Posted On: 10/5/20 10:33 AM
The featured image is of Ayanna PattersonAyannaPatterson6'3" | SFHomestead | 2022State#5NationIN of Homestead High School and Ohio United-Jeter 17U.
This might be the position group of position groups in Indiana right now, regardless of class. There are a number of talented Division-I prospects, as well as a variety of elite level small college recruits. There are athletes, skillful wings, physical forwards, and versatile players who can do a little of everything well. Below is a look at the 42 small forwards who currently reside in our Class of 2022 Top-175 rankings, along with a review of seven of those prospects who have been singled out for a trait we think they do better than anyone else on this list. We will be following this article with one on power forwards and one on posts in the Class of 2022 very soon.
Best Feel For The Game
When I think of having a feel for the game, not only do I think of someone who is somewhat versatile, but I also think of a player who understands which play to make in each situation. I kind of go back and forth as to which position to classify Alyssa CrockettAlyssaCrockett6'2" | SFWestfield | 2022State#62NationIN as, so I’ve settled on this…she’s just a ballplayer. Alyssa has good height, a wiry strong, athletic frame, and fluid athleticism in all directions. She has tremendous length as well. She has always shown a great deal of ball skill, as she developed guard skills at a young age. She can handle it and run offense, she knows how to create off the bounce, plus she can get to the basket and finish. Her vision and passing are tremendous at her height, plus she has added a consistent perimeter jumper to make her that much tougher to defend.
During the 2019-2020 high school season, I would have called Kate ClarkeKateClarke6'1" | SFCarmel | 2022State#56NationIN one of the best shooters in the 2022 class. But after watching her over the course of this Summer, she has become one of the best all-around scorers. She was much more aggressive and assertive offensively, often choosing to attack the basket for scores instead of settling for outside jumpers. She has really worked on her handle and is able to change directions while on attack much better. Kate has also gotten noticeably stronger, and now she’s playing with a different physicality and toughness inside, trying to finish through opponents instead of shooting over them. Circling back to her touch…she can make shots from all three levels on the floor, which is why several high-major Division-I schools are chasing her right now.
There are a number of different ways you can look at versatility, and to some extent it’s really subjective. With the size and talent of this group in this class, I decided to go with Mila ReynoldsMilaReynolds6'2" | SFSouth Bend Washington | 2022State#32NationIN here. She has height, length, fluid athleticism, and as versatile of a skillset as just about anyone in this position group. She has the strength, skill, and know-how to play on the block and score over smaller defenders. She has good touch and the ability to get to the rim in one dribble from the mid-post, where she can be dominant at times. Plus, Mila can handle, pass, and knock down the occasional 3-pointer from beyond the arc when in rhythm. She is kind of that do-it-all, Swiss Army Knife. She is one of the few 2022s in Indiana to have already given a verbal commitment, as she will attend the University of Maryland.
To be perfectly honest, four months ago I might not have chosen this person in this category. But after watching what Jaelynne MurrayJaelynneMurray5'11" | SFPike | 2022StateIN did over the Summer, how she has transformed and even added to her game, I think she can be an elite defender and proved that at times in July and August when I saw her against top 17U competition. Jaelynne has great length, wiry strength, and quick feet. She is athletic in all directions, so she possesses the ability to defend wings, bigger guards, and even some point guards at times. While she is a nice scorer and a talented point forward offensively, if she makes the defensive end of the floor her home to protect, I think she can really stand out because of her uniqueness to defend at her size. She certainly showed a new appreciation and intensity at that end this Summer.
This was an obvious choice for me. If anyone questions it, all I have to ask is “can you dunk?” I know, I know, there’s more to it than that, but Ayanna PattersonAyannaPatterson6'3" | SFHomestead | 2022State#5NationIN has been a special athlete for years and you see it in her play each time out. At 6-3, she has very good speed and quickness, great bounce off the floor, plus she has a unique balance to her and isn’t the least bit awkward. Add to that her length, wiry strength, perimeter skill, and ability to defend multiple positions, and it’s easy to see why she’s our number one prospect in the Class of 2022. At the same time, though, it’s her elite athleticism that has drawn the attention of basically every Division-I school in the country. While she already knows she can go just about anywhere she wants, she still puts the time in and works on her game regularly.
This category took me the longest to select from this position group, meaning there were any number of prospects who fit the bill. At the end of the day, I felt like Kacilyn KrebsKacilynKrebs5'8" | SFWarsaw | 2022StateIN played with as much energy and effort this Summer, and that, coupled with her growth and skill development, has really enhanced her recruiting over the last year. Kacilyn has an athletic frame with solid strength and some length. She’s a nice North/South athlete, she has good ball skill, plus the ability to make plays for others. Her versatility is really attractive to college programs right now, but I contend that it is her motor that will push her over the top with some of the better coaches. When you find a kid with the desire to compete on every possession at both ends of the floor, that could be considered a unique skill you don’t find in every prospect.
Most Under The Radar
I’m sure many prospects above think they are under-recruited, as that’s just a competitor’s mindset. So similarly to my point guard and 2-guard selections, in this category I have chosen someone I doubt many of you are familiar with…kind of the whole point of being considered under the radar. Davina SmithDavinaSmith6'0" | SFMerrillville | 2022StateIN is a really nice talent “hidden” up in Northwest Indiana. You might remember her sister, Daijah Smith (2018 Gary Lighthouse CPA grad), who is now at the University of Illinois-Chicago. But Davina might be a hair taller, stronger built, and more versatile as a player. She isn’t the same prolific scorer outside, but she is a very nice athlete with length, she can score and rebound at a high rate from the mid-post, plus she has really developed her perimeter skillset and is able to knock down open rhythm 3-pointers or create off the dribble for teammates. Make sure you give her a look, if you get the chance.