Posted On: 11/9/16 7:00 AM
Today is one of the most exciting days for prospects, their families, and fans of college basketball. It is the first day that prospects can sign to the school they have committed to making them officially a member of that program. Stay locked on PrepHoopsIllinois NSD Blog all day for the latest news!
Trevian Bell from Joliet West is one of the premier small forwards in the state. He will be taking his talents to UW-Green Bay as he is signed now. “It’s like a dream feeling. I’ve been dreaming about this day since before middle school. There’s really no better feeling than to be able to say that I get to play Division 1 college basketball for free. I couldn’t be more grateful.”
Washington’s Devin Whitelow is a high IQ point guard that has a tremendous feel for the game and is an off the charts leader. His NLI is headed to Winona State. “It feels great. I feel like I definitely made the right choice and I can’t wait to get there.”
Drake completes their backcourt with Joliet West point guard Teyvion Kirk. The #5 lead guard in Illinois will be an impact player in the MVC. “It felt great. Like a big boulder rolled off my chest. I know I’m going to have a successful career there.”
Connor Niego is officially off to Holy Cross. Versatile combo forward with size can beat a defense both on the interior and shooting from deep. #5 power forward in Illinois. “After signing I felt a sense of certainty that Holy Cross was the best fit for me. Can’t wait to get after it.”
Effingham small forward Jacob Donaldson is off the board to McKendree. The D2 program is getting an athletic forward with some upside.
Illinois gets the signature of the first commit of this class in Javon Pickett from Belleville East. The state’s #5 overall prospect is a smooth wing that hasn’t reached his ceiling yet. He was the first prospect in this class to make a verbal commitment.
Ridgewood shooting guard Zac Rzewnicki has signed with St. Thomas Aquinas College he tells us. Athletic wing that can score. The senior says “It is a dream come true. After putting in countless hours in the gym everyday it feels good to know it paid off and I’ll be able to play at the next level.”
Lincoln Way West shooting guard Marco Pettinato has signed with Lewis. One of the stars of last year’s state tournament is a tough two guard that can shoot it and is tough.
Winthrop landed fast rising Normal U-High point guard Keondre Schumacher who had a monster May and June on the circuit. He can really shoot the basketball and has playmaking ability dishing the rock. Schumacher says “It feels good to know that work had paid off and now it’s time to work even harder.”
Larkin power forward Christian Negron is the state’s #1 power forward and he is officially headed to the MVC with Loyola. He should make a major four impact with his energy and athleticism. Big day for Loyola landing top PF and #2. Both NLI are now signed. Negron says “Feels good just knowing I found a place that feels the same about me. I’m excited and ready for a good 4 years at Loyola.”
Cameron Krutwig is one of the premier bigs in the state. Jacobs post is a huge piece to the future of Loyola and his NLI is in. #2 center in Illinois says “It feels good to make it official and take the next step in the process and I can’t wait to get up there next summer!! Now I’m focused on the high school season and look forward to my senior year with my teammates.”
Tai Bibbs is officially headed to Drake. The West Chicago lead guard tells us he has signed his letter of intent. Half of the future MVC backcourt from Illinois is now signed. He told us “It’s an amazing feeling. This is something that has been one of my goals ever since I started playing basketball was to get a full ride to a division one school. Now that it is actually happening feels incredible. It is truly a blessing.”
The state’s #3 prospect Stevenson small forward Justin Smith is sign, sealed, and delivered to Indiana. He Hoosiers are getting a smooth wing scorer with upside. Smith is the top small forward in the class. “It feels good to have signed and I am now looking forward to this season.”
Minnesota State lands a steal in Fenwick shooting guard Jamal Nixon. The versatile stat sheet stuffer will be an impact guy at the D2 level. Nixon told us “It’s a great feeling for my family and I. It was exciting to announce my commitment verbally, but now to get it down on paper and make it official just makes me realize how much of a blessing it is. With the commitment now official I can focus on this season. I’m very excited to join the Minnesota State program.”
Lemont point guard PJ Pipes tells us its official that he has signed with Wisconsin Green Bay. Scoring point guard that was consistent all spring and summer. Impact guard told us “It feels great to fulfill a dream you have always had as a child while also finally getting all the pressure and weight off of my shoulders!”
Bolingbrook small forward Nana Akenten has signed with Nebraska. The explosive wing is a top 10 prospect and one of the best scorers in the state’s senior class. He talked about signing with the Big 10 program “It feels great to finally be a Cornhusker! I am more than blessed and excited to continue my academic and athletic career there. My family is just as excited.”
Loyola point guard Ramar Evans tells us he has inked with D2 Maryville. Strong guard with a good feel for the game. Will be a nice fit for his new home. His thoughts on NSD, “I’m just grateful that Coach Livatino always stuck with me and also grateful that Coach Carroll recognized my talents. My family has also been my inspiration and my biggest fans. Happy to be a Saint!”
Little bit slow after the morning rush of signings, but we will have a bunch here over the next several hours.
Toledo gets their man! Crete Monee combo guard Dwayne Rose tells us he has signed his NLI this morning. “Want to thank my family, coaching staff, and teammates. Look forward to this exciting season at Crete.” Rose is a physical combo guard that can score.
SLU makes it official with their big signee. The state’s #2 senior Belleville Althoff shooting guard Jordan Goodwin has signed with the Billikens he tells us. “Making it officially the best thing is I am stress free and I am happy I am where I want to be at.” Goodwin is a game changer that is a stat sheet stuffer.
One of the top stock risers from the spring and summer has put pen to paper! Conant point guard Jimmy Sotos had a monster showing with Young Legends on the circuit and landed tons of offers. Today he made his commitment permanent signing with Bucknell. “Feels great just knowing all the hard work that it took to get here. I’m thankful to be able to attend such a prestigious university and be able to play the game I love there. Also now that it’s official I’m able to put all my focus toward making this state playoff run with my high school team.” Sotos is the #3 point guard in the class.
Curie top 10 prospect shooting guard Elijah Joiner has signed his NLI with Tulsa. He told us his thoughts by saying “Just want to thank my Curie coaching staff, family, and teammates. And I’m looking forward to this upcoming season!” The dynamic scoring combo guard recently committed to Tulsa. Read his commitment story here:
Downers Grove South 2017 power forward TJ Clifford makes it official and signs his NLI with Western Michigan. Clifford is the #7 PF in the state. He tells us “I’m glad it’s all official and can’t wait to finish out here at South and continue on at WMU.” Below is his commitment story from back in July.
Another story line we will be keeping close tabs on throughout the day and week is the top uncommitted guys. Coming into the week there were four potential guys to make calls this week. Kenwood power forward Manny Patterson tells us that he will not sign early. Evanston point guard Nojel Eastern, Edwardsville point guard Mark Smith, and Whitney Young shooting guard Lucas Williamson are the three in play. We spoke with both Eastern and Williamson last night and they said there is nothing new to report on when or if they will be signing early.
One story we will continue to monitor closely is the developments with the state’s top 2017 prospect Jeremiah Tilmon. Tilmon told us on Tuesday night that he will not be signing with Illinois today and that news was also confirmed by Evan Daniels of Scout. There is real question if he will stay committed to Illinois. Behind the scenes we have heard for the last couple months this was a possibility. Nothing is for sure at this point either way. When texting with Tilmon late last night if he was decommitting he did not respond. Stay tuned.
Here is an approximate timeline of how we expect things to go today with the signings and/or their ceremonies from what the prospects have told us.
We are about to get things started on national signing day. Stay tuned as the letters start rolling in!