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SI99 Hoops: Breaking Down the Top Five Centers

Duke signee Dereck Lively checks in at No. 1 overall in the SI99 for 2022.
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Now that we’ve named the 57 finalists for the SI All-American team, we’ve begun to take a deeper dive into the prospects at each position in the SI99 basketball rankings for 2022. 

Today we analyze the men in the middle and highlight what makes them special.


1. Dereck Lively, Westtown School (West Chester, Penn.)

College: Duke

What Makes Him Special: At 7-feet tall, Lively is a human shot eraser/changer on the defensive end. This summer he led the prestigious Nike EYBL in blocks, swatting away five a game, and can single-handedly control the paint and change a team’s offensive attack by his presence alone. Offensively, he’s wildly versatile with the ability to step out and efficiently knocking down perimeter shots while managing his customary paint dominance. Lively dominance on both ends of the floor helped Team Final (Penn.) capture the coveted Nike Peach Jam title in July.

2. Kyle Filipowski, Wilbraham (Mass.) and Monson Academy

College: Duke

What Makes Him Special: Filipowski is a matchup nightmare because of his versatility. At 6’10”, he’s super agile with the ability to handle the ball like a guard, efficiently knock down perimeter jump shots, protect the rim and rebound. Filipowski’s vision and precision as a passer is exceptional and he plays with a competitive edge that becomes infectious and is the perfect complement in the paint because he’s capable of dominating in multiple ways. This past summer in Nike EYBL play, Filipowski averaged 13 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists, while shooting 58.3 percent from the field.

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3. Vincent Iwuchukwu, Montverde (Fla.) Academy

College: USC

What Makes Him Special:

Iwuchukwu is a workhorse in the paint with raw athletic ability and a consistently growing skill set. He’s always active on both ends of the floor, finishing with both hands efficiently on the offensive end and has the ability to step out and knock down perimeter jump shots. This summer, Iwuchukwu averaged 15.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks a game in the Nike EYBL while running with Drive Nation (Texas).

4. Adem Bona, Prolific Prep (Napa, Calif.)

College: UCLA

What Makes Him Special: Bona is a brute, tough big with great hands and footwork from his background in soccer in his native country of Nigeria. Bona is extremely mobile, finishes plays with authority at the rim and has a nose for the ball on the offensive and defensive glass. This summer, Bona averaged 11.4 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.4 blocks while running with Team WhyNot in the Nike EYBL.

5. Tarris Reed, Link Academy (Branson, Mo.)

College: Michigan

What Makes Him Special: Reed is a versatile big with the ability to impact the game on the offensive at all three levels. Reed does most of his damage in the paint but keeps the defense off balance with his ability to beat his defender off the dribble. Reed averaged 14 points and seven rebounds a game for Mokan Elite (Mo.) this summer in the Nike EYBL. Reed is having a dominant season at Link this season.