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Rankings contribute to some of the biggest controversies in youth basketball. Not everyone agrees with the rankings published by one particular service or another, which can often lead to charges that any particular set of rankings, is “political.” Unfortunately, it’s become the norm for people to criticize and belittle anyone that doesn’t agree with a specific published list. But it’s so important to remember that, more than anything; rankings represent just the opinions of various scouts. Informed opinions, to a greater or lesser degree, but opinions – nothing more, nothing less!

Players, coaches, and parents should understand that any one set of rankings does not define any one player. In all honesty, rankings are fluid and will change just the way players improve and get better. We have often stated numerous times, “never allow yourself to be defined by someone else’s opinion.” No one is correct 100% of the time and even the best evaluators make mistakes. All you have to do is look at NBA scouts that have made countless blunders in the NBA draft selection. That being said, high school rankings do have a tendency to level out over the course of time and by a player’s senior season, they will have a tendency to more accurately reflect the general rank ordering of that set of players. Rankings, just like skill development, are a constant work in progress. The process is fluid, with ebbs and flows and corrections along the way.

Sometimes being ranked too high early on in a player’s high school career can be a curse rather than a blessing. If you’re at the top, there is usually one place to go and that is often down. On the other hand, if a player feels he is ranked lower than his worth, it will even out over time and a greater chance to move upward than down.

We have often stated, “it’s not where you start, but where you finish,” is most important. We can look back at Stephen Curry. Curry never graced the rankings of the national services until his senior season in high school and only then did he receive a limited handful of D1 offers. Curry selected Davidson College and the rest is history. He has now become an NBA all star and is regarded as one of the best players in the NBA. Did Curry allow the rankings define him as a player? Absolutely not, His value did not decrease based upon someone’s inability to see his worth at that point in time. Keep in mind that players develop at different rate and times in their career. In the case of Stephen Curry, he developed into a NBA lottery pick by his hard work, relentless worth ethic, and developing skill set. He was drafted seventh in the first round. The question that is often asked by everyone. How could so many people have missed that badly? The answer is simple, they didn’t. Stephen Curry continued to develop at Davidson and reached his full potential after high school.

At the Phenom Hoop Report, we base our rankings on our “3 P’s” model, Production, Performance and Potential. In addition, we try to identify players we believe will reach the D1 level, from high major to low major, then D2, and D3.
While we take great pride at the Phenom Hoop Report in providing accurate evaluations of players, where we rank them, but guess what? We too miss out on players. It is impossible to measure intangibles. As previously stated, rankings are much like skill development, always a work in progress. Ranking provide a snapshot of where a player is at a given point in time. There are numerous variables added to the equation and the method is not an exact science. Unfortunately, too many players and mostly parents take it personally. All scouts at every level have their reputations at stake and each of them is striving to do the best job they can. Do they all agree? Absolutely not and that’s the way it should be. But do not take any ranking as an evaluation of you as a person – where you are ranked has nothing to do with whether a scout likes you or not. They are simply trying to produce the best product for their readers and viewers

Rankings are Projections
Young players, remember, you are the master of your fate! You determine your appropriate level of play. It is your work ethic, desire and determination that will dictate exactly where you end up. Too many players (and parents) get too caught up in the rankings, when instead they should only use them as an opportunity to see where they measure at any given point in time. Players, if you’re not happy with your current ranking, don’t bash the system and complain how unfair it is. Go out and prove your worth. We promise you that over time, your value will be seen and graded appropriately. As players improve and get better, the rankings will level out and adjustments will be made accordingly.
Remember, in the end, all we are talking about is rankings!