ESPN released their class of 2023 top 60 rankings Tuesday night, and eight of the 60 prospects are from the lone star state. Many collegiate and NBA scouts think that the class of ’23 could be one the best classes a decade from now.
#6 Ron Holland, Duncanville HS– Is there a prospect in the class of ’23 that has won more basketball games than Ron Holland? Over the past seven months, Holland won state, played in the Nike EYBL Peach Jam championship game, and won a gold medal for Team USA 16U. Holland had an incredible summer by averaging 18.2 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and one steal per game in North Augusta (GA). Not to mention for Team USA, he averaged 19 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.5 steals, 1.2 blocks while shooting 65.3 percent from the field. By the end of the year, I expect the 6-foot- 9 forward from Duncanville (TX) will be a top-three player in the class.
#19 Ja’Kobe Walter, McKinney HS– With a combination of elite shotmaking and high basketball IQ, Walters is arguably the best scorer not only in the state but in the entire class. Offensively he’s very advanced as he displayed all summer long his long-range, ability to stop on a dime and use pivot feet to make an array of shots. He really stood out to me at the TABC Showcase when he matched up against top-60 junior Wesley Yates. The star-studded matchup included a barrage of buckets for both prospects, but when Walter took it up a notch he was too much to handle, which lead to McKinney blowing out the state champs of Beaumont United.
#28 Chris Johnson, Fort Bend Elkins– A versatile playing-making guard with high-level athletic ability. When engaged, he is an elite defender and can impose his will on opposing ball-handlers. The 6-foot-4, 185-pound shooting guard from Missouri City (TX) has a great work ethic and that will fare him well as a collegiate prospect. Johnson’s feel for the game sets him apart from a lot of prospects in his class as he only wants to get better and play at a high level.
#38 RJ Jones, John Paul II– The most underrated prospect in the state is RJ Jones. As a sophomore, he was a 40/50/90 guy while averaging 20 points per game. It is rare to see a prospect at that age with a high level of efficiency. Jones really separated himself this summer by making the top-30 at the Pangos All-American camp, showcasing his full skillset as a passer in big tournaments, averaging over 13 points at the Peach Jam, and scoring 29 points at the Pangos All-American Festival.
#40 Jacolb Cole, Bellaire– If Jacolb Cole puts it all together, he will be a top 25 player in the country. With his unique skill set of size, skill, and athleticism, Cole has college coaches eager to bring him into their program. His ability to create his own shot at 6-foot-8 or defend all five positions is uncanny. His long-term upside is arguably the highest in the state. Cole is 1 of 3 prospects on this list to be invited to the Team USA U16 camp this summer.
#47 Jamyron Keller, Ellison– Many evaluators look over Keller as a prospect, but he has game and deserves to be talked about more. When the lights come on, he makes winning plays over and over again. The 6-foot-1 prospect is the most athletic point guard in the state and overwhelms opponents with his physical style of play. Despite losing the Peach Jam championship game, he made big free throws to extend the game to overtime, scored 15 points, and was dominant defensively.
#48 K.J. Lewis, Chapin– The fourth player from Drive Nation on this is K.J. Lewis. Lewis has great long-term upside and showcased that he’s not just a scorer, but an initiate the offense. Many college programs are impressed with his potential as a defensive player. Lewis also played well in the championship game by chipping in 19 points, six rebounds, four assists in 34 minutes.
#56 Wesley Yates, Beaumont United– One of the hottest recruits in the class is Wesley Yates. As a sophomore, he won state and was Beaumont United’s second-leading scorer. He followed that up with a great summer by being the EYBL’s second-leading scorer at 20 points per game. Yates is a strong-bodied scorer that can get hot from three-point range with the best of them. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound guard can be used on and off the ball as a reliable playmaker. Defensively, he’s a physical defender and overpowers his matchup.