After spending the last six months crisscrossing the country to watch the nation’s top players compete with their high school and grassroots teams, the 247Sports rankings for the class of 2023 have been updated and much has changed during that time.
In fact, the change begins at the very top where 6-foot-9 power forward GG Jackson has overtaken combo guard DJ Wagner as the top ranked senior-to-be.
Jackson has a fight on his hands if he wants to hold onto that No. 1 spot and the updated 2023 has seen some major change all the way through.
JACKSON TAKES OVER TOP SPOT FOR NOW
Recent North Carolina commit GG Jackson is the newly minted No. 1 player in his class, but this isn’t a situation where he’s running away and hiding from the rest of his class.
A 6-foot-9 power forward from Columbia (SC) Ridge View, Jackson has size, athleticism and versatility working in his favor. He can run the floor, he plays above the rim, he rebounds, he has the ability to play facing the basket and he can be an effective shot blocker on the defensive end. However, if he’s going to retain the top spot, he’s going to have to take all of those tools and be more consistently dominant as he finds the right blend between playing on the block and playing on the perimeter
CLICK HERE FOR THE UPDATED 2023 RANKINGS
As the only player in the class to ever hold the No. 1 spot before being overtaken by Jackson in this cycle, DJ Wagner is certainly going to be motivated. There were some real ups and downs during his junior season at Camden (NJ) High and if an update had been completed in February or March, Wagner may have even been a few spots lower than No. 2. During play in Nike’s EYBL, though, Wagner has really turned things back up and if he continues his dominant scoring, he just might be able to wrestle the top spot back from Jackson. On the recruiting front, it had long been thought that he would end up at Kentucky but now that Kenny Payne is the head coach at Louisville and Wagner’s grandfather Milt has been added to the staff, the Cardinals are looking like the favorite.
Checking in at No. 3, Philadelphia (Pa.) Imhotep small forward Justin Edwards also has a chance at making a run at the top spot. Previously ranked No. 12 overall, the 6-foot-7 wing’s climb is a notable one and there’s a lot to like with his game. In addition to size, he’s got a deep bag of perimeter skill, length, and budding athleticism. He’s got a group of finalists that includes Auburn, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Tennessee, Villanova and the G League and the Volunteers could be emerging as a favorite.
Next in line with a legitimate shot at the top spot is Xavier Booker. A 6-foot-11 power forward from Indianapolis (Ind.) Cathedral, Booker’s rise to prominence has been the biggest story of the grassroots season. Buzz started building late in the high school season and after a series of eye-opening outings in the spring where he showcased an elite combination of size and skill along with plenty of room left to improve, Booker has made a meteoric 87 spot rise up to No. 4 overall. Michigan State has worked really hard to establish strong early footing but the rest of the Big Ten and others like Duke and Kansas are starting to come hard. If he can replicate what he’s done for the last three months throughout the rest of the summer, Booker is a viable contender for No. 1.
ROUNDING OUT THE TOP 10
While the top four of Jackson, Wagner, Edwards and Booker look to have created a little bit of separation from the pack, it wouldn’t be out of the question for another member of the top 10 to make a run so we need to discuss spots five through ten.
Committed to play at home state Oregon, versatile, athletic wing Mookie Cook lands at No. 5. He showed flashes of brilliance on both ends of the floor as a junior at Compass Prep in Arizona. His time on the floor has been limited during the spring while he’s been playing the role of LeBron James in a drama called Shooting Stars set to stream on Peacock in 2023.
Headed to Duke, combo forward Mackenzie Mgbako is part of a really strong group out of New Jersey in the class of 2023 whose game is highlighted by his ability to post or stretch the floor. At No. 7, Matas Buzelis is a big and skilled forward who has the ability to make plays for himself and others off of the dribble.
At No. 8, Kwame Evans Jr. is as naturally gifted as any player in class. Pushing 6-foot-10 he glides around the floor, can make plays on both ends and makes things look easy. Because of that he had been ranked No. 2 overall but his production as a junior didn’t match that level. He’s shown signs of ramping things up recently and if he continues down that path, then there’s no reason that he can’t get right back into the group of contenders for the top spot.
One of three five-stars headed to Duke (guard Tyrese Proctor at No. 11 is the third), athletic power forward Sean Stewart lands at No. 9 while the nation’s top ranked point guard Isaiah Collier rounds out the top ten and joins Stewart and Booker as a newly minted five-star.
WAGNER AND BRONNY AREN’T ALONE WITH PRO BLOODLINES
When it comes to NBA bloodlines, nobody can top Bronny James. Because his dad is the one and only LeBron James, Bronny — a shooting guard from Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon — has been as scrutinized as any player in the country. Now ranked No. 55, James is really starting to hit his stride as a shot maker who defends and passes.
Along with James, Wagner has been watched even closer because in addition to holding the No. 1 spot in the class for some time, his dad, Dajuan Wagner, also played in the NBA and was a high school superstar. They aren’t on their own when it comes to prospects with fathers that played in the NBA.
One of the biggest movers in the rankings, going from No. 103 to No. 25, is small forward Andrej Stojakovic, the son of the sweet-shooting All-Star Peja Stojakovic. Andrej looks to have inherited a pretty good bit of his father’s shooting ability. Ranked No. 30, Kentucky-bound guard Reed Sheppard’s father Jeff spent some time with the Atlanta Hawks and is a legend in Lexington.
No. 61 Jace Posey, No. 69 Carey Booth, No. 71 Sebastian Mack and the previously mentioned five-star Stewart all have fathers that played in the NBA. In addition to those guys, point guard Jizzle James, who jumped 75 spots to No. 70 overall, is the son of multiple time NFL Pro Bowler Edgerrin James.
If we take things another step, No. 26 Cody Williams and No. 112 Cameron Christie each have older brothers (Mark and Max, respectively) who are likely to be taken in June’s NBA Draft.
That’s a lot of ties to the highest level in one class.
MAJOR MOVERS AND IMPRESSIVE DEBUTS
In Booker and Stojakovic, we’ve already covered a few of this update’s biggest climbers in the updated ranking. Also making a huge move upwards is maybe the biggest player in the class, 7-foot-1 center Dennis Evans. Evans is one of the youngest members of the 2023 class (he won’t turn 16 until later this month) and based on the gigantic steps he’s taken on the offensive end, his dominance as a shot blocker and his relative youth, he earned a massive bump all the way up to No. 22 from No. 108. Due to the time between updates, this one features several other huge climbers and he’s one of the 10 total players to rise 50 or more spots in the rankings.
When it comes to debuts, nobody had a more impressive one than big man Ugonna Kingsley. A big time shot blocker, he debuts just outside of five-star status at No. 23 overall. Power forwards Zayden High (no. 46) and Tafara Gapare (No. 46) and small forward Kaden Cooper (No. 50) also made impressive debut and of the newcomers, 17 have entered the updated ranking as four-star prospects.
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