The 2013 class is one of the most heralded in recent memory (or else it just seems that way due to last year’s lackluster crop) with Andrew Wiggins entering the season as perhaps the best wing prospect since Kevin Durant, followed by Julius Randle and Jabari Parker, who may be more ready for college basketball than either Wiggins or Randle.
But beyond the top prospects, there are a lot of very intriguing lower ranked prospects as well. Today we’ll highlight five guys who you should be keeping an eye on, or be very happy to have if you’re a fan of one of their teams.
Nigel Williams-Goss, Washington
I am cheating a bit for a couple of these, as they’re ranked in the top 40 guys in their class according to Rivals, but I had to in order to be able to talk about Williams-Goss. He has great size for a guard, standing 6’3” with a 6’6” wingspan, and in watching tape of him playing for Findlay Prep he really knew how to use it well. What’s more, he was far more mature than pretty much everyone else in his class, and looked more like a seasoned college point guard than high school Senior. He’s not the most athletic guy in the class and there are questions about his outside shot, but that could just serve to keep him at Washington longer, giving the Huskies a guy who could be the best guard in the country as soon as next year.
Eric Mika, BYU
Ranked 49th according to Rivals, Mika is an athletic 6’9”, 220 lbs but can score based on more than his athleticism, flashing a midrange jumper and a good turnaround (via DraftExpress). Mika has struggled defensively so far, but a year of development in college will help him think the game a little better and should have him reacting and more able to use his size on that end. The real payoff, though, will come a few years down the road: As a member of the Church of Latter Day Saints, Mika will leave for two years on his mission before returning to the team as a 21 year old Sophomore, eventually giving the Cougars a player who is not only talented, but physically mature as well.
Kennedy Meeks, North Carolina
Maybe the most underrated guy on this list as Rivals’ 57th ranked player, Meeks stands 6’9” and has a wingspan of more than 7 feet. His basketball IQ is incredibly high and he’s possibly the best passing big man in his class. His main question mark is his conditioning, as he weighs well north of 300 pounds and is going to have to lose some weight in order to play big minutes. Fortunately his college coach isn’t averse to running and barring health/genetics issues I think he’ll get his weight down and be a potential All-American in a year or two.
Conner Frankamp, Kansas
Frankamp is probably the best pure shooter in the class, having won the three point contest at last year’s Final Four and has already shown that off at Kansas, making 5 threes in a scrimmage earlier this year. He’s grown his offensive arsenal beyond just being a standstill jumper, as he surpassed now teammate Perry Ellis as the leading scorer in Wichita City League history. What sold me on Frankamp, however, was him leading the 2012 Under 17 team in scoring en route to a World Championship.
Sindarius Thornwell, South Carolina
As a top 50 recruit who committed to South Carolina, Thornwell is one of the Gamecocks’ most important players in recent memory. A good showing by him in Columbia can help attract more recruits and eventually get the program turned around. As a player, Thornwell won’t wow with his athleticism, but he has a big wingspan which will help him defensively and allow him to score at the rim. He doesn’t have blazing speed but he has a good enough first step and shoots it well enough so defenses have to respect him.