Posted On: 03/26/18 6:00 AM
How did the Illinois Class of 2017 do in their first college seasons? PrepHoopsIllinois takes a look back at the top 20 ranked prospects in last year’s class and how they played this year as freshman in college!
Jeremiah Tilmon (East St. Louis – Missouri)
8.4 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.0 BPG
Tilmon definitely showed flashes of the ability that made him the top prospect in the class. The former East St. Louis standout finished out the regular season strong with 17 points against Arkansas. Foul trouble continues to be a major issue for him. Next year with the Porter brothers gone he should have a chance to show NBA scouts his full game.
Jordan Goodwin (Belleville Althoff – St. Louis)
11.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 4.0 APG
It was a nice start to the season for Goodwin as he showed off his versatility recording a triple double and consistently stuffing the stat sheet. Looked like the star Billikens fans envisioned. Goodwin was suspended from the team in mid-February amid a Title IX investigation that saw three of his teammates kicked off the team. He is expected to return for his sophomore season.
Mark Smith (Edwardsville – Illinois)
5.8 PPG, 1.4 APG, 1.4 RPG
It was a puzzling season for last year’s Mr. Basketball who saw his stock skyrocket as a senior. Smith started off hot with several big outings early in the season and then disappeared for the conference season not recording double figure points in any Big 10 game. He has decided to transfer.
Justin Smith (Stevenson – Indiana)
6.5 PPG, 3.2 RPG
Smith closed out the season great for the Hoosiers. The former Stevenson standout averaged 15.0 PPG in his final four regular season games against Big 10 competition while shooting a high percentage from the field. Could be a go to guy for the Hoosiers the next few years.
Javon Pickett (Belleville East – Sunrise Christian Prep)
Pickett decommitted from Illinois after the coaching change at Illinois and decided to reclassify to 2018. He attended Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas as a prep player and is headed to Mizzou next season.
Nojel Eastern (Evanston – Purdue)
3.0 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 1.1 APG 48% FG in 12 min per game
Eastern flashed the versatility at times coming off the bench for the Boilermakers this season on a veteran team. Recorded his career high of 11 points in their Big 10 tournament game against Michigan. Expect him to see a bigger work load as his career progresses.
Da’Monte Williams (Peoria Manual – Illinois)
3.5 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 1.1 APG
Williams was coming of a serious knee injury that cost him his senior season. Some thought he might redshirt this past season, but he played and had his moments. Will need to continue to improve his shooting percentage to see his numbers rise as a sophomore.
Nana Akenten (Bolingbrook – Nebraska)
1.0 PPG, 0.3 RPG
Akenten played in only a handful of games as a freshman for the Cornhuskers. Probably would have been best to redshirt him.
Christian Negron (Larkin – Loyola)
1.1 PPG, 0.8 RPG
Negron was one of my favorite players in this class with his athleticism and energy. He missed his senior season with a knee injury. Suffered another setback injury as a freshman at Loyola this season. Hope that he can regain his form that we saw early in his high school career.
Cameron Krutwig (Jacobs – Loyola)
10.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.7 APG
Krutwig was fantastic as a freshman for Loyola. The big man is a load inside scoring and on the boards. Also is an elite passer. He shot 60% from the field on the season. He scored in double figures in 14 of his teams last 16 regular season and MVC tournament games. In a road win at Florida he had 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 dimes. Extremely bright future!
Elijah Joiner (Curie – Tulsa)
3.8 PPG, 2.1 RPG, 2.0 APG
Joiner scored in double figures three times during the season for Tulsa. Averaged 16.8 minutes per game.
Demarius Jacobs (Uplift – Hillcrest Prep)
Jacobs decommitted from SIU and decided to go to prep school at Hillcrest in Arizona. He had a solid year including several big games in the second half of the season garnering high major looks. He eventually committed to St. Louis.
Teyvion Kirk (Joliet West – Ohio)
15.3 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.4 SPG
Kirk was outstanding as a freshman for Ohio! The former Joliet West lead guard continued the momentum off his strong senior campaign. He was everything that Ohio could have asked for! Classic example of a kid finding the right fit and level! He was so consistent throughout the entire season. Potential conference player of the year as his career progresses.
Jimmy Sotos (Conant – Bucknell)
4.8 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 2.0 APG
Sotos played in every game of the season for the NCAA Tournament team. He played in 22 minutes per game in a complimentary role. This team first player should see his stats continue to rise each season.
Jacob Keller (Fenwick – Northern Iowa Football)
Keller opted to go the football route and play at Northern Iowa where he redshirted as a freshman.
Lucas Williamson (Whitney Young – Loyola)
4.8 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 1.0 APG
Williamson was an outstanding late spring addition for the MVC champs. He played 19 minutes per game showing off his versatility and ability to contribute in a variety of areas as a freshman.
Alonzo Verge (Thornton – Moberly CC)
20.8 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 6.1 APG, 2.0 SPG
Verge looked like a star on the JUCO level throughout the season. He scored at a high level including a 51 point game against Highland. In 25 games played he shot 55% from the field and had 2.0 turnovers per game. Verge was suspended in the middle of the season for six games. This is the issue that continues to bother D1 schools.
Evan Gilyard (Simeon – UTEP)
9.1 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 1.6 APG
Solid freshman season for the lefty point guard from Simeon. He had multiple 20+ point games including scoring 29 points in their last game of the season.
PJ Pipes (Lemont – Wisconsin Green Bay)
7.2 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 1.9 APG
Pipes posted quality numbers throughout the year including a stretch in the middle of the season where he recorded seven games in a row with double figures.
Tai Bibbs (West Chicago – Columbia)
3.4 PPG, 1.3 RPG
Columbia struggled throughout the season and once they got into conference season the former West Chicago standout didn’t see much playing time. Recorded 12 points twice this season. Played in 13 games as a freshman.