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MBB recruiting: Risers and new faces in the rankings update

Syracuse commit Donnie Freeman is one of the top risers in the latest recruiting rankings. Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire

With the high school season in full swing and a bevy of games and events since our last rankings update in August, we're updating our winter rankings today across all three classes. One thing is clear: The future of high school basketball talent is the brightest it's been in years.

Excellent star power has emerged at the top of a 2024 senior class that has plenty of productive players with potential throughout the ESPN 100. College coaches and NBA scouts are excited about the level of gifted players coming up the ranks.

The gap closed on Duke commit Cooper Flagg at the top of the 2024 class, but he retains the No. 1 spot because he brings too much to the game in terms of versatility. Flagg makes winning and competitiveness a priority, impacts the game on both ends and has the rare ability to elevate his teammates. He needs to play lower in his stance defensively and smooth out his long-distance shot, but his work habits suggest it's only a matter of time before he makes those improvements.

Airious "Ace" Bailey (2024 No. 2) has blossomed into the player we thought he could become this year. He still needs more consistency, but he has special bounce and length. His scoring prowess, rebounding rate and potential as a switchable defender is an attractive combination. Fellow Rutgers commit Dylan Harper (2024 No. 3) has been highly effective this season as well and is skilled, smart and has a college-ready frame.

Baylor recruit V.J. Edgecombe (2024 No. 4) has made huge progress in the past year as well. He's an explosive athlete with scoring and playmaking skills who is exciting to watch. Texas commit Tre Johnson (2024 No. 5) rounds out the top five, displaying a scoring package that includes the ability to make difficult shots and the footwork to create room for his consistent step-back jumper.

In the 2025 class, No. 1 A.J. Dybantsa and No. 2 Cameron Boozer continue to show why coaches and NBA scouts think so highly of both players. Add me to the list. They both have enormous talent, produce in a variety of ways and focus on winning as outstanding role models for future classes.

2026 Tyran Stokes plays with force and physical dominance along with rebounding, passing and finishing power. But Brandon McCoy is challenging for the top spot in the class with his elite point guard play. He's a high-level paint-toucher, decision-maker and scorer.

It's a special group of talented young men with the focus and intensity necessary to achieve greatness. They've all shown to be five-star teammates as well. They are setting the example for future generations of what it means to have a team-oriented approach with all-out effort. There are impact players beyond the top players in the class as well.

These are players who have risen the rankings or are entering them for the first time in our second to last player ranking update of the 2024 class this season -- the final rankings land in April.