Mr. Basketball USA Ben Simmons, repeat selection Cheick Diallo, and state champions Isaiah Briscoe, Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown highlight 21st annual Grassroots Hoops All-American team. Elite honor squad includes 20-man first team and 30-man second team.
The 2014-15 Grassroots Hoops All-American elite team includes 44 of the nation’s best seniors, led by Mr. Basketball USA Ben Simmons of FAB 50 No. 1 Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.).
Seventeen seniors and two juniors, including National Junior of the Year Harry Giles III of Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.), headline the 20-player overall first team.
A 30-player second team, which includes two additional juniors, has been chosen. In the 21 years of publishing our annual All-American team (we have retroactive teams dating back to the 1954-55 season), Marvin Bagley III of FAB 50 No. 14 Corona del Sol (Tempe, Ariz.) is the first freshman ever selected to the elite team. He was a second team selection.
The class player of the year among tenth-graders is center DeAndre Ayton of Balboa City School (San Diego, Calif.), a second five All-American. Ayton was the only tenth-grader to make the first or second team.
Editor Ronnie Flores selected this performance-based squad with input from Mr. Basketball USA panelists.
2014-15 Grassroots Hoops All-American First Team
G — Isaiah Briscoe, Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.) 6-3 Sr.
Big-game player closed the season in excellent fashion, leading Roselle Catholic to the New Jersey Tournament of Champions title with 27 points, six rebounds, five steals and two assists in the title game. For the season, Briscoe averaged 20.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game for the No. 24 team in the FAB 50. Arguably the nation’s most physically dominant guard, Briscoe can overpower defenders or beat them with crafty moves around the basket. This Kentucky recruit had 22 points and six assists in the Jordan Brand Classic in front of a partisan crowd.
F — Jaylen Brown, Wheeler (Marietta, Ga.) 6-7 Sr.
Led Wheeler to the Georgia Class AAAAAA title with a 30-2 record and No. 12 FAB 50 rating. Brown came through in the clutch, canning 12-of-12 free throws and scoring 25 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to lead the Wildcats to the City of Palms Tournament title and handing mythical national champion Montverde Academy its only loss in the process. He also nailed two free throws with under a second remaining to lift his team in the AAAAAA title game. The nation’s best athlete among elite players, the state all-class player of the year averaged 28 points and 12 rebounds per game. He’s also the highest rated recruit out of Georgia since Dwight Howard was the No. 1 pick of the 2004 NBA Draft out of Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy.
F — Ben Simmons, Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.) 6-9 Sr.
This year’s Mr. Basketball USA is the first consensus choice since LeBron James 12 years ago. Now, does that mean he’s the best high school player since LeBron? No, but his dominance over his peers from a team perspective cannot be underestimated. He played on teams that won three consecutive mythical national titles and was the difference maker in the big games the past two seasons. Bound for LSU, this repeat first five selection averaged 27.1 points, 11.6 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game this past season.
F — Cheick Diallo, Our Savior New American (Centereach, N.Y.) 6-9 Sr.
Ever since he burst onto the scene at the Tarkanian Classic as a freshman, Diallo has been the best true four-man in his class. He still needs to work on his offensive repertoire, but in terms of blocking shots and running the floor to finish or clean up on the boards, it’s hard to find a better player in the country. A two-time Gatorade State Player of the Year, Diallo averaged 17.6 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks for a 22-12 team. A repeat selection who moves up from the second five, Diallo showed his worth with 18 points and 10 rebound in 17 minutes at the McDonald’s All-American Game and with a MVP performance (26 points, 11 rebounds) at the Jordan Brand Classic.
C — Ivan Rabb, Bishop O’Dowd (Oakland, Calif.) 6-11 Sr.
Capped a memorable senior season by nailing a free throw to hand O’Dowd its first CIF state title since 1981, a year before the state tourney went to a North vs. South format. O’Dowd played a national schedule and this CAL recruit performed well against stiff competition, going for 24 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks versus Jaylen Brown and Wheeler, 28 points and 20 rebounds versus FAB 50-ranked Bishop Gorman and with 19 points, 21 rebounds and two blocks versus FAB 50-ranked Mater Dei in the CIF open state title game. The CalHiSports.com Mr. Basketball averaged 18 points per game for a team that finished ranked No. 4 in the country.
G — Jalen Brunson, Stevenson (Lincolnshire, Ill.) 6-0 Sr.
This Villanova signee moves up from the second team after leading Stevenson to the Illinois Class 4A state crown. The son of 1991 McDonald’s All-American Rick Brunson (Temple), Jalen Brunson had 7 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in this year’s McDonald’s Game, in addition to seven assists in the Nike Hoop Summit and a 11-point, 3-assist, 3-steal performance in the Jordan Brand Classic. A four-year standout, Brunson averaged 21.1 ppg in his high school career and finished with senior season norms of 23.3 points, 5.3 assists, 4.7 rebounds and 2.6 steals for the No. 20 team in the FAB 50.
G — Malik Newman, Callaway (Jackson, Miss.) 6-3 Sr.
A repeat selection, Newman was already beloved in his home state of Mississippi for leading Callaway to four consecutive MHSAA Class 5A state titles. When he decided to stay home and play for Mississippi State, the Magnolia State rejoiced. As a senior, he averaged 29.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game for a 31-3 team that finished No. 11 in the FAB 50. For his career, the shooting guard finished with 3,108 points, 651 rebounds, 301 assists and 195 steals as Callaway went 114-16. A two-time state Mr. Basketball and a three-time Clarion-Ledger Dandy Dozen selection, Newman is the most highly-acclaimed player from Mississippi since 2005 Mr. Basketball USA Monta Ellis of Jackson Lanier.
F — Dwayne Bacon, Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 6-6 Sr.
Had an outstanding senior campaign, playing himself into a McDonald’s All-American selection after transferring in from McKeel Academy in Lakeland, Fla. He led Oak Hill to the nation’s No. 2 ranking and a 46-2 on-court record with averages of 24.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.2 steals per game. One of the nation’s best offensive players, he scored a combined 20 points in the McDonald’s All-American and Jordan Brand Classic all-star games. The MVP of the Bass Pro TOC, Oak Hill coach Steve Smith calls Bacon his best offensive player since 2008 Mr. Basketball USA Brandon Jennings.
F — Harry Giles III, Wesleyan Christian Academy (High Point, N.C.) 6-10 Jr.
Had an honor-filled junior campaign after missing his sophomore season with a ACL injury. When he’s on his game, as he was in most big games this season, Giles is as dominant a frontcourt player as there is in the country. Named the Grassroots Hoops National Junior of the Year, Giles averaged 23.9 points and 12.5 rebounds per game for a team that finished No. 7 in the FAB 50. The scary thing about Giles’ performances is he’s still rounding into form from his injury and will likely be even more explosive as a senior.
C — DeAndre Ayton, Balboa City School (San Diego, Calif.) 7-0 Soph.
Ayton is a bit short on high school experience, but he’s long on talent. In fact, some respected prep evaluators feel this Bahamian native could have the most long-term potential of any player in high school basketball. It’s rare in this day and age to find a player his size have the coordination and athleticism he possesses. Ayton is more than just potential, however, as he averaged 21.1 points, 16.0 rebounds, 3.8 blocks, 2.6 assists and 1.6 steals for a private institution that plays against prep school and academy program competition. Ayton is efficient around the basket (63 percent shooting percentage) and is a big-time rebounder and shot blocker.
G — Lonzo Ball, Chino Hills (Chino Hills, Calif.) 6-6 Jr.
One word to describe this UCLA commit is “unique.” There are some more conventional players who perhaps are more efficient in terms of shooting percentage and fundamental play, but some of the skills Ball possesses only comes around once every ten years. He is a pin-point passer all 84 feet of the court and is growing close to a true small forward size with uncanny rebounding ability for a true point guard. Ball averaged 24.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, 9.1 assists, 4.5 steals and 3.5 blocked shots per game for a team that advanced to the CIF Division I state title game. Chino Hills might have won it had the CalHiSports.com Division I and State Junior Player of the Year not fouled out on a disputed call.
F — Brandon Ingram, Kinston (Kinston, N.C.) 6-7 Sr.
A nice combination of oozing potential and All-American-type production makes this recent Duke commit a solid third five selection. He had 28 points and 10 rebounds in a 60-43 win over East Lincoln in the NCHSAA Class 2A title game. Ingrams’ performance clinched Kinston’s fourth consecutive state title. The North Carolina A.P. and Gatorade State Player of the Year averaged 24.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game for a 26-4 club. He drew raves for his scoring ability and long-term potential at the McDonald’s All-American practices.
G — Luke Kennard, Franklin (Franklin, Ohio) 6-5 Sr.
Moves up from the second team after putting together one of the best statistical seasons in the country. On the season, the Duke recruit averaged 38.1 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.2 steals per game. He also put up those numbers in the context of winning, as Franklin won its first section and district title in program history with Kennard netting 41 points in a regional final loss to finish No. 2 in Ohio schoolboy history with 2,977 points (2007 Grassroots Hoops All-American Jon Diebler netted 3,208). The Associated Press Division II State Player of the Year and Gatorade State Player of the Year, Kennard is only the seventh player to win Ohio Mr. Basketball two or more times.
F — Dedric Lawson, Hamilton (Memphis, Tenn.) 6-8 Sr.
A combo forward with good inside-outside skills, Lawson teamed with his brother and second team All-American K.J. Lawson to lead Hamilton to its first state title since 2006. He went for 20 points and 11 rebounds in the state title game and led Hamilton to a 33-1 on-court record and No. 17 FAB 50 ranking. Dedric Lawson, named to both the Jordan Brand Classic and McDonald’s All-American Game, was named Class AAA Mr. Basketball with averages of 21.3 points, 15.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. He’s headed along with his brother to Memphis, where their father and former Hamilton coach Keelon Lawson is now on staff.
C — Caleb Swanigan, Homestead (Fort Wayne, Ind.) 6-9 Sr.
A power player with soft hands and good instincts, Swanigan made his final high school season pay off after he reclassified up from the Class of 2016. He helped Homestead win its first ever state championship, defeating Evansville Reitz in overtime in the Class 4A title game after going for 40 points and 19 rebounds in a semifinal win. For the season, Swanigan averaged 22.6 points and 13.7 rebounds per game. The Indiana Mr. Basketball will continue his rugged play for a program that perfectly fits that style — Michigan State.
G — Tyler Dorsey, Maranatha (Pasadena, Calif.) 6-5 Sr.
Put together a spectacular individual season that saw him earn a place in the CalHiSports.com Record Book for season (1,021 points) and career scoring (2,398). Dorsey earned a plethora of individual accolades after averaging 34.0 points, 10.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.9 steals per game for a team that won the CIF Southern Section Division 4A title. In addition to being named CIFSS 4A Player of the Year, Dorsey was named CIF Division IV State Player of the Year and Gatorade State Player of the Year. This Oregon recruit also went for 15 points in the Jordan Brand Classic.
G — Allonzo Trier, Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) 6-4 Sr.
Similar to Dorsey and third team Luke Kennard, Trier is one of the nation’s best scoring guards. One of the most confident offensive players in the country, Trier averaged 26.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.6 steals for a 29-3 club that advanced to the Dick’s Nationals semifinals and finished No. 5 in the FAB 50. Bound for Arizona, Trier had 17 points in the McDonald’s All-American Game and an even a better performance in the Jordan Brand Classic, with 28 points on only 10 field goal attempts.
F — Derrick Jones, Archbishop Carroll (Wayne, Pa.) 6-6 Sr.
Against a national schedule, Jones averaged 18.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocked shots in leading his team to the PIAA Class AAA championship game where it lost to FAB 50 No. 10 Neumann-Goretti by two points. Philadelphia had two of the nation’s best teams and Carroll lost twice each to Goretti and No. 9 Roman Catholic, but that doesn’t diminish Jones’ individual brilliance. He had 30 points, 18 rebounds and five blocked shots in the 69-67 title game loss and five consecutive double-doubles in the state tournament. The Associated Press Class AAA Player of the Year and one of the nation’s most athletic wings is headed to UNLV.
F — Thomas Bryant, Huntington St. Joseph Prep (Huntington, W. Va.) 6-9 Sr.
One of the nation’s most powerful low-post players, Bryant powered his way to averages of 17.3 points, 11.6 rebounds and 4.5 blocked shots per game for one of the nation’s top academy-type program. Headed to Indiana, Bryant stepped up his game when Huntington Prep played at Dick’s Nationals, going for 27 points and 19 rebounds in a win over FAB 50-ranked Wheeler of Georgia. Bryant also had a 11-point, 8-rebound performance in the Jordan Brand Classic.
C — Diamond Stone, Dominican (Whitefish Bay, Wis.) 6-10 Sr.
Dominant low post player dominated in-state competition in leading Dominican to four consecutive WIAA Division 4 state titles. As a senior, Stone averaged 24.6 points and 11.8 rebounds per game and finished his four-year career with 2,193 points. He capped his season by scoring 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting in the McDonald’s All-American Game. The Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association co-Mr. Basketball along with second-teamer Henry Ellenson, Stone looks to be a program-changer at the University of Maryland.
To view the Grassroots Hoops All-American Second Team, CLICK HERE.
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.