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SI99 Basketball Rankings: Dereck Lively Finds Himself On Top

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Sports Illustrated All-American on Wednesday unveiled the SI99, a ranking of the top basketball prospects from the high school class of 2022 in the country.

The 99 seniors, in addition to five underclassmen, who made the cut earn the distinction of being named a Sports Illustrated All-American candidate.

The final SI All-American team and Player of the Year will be named after the season.

Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren was named SI All-American Player of the Year last season.

“It was a major honor,” Holmgren said. “I’m not big on awards or things like that, but to be recognized by SI for my hard work means a lot.”

After multiple fluctuations at the top of the 2022 class over the spring and summer, with players like Jalen Duren, Emoni Bates and Shaedon Sharpe reclassifying to 2021 and going to college early, Westtown School (West Chester, Penn.) center Dereck Lively earns the top spot in the first SI99.

Lively, a Duke signee, would’ve been in serious contention no matter who remained in the class after a dominant summer culminated with capturing the coveted Nike Peach Jam title with Team Final (Penn.).

At 7-feet tall, Lively is a gifted human shot eraser/changer on the defensive end.

This summer he led the prestigious Nike EYBL in blocks, swatting away five a game. Offensively, he’s wildly versatile with the ability to step out and efficiently knocking down perimeter shots while managing his customary paint dominance.

“Dereck’s ability to dominate on both ends of the floor is what separates him from the pack,” said SI All-American basketball recruiting director Jason Jordan. “His timing is impeccable; his agility is exceptional, and he plays with an unrelenting motor. Those attributes coupled with his skill set and production are what make him the top player in the SI99.”

Seven states have at least five players represented in the SI99, Florida leads the way with 20, California boasts eight, Texas and Arizona each have seven and Arkansas, Kansas and Virginia have five apiece.

The college programs most represented are Arkansas with five; Ohio State, Duke and Kansas boast four apiece and Houston, North Carolina, USC, Virginia, Baylor, Alabama, Kentucky, Michigan and UCLA each have three.

Nine of the SI99 prospects remain undecided.