We are just one week away from a new ESPN 100 in the class of 2015, and that means there could be a new top-ranked player in the country.
While our team at RecruitingNation has deliberated for weeks on this subject, it never hurts to get a unique perspective, and who better to offer that than the players themselves.
With that in mind I polled 12 of the top players in the class -- Ivan Rabb, Ben Simmons, Malik Newman, Henry Ellenson, Stephen Zimmerman, Cheick Diallo, Jaylen Brown, Brandon Ingram, Chase Jeter, Antonio Blakeney, Allonzo Trier, and Isaiah Briscoe -- asking each of them who they considered to be the No. 1 player in the class.
The only caveat was that players weren’t allowed to vote for themselves. That was enough to stump Briscoe, who couldn’t pinpoint anyone other than himself sitting atop the class.
Of the eleven other voters, six chose Simmons, making him the runaway winner. The LSU-bound forward drew wide-ranging praise from his peers, who noted both his physical tools and increasing versatility.
"He can do everything. He’s really un-guardable, he just has to be more selfish sometimes," said Blakeney, his summer teammate with E1T1. "If he has a guard on him he’s going to use his power. If he has a big on him he’s going to use his speed. I don’t think it’s even close, to be honest."
Rabb and Briscoe tied for second place, both finishing with two votes.
Rabb, the incumbent top-ranked player in the class, earned votes from two players he went head-to-head with on the EYBL circuit -- Diallo and Ellenson -- and Briscoe was the choice of both Simmons and Jeter.
Newman was the only other player to receive a vote.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that Brown didn’t receive a single vote coming off his huge summer, although Trier noted, "I think you got to give it to Ben, but it’s real close between him and Jaylen."
The second part of our poll asked players which of their classmates they would most like to team up with at the next level, and though it was clear there wouldn’t be the same package deal phenomena that characterized the 2014 class, there was still plenty of interesting opinions.
Though Simmons was the clear choice as the top player in the class, he didn’t get a single vote in this category. Instead, the opinions were scattered with Briscoe, Rabb, and Diamond Stone all getting two votes, with Jeter, Blakeney, Diallo, Zimmerman, Ingram, and Nick Noskowiak also earning votes.
Newman predictably identified Stone as the player he would most like to play with. Perhaps the biggest surprise was that Briscoe and Blakeney picked each other, though Blakeney was quick to stop any talk of a package deal before it started.
Conspiracy theorists could be more intrigued by the fact that Ellenson named his AAU teammate with Playground Elite, Noskowiak, as the guy he would most like to play with. That is noteworthy because Noskowiak has already committed to Marquette, which is among the final three for Ellenson.
The consistent praise for Briscoe and Rabb in answers to both questions was equally noteworthy. For Rabb, it’s less of a surprise given his consistent spot among the nation’s top prospects over the years, but for Briscoe, who was most recently ranked 20th overall in the class, it’s clear his peers not only hold him in a higher esteem following his performance at the EYBL Finals, but also consider him to be a point guard.
"He’s a scorer, but he finds people, too," Blakeney said. "He’s a real good point guard."
Will the players’ opinions echo the observations of the RecruitingNation scouts? Only time will tell, and right now there are exactly seven days left on the clock.