With the calendar turning to January and this scattered high school basketball season taking form, a number of players have started to distinguish themselves as frontrunners for MaxPreps National Player of the Year honors.
Jalen Duren of top-ranked Montverde Academy is one who's emerged as a slight leader after a dominant week at the NIBC St. James Invitational. The No. 2 prospect in the junior class, Duren surpassed preseason favorite Emoni Bates after displaying his dominance on both sides of the ball against the nations' best.
After one of the best starts to a career in high school basketball history, Bates has struggled early. He's shooting 38 percent from the field and 25 percent from 3-point range, while averaging 26.2 points and 7.4 rebounds.
The Ascenders went 1-2 at the St. James NIBC Invitational, but Bates was a model of consistency. He averaged 16.7 points and shot 58 percent from the field and 7-of-14 from 3-point range.
The Tennessee signee has filled up the stat sheet all year, highlighted by pacing the second-ranked Buffaloes to a 6-1 record at the St. James NIBC Invitational where he averaged 13.3 points, 6.4 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 3.6 steals.
The Top 25 national prospect has been the catalyst for the one-loss Knights, who are No. 17 in the latest MaxPreps Top 25 rankings. The Florida State signee is averaging 23.1 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.9 steals.
Five-star Kentucky signee continues to put up incredible numbers this season, averaging 34 points and 15 rebounds for the 10-4 Rabbits.
The Tigers have struggled to a 10-6 start, but Davison has played at a high level averaging 34.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.0 steals. The five-star guard opened the season with a career-high 57-point outing.
The clubhouse favorite right now dominated competition at the St. James NIBC Invitational, averaging 15.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 2.1 assists across seven games for the top-ranked Eagles. The junior center made a number of impressive plays, including an incredible block that landed at No. 2 in ESPN's Top 10 plays.
The unique 7-foot prospect is averaging 21 points through the Redhawks first two games. Holmgren was dominant in limited summer action, including an impressive 31 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks in a nationally televised head-to-head matchup with Emoni Bates.
After missing the majority of his sophomore year due to injury, Rice has put together a strong junior campaign for the fifth-ranked Warriors where he's averaging 18.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
The Top 5 senior prospect has been dominant this year for the Patriots, leading them to a spot among the nation's top 50 teams. Smith is averaging 24 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.0 blocks.
Although Hunter Sallis
has gotten most of the national spotlight for No. 14 Millard North, Thomas is averaging more points, rebounds and assists per game than his five-star teammate. The quickly-rising senior wing is averaging 23.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists.
He's guided the Dragons into a top 10 ranking, averaging team highs of 21.6 points, 6.2 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 2.7 steals.