Mattingly is a skilled combo forward that brings athleticism and plus shooting to the table. On Friday he made his call to commit to Hillsdale. He told PHI why they were his choice. “After I went on my official I knew that Hillsdale
Let’s dive into some of the top 2021 players from around the state of Illinois to see where their recruitments stand! You know that means it another Senior Sunday: Recruiting Notebook!
John PoulakidasJohnPoulakidas6'5" | SFNeuqua Valley | 2021State#155NationIL (Neuqua Valley)
Photo: Alex Conover Prep Hoops
Last weekend Poulakidas made his college choice. The #5 ranked prospect in the state is a shot making lefty that had a number of high-major options, but decided to head to the Ivy League to play at Yale. He will be an immediate impact prospect in that conference. Poulakidas is the third top 20 prospect to commit to an Ivy League program as Niles Notre Dame’s Louis LesmondLouisLesmond6'5" | SFNiles Notre Dame | 2021State#163NationIL is headed to Harvard and Evanston sharp shooter Blake PetersBlakePeters6'1" | SGEvanston | 2021StateIL is going to Princeton.
Walter MattinglyWalterMattingly6'6" | SFDeerfield | 2021StateIL (Lake Forest)
Mattingly is a skilled combo forward that brings athleticism and plus shooting to the table. On Friday he made his call to commit to Hillsdale. He told PHI why they were his choice. “After I went on my official I knew that Hillsdale was the right place for me. Coach Tharp and I already have built a great relationship through this whole process. I also love their two assistant coaches and I have built great bonds with them as well. First off it is a tremendously great academic school. Second I feel that I can come in right away and make a difference for the team as a freshman. Also their team is truly a family. The coaches and players are all great people as well. Lastly Hillsdale has a great reputation as a college and I know eventually that the ball will stop bouncing so getting a degree from Hillsdale will open many more doors down the road.”
Julius RollinsJuliusRollins6'6" | SFHillcrest | 2021StateIL (Hillcrest)
Photo: Alex Conover Prep Hoops
Rollins is a versatile player that can play multiple positions on the floor. We caught up with him to get the latest on his recruitment, “Over the summer me and Coach Brim have been in some contact with New Mexico, Maryland, Houston, and Tulsa. As far as the schools that have already offered me Kent State has been recruiting me the hardest by far. We communicate every day.” What stands out about Kent State? “I really like how honest they’ve been with me throughout this process and they make me feel needed. Like I’m part of the family even though I haven’t made a decision. I’ve been there once in the past while I was at a skills camp. I’ve also done a virtual visit on Zoom. Hopefully I can go on an official visit when the time is right.” What is he thinking about as far as a timeline for making a call? “Honestly I’ve been thinking about signing after my senior season. I feel like I can open a few more eyes this last year.”
Quani RuddQuaniRudd6'6" | SFMt. Vernon | 2021StateIL (Mt. Vernon)
Rudd is an explosive two way wing that can slash, defend, and has an improving perimeter game. We spoke with the top prospect in southern Illinois to find out where his recruitment is. “It’s been kind of slow with corona. The only new schools that I have been talking to are Bradley and Wofford.” Neither has offered, but he believes there is a chance Wofford could offer after the semester. The two schools he had been offered by early in the process were SEMO and SIU-Edwardsville. “I still have my offers and keep in touch with both schools.” He was just about to visit SIU-Edwardsville before the NCAA shut down on campus visits. Is he looking to sign in the November early signing period? “I haven’t really thought about it a whole lot.”
Ola AjiboyeOlaAjiboye6'8" | PFEvanston | 2021StateIL (Evanston)
Ajiboye is the second highest ranked four man on the board. Long and lanky post that rim runs, blocks shots, and can stretch the floor with his shooting. Recently made the move over to Evanston from Von Steuben. Who is most heavily involved in his recruitment? “As of now Fairleigh Dickinson who has offered. In addition to Princeton, San Diego, and Holy Cross. I’m interested in St. Louis as well.” He says that Fairleigh Dickinson is “definitely making me their top priority.” Ajiboye states he is still 100% open to other schools. Would he like to sign in the fall? “Yes hopefully before the season.” St. Louis has shown some interest as well and he would possibly considering visiting their campus on his own without seeing the coaches if they ramp things up.
Jaehshon ThomasJaehshonThomas6'1" | PGWhitney Young | 2021StateIL (Whitney Young)
Thomas is a strong combo guard that is primed for a monster year after splitting ball handling duties with high-major guards DJ StewardDJSteward6'2" | PGWhitney Young | 2020State#22NationIL and Tyler BeardTylerBeard6'3" | PGWhitney Young | 2021#140NationVA last season. The Whitney Young guard is one of the highest ranked unsigned point guards in the state. He can knock down mid-range jumpers for days and brings toughness. Currently doesn’t hold any offers, but says that “Niagara and UIC talk to me the most.”
Noah FranklinNoahFranklin6'5" | SFCobden | 2021StateIL (Cobden)
Franklin created some buzz over the last several months despite only playing in one tournament. The 6’7” lefty point-forward is super skilled with elite passing and is a feathery pull up jump shooter. How are things going on the recruiting trail? “It’s going really well! Going to try and set up some visits eventually. Been talking to Southwest Baptist University pretty consistently and West Point has been sending me mail pretty frequently.” He holds offers from Army West Point, Pittsburg State, Quincy, and Truman State. Franklin isn’t totally sure if he will sign in the fall yet as he would like to still take some visits. “I’d like to visit Southwest Baptist University and Truman State as of right now. We will probably try and go on a few more down the road as well.”
Noah LivingstonNoahLivingston6'0" | PGCasey-Westfield | 2021StateIL (Casey Westfield)
Photo: Peter Spexarth PrepHoops
Livingston is a shot making point guard that is a popular target for small colleges. When it comes to looking at the next level Livingston told PHI, “Right now I’ve taken visits to Loras, Judson, Elmhurst, and Illinois College. I have visits planned to UW-Platteville and Millikin coming up. I also received an offer from NAIA Judson.” Who is standing out to him? “Right now Illinois College, Elmhurst, and Loras have all really showed that they want me to be a part of their programs and I have really liked what all of them have had to offer.” Livingston doesn’t think he is going to sign early at this point. “No I think I’m going to play out the season and I feel confident that I can raise my stock. Then make a decision after the season sometime in the spring.”
Dylan FuzakDylanFuzak6'8" | CGeneva | 2021StateIL (Geneva)
The Geneva mobile post came off the board on Thursday night as he committed to Indiana Tech. Solid area rebounder that can run the floor and has some stretch ability out to beyond the arc.