outstanding Player at our 3rd Annual Next Up Showcase with games of 25 points and 27 points and 10 rebounds respectively. Coleman continued his high level of play at the prestigious Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp being one of three Central Section players to make the Top 30 All-Star Game, which featured the likes of Tyran Stokes (top ranked player nationally for the 2026 class) and Brandon McCoy (top 5 nationally ranked player for the 2026 class). Coleman will be the lead catalyst for the Knights in the early going this season, but will be joined by fellow standout sophomore Dalen Felder and sharp-shooter Sean Smith-Sharkey, both out on 30-day transfer sit-out rule. Coleman has dynamic handles, the frame to bully through contact when on the attack, has the moves to create his own shot off the bounce, and has improved his accuracy from the 3-point line. He has great court vision, keeps the ball on a string, and can find teammates in tight windows. With his ability to break down a defense and find open teammates, I anticipate he will have some big assist games this season once the roster is at full strength.
Dalen Felder of Bullard moves up one spot to #3 in this updated list. Felder has become one of the most dynamic scoring threats in the Section regardless of class, as was evident last season leading the TRAC League in scoring as a freshman with Clovis East. Felder joined Brandon Cole’s WCE NorCal 15u UAA squad for the Summer portion of the club season, which helped get his name out beyond the Central Section. Felder was another player that showcased his skill set effectively at individual showcases during the Fall, as he would display his full offensive arsenal at our 3rd Annual Next Up Showcase back in August, scoring 33 points in the one game he played and hit shots that show why he is ranked this high in his respective class. Felder followed up his stellar play at the Next Up Showcase with a dazzling display of shooting at the Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp, which earned him a spot in the Top 60 All-Star Game. Felder transferred to Bullard over the Summer and once he is cleared from his 30-day sit-out (CIF transfer rule) he will join fellow standout sophomore Ja’Vance Coleman as one of the more prolific back court duos in the Section, which I saw glimpses of at Clovis West’s Fall Shootout in September. Felder has smooth handles, moves and counter-moves to create separation from his defender, can score it from 3-levels off the dribble, moves well off the ball to get open catch and shoot opportunities, and is at his best when hunting the mid-range shot. Knock down from beyond the arc with limitless range, and simply finds ways to score the ball at a high clip.
San Joaquin Memorial’s Parker Spees moves up to the #4 spot and will have a much bigger role for the defending D2 State Champs this season, as he will be called upon to take up some of the scoring load missing from the two graduates from last year, Mike Davis and Armari Carraway. Spees had some monster showings over the Club season, which was highlighted by a 36-point game at the Pangos Sweet 16 Tournament during the 1st July Live Period. Spees displayed his ability to score the ball from various spots on the floor in our Next Up Showcase back in August before suffering a nasty high-ankle sprain. A month later, Spees, not fully 100%, showcased his ability to impact the game on both ends in countless ways, as he would earn a spot in the Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp Top 60 All-Star Game. Spees moves well off the ball to get open looks, has the length and size to shoot over most perimeter defenders, has the moves to create off the perimeter, has a smooth stroke on the jumper, and has nice touch around the basket. Spees has good footwork, the court vision to make plays from the high-post, accurate with the 3-ball to space the floor, and is one of the better rim protectors in the interior with the agility and length to alter shots on the wing.
Rounding out the top 5 of this updated list is Jackson Scarborough of Clovis High. Scarborough started out as the top seed in my initial round of the 2026 player rankings and remains one of the top overall prospects in the Central Section, as he leaves his imprint on both sides of the ball and is one of the best rim protectors in the Section, regardless of class. Although Scarborough has moved down a few spots in this updated list, it has nothing to do with his level of play and more to do with the improved play of his peers, which is a class that is loaded with depth and features multiple Division 1 prospects. Scarborough, along with Coleman and Spees, was part of the loaded 15u EBO club team and anchored the post on defense. Scarborough was one of the top players at our Next Up Showcase, as he would post games of 16 and 15 points respectively. A month later, he would attend our Junior/Senior Showcase, where Scarborough displayed his accuracy from the perimeter with 5 threes in one game. Scarborough has the length, height, and timing to be an elite rim protector, can stretch out to the perimeter to alter shots, has good footwork and moves to create shots in the paint, and has nice touch around the basket. Scarborough controls the boards, has the handle to push the ball up the court, has the size to shoot over smaller perimeter players and the moves to get by bigger defenders forced to respect his shooting ability, and has nice pop on his mid-range jumper. Despite possessing an impressive 2-way skill set, there is still room for growth in his game, which should be worrisome for opponents. Scarborough will be a key piece for the Cougars this season, as it looks to make some noise in the treacherous TRAC League.
Making his debut in the top 10 of these player rankings is the lengthy and rangy Abdoul Bare of St. Joseph. Bare played the back-up center last year for the defending NorCal Open State Champs but his minutes were limited, as he was still early in the developmental stages of his game. Since the end of last season, Bare has made major strides as a rim protector, rebounder, and finisher around the basket. He played for EYBL’s Team Why Not 16u squad, which allowed him to face some of the best bigs in the country and it showed in his play during the Fall events. He was one of the more dominant post players at the Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp, which earned Bare a spot in the Top 30 All-Star Game. Bare will be a much needed presence in the interior for the Knights this season, which graduated 4 of the core 6 players from last year’s roster. Bare has good hands around the basket, uses his length and athleticism to be a dynamic shot blocker, and is great on the glass, which gives his team multiple chances on the offensive end. Given the track record of the St. Joseph on developing bigs, the future is very bright for Bare as a D1 prospect, with the potential to keep climbing this list (similar to former teammate Caeden Hamilton, currently at Marquette).
The movement of Bare into the top 10 has led to a few players sliding down a few spots, which was the case for Lydell Farmer of Clovis East, coming in at #7. Despite the move down a spot, Farmer has had a strong showing during the Fall. Farmer was a top 10 performer at our Next Up Showcase, which was followed up by a Top 60 All-Star Game selection at the Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp. Farmer had games of 16 points and 7 rebounds, and 18 points and 7 rebounds at the Next Up Showcase to display his overall impact on the game. Farmer has solid handles, makes good use of the long crossover to create space, gets nice lift on his mid-range jumper, is a creative finisher around the basket, and can space the floor with the 3-ball. Defensively, Farmer can adequately defend the 1 through 4 positions with his length and agility, controls the boards, alters shots in the paint and on the wing, and will be relied upon much more this season as a scoring threat with the departure of fellow sophomore, Dalen Felder to Bullard. With continued development on his perimeter game, Farmer has the potential to be one of the top overall prospects in the Section with his 2-way versatility.
Elias Gish of Clovis North also moves down one spot to #8 in this updated list. Gish was a top 20 performer at our Next Up Showcase, and nearly missed making the Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Top 60 All-Star Game in September but did catch the eyes of the scouts in attendance. Gish played a key role for the Broncos during the Fall events, especially with the injury of Connor Amundsen that sidelined him until the official start of the season. Gish posted some impressive stats at multiple Fall events, capped off in Las Vegas at Border League. Gish will be a relied upon commodity for the Broncos this season, which lacks the size it has had in previous years. His ability to knock down the 3-ball with accuracy will pull bigger defenders away from the basket, which will allow perimeter heavy Clovis North to attack driving lanes. Gish has the moves to create off the dribble, has a smooth stroke from the perimeter, moves fluidly off the ball for catch and shoot opportunities, and does a solid job on the glass to push the pace of play in the open court. As Amundsen has returned to the line-up, Gish may be more of a role player when it comes to scoring the ball, but his presence on both ends will be relied upon with his size and shooting ability.
Moving up one spot and stepping up big as a scorer for Clovis North is McKae Amundsen at #9. Amundsen had a standout showing at our Next Up Showcase and was named the top defender of the event, as he was locking up opposing guards and generating turnover after turnover to allow for him to get some easy buckets. Amundsen followed that up with an impressive showing at the Pangos All-West Frosh/Soph Camp, which earned him a spot in the Top 60 All-Star Game with one prominent scout pushing for him in the Top 30 Game. Amundsen picked up his scoring once older brother Connor Amundsen went down in mid-September, as McKae would be one of the top contributors to the scoreboard in late September and October, against some elite competition. Amundsen has hit another level offensively since his freshman season, and continues to impress on the defensive end as a ball hawk on the perimeter. He has shifty moves and handles, gets to his shot spots, is accurate from the 3-point line, and has the court vision to make plays when on the attack. As Connor moves back into the line-up, Amundsen will likely score less than he has in recent months but his contribution will be key to the pace and style of play that the Broncos play.
Concluding the top 10, making his top 10 debut, is Jace Kellogg of Clovis West. Kellogg has been hovering around the top 10 at the #11 then the #12 spots in the first 2 rounds of player rankings for the 2026 class. Kellogg had a monster showing in our Next Up Showcase, as he would lead all players in scoring at the event with games of 25 points, and a single game scoring high of 36 points and 11 rebounds. Kellogg looked much more comfortable with Clovis West during the Fall portion of the preseason, as he can score in volume and is an underrated perimeter defender that generates turnovers that lead to transition points. Kellogg has dynamic handles, keeps the ball on a string, moves to create space from his defender, and can hit shots off the dribble from the mid-range to the 3-point line. Kellogg plays with great pace, makes great use of the hesitation, and has one of the quickest bursts of speed off the bounce in the Section, which allows him to display his court vision and decision making once by his initial defender. The Golden Eagles have a roster loaded with upperclassmen, but Kellogg is a player that can provide a scoring spark off the bench and will be key to keep in the rotation, as Clovis West will graduate multiple guards this season.
As mentioned above, this updated list has expanded to 40 players in total and there is a lot of talent amassed in this class that could see some players move into the top 10 by the next time I update this list. Players like Jensen Hirschkorn (#12), and Brayden Harris (#14) are some bigs that have the potential to project higher but both play baseball, and that could take away from their development as dual sport athletes. Guards and wings like Myron Pondexter-Johnson (#15), Kade Johnson (#17), Sajjin Sidhu (#20), and Noah Coulton (#21) are a few players that could move up this list and possibly crack the top 10 at some point in the next two and a half years. The depth and size of the players in this class, along with skill and athleticism, will allow for player movement to be greater than it has been since the Class of 2021, which makes this list one to keep an eye on over the next few years. Below is the complete list of player rankings for 40 players in the Class of 2026. I know there are players that have yet to be discovered or seen, as they played JV or frosh/soph last season and I look forward to expanding this list to include more players if deserved when I update by the end of the high school season.
|1 (1)||Julius Price||6'3||CG||St. Joseph (Samta Maria CA)|
|2 (4)||Ja'Vance Coleman Jr.||6'2||PG||Bullard (Fresno CA)|
|3 (3)||Dalen Felder||6'2||PG||Bullard (Fresno CA)|
|4 (5)||Parker Spees||6'7||WF||San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno CA)|
|5 (2)||Jackson Scarborough||6'9||PF||Clovis (CA)|
|6 (14)||Abdoul Bare||6'9||CF||St. Joseph (Santa Maria CA)|
|7 (6)||Lydell Farmer||6'4||WF||Clovis East (Clovis CA)|
|8 (7)||Elias Gish||6'5||WF||Clovis North (Fresno CA)|
|9 (10)||McKae Amundsen||5'8||PG||Clovis North (Fresno CA)|
|10 (12)||Jace Kellogg||6'||PG||Clovis West (Fresno CA)|
|11 (8)||Aidan Beechler||6'2||CG||Clovis East (Clovis CA)|
|12 (13)||Jensen Hirschkorn||6'7||PF||Kingsburg H.S. (CA)|
|13 (11)||Cliff Willis||6'||CG||South (Bakersfield CA)|
|14 (18)||Brayden Harris||6'8||PF||Buchanan (Clovis CA)|
|15 (23)||Myron Pondexter-Johnson||6'3||WF||Central (Fresno CA)|
|16 (9)||Derek Jimenez||5'9||PG||Liberty (Bakersfield CA)|
|17 (NR)||Kade Johnson||6'3||WG||Stockdale (Bakersfield CA)|
|18 (25)||Sean Smith||5'11||CG||Bullard (Fresno CA)|
|19 (24)||Gavin Christian||6'4||WF||South (Bakersfield CA)|
|20 (NR)||Sajjin Sidhu||6'3||WG||San Joaquin Memorial (Fresno CA)|
|21 (NR)||Noah Coulton||5'11||PG||Fresno Christian (CA)|
|22 (16)||Irvin Calloway||6'||PG||Liberty (Bakersfield CA)|
|23 (20)||Joshua Padilla||5'10||CG||Clovis North (Fresno CA)|
|24 (NR)||Logan Missler||6'1||CG||San Luis Obispo (CA)|
|25 (17)||Carter Finley||6'3||WG||Buchanan (Clovis CA)|
|26 (NR)||Devin Gaines||6'5||WF||Fresno Christian (CA)|
|27 (22)||Trenell Emerson Jr.||5'8||PG||Clovis East (Clovis CA)|
|28 (28)||Acen Zuniga||6'||CG||Liberty (Bakersfield CA)|
|29 (19)||Moses Curry||6'||SG||Liberty (Bakersfield CA)|
|30 (NR)||Tye Tibbett||6'2||WF||Immanuel (Reedley CA)|
|31 (NR)||Donnovan Smith||5'9||CG||Hanford West (CA)|
|32 (30)||Kamren Owens||5'9||PG||Bakersfiield (CA)|
|33 (30)||Simon Kebede||5'9||PG||Stockdale (Bakersfield CA)|
|34 (NR)||Brock Beshwate||5'11||CG||Bullard (Fresno CA)|
|35 (29)||Emoni Myles||5'10"||PG||South (Bakersfield CA)|
|36 (NR)||Nathyn Ofstad||6'4||PF||Frontier (Bakersfield CA)|
|37 (26)||Matthew Esparza||5'9||PG||Selma H.S. (CA)|
|38 (NR)||Julius Zamora||5'11||CG||Bullard (Fresno CA)|
|39 (15)||Keon Hill||6'3||WF||Hoover (Fresno CA)|
|40 (21)||Cash Essert||6'5||PF||Bakersfield Christian (CA)|