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SI99 Hoops: Breaking Down the Top Five Forwards

Yohan Traore used a dominant summer on the adidas 3SSB circuit to claim the top forward spot.
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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 power forwards who use their versatility to dominate on both ends of the floor.

SI99 FORWARDS

1. Yohan Traore, Dream City Christian (Glendale, Ariz.)

College: LSU

What Makes Him Special: Traore is the perfect blend of power and finesse and he’s thoroughly aware of which style works in a given situation. At 6’10”, Traore is super agile with a mixed bag offensively, whether he’s patrolling the paint or stepping out and knocking down jump shots. Traore pursues rebounds with purpose and uses his exceptional footwork to gain optimal position, his timing on blocked shots is impeccable and he’s masterful at switching on the perimeter and recovering. Traore averaged 25 points and 14 rebounds a game this summer for Dream Vision (Nev.) on the adidas 3SSB.

2. Jalen Washington, West Side (Gary, Ind.)

College: North Carolina

What Makes Him Special: At 6’9”, Washington is versatile enough to score at all three levels, has the length to effectively guard the basket and is a gifted rebounder. Those tools almost guarantee that Washington will thrive in Hubert Davis’ fast-paced system. His versatility will give the Tar Heels multiple looks on both sides of the floor.

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3. Eric Dailey Jr., IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)

College: Undecided

What Makes Him Special: Dailey is more of a hybrid forward who can slide over and dominate from the wing. His length and athleticism combined with a diverse skill set and an unrelenting motor make Dailey a matchup problem on both ends of the floor. This summer, Dailey helped Team USA win gold at the FIBA 3-on-3 under-18 World Cup in Hungary, after averaging 19 points, seven rebounds and three assists a game for the Georgia Stars in the Nike EYBL.

4. Malik Reneau, Montverde (Fla.) Academy

College: Florida

What Makes Him Special: Reneau is a blue-collar big who stuffs the stat sheet with because of his motor and feel. Reneau is a physical presence on both ends with a high basketball IQ and great feel as a passer. His strength and agility earn his great positioning on his rebounds and he’s a capable shot blocker for his size. Simply put, Reneau is a workhorse in every sense of the word. This summer, while running with Nightrydas Elite (Fla.) in the Nike EYBL, he averaged 17.2 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks a game.

5. Alex Karaban, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)

College: Connecticut

What Makes Him Special: Karaban is extremely versatile with great footwork and a diverse skill set. Karaban scores at all three levels and his high basketball IQ enables him to thrive as a playmaker, passer and rebounder. This summer, Karaban averaged 18.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.6 blocks for Expressions Elite (Mass.) in the Nike EYBL.