Bash’s Pyramid? Huh?!?!
Over the past year plus, I was responsible for ranking the players throughout New England. Naturally, these lists opened up avenues for debate and discussion, but I always felt like doing the rankings helped with my evaluations of individual players. Rankings force you to watch the players closely, compare and contrast, nitpick and draw conclusions. Sometimes they are accurate, and sometimes not so much, but it challenges me to continue to observe the players consistently. Below is a quick look at how I go about the process.
One of the conclusions I have drawn over time is that the gap between the players is not as wide as the ranks suggest. Is there a significant difference between #1 and #3? In some cases, yes; but in most, those 3 spots can be interchangeable hence the intense debate whenever someone new who is #1. On paper, a player ranked #6 and a player ranked #15 seems like a large difference but is there that much of a drop? Specifically, with the younger prospects who grow and develop at different speeds, you could jump from #15 to top 5 in a matter of months.
So, Instead of labeling the players by numbers, I prefer to group them into tiers that I monitor and adjust to track a player’s progression as the season goes on. These tiers resemble a pyramid. The closer you get to the structure’s apex, the smaller the tiers become. You can apply this to the players in New England. For example, if we split a class of prospects into 5 tiers, it would look like this:
Tier 1: #1-#3 (3 prospects)
Tier 2: #4-#8 (5 prospects)
Tier 3: #9-#15 (7 prospects)
Tier 4: #16-#24 (9 prospects)
Tier 5: #25-#35 (11 prospects)
Pyramid Bubble #36-#50 (15 prospects)
So as you can see, with every tier, more players are added until we get to 50 prospects, creating a “Prospect Pyramid.” The top tier (Tier 1) is the hardest to get into because fewer seats are available. So if a player is in that section, I recognize them as chief among the class. Tier 2 indicates the next level of high-impact player, and so forth. After tier 5, I grouped players in a “pyramid bubble.” These are players who round out the top 50 but are on the cusp (or bubble) of entering the pyramid, which is dependent on the success of their winter compared to their peers.
What goes into these tiers outside of talent, skill set, and intangibles? I consider the competition a prospect plays the most. So for this pyramid, in particular, are “Winter Preseason Tiers.” So I have to judge a player based on what team they are playing for this upcoming season and who they are up against to help me evaluate their level of impact. Coaches of all levels and myself are on the same page regarding NEPSAC being the most competitive league in the region. Some think it is one of the best conferences in the country. Many top prospects play for the teams in this conference. If all these prospects play against each other on a nightly basis and constantly play at a high level, they will be a higher-ranked player due to the degree of difficulty over the season. I realize that not every athlete plays in the NEPSAC, so I use other barometers to conclude, i.e.how the player looked in spring/summer AAU .
I did the Pyramid exercise with the ’23-’25 class (I’ll do the ’26 class after the season to see how the freshmen shake out with their new teams) and intend on updating the tiers throughout the season based on player and team success. These are essentially evaluation power rankings. These are preseason lists; therefore, I have to base the pyramid on past knowledge and do a little projecting.
After each class pyramid that gets posted I will also write out a list of other names throughout the New England area outside of the top 50 to watch this winter as well.