Victoria Vivians, who led the nation in scoring, moves into the top 10 of the 2014 Full Court Fresh 50. (Photo by Kelly Kline)
Victoria Vivians, who led the nation in scoring, moves into the top 10 of the 2014 Full Court Fresh 50. (Photo by Kelly Kline)

The latest on the Class of 2014: Updated Fresh 50 rankings

Publisher
May 31, 2013 - 4:45pm

After evaluating the talented players in the 2014 Full Court Fresh 50 over the high school season and spring viewing period, our scouting staff has, as a group, updated the rankings. As always, your feedback, comments and opinions are welcome in our Forum.

At the top

We had a very heated debate among our five national scouts (Clay Kallam, Bob Corwin, Kelvin Powell, Kelly Kline and Dan Olson) about who deserves to be ranked No. 1, Brianna Turner or Aja Wilson. Both players had very strong high school seasons and both dominated for their AAU teams during the April viewing weekend. Since there wasn’t a group consensus to move either player up or down, we agreed to keep them the same, which meant Turner stayed on top.

Turner, who has been doing some workouts with NBA trainer John Lucas, has gotten stronger, faster and  more agile with her footwork over time, with excellent post moves and counters. She can work with her back to the basket, has a consistent face-up game and is becoming more and more comfortable handling the ball in transition. Meanwhile, at 6-5, Wilson also continues to be impressive at the guard spot with ballhandling and shooting skills that are rarely seen at her size.  She can easily play at any position on the floor and has college coaches thinking she will be the next Elena Delle Donne. If she can continue to hone her guard skills and become more automatic and extend her stroke, she will undoubtedly take over the top spot here …

We’ll be watching all summer… the pressure, though, is on Turner, who made a splash last week when she verbally committed to Notre Dame.

Rising Stock

No. 6 Victoria Vivians (moved up from No. 11)

Vivians is a scoring machine who led the nation in points per game this year, putting up a total of 1,470 points, at a staggering average of 39.7 per game. She can score from anywhere on the floor in the halfcourt, and if you D her up too close, she'll take you to the basket. She led Scott Central to state championship and was named the Mississippi Player of the Year.

No. 9 Ariel Atkins (in the Fresh 50 for the first time)

Some players go big or go home, which is exactly what Ariel Atkins did. The Texas commit was not ranked previously in the 2014 Fresh 50, but her outstanding season for Duncanville vaulted her into our top 10. Atkins led the Pantherettes to an undefeated season and a No. 1 national ranking by averaging 22 points, 8 rebounds, 8 steals and 5 assists per game. For her efforts, she was named the Texas Gatorade Player of the Year. Simmie Colson, our Texas evaluator, says Atkins is the best player in the state of Texas, a statement that’s sure to stir up some conversation.

No. 12 Shakayla Thomas (moved up from No. 16)

While this isn't a big jump, Thomas is certainly deserving of inching up the rankings. She had an impressive season for Sylacauga High School in Alabama, where she averaged 33 points, 16 rebounds and 5 assists per game. In January she notched her 3,000th career point and was also named the Alabama 5A Player of the Year. This spring she performed exceptionally well at the Deep South Classic and the led her team to a championship at the Tennessee Miracle Tournament in Franklin.

No. 16 Mikayla Venson (moved up from No. 21)

Venson suffered a serious concussion her sophomore season and has yet to return to the court but she has been working out exceptionally hard with a trainer. We were concerned her lack of scholastic playing time would have her behind schedule, but her superb showing at Boo Williams, where she led Team Takeover to the U16 championship, squashed any of our doubts. In fact, her passing ability, court vision and deadly shot behind the arc have her stock on the rise.

No. 19 Taylor Rooks (moved up from No. 31)

Rooks has separated herself from the middle of the pack this season by consistenly showing she is one of the best small forwards in the north east. The 6-1 junior led Gill St. Bernard's to a 23-5 record and the New Jersey Non-Public B championship game, averaging 27.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.2 steals, 2.1 assists and 1.7 blocked shots per game. She was named a first team all-state selection and the New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year. Even better, she performed exceptionally well at Boo Williams against the nation's top players.

No. 27 Natalie Romeo (in Fresh 50 for the first time)

Romeo is making her debut in the Fresh 50 after making the all-tournament team at Boo Williams for the Cal Stars Nike Elite, but Romeo's stock as one of the best point guards on the West Coast was rising prior to that due to her outstanding season with Carondelet High School, where she averaged 21.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 6.3 steals per game, leading the Cougars to a 27-4 record and an appearance in the California Open Division semifinals.

Falling Stock

No. 21 Recee Caldwell (previously No. 11)

Caldwell abruptly quit her high school team just prior to verbally committing to UCLA.  While there is no doubt Caldwell will be able to step in and be an impact player for the Bruins, the notion that high school basketball doesn't matter is false. Yes, we know Caldwell is working out hard in the gym and playing AAU, but nothing can replace live in-game scholastic competition. The state of Texas has the deepest talent pool in the nation and missing the opportunity to go head-to-head against players from across the state is missing an opportunity to get better. Plus, not playing scholastic basketball elimates a player from major accolades such as the McDonald's All-American Game and Gatorade Player of the Year honors.  Caldwell is capable of this type of national recognition, but not if she doesn't play.

No. 22 Alyssa Rice (previously No. 13)

As a 6-3 center, Rice has good size, mobility and touch around the rim, but has underachieved by shying away from physical contact. She is a major Division I  prospect, but if she wants to reach elite status, she must toughen up and get comforable taking contact. This season, she averaged 12 points and 7.4 rebounds per game and helped Reynoldsburg get to the Ohio State championship game where they lost to rival Twinsburg.

No. 35 Bianca Cuevas (previously No. 9)

In February, Cuevas, a BCS level recruit for Nazareth High School in New York City, was suspended for the remainder of the season after two separate fighting incidents during basketball games. Cuevas' inability to keep her composure will now have many top programs reconsidering. This summer it will be critical for Cuevas to show she has learned and grown from this experience. She must go the extra mile and show sincere, positive behavior both on and off the court, otherwise her abilities as one of the top slashing point guards with a deadly three-pointer will fall to a midmajor that is willing to take on a public relations risk. 

Complete list of movement

  1. Brianna Turner – Same
  2. Aja Wilson – Same
  3. Jordin Canada – Same
  4. Kelsey Mitchell – Same
  5. Jatarie White – Moved UP from No. 6
  6. Victoria Vivians – Moved UP from No. 11
  7. Azura Stephens – Same
  8. Gabby Green – Same
  9. Ariel Atkins – In the Fresh 50 for the first time
  10. Sierra Calhoun – Same
  11. LaJahna Drummer – Moved DOWN from No. 5
  12. Shakayla Thomas  - Moved UP from No. 16
  13. Gabby Williams – In the Fresh 50 for the first time
  14. Lynee Belton – Same
  15. Jamie Nared – Same
  16. Mikayla Venson – Moved UP from No. 21
  17. McKenzie Calvert – Same
  18. Brook McCarty - Moved UP from No. 22
  19. Taylor Rooks – Moved UP from No. 31
  20. Gabrielle Ortiz – Same
  21. Recee Caldwell – Moved DOWN from No. 11
  22. Alyssa Rice – Moved DOWN from No.13
  23. Aliyah Huland-El – Moved UP from No. 27
  24. Myisha Hines-Allen – Moved UP from No. 30
  25. Mariya Moore – Moved DOWN from No. 19
  26. Kaydra Duckett - Same
  27. Natalie Romeo – In the Fresh 50 for the first time
  28. Monique Billings -Same
  29. Zaire O’Neil - Same
  30. Kelli Hayes – Moved DOWN from No. 18
  31. Kenisha Bell – Moved DOWN from No. 23
  32. Courtney Ekmark - Same
  33. Alexa Middleton - Same
  34. Katelynn Flaherty - Same
  35. Bianca Cuevas – Moved DOWN from No. 9
  36. Katheryn Westbeld - Same
  37. MacKenzie Engram - Same
  38. Sadie Edwards - Same
  39. Mychal Johnson - Same
  40. Mikayla Cowling – Moved DOWN from No. 25
  41. Christa Reed - Same
  42. Abrianna Porter - Same
  43. Asia Doss – Moved UP from No. 47
  44. Jamie Cherry - Same
  45. Dekeiya Cohen - Same
  46. Erica Moore - Same
  47. Mikayla Waterman – IN the Fresh 50 for the first time
  48. Sydney Brackemyre – Moved DOWN from No. 35
  49. Brittany McPhee - Same
  50. Kaylee Paige – Moved DOWN from No. 48

Dropped out

Rhamat Alhassan – previously No. 24 (signed volleyball scholarship with FSU); Krista King – previously No. 40; Brielle Blair – previously No. 43; Khaleann and Audreyann Caron- Goudreau – previously No. 50.

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