How would you construct the ultimate high school hoops powerhouse?
Do you begin with a high-scoring wing or grab one of the premier big men to run the offense through? Do you roll with a pass-first point guard or hand the reins over to a scoring floor general in the mold of a Russell Westbrook? Do you value a lockdown perimeter defender over a shot-erasing post?
After yesterday's new player rankings for the Class of 2013 and 2014 were released, the ESPNHS hoops staff, with an assist from recruiting gurus Dave Telep and Paul Biancardi and highly touted rising senior guards Tyler Ennis of St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.) and Nate Britt III of Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.), set out to answer these questions via our hoops mock draft. The rules are simple: each GM selected a starting 5 and one reserve from the rising senior and junior classes.
Take a look at how the draft played out and let us know which squad would have the best shot at winning a national title below.
Team Britt (@NateTheeeGreat)
G — Nate Britt, Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)
G — Aaron Harrison, Travis (Houston)
F — Andrew Wiggins, Huntington Prep, (Huntington, W.V.)
F — Noah Vonleh, New Hampton School (Haverhill, Mass.)
C — Kennedy Meeks, West Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C.)
Sixth Man — Allerik Freeman, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
GM's Breakdown: We would play an uptempo game, UNC style. We got Meeks inside; he's one of the best rebounders and outlet men in the country. He'll outlet to me and Aaron, and we can get it to Andrew and Noah. Freeman is a knock down 3-point shooter. Aaron and I like to get to the basket and Andrew can get to the basket whenever he wants. SportsCenter plays? Yes. All type of dunks, especially with Andrew. On D, our starting 5 is a big lineup. Meeks is a big body and can block shots. Noah is versatile and can guard 4s and 5s and Andrew is athletic. Aaron is a big 2, and I think I'm a pretty good on-ball defender.
Telep's Team Touchscreen (@DaveTelep)
G — Tyus Jones, Apple Valley (Minn.)
G — Emmanuel Mudiay, Grace Prep (Arlington, Texas)
F — Jabari Parker, Simeon (Chicago)
F — Bobby Portis, Hall (Little Rock, Ark.)
C — Dakari Johnson, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)
Sixth man —Nick Emery, Lone Peak (Highland, Utah)
GM's Brakdown: Now I know what the Cowboys felt like when they pulled off the Herschel Walker deal and robbed the Minnesota Vikings. There's a certain euphoria that comes with the turf when you pull off a heist of this magnitude. Ask Fran Fraschilla. Ask Chad Ford. I'm trying to get Jay Bilas to NOT tweet about my team but they all know: it's the real deal! Let me tell you about these Punishers. All Parker does is win championships. USA Basketball's Player of the Year and the Gatorade POY with the second pick? Then the best point guard in HS basketball, Tyus Jones, was still on the board at No. 11. My counterparts were asleep at the wheel while this juggernaut was being put together. Mudiay, Portis and Johnson round out my five. The Jones-to-Parker hookup is at least Stockton and Malone-esque. Those guys are great players, big time talents. However, when it came time to take a sixth man, there was no way Emery wasn't getting the call. Junior Jimmer is my Vinnie Johnson (for you under-30 kids that's "The Microwave," a huge scorer and sixth man from the Pistons title teams).
Auguste's Team Ball So Hard (@DAugusteESPN)
G — Andrew Harrison, Travis (Houston)
G — Matt Jones, DeSoto (Texas)
F — Brannen Greene, Tift County (Tifton, Ga.)
F — Jimmie Taylor, Greensboro (Ala.)
C — Trayvon Reed, Shiloh (Snellville, Ga.)
Sixth Man — Troy Williams, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.)
GM's Breakdown: Great teams feature great play in the backcourt, and my squad features a four-guard rotation blessed with height, instincts, length and crazy scoring abilities. I'd like to see how many of these guy's 6-foot-1 point guards will be able to defend 6-foot-5 Harrison without bringing some help. And once they get sick of being abused by Andrew (and trust me, that will be the case), they'll have to bring an extra man. That's fine. Because my boy can dish the rock to prolific wing scorers in Greene and Williams, and to the best sniper in the nation (hands down) in Jones aka Jesus Shuttlesworth 2.0. My bigs may not be as heralded as say a Dakari Johnson or an Aaron Gordon, but they're both athletic, versatile guys who run the floor and board in addition to blocking shots. And I haven't even mentioned bringing in a near-20-point scorer off the bench. Now tell me, who wants to test this squad?
Grimala's Team Lottery (@MGrimalaESPN)
G — Billy Garrett, Jr., Morgan Park (Chicago)
G — Jabari Bird, Salesian (Richmond, Calif.)
F — Trey Lyles, Arsenal Tech (Indianapolis)
F — Aaron Gordon, Archbishop Mitty (San Jose)
C — Jahlil Okafor, Whitney Young (Chicago)
Sixth Man — Wayne Selden, Tilton (Tilton, N.H.)
GM's Breakdown: I've put together the biggest, baddest team in this competition. I've got the best big man in Okafor, a stud power forward in Lyles and a super-sized SF in Gordon. That trio will pulverize opponents on the boards, and my backcourt of 6-foot-5 Garrett and 6-foot-6 Bird can bang, too. Throw in swingman Selden as my James Harden off the bench, and we can play big or small. If we slow it down, we can throw it to Okafor, the best low-post scorer in the country. If we get out on the break, I have two of the country's best above-the-rim finishers in Gordon and Bird. I may not have elite shooters on the perimeter, but with Okafor, Lyles and Gordon under the basket, I almost WANT my guards to miss shots -- those misses become easy putbacks for the best frontcourt in the nation. My team of grinders wouldn't win pretty, but we'd win -- against anyone.
Ennis' Team Canada (@tdot_ennis)
G — Tyler Ennis, St. Benedict's Prep (Newark, N.J.)
G — James Young, Troy (Troy, Mich.)
F — Rondae Jefferson, Chester (Chester, Penn.)
F — Julius Randle, Prestonwood Christian Academy (Dallas)
C — BeeJay Anya, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.)
Sixth Man — Stanley Johnson, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
GM's breakdown: We would probably go with the run-and-gun. Everyone is athletic and everybody will like to run. They can all score. On D, I think we'll be able to guard anyone. If not, we'll go zone since everyone is tall and long. Our length will be crazy. James Young would be our best shooter and Stanley is solid off the bench because he can score, rebound and do the little things. We would have all the pieces: shooting, rebounding and leadership. We would finish No. 1, for sure.
Coach B's Team (@PaulBiancardi)
G — Kasey Hill, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.)
G — Justin Jackson, Home-schooled (Houston)
F —Isaiah Hicks, Webb (Oxford, N.C.)
F — Chris Walker, Holmes County (Bonifay, Fla.)
C — Moses Kingsley, New Albany (Miss.)
Sixth Man — Keith Frazier, Kimball (Dallas)
GM's Breakdown: The most important position on the floor is the point, and with Hill, we may have one of the best in high school. We will utilize him as the primary ball handler with the green light to break off any set play. The strength of our team is our pure shooters (Frazier and Jackson), who we can put on the floor and stretch out any defense. We plan on pushing it hard with Hill and letting our shooters spot up in various spots. In the half court, we will run various types of pick and roll/pop action as well as some set plays. Look for us to utilize our shooters in off-ball screening action (down screens, flare screens and back screens) to create open looks. Our bigs can take opposing bigs off the bounce or facing up at the mid-post area. Defensively, we must speed up the game with some trapping, and because we are not overly big, use some zone in the half court.