Scouting Sleepers for the 2025, 2026, and 2027 NBA Drafts

High School

The high school basketball season is almost complete, at least for schools and institutions, which means AAU tournaments and events are right around the corner in the coming months. With that, I want to highlight some sleepers and breakout candidates in each of the next three graduating classes, which means candidates for the 2025, 2026, and 2027 NBA Draft.

Before diving into this, here is the consensus on the following classes:

2025: The 2024 high school graduating class appears to be loaded top-to-bottom, featuring Cooper Flagg and Ace Bailey at the top, two franchise-changing players in uniquely different ways. The drop-off from each draft rank is minimal across the board at the moment, with most tiers being close together and jam-packed.

2026: Another strong class at the top with AJ Dybantsa reclassifying up a year, Cameron Boozer, and Darryn Peterson. The second tier of prospects is great as well, featuring Koa Peat, Caleb Wilson, Jalen Haralson, and others.

2027: The top spot in this draft is wide open, with no current replacement for top prospect AJ Dybantsa. The second tier caliber of prospects is strong, including Caleb Holt, Alex Constanza, Tyran Stokes, Brandon McCoy, and Alijah Arenas.

2025 Sleepers:

Kanon Catchings, 6’9 wing, Purdue commit at OTE; currently ranked #34 in the consensus rankings, #25 on MavsDraft board

Just from the on-paper overview, it’s hard not to be enamored by Catchings’ upside: A 6’9 wing with good shooting form (still areas to improve in terms of fluid motion) and a capable FT% from EYBL in 2023. Once the scouting notes start, it’s hard to stop writing positives about his game. He is athletic, he understands the game at a high level thanks to a basketball family (aunt and mother played in the WNBA), and he has the ideal frame for a modern wing at about 6’9 with a 7’0 wingspan. Catchings has taken another jump at OTE, getting him one step closer to achieving the likely goal of being a one & done at Purdue for 2025. 

The big swing skill for Catchings in either staying a sleeper or turning into a top 20 pick is his shot creation. In his 2023 EYBL season, none of his 14 rim attempts in the half-court (already an alarming number for volume) came off of his own creation, but rather purely off-ball sets. Catchings is great in transition, which has its own value, but most of it again comes from being the cutter or off-ball lead. While the jump he has to make as a shot creator is big, at his size the hope is that he can at least become a creator off the catch. Adding an element of a two-dribble skillset in attacking off-balance/out of position defenders is a key trait to quickly add to his game that would go a long way. From one source I spoke to at OTE, his slashing seems to have improved as a senior which is a promising sight for scouts with an eye on 2025.

Most off-ball players don’t develop off the dribble scoring at all 3 levels quickly, so becoming stronger at attacking closeouts either forward or backwards, meaning as a slasher or pull-up shooter, or being able to hit stepback jumpers, could be enough of an off the dribble game to add for him to appeal to NBA teams.

Karris Bilal, 6’3 guard, Vanderbilt commit; #245 consensus, #50 on MavsDraft board

Karris Bilal is someone that when watching EYBL immediately pops as one of the most prolific 3 level scorers in the country with explosiveness towards the rim and a projectable jumper. 

While the 6’2-6’3 scoring guard is not the most coveted archetype, there is value in an ambidextrous slasher with jump shooting ability, both spotting up and off the dribble given his athleticism. Bilal almost always wins against defenses in terms of getting to his spots, making him hard to stop when he has a mission on where to be. The next steps for him are learning to become a point guard and reading + reacting more quickly and effectively, which often comes with age. Every sign points to Bilal being a hard worker, which also makes it easy to invest in him beating the odds of the archetype.

2026 Sleepers:

Dante Allen, 6’2 G; uncommitted, currently at Riviera Prep; industry rank #70, #17 on MavsDraft board

The son of former NBA veteran and current Miami Heat coach Malik Allen, Dante Allen has impressed scouts as the 3rd star on the Boozer’s EYBL team and on his own team at Riviera Prep as the first option. When I saw him at EYBL in Dallas last year, I was amazed by his ambidextrous slashing and jump shooting, making him a strong catch & drive option. 

I then saw Dante in December at City of Palms in a different context of him as the first option, and he looked even better despite having more pressure on him. He was a consistently good decision-maker that uses strong eye deception as a passer, which plays into a big part of his outstanding feel for the game. He’s a leader on the court, always being the first one talking and setting the tone, and in a way he is an on-court coach as a junior in high school. 

As he gets his body in NBA shape, Dante Allen should emerge as a riser on recruiting rankings. As of the Nike Elite 100, Allen measured at 6’2 (but is listed online most places at 6’3) with a 6’7 wingspan.

You can read more on Dante Allen from City of Palms here

Dorian Jones, 6’3 wing; Uncommitted, currently at Richmond Heights in Ohio; industry rank #52, #35 on MavsDraft board

Another player that I saw at City of Palms, Dorian Jones impressed me with shooting and length (6’10 wingspan). He is on a team that is hard for him to play his best brand of basketball, since he profiles best as a complementary piece next to a star, but at Richmond Heights he is the first option. In EYBL, he has shown flashes of off the dribble creation and scoring at all 3 levels, which sets him up well for his final year in EYBL starting in April. Despite already being a good shooter, Jones still has a reasonable area to improve by speeding up his shot and improving his hand placement on jumpers. 

One of the things he can do to create more looks for himself is to become quicker to recognize holes in the defense by cutting past napping defenders, or utilizing flare screens more often. Defensively, Jones uses his length well and has a long range on defense given his unique frame, which sets him up well to defend multiple positions in the NBA along with projecting as a high-level shooter.

2027 Sleepers

Ty Ingram, ~6’2 guard; Uncommitted, currently at San Ysidro; unranked on industry average

Ingram is someone that will benefit from an explosive AAU season with Dream Vision in Adidas, being able to prove his game can scale up to bigger and older competition from 15U to 16U. In 15U, he was quicker than his defenders which led to strong rim pressure, but he can also shoot and take advantage of drawing shooting fouls with a respectable FT% above 75%.

As Ingram physically matures, he has the upside to be a two-way slasher with a jump shot while being able to draw fouls. This archetype is extremely valuable, and if he can continue growing, his upside could be among the highest in the class, or at least at his position.

AJ Williams, 6’8 wing; Uncommitted, currently at Bergen Catholic; #48 on industry average

When looking at ideal wing prospects with high upside, Williams’ archetype and frame jump out as an obvious candidate. Beyond the frame, Williams uses his long frame well to be a multi-positional defender to go along with a growing jumper for him to shoot over defenders. On top of that, Williams is a phenomenal athlete with explosion off the catch, making him a valuable off-ball threat. 

Williams missed most of the 2023 summer events with an injury, but now that he is healthy most power 5 teams remain interested in him, marking him as a clear high-upside play that isn’t being talked about enough in communities familiar with him and his peers.

Overall, while the 2024 NBA Draft lacks high-end upside, the foreseeable future of drafts looks to make up for that top-to-bottom across the board at this stage. Look for continued high school coverage over the coming years in addition to college, NBA, G League, and international coverage on the site.