The 2022-23 high school basketball season is in full swing, and we have passed several high-profile events, from the Nike Tournament of Champions to the She Got Game Classic.
Many teams in the SCNext Top 25 rankings have squared off against one another, shining a light on the players who are facing stronger competition in game settings and thriving.
While we broke down the 2023 McDonald's All Americans who were announced Tuesday, we also want to highlight some of the recruits in the 2024 espnW 60, 2025 espnW 25 and 2026 espnW Watch List who have grown their skill sets and taken their games to new levels.
Class of 2024
All of the following players have outplayed their current rankings and/or have seen their recruitment rise over the course of this high school season. Player development truly never ends, and these five are fantastic examples of some marked improvement during the high school season.
Kateryna Koval, P
2024 espnW 60 ranking: 17 | Long Island Lutheran (N.Y.)
The most outstanding and noticeable aspect of Koval's improvement is her touch and finishing in the paint. Although she is facing double teams and immense physicality, she seems to score whenever she can get her hands on the ball around the rim -- from power drop-step finishes to short jumpers off of the glass. She has increased her mobility and conditioning levels also. Her strong base allows her to create space for boards and leverage for post-ups.
Koval's touch out to the 3-point line is evident in her trail 3's and high post threat. She made a key play late in the championship game of the Nike TOC, sprinting the wing and, with impeccable footwork, nailing a clutch 3 to essentially put the game out of reach. Quite impressive for arguably the best post player in the country, and she has entered the conversation for the top player in the 2024 class.
Born in the Ukraine, Koval is one of several international players currently on the rise. She recently has received official offers from Stanford and Duke and is being recruited by every major program in the country.
Kaleigh Heckel, PG
2024 espnW 60 ranking: 50 | Long Island Lutheran (N.Y.)
Heckel, the current No. 50-ranked player in the class, has always had a reputation because of her motor. She never stops competing and provides constant pressure on the defensive end. Early on, she relied on her speed when presented with challenges, but now is able to change tempo and utilize her quickness in bursts that allow her to also better manage her team. She has learned there is more nuance to playing more of a full-time point guard role. She still is able to be aggressive and score in a combo guard role, but there is so much value in the ability to make others better.
We have seen Heckel's jumper improve as well as her confidence in the 3-ball. She elevates so well in the paint that it is hard to stop her around the rim as she can finish creatively. As she develops more of a voice, we will see her stock rise even more.
Her recruitment includes Ohio State, Wisconsin, Rutgers, Clemson, UCLA, Georgia Tech, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Northwestern, Syracuse and Tennessee .
Syla Swords, G
2024 espnW 60 ranking: unranked | Long Island Lutheran (N.Y.)
Swords currently is not in the espnW 60, but that will change. She is a relentless competitor on both ends of the floor and sets the standard for toughness. Skill-wise, she is fundamentally sound -- from her handle to her jump shot. Defensively, she anticipates well and has a feel for angles and rotation that is hard to teach. Swords' experience with the Canadian National team has introduced her to high-level instruction and competition. She encourages teammates: She does not let a good play go unnoticed and if a teammate makes a mistake, she is the first to encourage them to have that "next play" mentality.
The Swords family prefers to keep the specifics of recruitment private, but said they've heard from every major conference in the country.
Toby Fournier, F
2024 espnW 60 ranking: 23 | Crestwood Prep (Canada)
Another member of the Canadian National team, Fournier has refined her overall skill level since the summer. It is hard to find a better leaper than Fournier, who is dunking the ball easily with two hands and essentially getting any rebound she wants.
With the ability to take a rebound off the rim and push the ball and make quality decisions in the open court, Fournier sets herself apart. Her shooting form and touch has gotten better and she can stretch the floor out to the 3. As she improves footwork consistency, watch her continue to get better.
She is more under control and methodical in her game now. Defensively, she changes a lot of shots, blocking them with either hand, and owns the glass.
Her recruitment is going to be a fierce competition. Fournier's top eight: UConn, South Carolina, UCLA, North Carolina, Duke, Michigan, Stanford and Arizona.
Avary Cain, G
2024 espnW 60 ranking: 31 | St. Joseph HS (Calif.)
Cain currently sits at the espnW 60 No. 31 spot, but expect that to rise. She is about as under control and fundamentally skilled as any guard in the country. At 6-foot, she has the skills to play multiple perimeter positions. She has a sweet lefty stroke with range well beyond the 3-point line. Her footwork allows her to maneuver without overuse of the dribble. This is both a separator and refreshing in today's game.
Cain is a smart defender, using her length and positioning to make plays. She seems to always be in position. Her development has been steady as she has played age appropriate up to this point in club ball. She should make quite the impression on the 17U level this summer.
Cain has offers from Stanford, Maryland, UCLA, USC, Utah, Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Mississippi State.
Class of 2025
As we look to expand the rankings list, we are paying special attention to the 2025 class. We see a lot of separation beginning during the sophomore year. Players have a lot of varsity minutes, and they are maturing physically and getting stronger.
Here are some making a case for the top 25 and will surely be listed when the rankings expand in the spring. They all have played on big stages during the high school season and are in conversations amongst the elite of the class.
Taliyah Henderson, F
Height: 6-1 |Salpointe Catholic HS (Ariz.)
Henderson has to be one of the strongest players in the 2025 class. Also nationally elite in track, she gets up and down the court fast and smoothly. She uses her physical tools to outmuscle opponents inside, but has enough finesse to push the ball, stop under control, and make quality decisions. She is a very good passer and facilitator as a forward.
Henderson is an elite rebounder and plays the game with relentless energy. She has major upside potential as she adds to her offensive game.
Her recruitment includes offers from Utah, Arizona State, BYU, San Diego, Grand Canyon, Utah Valley and Hampton and she is garnering interest from programs like Oregon, Arizona and Illinois.
Nyla Brooks, W/F
Height: 6-1 | Bishop Ireton (Va.)
Brooks made an early verbal commitment to Tennessee after making an official visit in November. With her play this season, she has entered the discussion as one of the top 25 players in the 2025 class. She has a nice pull-up jumper and she is rounding into form as a full-time perimeter player. Brooks can still rip and go to slash to the paint, but she has added better decision making and playmaking ability with the improvement in patience, skills and reading the floor.
Her steady improvement over time shows that she has a high potential for the next level.
Hailee Swain, PG
Height: 5-7 | Holy Innocents (Ga.)
Swain made a verbal commitment to Stanford in early June. She is a speedy and shifty guard who brings a lot of energy defensively. Swain uses her quickness to create off the dribble to get back to her lefty jump shot or to get advantageous takes to the rim. She has a very effective floater and her 3-ball is developing.
Swain does a very good job controlling tempo on the defensive end. She is relentless on the ball and really disrupts the opponents' offensive flow and execution. She rebounds well as a guard, which helps ignite an immediate fast break.
Tianna Chambers, G
Height: 6-1 | Cherry Creek HS (Colo.)
Chambers is a two-sport athlete who also excels in soccer, and it shows in her poise and overall court vision. She has great size at the guard spot and really whips the ball up the court after receiving the outlet or grabbing the rebound herself. She finishes well against contact with her strong base and frame and that also allows her to mix it up in the paint to get rebounds. Chambers is comfortable with the pull-up jumper and has shown deep range on her 3-point shot as well.
Defensively, she works hard on the ball and understands positioning and rotation in help defensive concepts and execution.
Chambers has offers from Mississippi State, Colorado State, and Montana State. Her recruitment also includes North Carolina, Creighton, Penn State, Nebraska, Oregon State, Alabama, NC State, Washington State and Utah.
Destiny Lunan, G
Height: 5-9 | Bella Vista Prep (Ariz.)
Lunan is dynamite in the open court. The quick and shifty lefty guard gets end to end with the best of them. She has a flair to her game which she puts on display with her passing and acrobatic finish in the paint. Defenders have a hard time keeping her in front.
As she continues her development, and particularly the higher release point on her shot, she is going to be hard to guard because she has all the answers off the dribble. Lunan created quite the buzz amongst college coaches at She Got Game Classic - Dallas, as well as the Nike TOC in Phoenix in December.
Lunan's recruitment includes: Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, Cal Golden Bears, Utah, USC, Washington State, St. Mary's, San Jose State, Alabama, Mississippi State, West Virginia, Louisville, North Carolina, Duke, Florida, Indiana and Grand Canyon University.
Class of 2026
We enter the high school season with a watch list prior to the 2026 class' freshman year knowing these players have not played enough high-level basketball or had the time to truly be ranked with any amount of confidence. As some have the privilege to compete in the elite events and matchups, a few really start to emerge as frontrunners in the class.
Although they still have a lot of growth ahead of them physically, in experience and in skills, this handful has proven enough to know they will be hot names in the recruiting circles for the next few years.
Jordyn Jackson, G
Height: 6-1 | Sidwell Friends (Washington, D.C.)
There is not a whole lot Jackson cannot do. Stepping right into a major role for the high profile Sidwell Friends program is not an easy task, and Jackson has taken it in stride. She plays very hard, especially defensively, a requisite for Tamika Dudley and Sidwell.
Jackson finishes well around the rim with contact, gets to the free throw line with regularity, and can knock down the pull up and the three ball. A big guard with a broad frame, she has all the physical tools to continue as one of the truly elite in the class.
As Jackson learns to change speeds and tempos, watch for her game to fine tune and become more efficient as she is very explosive and has a quick first step.
Jackson's recent offers include Maryland, UNC, Arizona, Arizona State, Ohio State, Georgia, Florida, Florida State, Tennessee and Louisville, and her recruitment includes schools from all of the major conferences.
Jerzy Robinson, G
Height: 6-foot-1 | Desert Vista HS (Ariz.)
Robinson has made a strong case to be the No. 1 player in the class when those rankings debut in the spring. She is physically strong at guard and plays multiple perimeter positions with a seamless versatility. In terms of skills, she has it all. Robinson does a great job in her footwork in preparation for her shot, from dribble pull-ups to creating space off the bounce, to the catch-and-shoot 3. Her strength and explosive jumping ability allow her to finish well with contact around the rim.
She is a tough-nosed rebounder and defender, and she plays with an edgy competitiveness that lets opponents know she has no intention of backing down as a freshman.
Recruitment: She is on the board of every major program in the country.
Olivia Vukosa, F/P
Height: 6-4 | Christ the King (N.Y.)
Vukosa is the most advanced big in the class at this time. She has incredible hands and really carves out space for rebounds and post-ups. She has the ability to take to ball after a rebound and push it up the floor to make good decisions or get to the paint.
Her competitive focus really sets her apart. Vukosa has a mature approach to the game that well exceeds her age and experience. Her touch around the rim and comfort both inside and out are true separators. She can fit into a lot of new-age systems because she can make reads on the outside but still get the old school post-up and face-up opportunities as well.
Vukosa's recent offers include North Carolina, Arizona, Louisville, Michigan, Ohio State, UCLA and Arizona State.
McKenna Woliczko, F
Height: 6-2 | Archbishop Mitty (Calif.)
Woliczko has really burst on the scene for high profile Archbishop Mitty this high school season. She has had to carry a lot of the load because 2024 No. 18 Morgan Cheli has been out with an injury. What immediately stands out is her effort level and motor. She is often seen sprinting the lanes and relentlessly attacking the glass.
Woliczko has a nice touch around the rim and uses the glass well as she elevates high for her finishes. A two-sport athlete (she has played a lot of softball), she has a nose for the ball and it seems to find her hands at opportune times.
There is major potential for growth here as well. Under Sue Phillips' tutelage, expect her to continue to get better.
Some of Woliczko's recent offers: UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, Ohio State, Utah, Colorado and Vanderbilt.
Savannah Swords, W/F
Height: 6-1 | Long Island Lutheran (N.Y.)
LuHi has played some heavy competition this season and claimed the Nike TOC championship in Phoenix in December. Swords is like a Swiss army knife in how she fills her role for this squad on any given night. Right now, she is primarily a forward and must be physical in how she defends and rebounds in her minutes. When called upon, she gives perimeter minutes as well. She'll slash to the rim and finish with poise and versatile footwork, and also knock down the open 3-pointer.
Swords sees the floor well and that creates opportunities for teammates as well as helps her read and rotate defensively. She is an outstanding mix of toughness, maturity, and skills.
The Swords family prefers to lay low in terms of publicity of recruitment, but she has garnered the interest of every major conference in the country.