There have been rumors all season long that the 2022 class is another class that is expected to be loaded over the years and to keep an eye on nationally. Emoni Bates, Chris Livingston, and others have headlined the freshman class this season and they will also be the ones, along side others, to keep an eye on as AAU season approaches.
I have had the pleasure to come across some of the top freshman in the country this year and I have to say they are a special group so far. Prospects like Ryan Nembhard (pictured), Dillon Hunter, Amari Bailey, Jett Howard, Jarace Walker, Dug McDaniel, and others are just a few 2022 prospect I was able to witness in live action this season.
PG Ryan Nembhard of Montverde Academy (FL) – You might be familiar with the name Nembhard, if so then you are probably thinking of former Montverde Academy (FL) guard Andrew Nembhard, who is now at the University of Florida. Meet his younger brother Ryan, a freshman point guard at Montverde. Ryan is a 6-foot-1 freshman point guard who has been receiving quality minutes on one of the best high school programs in the country. For only a freshman, he is able to run an offense and a system at an efficient level even with tight defense being played all over him. His only two offers he has received so far are from Stanford and Florida University. Ryan will be running with UPlay Canada (CAN) on the Nike EYBL circuit this AAU season.
PG Dillon Hunter of Westlake High School (GA) – Dillon Hunter is another one of those freshman who received buzz coming into his first year of high school. Hunter became responsible for the starting point guard position at Westlake this season and finished the season with an overall 18-11 record and capturing their region title. He sits at 6-foot-3 with extremely long arms which help him on both ends of the floor. He has the vision to see plays ahead of time and already has the physical built as a freshman point guard. Hunter has three offers so far from Clemson, Georgia, and Florida State. His older brother, 2019 G Chase Hunter, is a committed prospect to Clemson and will suit up for the Tigers next fall. Dillon will be running with the Georgia Stars (GA) on the Nike EYBL circuit this AAU season.
PG Knasir “Dug” McDaniel of Paul VI (VA) – The 5-foot-10 point guard Knasir McDaniel, or otherwise known as Dug McDaniel, has had a spectacular freshman campaign this season with Paul VI out of Virginia. We all know the Paul VI (VA) program is one of the best nationally known progams when it comes to hoops and are always in some of the top showcases and tournaments. After losing their two star guards for the season, Dug was able to step up and display his talents on the national stage. He is not a score first type of point guard, not yet at least, but he is tremendously smooth and crafty and is able to run the offense against some big time programs. McDaniel has great vision and he sees plays ahead of others and is certainly more mature than others in his class. He has offers from Wake Forest, George Mason, Mount St. Mary’s, and George Washington and interest from Oklahoma, Tulane, Clemson, Virginia, and more. Dug is expected to run with Team Takeover (DC) on the Nike EYBL circuit this AAU season.
F Jarace Walker of IMG Academy (FL) – Jarace Walker, a 6-foot-7 forward, has been noticed as a glue guy on one of the nations top programs in IMG Academy (FL). Walker is playing behind a loaded roster that inlcudes three 2019 McDonald All Americans and two future all americans on a stacked squad this season. His talents on the floor definitely do not go unoticed though. He has a great body as a freshman and of course his size cannot go unnoticed. Jarace is a physical forward who gets most of his buckets around the rim inside the paint. He is a solid on ball defender and IMG Academy has put him on some of the top prospects regardless of class in some in game situations. Jarace, in my opinion, will have a stock rising summer and AAU season. He is expected to run with Team Thrill (DC) on the UAA circuit.
SG Jett Howard of University School (FL) – The 6-foot-4 shooting guard, son of former Fab-5 legend Juwan Howard, Jett Howard is a special prospect and is another name we should remember in this 2022 class. Howard is playing for another elite high school program in his freshman campaign, University School (FL). The freshman two-guard has played alongside top players in Duke commit C Vernon Carey Jr. and top-5 2020 F Scottie Barnes. What has been his role all season? All year Jett has impacted both the offensive side and defensive side of the ball. He has solid size at the two-guard position for a freshman and not afraid to get physical as a defender. He has shown he can hit the outside jumper and also put the ball on the deck and drive to the rim.
G Amari Baily of Sierra Canyon (CA) – Sierra Canyon’s next big star could be the UCLA commit freshman Amari Bailey. He is a 6-foot-4 guard who is very gifted with high major athleticism and yes as a freshman he is already commited to UCLA. The Chicago native was once committed to DePaul as an 8th grader but backed out of his pledge and decided to already let us know he will be playing his college career at UCLA. Bailey has been a contributor , already in his freshman season, to a talented Sierra Canyon club this year. He seems like he is already there physically and his athletic skillset is probably what stands out the most about him, for now that is. He is playing behind the senior trio of Cassius Stanley, Scotty Pippen Jr. and Kenyon Martin Jr.