#OTRHoopsReport: 2016-2017 Naismith Watch – October 27, 2016

Class of 2017 forward Wendell Carter of Atlanta, Georgia, is an early candidate for Naismith Trophy Player of the Year. Photo cred – Jon Lopez/Nike

Each year the Naismith Trophy is awarded to the nation’s top player as selected by 24 voters on the Naismith Board of Selectors. Last year Lonzo Ball completed a remarkable season with Chino Hills HS (CA) to claim the award. This year the #OTRHoopsReport staff takes an early look at which players should be considered favorites heading into the 2016-2017 season.

By: @JLHemingwayPSB

Deandre Ayton (Phoenix, Arizona), Hillcrest Academy – Arizona University commit

“Ayton is a unique talent in that he stands at 7-foot-1 and has an array of skills. His ability to protect the rim and also hit perimeter jumpers is the easy answer as to why he is the top ranked player in the BrandonClayScouting.com Rankings in 2017Given the level of national visibility he will have while playing with Hillcrest Academy this year, Ayton is a top candidate to claim this year’s award.” — Jonathan Hemingway

“Ayton was fantastic this summer during EYBL play. He contests shots out to the arc, is a physical specimen at his age and can already shoot the face up jumper out to 17 feet with consistent touch. His EYBL nubmers were staggering: 19.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists per through 16 EYBL games. He shot 82 percent from the free throw line and 60 from the field. If he continues that type of play through the school season, I expect Ayton to be at the top of the discussion for Player of the Year award.” — Brandon Clay

Wendell Carter (Atlanta, Georgia), Pace Academy – Uncommitted

“Carter is quite a talent in his own right. He may not boast of the size on Ayton or the glamorous athleticism of Porter (below), but he is just as productive as anyone in the country. Carter is a workhorse-like forward he rebounds, defends and scores points in the paint. In age of small-ball 4 players and 3-point shooters from the trail spot, Carter is a throwback power forward. He produces big numbers and projects as a cornerstone of NCAA Tournament caliber team when he hits a college campus. He is poised to finish as one of the best prep prospects to come from the Atlanta area in the past decade.” — Jonathan Hemingway

“Carter has a deceptive bounce around the rim. He is an elite rebounder even in a setting like this. His length / skill / athleticism package makes him arguably the premier back-to-basket front court prospect nationally. He went toe-to-toe with Ayton in a matchup during the EYBL season. Carter’s high school team is playing a high level schedule that will give him a chance to earn Player of the Year honors.” — Brandon Clay


Michael Porter (Seattle, Washington), Nathan Hale HS – University of Washington commit

“Porter completed a terrific summer where he averaged a double-double on the EYBL circuit. Standing at 6-9, Porter has wing skill and unmatched athleticism for his size and position. Although he did not shoot 3-point shot with as much accuracy (29%) for MoKan Elite as many would like, he certainly has that weapon in his tool box. He transferred high schools back West to play for Brandon Roy at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle, Washington. If Roy can help Porter take his game up a notch in consistency, the UW bound wing-forward could claim the award in April.” — Jonathan Hemingway

“Porter Jr. has the physical tools to be a star at the next level. His skill, ability to create continues to round out as well. He likes to do his damage off of the catch or in straight lines offensively. He’ll get coached by a former NBA star on the perimeter in Brandon Roy this season. In my opinion, Roy was on the verge of representing the United States in the Olympics before injuries cut his career abruptly short. His influence on Porter Jr.’s game is just another reason why he’s a potential Player of the Year candidate.” — Brandon Clay


Coach Hemi-100-100Jonathan Hemingway is a National Evaluator for the OTRHoopsReport. Hemingway serves on the Board of Selectors for the Naismith Trophy. He is also the publisher of CoachHemi.com. He has been involved in the community since 1996 as a coach, camp director and evaluator. You can reach him via email at JonathanHemingway@PeachStateBasketball.com and follow him on  twitter @JLHemingwayPSB

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