The 3 Best HS Basketball Teams to Watch out for in the 2023-24 season

As the final buzzer sounded on April 1st, Cincinnati commit Tyler McKinley didn’t celebrate winning the Geico Nationals Championship with his team, the Link Academy Lions. Instead, he went over to the AZ Compass bench and consoled fellow Cincinnati commit and longtime friend Rayvon Griffith in his last high school game. At that moment on the biggest stage of his life so far, McKinley shows what sports are all about.

But while Griffith’s high school career came to an end, McKinley is going to be a senior this fall and is looking to secure yet another Geico Nationals Championship with Link Academy. The Lions have hit the high school “transfer portal” and have constructed one of the best rosters in all of high school basketball. Link Academy has had three 5-star recruits and a plethora of 4-star recruits transfer in this offseason. In this mini-podcast, we preview why they are one of the top teams to look out for this upcoming season.

Another one of the top teams to watch out for is Prolific Prep. The well-known program out of Napa, California was able to land the top player in the 2026 class, who also might be the top player regardless of class, AJ Dybantsa. Prolific has made a big splash this summer picking four 5-star recruits.

Montverde Academy may not have made as much noise in transferring, but their returners are among the best in the nation. That list is highlighted by Cooper Flagg who has taken the world by storm in EYBL this summer. Montverde is set to have five 5-star recruits on their roster. They’re an experienced squad with eight returners and will look to get back to Geico Nationals once again.

These three teams will be some of the top ones to look out for heading into the 2023-24 high school basketball season. Listen in to hear more about these teams!


Transcript:

Welcome everybody to Highside, a high school basketball site where we cover all high school basketball at the best levels for you guys and today we’re doing something a little bit different, we’ve got a podcast format because I wanted to quickly talk about three of the hottest teams based on, you know, their offseason additions and how they should look going into the next high school basketball season. The first team that we have in this category is the Link Academy Lions coached by Bill Armstrong. I mean Link just made a huge splash into I guess you could say the high school transfer portal this offseason, just top to bottom everyone they got, high-ranked players this team should really click, there is only one ball though I will say that but regardless, whoever has the ball in their hands can get a bucket on this Link team. I mean, you add the number three player in the nation in Tre Johnson and automatically your team is going to be very good. The next biggest ranked pickup class of 2025 Jasper Johnson one of my favorite pickups of any team this whole this whole offseason in grassroots, 6’5″ guard, can do a bit of it all but really impacts the game with his shooting, lefty shooter can shoot it from really far out, an explosive player, and just overall Jasper Johnson’s very good. Also on this Link team, they added LaBaron Philon, a point guard out of Alabama, returning from last year is Aaron Rowe. So this team is a little bit more guard-heavy, but they did pick up some very good forwards and bigs that I will talk about shortly. But I’m just saying guard heavy in the sense that all of their guards that they have are all top players, Tre Johnson shooting guard you can call them him a small forward because he is a bit taller, one of the forwards they got, Jalen Shelley, I love Jalen Shelley a lot of versatility in his game loves to attack loves to dunk exciting, explosive player. James Brown came over late last season so didn’t play in Geico. Remember, this is the national champions. These are the national champion Lincoln Academy Lions with Aaron Rowe and a couple others really being their only returners, one of those other returners is Tyler McKinley, who had a huge role in that National Championship game with about 15 points. He should have a role increase this season and be very impressive. T.O. Barrett’s another player they added, a Missouri commit number 96 player in the nation. They also have a R’Chaun King returning who was very good for them at part at points last season. Mitchell Holmes is another big they added, and this Link team should definitely contend for another championship. The next team is Prolific and I won’t talk about them as much just because there’s not as many players to talk about. But the players that we do have on the roster so far are incredible. I mean, you have the top two players in the 2026 class. You’re just building for the future with that right there. AJ Dybantsa I think is one of the best players in all of high school basketball regardless of class right up there with Cooper Flagg and Cameron Boozer. He’s 2026 so a year younger than Flagg and Boozer but Dybantsa just you know, you’re averaging 2025 points per game, and EYBL against 17-year-olds, and you’re only what 14, 15, he’s incredible. He should have a huge year with them. Tyron Stokes is the other 2026 that they have one and two, he should have a huge year his second season with Prolific. Zoom Diallo is a point guard that they added, Zoom kind of fits into his name. He’s a very quick guard very skilled Derrion Reid and Aiden Sherrell I think should have very good seasons as well. I like Derrion Reid a lot recently as flown up in the rankings with his insane Tomahawk dunk, highlighting that at out in Las Vegas and Mikey Lewis, a guard that they have ranked number 77 in the nation, but he plays like he’s a top 20 player. Montverde is the last team that we have and this Montverde we know every year is stacked top to bottom. I mean Cooper Flagg, like I mentioned one of the best players in the nation. He’s had a huge offseason. Derik Queen’s returning Liam McNeeley, Asa Newell, Curtis Givens, Bryce Heard and Ace Flagg. So those are all those returners, but they all are, excuse me, Dhani Miller as well. Obviously, all great players, a lot of four stars on this team, maybe even more five stars Caleb Gaskins is another 2026 that they added, so he should be developed very well. Really building for the future here with Gaskins, Dhani Miller, and Kayden and Allen. Bryce Heard, Ace Flagg, Cooper Flagg are the 2025s, so this team is top to bottom evenly balanced by players by class, top to bottom roster wise, very balanced Cooper Flagg obviously one through five player Derik Queen the big man Liam McNeely should run that two or three spot I would say they put him at the three and I think they would start Rob Wright and Curtis Givens, but who knows we’re a bit early season is still a few months away. These are just the three hottest teams coming into the high school hoops season to watch out for so yeah, be on the lookout for these teams. Likely to make a GEICO nationals appearance once again but we’ll see and it’ll be exciting to track them throughout the year.


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