Mr. Basketball Mid-Season Update


Posted On: 01/11/18 12:00 PM

We are half way the high school season across the state of Illinois.  We thought it would be a good time to revisit the race for Mr. Basketball.  Here is our in-depth look at the contenders for the most coveted award in the state at the mid-way point.


Tier 1 – Clear Leaders

Ayo Dosunmu (Morgan Park)

Ayo Dosunmu, Morgan Park

Preseason Odds: 3/2
Current Odds: 2/1

The preseason favorite is still right there as the co-leader.  Dosunmu has had multiple monster performances during the season including 50+ and 60+ point outings.  The Illinois commit is a dynamic scorer that can put buckets up in a hurry.  He was injured during the holiday tournament at the Dipper and his team struggled early in the season not having quite the record most expected.  They are still the 3A favorite and with a big second half he should claim his crown as Mr. Basketball.


Talen Horton-Tucker (Simeon)

Preseason Odds: 3/1
Current Odds: 2/1

THT is right there even with Dosunmu at the mid-point of this Mr. Basketball race.  The Simeon senior forward has been outstanding on the biggest stages in showcase events such as Chicago Elite Classic and captured the MVP of the Pontiac Holiday Tournament leading his team to the championship.  Right now Simeon is the best team in Illinois and THT is a huge reason!


EJ Liddell (Belleville West)

EJ Liddell, Belleville WestPreseason Odds: 10/1
Current Odds: 4/1

What many thought was a two way race preseason is now a big three at the top for the award.  Before the year started we had Liddell third and he has outperformed even our expectations.  The 6’7” four man has posted incredible numbers scoring, grabbing rebounds, and blocking shots.  He won MVP at the Centralia Holiday Tournament with two dominant performances on the last day.  Also shined at the Highland Shootout.  Liddell still has big opportunities at the Chick Fil A Classic and O’Fallon Shootout.




Tier 2 – In Striking Distance

Javon Freeman (Whitney Young)

Javon Freeman, Whitney Young

Preseason Odds: 12/1
Current Odds: 10/1

The Valpo commit has had a big year for the Dolphins.  The slick scoring wing excelled with his play early in the season in their Thanksgiving Tournament and at the Chicago Elite Classic.  Helped get Whitney Young to the title game at Proviso.  Freeman is one of the top scorers in the Public League.  Definitely has an opportunity to make a move toward the top group with his play in the city and state playoffs.


Kendle Moore (Danville)

Preseason Odds: 20/1
Current Odds: 10/1

Moore is on one of the best teams in the state and possibly the premier squad in central Illinois.  He is the leader of that team.  The Drake commit really elevated his stock with his performance at the Team Rose Classic when he put his team on his back for a huge win over Orr.  Moore is an exciting playmaker that will garner a lot of votes from his region.


Ryan Davis (Conant)

Ryan Davis, Conant

Preseason Odds: 20/1
Current Odds: 15/1

Davis showed during the holidays that he is a force on the high school basketball scene.  The Vermont commit played like a high-major player at the Jack Tosh tournament where he led Conant to the championship while winning the MVP.  Davis is in the best shape of his career and it is showing posting double doubles every night while playing above the rim and spacing the floor from three.  The big man needs his team to continue to win in the second half to make a run at this award.


Drew Peterson (Libertyville)

Preseason Odds: 35/1
Current Odds: 20/1

Peterson can flat out score the basketball and that has been shown this season.  The state’s top unsigned senior has elevated not only his recruiting stock, but his place in the race for Mr. Basketball.  Peterson has consistently performed at a high level all season and helped his team get to the finals of the Wheeling Tournament.



Messiah Jones (Simeon)

Messiah Jones, Simeon

Preseason Odds: NA
Current Odds: 20/1

Jones is the second Simeon player on this list.  The Drake commit posted monster numbers early in the season for the Wolverines.  He is a beast on the glass and is scoring at a high clip as well.  The bouncy forward is a force on the defensive end blocking shots.  The biggest road block between him and the award might be too many talented teammates to share the shine with.



Tier 3 – Sleepers

Raekwon Drake (Orr)

Raekwon Drake, Orr

Preseason Odds: 15/1
Current Odds: 25/1

Like the power forward mentioned above this four man suffers the same problem with his candidacy.  Orr is such a talented and deep team that the production is spread out.  Drake is the player that makes the biggest impact.  We saw him with maybe the game of his career in St. Louis.  He followed that up getting the MVP at the Proviso West Holiday Tournament leading the Spartans to a title over Whitney Young.  They are far and away the best 2A team in Illinois and one of the best overall.


Chris Payton (Bloomington)

Chris Payton, Bloomington, Illinois State

Preseason Odds: NA
Current Odds: 30/1

Payton is the second junior on this list.  He wasn’t on the preseason list, but with his strong play this season he has to be mentioned.  Payton has been outstanding each time we have seen him play this year.  The physical and athletic forward is scoring with efficiency along with being a beast rebounding and blocking shots.  Bloomington is one of the best teams in central Illinois.


Tim Finke (Champaign Central)

Tim Finke, Champaign Central, Grand Canyon

Preseason Odds: 12/1
Current Odds: 35/1

Finke is the senior leader for one of the top teams in central Illinois.  He has been solid throughout the season, but not had that signature performance that can take a player to the next level for Mr. Basketball.  Finke was very good at the Centralia Holiday Tournament making the first team all-tournament team and getting his squad to the championship game where he fought through back pain to keep his team close.


Dravon Clayborn (Niles North)

Dravon Clayborn, Niles North

Preseason Odds: NA
Current Odds: 40/1

Clayborn is one of the few players to come from off the board in this race.  He will see a big jump in the next prospect rankings and deserves a mention as a dark horse Mr. Basketball candidate.  Scoring point guard that can get to the rim and shoot it from three.  Niles North was expected to be a strong contender and they have been better than most thought.



Francis Okoro (Normal West)

Francis Okoro, Normal West

Preseason Odds: 25/1
Current Odds: 40/1

Okoro is a player that despite being the top junior prospect in the state hasn’t garnered a ton of recognition for his high school play.  That is starting to change this season.  Okoro led his team to the championship at Pekin.