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Central Cali 2022 Player Rankings

By Paul Hernandez, 07/28/21, 1:00PM PDT

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Central Section Class of 2022 Top 40 End of Year Player Rankings

The player rankings below are based on my own evaluation of the players over the course of the past 2 years in high school settings, as well as club basketball and individual player events. I have also sought out input from coaches, media, scouts, and trainers throughout the Central Section. Players that played club basketball throughout the pandemic and during the modified Covid season may have seen their rankings go up, while others that were not able to participate in organized basketball over the past year and a half may have fallen from the April 2020 rankings. Included in the player rankings below are player information, the high school attended, and where they were previously ranked last year. This will be the final ranking for the Class of 2022 until the Spring of 2022.


1. 6’5 Joseph Hunter (San Joaquin Memorial HS)

There is no debate about Hunter being the top prospect in his class, and since his sophomore year he has been widely regarded as the top overall basketball prospect in the Central Section. Hunter has been the driving force behind the Panther’s success the last 2 seasons, resulting in back to back trips to the Central Section Boys Open Division Championship game, an Open Division Championship, Most Outstanding Player of the 2020 Open Championship Game, and putting up big numbers individually. Hunter is a dynamic 2-way player that displays superior athleticism to impact both ends of the court at a high level. Hunter has solid handles, various moves to create off the dribble, a 3-level scoring threat that is deadly from the mid-range, has improved his efficiency from the 3 point line, and is a highlight reel above the rim in the open court. Defensively, Hunter can guard multiple positions effectively, is active on the glass allowing him to push the ball in the open court, is an elite perimeter defender that disrupts passing lanes and has quick hands to force turnovers, and has the length and quick leaping ability to alter shots. Hunter had some big scoring performances this past season, which was highlighted by a 40 point outburst against Sanger HS. Hunter averaged 24 points and 10 rebounds per game, and has received 12 D1 HM offers from schools like Fresno State, Ole Miss, Arkansas, Washington, and USC. If Hunter finishes out his senior season at San Joaquin Memorial, it would be safe to assume the #1 spot is his to keep hold of when these rankings are updated next year.

(Ranked #1 in 2020 player rankings)

2. 6’4 Dre Roman (St. Joseph HS)

Roman had a standout junior season, as the growth and development of his game on the offensive end have made him one of the top overall prospects in the Central Section and why I have moved him up to the #2 spot for the Class of 2022. Roman was an integral part in the Knights Open Division Championship run and his play against some tough competition this past season has garnered attention from college coaches and regional/national high school scouts. Roman has become a reliable shooter from beyond the arc, has good moves and the handles to create scoring opportunities off the dribble, good court vision and improved decision making as a playmaker, and has the strength and physicality to attack and finish through contact at the rim. Defensively, Roman has good footwork, good lateral movement to stay in front of his man, strong and quick hands to rip the ball from his opponent, and is a tough minded lock-up perimeter defender. In a tough loss to Sierra Canyon this past season, Roman displayed his high level of play and was one of the top players on the court, which caught the attention of national scout Frank Burlison. With 4 of the 5 starters from St. Joseph graduating, the team will be in good hands with Roman at the core of the younger 2021-2022 roster. 

(Ranked #6 in 2020 player rankings)

3. 6’6 Cameron Brown (Independence HS)

 

Brown is another high level 2-way player that has the skill and versatility to play various positions on offense and defend the 1-4 on defense. Coming off an impressive sophomore campaign, where he led the Falcons to the Central Section Boys D2 Championship and earned Most Outstanding Player honors, Brown was poised to be one of the top players in the South Yosemite League this past season. However, due to Covid-19 protocols, the Falcons did not even get to play 10 games. Fortunately for Brown, he was able to play plenty of quality basketball with his club team, West Coast Elite 16u LA-UAA. Brown had some impressive performances during the League of Legends event in Arizona, Memorial Day Classic in Las Vegas, and has been on the Under Armour Circuit throughout the month of July. Brown is a lengthy and rangy true combo guard, that has solid handles, nice moves to create separation from his defender, has the height to raise up over smaller defenders and the handles to get by bigger defenders, and has great court vision and playmaking abilities. Defensively, Brown uses his long wingspan to disrupt passing lanes, alters shots on the wing, nice timing on weak side blocks, and moves fluidly to defend multiple positions. Brown is active on the glass and lethal pushing the ball in the open court, using his height, court vision and decision making to shred transition defenses. Brown will look to have a dominant senior season, and depending on what the offers look like is set to do a postgraduate year and reclassify to the Class of 2023. Brown currently has an offer from UC Santa Barbara. 

(Ranked #2 in 2020 player rankings)

4. 6’5 Lejuan Watts (Bullard HS)

Watts is coming off a highly productive junior campaign, as he was an integral part of the Knights Central Section D1 Championship and was highly active with club ball throughout the pandemic. Watts transferred from Clovis West to Bullard after his sophomore season, and this proved to be a solid fit for the versatile wing/forward. Watts impacts the game on both ends and is a double double machine. He has a physical build combined with superior athleticism and a skill set that translates very well to today’s style of basketball. Watts has the body type that allows him to bully opponents in the paint, has good hands to finish around the basket, has good footwork and moves to create space from taller opponents in the post, and uses his quick leaping ability to get offensive putbacks. Watts also has solid ball handling skills and can stretch the floor from deep, which creates driving lanes. Along with Watts ability to score in a variety of ways, he has great court vision and makes good decisions passing the ball. He truly can play the 1-4 positions effectively and has a nice mid-range jump shot that he knocks down efficiently. Watts has a game that translates nicely to the next level and he has garnered attention from college coaches over the past few months at the D2+ level. 

(Ranked #11 in 2020 player rankings)

5. 6’3 Jackson Tucker (Bakersfield Christian HS)

Tucker is a versatile guard/wing that was a critical component for the Eagles in their run to a Central Section D3 Boys Championship win. Tucker transferred to Bakersfield Christian from GSA Prep and turned out to be one of the leading scores for the Eagles en route to a phenomenal junior campaign that has led to an impressive showing this July during the NCAA Live Periods. Tucker has solid handles and good court vision to run the offense and make plays for others. He has nice perimeter moves to create scoring opportunities, whether it be for the mid-range jump shot or getting to the basket. Tucker is effective from beyond the arc, which makes him a scoring threat from all 3 levels. Tucker is at his best offensively when he is aggressively looking to score the ball, using the change of speed to get his defender on their heels, and either scoring the ball or finding open teammates off the drive and pass. Defensively, Tucker uses his wingspan to alter shots and disrupt passing lanes, turning defense to transition offense frequently. He is a 4.0+ student and has garnered attention from Colorado College, Redlands, and most recently MIT. Tucker will have more of a leadership role for the Eagles this upcoming season with the 4 year varsity starter Seth Marantos at Fresno Pacific. 

(Ranked #4 in 2020 player rankings)

6. 6’5 Louis DiModica (Nipomo HS)

DiModica was the leading force in the post for Nipomo HS this past season, as they made it to the Central Section Boys D3 Championship game just falling short to Bakersfield Christian. He is a strong and physical forward/wing that has a versatile skill set on both offense and defense. Defensively, DiModica has the strength and toughness to defend and rebound amongst taller players, as well as the footwork and lateral quickness to defend the perimeter. He is active on the glass, fundamentally sound technique to box out bigs, strong hands to create tie-ups and steals, and quick leaping ability to alter shots. He has good hands around the basket, can absorb and finish through contact, and is efficient from the mid-range. Leadership skills are off the charts, and a great communicator to anchor the defense. 4.5+ GPA and a high academic prospect. 

(Not ranked in 2020 player rankings)

7. 6’1 Jaylan Walton (Bullard HS)

Walton is an extremely crafty ball handler, who keeps the rock on a string and weaves through the defense methodically. Walton handles are next level, and his shifty movement with a steady handle combined with a quick first step makes him one tough player to defend. He has solid court vision and when on the attack he is a high level playmaker, finding open teammates in tough angles. Walton can shoot the deep ball with accuracy and has a nice mid-range jumper. 

(Ranked #5 in 2020 player rankings)

8. 6’8 Tyus Parrish-Tillman (Clovis West HS)

Parrish-Tillman is one of the more intriguing prospects in the Central Section and is looking to bounce back with a dominant senior season after missing his junior campaign due to a knee injury. Tyus is dominant in the post, controls the glass, shotblocker, has good hands around the basket, and can space the floor from the 3 point line. The Golden Eagles have some impressive young players and will be led by incoming junior Issac Martinez, and with the return of Tyus, Clovis West will look to return to the Open Division for the Sectional Playoffs. 

(Ranked #3 in 2020 player rankings)

9. 6’1 Camden Thompson (Clovis East HS)

Thompson has made the transition from being the point guard and facilitator his sophomore season to the lead scorer for the Timberwolves his junior campaign. Thompson is a natural scorer and a true combo guard that can run the offense or can play off the ball and be the scoring option. Thompson has good handles, can score from all 3 levels, is shifty with the ball, is able to create his own offense, has good court vision, and is lethal when he gets to the mid-range pull-up. 

(Ranked #8 in 2020 player rankings)

10. 6’ Erick Chaney (Bakersfield Christian HS)

Chaney had an impressive junior campaign and was a critical part of the Eagles' run to earning their 2nd consecutive Central Section Boys D3 Championship. Chaney was at GSA Prep his sophomore year, along with Tucker, as he also decided to transfer to Bakersfield Christian for his junior season and it proved to be mutually beneficial for both Chaney and the Eagles. Chaney is one of the top 3 point marksmen in the Central Section regardless of grade/class, and he had some monster games with 6+ threes for the Eagles this past season. Chaney is more than just a 3 point shooter, and is the definition of a gym rat working on his craft tirelessly. He has solid handles, moves to create separation, improved court vision and decision making, good footwork and lateral movement on the defensive end, and moves great off the ball getting to his spots for the catch and shoot 3 ball. 

(Ranked #14 in 2020 player rankings)

11. 6’ Orion Tomlinson (Fresno Christian HS)

Prototypical lead guard that has made strides as a scoring threat, which was evident this past season with multiple 30 point games for the Eagles. Tomlinson has good court vision, keeps the ball on a string, makes good decisions when on the attack, nice use of hesitation moves to get his defender off balance, and is a knockdown threat from deep. Tomlinson is battle tested, as he has played against talent from all over the US through club basketball and looking to put up big numbers his senior season. 

(Ranked #9 in 2020 player rankings)

12. 5’11 Niko Jones (Clovis North HS)

Jones is a tough lead guard that made a nice transition from being a role player his sophomore season to one of the core players for the Broncos his junior season, as they earned a spot in the Central Section Boys Open Division. Jones is shifty with the ball in hand, has the moves to put pressure on the defense, gets into the paint, and makes good reads with the ball to find open teammates. Efficient shooter from beyond the arc, which opens up driving lanes where Jones has improved his decision making. Jones locks in on defense and his motor on the court is 2nd to none in the Central Section. The kid flat out loves to play and compete.  

(Ranked #25 in 2020 player rankings)

13. 6’2 Tyric Herod (Bullard HS)

Herod is one of the more skilled players and top shooters in the Central Section for the Class of 2022. During the playoffs in his sophomore season, he connected on 6 threes and scored 30 points to give the Knights the win over the #1 seed Bakersfield Drillers. During Herod’s junior season, he was in and out of the line-up and did not play club ball this season. He would have likely been higher in the rankings if he had more time on the court. Herod has the ability to score from all 3 levels, can create his own offense, and is lights out from the 3 point line. 

(Ranked #10 in 2020 player rankings)

14. 6’3 Robert Buckenberger (Buchanan HS)

Buckenberger is an athletic combo guard that excels in the open court with the ball in hand. He is effective from deep, has good court vision, plays with good pace, rebounds well for his size, and makes some flashy but accurate passes in transition or when on the attack. Buckenberger will likely be the key player for Buchanan next season and he has the game and skill to shoulder that load. 

(Ranked #26 in 2020 player rankings)

15. 6’5 Jonathan Dillon (Sanger HS)

Dillon is a prototypical wing/slasher with size and length to impact both ends of the court. Dillon has the versatility and athleticism to play multiple positions on offense and guard all 5 spots on defense. He is active on the glass, alters shots in the paint or on the wing, has a nice mid-range jumper, and is at his best when filling lanes in the open court and finishing with high flying transition dunks. Plays well around the basket with good hands and feel in the paint. 

(Ranked #12 in 2020 player rankings)

16. 6’1 Matthew Ruegge (Kingsburg HS)

Ruegge had a breakout junior season and was a pivotal part of the Central Section D5 Championship, as well as the Southern California D-5A State Regional Championship. Ruegge has good handles and moves to create off the perimeter, good use of the hard pound dribble to get defenders off balance, has a sweet jumper from the elbow, and is efficient from the 3 point line. The Vikings will have a drastically different roster next season and Ruegge will be the focal point of the offense. 

(Not ranked in 2020 player rankings)

17. 5’11 Ty Silva (Frontier HS)

Silva has made great strides in his game since his sophomore season and has become the engine that drives the Titan’s offense. Silva has good handles, sees the court well, plays with good pace, orchestrates the offense, can space the floor from deep, and makes nice reads when attacking the defense. Gritty and tough minded player that competes. Silva played very well against quality talent during the 3 NCAA Live Periods this month and is a key reason why he is ranked in the Top 20. 

(Not Ranked in 2020 player rankings)

18. 6’1 Stephon Brooks (West HS)

Brooks is a strong and shifty combo guard that can create his own offense and has improved as a playmaker. Brooks has a nice crossover to get his man on his heels, attacks downhill, draws fouls getting to the line, improved court awareness to find open teammates when attacking the defense, and can space the floor from deep. Brooks will be the focus of the offense in his senior season and will have plenty of opportunities to put up big numbers. The Vikings will have a younger roster and Brooks will have to display the leadership of a 4 year varsity player. 

(Ranked #19 in 2020 player rankings)

19. 6’2 Deshawn Bias (Sunnyside HS)

Bias is a wing/slasher that impacts the game on both ends at a high level. Bias is active on the glass leading his team in rebounding, does not waste dribbles and gets downhill, and can finish at the rim through contact. He averaged 18 points per game, with multiple games of 25 points or more. 

(Not ranked in 2020 player rankings)

20. 6’2 Jermaine Dabbs (Golden Valley HS)

Dabbs has been at the helm for the Bulldogs since his freshman year as the lead guard that orchestrates the offense. Dabbs is a lengthy guard that has good handles, solid court vision, is efficient from the 3 point line, long first step to get by his man and into the teeth of the defense, and can score from all 3 levels. Defensively, Dabbs uses his wingspan to disrupt passing lanes, alter shots from the perimeter and create turnovers that lead to easy offense. The Bulldogs will add Jlen Slaughter to the roster and the expectations will be high.

(Ranked #20 in 2020 player rankings)

21. 6’2 Terik Streets (Central East HS)

Crafty point guard that attacks downhill, quick first step to get by his defender, creative finisher at the rim, and can hit the 3 ball. Quick hands on defense to create turnovers and made a big leap from sophomore to junior season. 

(Not ranked in 2020 player rankings)

22. 6’5 Anthony Swillis (Hoover HS)

Lengthy forward/wing that controls the glass, shot blocker at the rim, good hands around the rim, and can space the floor from beyond the arc. Defensive Player of the Year in the North Yosemite League. 

(Ranked #19 in 2020 player rankings)

23. 6’6 Markell Brooks (Golden Valley HS)

Good size and length, wingspan to alter shots in the paint, active on the glass, decent mid-range jumper and does have the ability to hit the 3 ball on occasion. Great upside and potential with work on his offensive skill set. 

(Ranked #22 in 2020 player rankings)

24. 6’3 Marquise Greene (Central East HS)

Nice handles, able to create off the dribble getting into the paint, good decision maker when attacking, gets downhill to the cup with efficiency, and had multiple 20 point games for the Grizzlies in their run to the Southern California D2 State Regional Championship Game. 

(Not ranked in 2020 player rankings)

25. 6’3 Jeremiah Simmons (Hoover HS)

Good size and strength to finish through contact at the rim, can stretch the floor effectively from 15+ feet, solid rebounder and has the handle to push the ball off the glass. 

(Not ranked in 2020 player rankings)

26. 5’10 Michael Pineda (Independence HS)

After missing the majority of his sophomore season due to injury while at GSA Prep, Pineda was a welcome addition to the Falcons’ roster. Pineda has good handles, can score from all 3 levels, locks in on defense, and is a tough minded lead guard that can play effectively on and off the ball. 

(Noteable player in 2020 player rankings)

27. 6’1 Diego Celaya (Clovis HS)

Shifty handles and moves, can knockdown the deep ball with efficiency, has good court vision, and had an electric showing against Bullard this past season going for 34 points. 

(Ranked #30 in 2020 player rankings)

28. 5’11 Jlen Slaughter (Golden Valley HS)

Lights out from the 3 point line, crafty moves and handles to create his own offense, good court vision, and moves off the ball nicely to get open for catch and shoot opportunities. The Bulldogs will have one of the best rosters on paper with the addition of Slaughter and playing alongside Dabbs will allow him to get more open looks, which is scary for opponents. 

(Ranked #34 in 2020 player rankings)

29. 6’1 Zach Hiebert (Bakersfield Christian HS)

Knockdown threat from beyond the arc, moves really well off the ball to get to his shot spots, improved handles and assertiveness on defense. He will be a key piece for the Eagles as they attempt to 3-peat for the Central Section Boys D3 Championship. 

(Ranked #15 in 2020 player rankings)

30. 6’2 Blake Dibble (Centennial HS)

Dibble can score effectively from all 3 levels, has crafty moves and handles to create off the dribble, and will be one of the veterans for the Golden Hawks this coming season on a relatively young roster.

(Ranked #33 in 2020 player rankings)

31. 6’4 Kemonte Jackson (Golden Valley HS)

Wing/slasher that has the size and length to shoot over smaller perimeter defenders, enough handle to get by bigger defenders, alters shots, rebounds well, and when he gets going from deep he is a real problem for opponents. Intriguing prospect.

(Ranked #24 in 2020 player rankings)

32. 6’ Ashlan Morris (Clovis HS)

Scores effectively from all 3 levels, shifty handles, can light it up from deep, has good court vision and makes plays when on the attack. Looking to have a bounce back senior season. 

(Ranked #18 in 2020 player rankings)

33. 6’2 Kenneth Eggleston (Ridgeview HS)

Rebounds well, is a good finisher at the rim, can spread the floor from deep, has a good mid-range shot, and can play bigger than his height on defense. 

(Ranked #21 in 2020 player rankings)

34. 6’6 Marques Greene (Central East HS)

Alters shots at the rim, rebounds well, good finisher at the rim and will be the anchor on the defensive end for the Grizzlies this upcoming season. 

(Not ranked in 2020 player rankings)

35. 6’3 Terrance Hall Jr. (San Joaquin Memorial HS)

Elite level defender, great athlete, physical build and capable of getting his own on offense when needed. Uses his skills and techniques from the football field to bring an edge to the basketball court. Key glue guy for the Panthers and will be needed to replace the likes of a defensive guru in Jalen Douglas. 

(Ranked #27 in 2020 player rankings)

36. 5’8 Jajuan King (Sunnyside HS)

Crafty point guard that has good handles, moves to create off the wing and can space the floor from deep. 

(Ranked #28 in 2020 player rankings)

37. 6’1 Ruben Singh (Ridgeview HS)

Good handles, nice use of hesitation to get defenders off balance, pretty shot from 15+ feet and is a volume scorer. Will have a chance to lead the Wolfpack this upcoming season with a young roster. 

(Ranked #29 in 2020 player rankings)

38. 5’11 Arnold Ochoa (Bakersfield HS)

Tough minded lead guard, fundamentally sounds, attacks downhill, makes good decisions with the ball in his hands, and amazing leadership skills. Ochoa will be tasked with leading the very youthful Drillers this coming year. 

(Ranked #36 in 2020 player rankings)

39. 6’1 Luke Olmstead (Coastal Christian HS)

Athletic and bouncy guard that is a threat from deep and moves well off the ball to get open for catch and shoot 3’s. 

(Not ranked in 2020 player rankings)

40. 5’11 Elijah Watson (Sunnyside HS)

Good handles and can light it up from beyond the arc. Had some big scoring performances this past season and is looking to have a standout senior campaign. 

(Not ranked in 2020 player rankings)

Notable Players:

6’2 Willie Johnson (Hoover HS)

6’2 Quinnton Ocampo (Bakersfield Christian)

6’1 D'Monte Moten (Independence HS)

6’ Caleb Hamilton (Liberty HS)

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