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Student Sports Underclass All-Americans

Dedric Lawson (pictured) and his older brother K.J. Lawson both made the 2013-14 Student Sports Underclass All-American team. The brothers will play next season at Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, Fla.). Photo: Ronnie Flores

Dedric Lawson (pictured) and his older brother K.J. Lawson both made the 2013-14 Student Sports Underclass All-American team. The brothers will play next season at Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, Fla.). Photo: Ronnie Flores

Class players of the year Ben Simmons (Juniors), Josh Jackson (Sophomores) and Jalek Felton (Freshmen) headline the 2013-14 Student Sports Underclass All-American team.

Simmons, Newman, Diallo Among Nation’s Best Underclassmen

Six juniors and two special sophomores already named Student Sports All-Americans headline a group of 70 elite players selected to the 2013-14 Student Sports Underclass All-American boys’ basketball team.

Headlining the 2013-14 Student Sports Underclass All-American watch list as the intense AAU summer season swings into full gear are junior forward Ben Simmons of Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.), this year’s National Junior Player of the Year, guard Malik Newman of Callaway (Jackson, Miss.) and forward Cheick Diallo of Our Savior New American (Centerreach, N.Y.).

All three were already named to the overall 2014 Student Sports All-American first team. Newman was last year’s National Sophomore of the Year.

The other three juniors players to earn All-American honors (second team) were clutch guard Jalen Brunson of Stevenson (Lincolnshire, Ill.), high-scoring guard Luke Kennard of Franklin (Franklin, Ohio) and junior center Ivan Rabb of Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.). Forward Josh Jackson of Consortium College Prep (Detroit) edged out fellow second team All-American Thon Maker of Carlisle School (Martinsville, Va.) and Jayson Tatum of Chaminade (St. Louis, Mo.) for national sophomore of the year honors.

This year’s sophomore All-American group has been expanded from 20 to 25 to reflect its standing as potentially the best class since the famed 2007 class that included names such as Mr. Basketball USA O.J. Mayo and NBA All-Stars Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, and James Harden, among many other standouts. Jackson is already considered among the nation’s best players regardless of class and the best of 2016 also includes fast-risers Dennis Smith Jr. of Trinity Christian (Fayetteville, N.C.) and Caleb Swanigan of Homestead (Fort Wayne, Ind.). It’s still too early to tell if the 2016 class will match the exploits of some of the recent great classes such as 2007 or 2004 as this summer will be key in the group’s development.

The six Student Sports All-Americans and 64 other underclass honorees all had standout campaigns for their high school teams and others are sure to emerge this summer as bona fide 2014-15 All-America candidates. Nearly every summer on the circuit, well-known players are eclipsed by lesser-known commodities, and every so often a prospect comes out of nowhere to emerge as a Mr. Basketball USA candidate.

It’s also becoming a yearly ritual for some Student Sports Underclass All-Americans to change programs. The only set of brothers on this year’s team, junior forward K.J. Lawson and sophomore forward Dedric Lawson will be at Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) for the 2014-15 season after previously attending Hamilton (Memphis, Tenn.). Freshman P. J. Washington has left Prime Prep (Dallas) and there are sure to be a few others who make a move this summer.

2013-14 Student Sports Underclass All-American Team

Juniors to Watch (2015)
G — KeVaughn Allen, North Little Rock (North Little Rock, Ark.) 6-3
G — Prince Ali, Sagemont (Weston, Fla.) 6-4
F — Esa Ahmad, Shaker Heights (Ohio) 6-7
G — Isaiah Briscoe, Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.) 6-3
F — Jaylen Brown, Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 6-5
G — Jalen Brunson, Stevenson (Lincolnshire, Ill.) 6-0
F — Thomas Bryant, Huntington St. Joseph Prep (Huntington, W. Va.) 6-9
G — Jalen Coleman, La Lumiere (La Porte, Ind.) 6-3
C — Deyonta Davis, Muskegon (Muskegon, Mich.) 6-9
G — Eric Davis, Arthur Hill (Saginaw, Mich.) 6-3
C — Cheick Diallo, Our Savior New American (Centereach, N.Y.) 6-9
G — Tyler Dorsey, St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) 6-5
G — Jawun Evans, Kimball (Dallas) 6-0
G — Admon Gilder, Madison (Dallas) 6-3
C — Alex Illikainen, Grand Rapids (Grand Rapids, Minn.) 6-9
F — Brandon Ingram, Kinston (Kinston, N.C.) 6-7
F — Chase Jeter, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) 6-11
G — Luke Kennard, Franklin (Franklin, Ohio) 6-5
F — K.J. Lawson, Hamilton (Memphis, Tenn.) 6-6
G — Shake Milton, Owasso (Owasso, Okla.) 6-4
G — De’Jounte Murray, Rainier Beach (Seattle) 6-5
G — Malik Newman, Callaway (Jackson, Miss.) 6-2
C — Ivan Rabb, Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.) 6-9
G — Josh Reaves, Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) 6-3
G — Kendall Small, Mayfair (Lakewood, Calif.) 6-0
F — Ray Smith, Las Vegas (Las Vegas) 6-7
C — Diamond Stone, Dominican (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) 6-10
G — Stephen Thompson Jr., Bishop Montgomery (Torrance, Calif.) 6-2
G — Allonzo Trier, Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) 6-4
C — Stephen Zimmerman, Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) 6-10

2014 National Junior of the Year: Ben Simmons

Sophomores to Watch (2016)
C — Edrice Adebayo, Northside (Pinetown, N.C.) 6-9
C — Udoka Azubuike, Potter’s House Christian (Jacksonville, Fla.) 6-10
G — Lonzo Ball, Chino Hills (Chino Hills, Calif.) 6-4
G — Tyus Battle, Gill St. Bernard’s (Gladstone, N.J.) 6-5
G — Mike Bibby Jr., Shadow Mountain (Phoenix, Ariz.) 6-1
F — Braxton Blackwell, Christ Presbyterian Academy (Nashville, Tenn.) 6-7
C — Michael Cage Jr., Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) 6-10
C — Juwan Durham, Tampa Prep (Tampa, Fla.) 6-9
G — Alterique Gilbert, Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.) 5-10
G — Frank Jackson, Lone Peak (Highland, Utah) 6-1
F — Josh Jackson, Consortium College Prep (Detroit) 6-7
F — V.J. King, St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) 6-6
G — Josh Langford, Madison Academy (Madison, Ala.) 6-5
F — Dedric Lawson, Hamilton (Memphis, Tenn.) 6-7
C — Thon Maker, Carlisle School (Martinsville, Va.) 7-0
G — Malik Monk, Bentonville (Bentonville, Ark.) 6-3
G — Payton Pritchard, West Linn (West Linn, Ore.) 6-1
G — Devearl Ramsey, Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) 5-9
F — Maverick Rowan, Lincoln Park Performing Arts (Midland, Pa.) 6-6
G — Dennis Smith Jr., Trinity Christian (Fayetteville, N.C.) 6-2
C — Trevor Stanback, Chaminade (West Hills, Calif.) 6-10
C — Caleb Swanigan, Homestead (Fort Wayne, Ind.) 6-9
G — Jayson Tatum, Chaminade (St. Louis, Mo.) 6-7
G — Derryck Thornton Jr., Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) 6-1
G — Seventh Woods, Hammond (Columbia, S.C.) 6-1

2014 National Sophomore of the Year: Josh Jackson

Freshmen to Watch (2017)
F — Mitch Ballock, Eudora (Eudora, Kan.) 6-5
F — Brian Bowen, Hill (Saginaw, Mich.) 6-6
G — Troy Brown, Centennial (Las Vegas, Nev.) 6-6
C — Zach Brown, Miami Beach (Miami, Fla.) 7-0
F — David Caraher, Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, N.C.) 6-6
G — Matt Coleman, Maury (Norfolk, Va.) 6-1
G — Jalek Felton, Mullins (Mullins, S.C.) 6-2
G — Markus Howard, Perry (Gilbert, Ariz.) 5-11
G — Conner McCafffery, Iowa City West (Iowa City, Iowa) 6-4
G — Michael Porter, Father Tolton (Columbia, Mo.) 6-5
F — Cody Riley, Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) 6-7
G — Marcus Shaver, St. Mary’s (Phoenix, Ariz.) 6-1
F — James “M.J.” Walker Jr., Jonesboro (Jonesboro, Ga.) 6-5
G — Jarred Vanderbilt, Victory Prep (Houston) 6-7
F — P. J. Washington, Prime Prep (Dallas) 6-8

2014 Freshman Player of the Year: Jalek Felton

Note: ESPN selections 2010-2012; EA SPORTS selections 2003-2009; Student Sports selections prior to 2003; Selections are based on high school accomplishment, not future college/pro potential, and are reflective of those that lead their teams to state championships. The editors of StudentSports.com do not knowingly select fifth-year players, and those ineligible due to age or academics, Mr. Basketball USA or to its various All-American teams.

Ronnie Flores is the Publisher and Editor of GrassrootsHoops.net. He can be reached at ronlocc1977@yahoo.com. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @RonMFlores

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