Posted On: 10/1/18 6:27 PM
What a week on the recruiting trail! Five prospects came off the board in just the last few days including the #1 overall prospect EJ Liddell. Let’s not waste any more time and dive right into our latest Recruiting Notebook!
Liddell to Ohio State
The long recruitment of the state’s top 2019 prospect Belleville West power forward EJ Liddell came to an end on Monday night with Liddell’s commitment to Ohio State. The senior has been recruited by high major programs since his freshman season. He took official visits to Ohio State, Missouri, and Illinois before ultimately opting for the Buckeyes on Monday. Why were they his choice? “I have loved Ohio State since I was a kid. I thought the best of Ohio State for a long time because I thought I was going to play football and they had a top five football program every year. When I realized when I was older and could play basketball I kept that into consideration. When they offered me back in January I was on my way home from school and my phone was like on 2%. They called me for the first time. They offered me and I got really excited. I had that feeling for a long time.” How does he see himself fitting in? “They run through their versatile fours. I have seen Keita Bates-Diop and his improvement from the year before to this year winning Big 10 Player of the Year. All of their offense runs through their forwards. Their forwards go through ball screens, set ball screens, and can dribble it up off rebounds and that is the type of style I like to play.” Liddell joins a recruiting class at OSU with top prospects point guard DJ Carton and forward Alonzo Gaffney. They were the top targets for Ohio State and they landed all three. The Brad Beal Elite face up four man is a versatile inside-outside forward that will be a force in the Big 10.
Gordon Pops for Kansas State
The #3 player in the state Curie shooting guard Dajuan Gordon closed out his recruitment on Sunday night. He took an official visit to SMU in early September and that was followed by a trip to Kansas State this past weekend. On Sunday he made it official committing to Kansas State shortly after his trip to the Big 12 program. Why were they his choice? “I chose Kansas State because it felt like a brotherhood and everything.” Gordon is a plus shooter from the perimeter that showed more to his game this summer with Team Rose. Long and slender wing has a lot of projectability to his game.
Hernandez Makes Call for Kent State
More commitments! In addition to Liddell there was another big decision on Monday night from the state’s #11 overall prospect and #2 small forward Jeremiah Hernandez. It came down to Drake who he visited a couple weeks ago and Kent State who he visited recently as well. In the end Kent State won out and secured the commitment from the talented forward. He told us why they were his choice saying “They just won and they have a plan for me going forward and a plan for me in my future after college. There I can just thrive and my parents feel very comfortable with me in Coach Sendy’s hand.” What does Hernandez bring to the table as a prospect? High IQ player that can score with ease and passes it very well. Ran with Young & Reckless on the circuit.
Wilbourn Headed to Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Once Wisconsin-Milwaukee offered Normal Community power forward CJ Wilbourn in early August at their elite camp they went right to the top of his list. Over the weekend the power forward visited Wisconsin Milwaukee and he informed PHI on Sunday night that he had given a verbal commitment to UWM. Why were they his choice? “I felt like Coach Baldwin and the coaching staff can best develop me as a man and as a basketball player. Also I felt extremely comfortable with the players and being on campus. After talking to my family it felt like the best fit.” Wilbourn is a skilled four man that can score on the block and really improved playing facing the hoop in July with Quad City Elite. He is the #26 overall prospect in the class and #6 power forward.
D1 Talent Opts for D3 Power
Another commitment came from New Trier power forward Spencer Boehm. The post who is one of the highest academic players in the state. He could have picked any of the multiple Ivy or Patriot League opportunities he had at the D1 level. Instead he opted to play for Washington University in St. Louis who is an insanely well regarded academic school and their basketball program is also very well regarded. He told us why they were his choice. “I chose Washington University in St. Louis for several reasons. I was able to connect with their coaching staff better than any coaching staff I have met before which was huge for me. Also I loved everything from the players to the facilities to the location being 10 minutes away from downtown St. Louis. Along with that you can’t beat their academics which were my top priority. The Olin business school is one of the best in the nation and it feels unreal to be going to a school that has that. Lastly, one thing that resonated with me was that at Wash U we have a great chance to win a national title. At other schools I was looking at that just was not the case at all.” Boehm is the #39 overall prospect and #8 power forward. He played with Fundamental U on the circuit.
Western Illinois Jumps In Early with Pair of 2020’s
Most of the news on the recruiting trail over the last week was dominated by the 2019 class. The 2020s did have some news with a couple of first offers for prospects. The top center in the state Sterling Newman’s Devon House tripped to Western Illinois and came away with an offer. The big bodied post is an excellent rebounder with skill both on the block and an emerging face up shot. Western Illinois also extended an offer to home schooled shooting guard Davis Walker while on campus. We have him at #20 in the 2020 class after his play with Team RWA and at the PrepHoopsIllinois Top 250. Plus shooter with major scoring pop at the two guard spot.
Miami (OH) Hosts Wolves 2021 Quartet
Over the weekend Miami (OH) hosted a quartet of talented Illinois Wolves prospects in the 2021 class. They were Schaumburg center Chris Hodges, OPRF wing Isaiah Barnes, Fenwick forward Bryce Hopkins, and Mundelein point guard Conor Enright. All four are among the top players at their positions in the state and are expected to have major impacts this year during the high school season. (Picture Courtesy of Illinois Wolves).