The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced the five finalists for the Naismith high school boys basketball Player of the Year trophy and boys Coach of the Year honors Tuesday.
Top 2021 recruit Chet Holmgren and No. 1 2022 recruit Emoni Bates headline the group of finalists for Player of the Year, which also consists of Paolo Banchero, Jaden Hardy and Jabari Smith Jr. Banchero is the No. 3 recruit in the class of 2021 according to 247Sports, while Smith Jr. ranks fifth. Hardy is currently the No. 2 player in the class of 2022 behind Bates.
Schools across the country have been after Holmgren for over a year, while the G-League also provides a viable path to the professional ranks for the No. 1 recruit in the country. However, Holmgren provided some clarity on his future in a recent interview with CBS Sports HQ, stating that he is indeed planning on picking a school to attend after high school.
“Yeah, I am definitely looking to find a college to play for,” Holmgren said. “My decision is definitely going to come down to my fit into the school all the way from basketball stuff to academics.”
Holmgren recently narrowed down his recruitment to a list of finalists consisting of Georgetown, Gonzaga, Memphis, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina and Ohio State. Gonzaga is currently viewed as the favorite to land Holmgren, as his 247Sports Crystal Ball reads 100% in favor of the Bulldogs.
Bates, meanwhile, committed to Michigan State on June 29 and is set to suit up for the Spartans if he elects to play college basketball.
“Extremely thin but has great length for such a skilled player. Plays with strength, though, and doesn’t avoid contact,” 247Sports’ Jerry Meyer said in his scouting report of Bates. “Quick twitch athlete who moves feet well and is quick off the floor. Elite three-level scorer. Has deep range off catch or dribble. Can score in a multitude of ways.”
The Atlanta Tipoff Club also announced Chris Johnson of Homestead High School (Ind.), Ed Gipson of AZ Compass Prep School (Ariz.), Kevin Boyle of Montverde Academy (Fla.), Luke Barnwell of Sunrise Christian Academy (Kan.) and Sean McAloon as the finalists for Coach of the Year honors.
“While the pandemic has presented some challenges this season, it doesn’t minimize the talented players and coaches who’ve endured ups and downs to have tremendous seasons,” said Eric Oberman, executive director of the Atlanta Tipoff Club. “Our voters have come up with two solid sets of finalists, and now, we focus our energy on reaching the finish line and honoring the top performers for the Jersey Mike’s Naismith High School Trophy and Coach of the Year.”