“Hoops” Strickler breaks down top junior boys basketball players


Outside of VSN’s own Derek Toney, nobody watches more boys high school basketball than Tommy “Hoops” Strickler, the scouting guru with the Hoop Group. Strickler has been on the recruiting scene for more than 35 years…a little longer than Derek.

Here’s Stricker’s list of the top players in the Class of 2021.

1. Julian Reese, St. Frances Academy, 6-foot-9, forward/center

Big smooth lefty inside player who’s natural shot blocker, but needs to get more offensive minded. High-major Division I prospect.


2. Ryan Conway, Dulaney, 6-0, point guard

Purest of pure point guards who keeps everyone in the game with his savvy and vision and can knock a jumper when needed. High-major prospect.


3. Jared Billups, McDonogh School, 6-4, forward

Has blossomed into bonafide scoring threat using his strength and agility. Low to mid-major prospect.


4. Byron Ireland, St. Frances Academy, 6-1, combo guard 

Slightly undersized but strong-bodied off guard who can score. Mid-major prospect.


5. Marlon Lewis, Havre de Grace, 6-4, small forward

Super athletic wing who slashes for scores and can knock down a smooth 3-pointer. Mid-major prospect.


6. Malik Missouri, Gilman School, 6-5, forward

Consistent improvement has given this athletic scorer a defined jumper. Mid-major prospect.


7. Cameron Smith, Loyola Blakefield, 6-6, small forward 

Smooth athlete who is still learning to play, but can score despite inconsistent jumper. Low-major prospect.


8. Ahmed Harrison, City College, 6-1, point guard 

Slick, smooth lefty who can deal it off or knock down 3-ball, and is playing more under control. Low to mid-major prospect.


9. Jake Koverman, Southern, 6-6, small forward

Sneaky athletic sharpshooter knows how to play. Low to mid-major prospect.


10. Nick Marshall, River Hill, 6-5, small forward

Ever-improving wing who can make plays and score. Low-major prospect.


11. D’Angelo Stines, Mount St. Joseph, 6-2, shooting guard

Improving and swift off-guard with a fluid jumper and ability score from all over.
Low to mid-major prospect.


12. Koralt Turk, Mount Carmel, 6-8, forward/center

Big, strong and skilled Turkish transplant who can shoot, pass and rebound. Low to mid-major prospect.


13. Ausar Crawley, Mount St. Joseph, 5-8, point guard

Dynamic  playmaker who can shoot or drive past defenders, and is top notch wide receiver in football as well. Low-major prospect.


14. Jalen Bryant, John Carroll School, 6-0, guard

Smallish but productive floor leader who can make pass or knock down 3-pointer consistently. Low-major prospect.


15. Bobby Hill, Reservoir, 6-5, forward

Lefty swing transfer from DeMatha who can stroke a sweet 3 and uses his strong body to power in for finishes. Low-major prospect.


16. Cole Paar, 6-7, Glenelg Country School, forward

Strong physical inside worker who likes to bang the boards, and mildly-skilled offensively. Low to mid-major prospect.


17. Khyrie Staten, St. Frances Academy, 6-1, guard

Staten has improved in all phases, and consistently make effort plays. Low-major prospect.


18. Darius Tilghman, Parkville, 6-3, shooting guard

Lefty power guard who can handle pass and score, but needs more consistency to realize potential. Low-major prospect.


19. Barry Evans, Oakland Mills, 6-6, small forward

All-around scorer who can do a little bit of everything, but needs to improve jumper to go up a notch. Low to mid-major prospect.


20. Detwan Montague, Milford Mill Academy, 6-8, power forward

Hard worker on boards with emerging offensive game. Low-major prospect.


21. Jaylin Webster, Dulaney, 6-2, combo guard

Energetic off guard who has improved in every phase, and could also play the point in a pinch. Low-major prospect.


22. Tre English, Poly, 6-2, point guard

Heady lead guard who can spot the open man, always under control and owns a nice jumper. Low-major prospect.


23. Sean Carr, Mount St. Joseph, 6-7, forward

Competitive inside player with good hop who scraps for boards and can score on activity. Low-major prospect who considering volleyball for college.


24. Alex Miller, Calvert Hall College, 6-7, forward

Mobile big with sure hands and willing rebounder. Small college prospect.


25. Ramon Villanueva, Sparrows Point, 6-4, forward/wing

Nice-sized wing who can handle, pass and shoot. Small college prospect.