Understanding Class Rankings for Basketball

by Transition Hoops Report

Every recruiting service has their own way of creating their class rankings for basketball. Creating rankings is never easy and you will almost never see two services with the same exact rankings.

The Transition Hoops class rankings for basketball are no different. We don't believe how these rankings are done should be a mystery and wanted to give readers some insight on how we determine our rankings.


Our class rankings for basketball are largely based on three different factors when being evaluated. Each of these factors are weighted differently and play a role in final rankings to some degree.

*NOTE: Unlike a lot of other recruiting services, Transition Hoops typically will not rank a player we have not seen play with our own eyes, even if they are highly touted or have a strong reputation.

Factor #1 - Overall Skill and Athleticism 

Obviously, the level of a player starts with what they can do on the court. Rankings go beyond just the ability to score and put up statistics. We have had some players get ranked because they are elite at a special skill such as rebounding or blocking shots.

With over 30 years of combined experience, the Transition Hoops staff has a keen eye for seeing other important tools that players possess. The way they move their bodies laterally, their timing and ability to secure a rebound as well as body control are just a few of the things we see when evaluating how players stack up against each other.

Factor #2 - Projecting how they will do at the college level

This is a tough one because it is speculation. That's why evaluators with more experience have an advantage. Basically, we are trying to take what a high school player does on the court today and estimate how it will translate against college level players in one to three years from now. This factor also considers how valuable a specific position is to a college team's success (i.e. finding a legit 7'0 big man is valuable even if their skills are not top tier).

The projection factor is one of the reasons that non-obvious rankings happen. For example, if a 5'9 point guard is averaging 23 points per game in high school but they mostly score by getting to the basket, that is not a skill that will translate well to the college level.

However, a 6'9 power forward that does not put up huge numbers but has a high motor may project higher because college coaches know how to use that type of player more effectively at that level.

Other considerations that factor in but are hard to quantify include: basketball IQ (do they have what it takes to adapt to a higher level), body type (does their body still have room to develop or are they fully mature), competitiveness (do they seem to always win even with the odds stacked against them).

Factor #3 - College coaching network referrals

Even though it is the smallest overall factor in ranking players, we typically will check in with our vast network of coaches as a way to double check our work. Rarely do all coaches agree with every ranking, but we like to make sure we haven't missed anything.

After considering all three of these factors, then comes the really hard part. Comparing two players that have never competed against each other is tough to do.

How do you compare a kid from Tacoma, Washington to a kid from Missoula, Montana?

It's not easy. But the above three factors (and all the notes we take and put in our database) provide a strong foundation to start making comparisons.


Rankings are an ever changing list of prospects. We like to update our class rankings for basketball about three to four times each year following spring, summer, high school and off seasons. It is the only fair way to do them and keep them accurate year round.

The more we see players, the more we get a real feel for who they are and how they compete. And of course, as players get older some of them improve while others stay the same or start to fall off.


Keep in mind that rankings are just numbers on a page. They have no bearing on who goes to which school or who is going to win games in the future.

Class rankings for basketball are fun and a great way to get people talking. And while the Transition Hoops Report puts in some real time to discuss and debate where players should be slotted, the rankings are never perfect.

So if you are a player that made a list of rankings, congrats! Your skills and talent have been recognized.

If you didn't make the rankings then keep grinding. You still have time to make your mark.

Either way, rankings should not be why you play the game. They are fun to talk about but ultimately the most important thing to worry about is improving each day.