Posted On: 12/20/20 6:00 AM
Time for the much anticipated follow up! A lot of people who know me are aware I am a fan of college football, The Big Bang Theory, and music including Taylor Swift. With the release of her latest album recently I thought it would be fun to take some of her song titles over the years and relate them to high school basketball in the state of Illinois. Check out Taylor Swift Songs Related to Illinois HS Hoops Part 2!
The Last Time
Last actual high school game I saw in person? East St. Louis vs Marion at Mt. Vernon in the sectional semis. That seems like FOREVER ago!
You can say a lot of places are Holy Ground for basketball. I think a lot would say the most is Pontiac High School for their holiday tournament. It is just different. I also love attending Run N Slam at Spiece Fieldhouse in Fort Wayne. Such a unique place.
Everything Has Changed
The entire recruiting landscape has changed for the 2021 class. The committable offers haven’t been there outside of the top tier of high-major and mid-major recruits. With one time transfers, grad transfers, the pandemic, and no high school or travel season the 2021 class has had their recruitments dramatically change.
How are the top two standouts from the 2020 class doing in college? Whitney Young’s DJ StewardDJSteward6'2" | PGWhitney Young | 2020State#22NationIL is currently averaging 11.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 3.0 dimes a game while shooting 41% from the field for Duke. His best game was recording 24 points in their opener against Coppin State. Morgan Park standout Adam Miller has been playing well for Illinois as he is going for 13.4 points while shooting 42% from beyond the arc. He set an Illini freshman record for points in the opener with 28 against NC A&T.
Welcome to New York
Best player to come from New York to play in Chicago over the last decade? Has to be Brandon Weston who shined at both Lake Forest Academy and Morgan Park.
Top space eating big men in the state? KJ DebrickKJDebrick6'7" | CSpringfield Lanphier | 2021StateIL (Springfield Lanphier), Corey Walker (Normal West), Julian Campbell (Palatine), Antonio Leavy (Rockford Jefferson), Martell Webb (Westinghouse), Sam Bradbury (Mattoon), and Liddell Miller (Morgan Park).
Out of the Woods
Top players from small schools or not in a major area? Quani Rudd (Mt. Vernon), Tevin Smith (Danville), Noah Franklin (Cobden), Luke Braman (Roanoke-Benson), Landon Zurliene (Fairfield), Noah Livingston (Casey Westfield), Joe MeltonJoeMelton6'6" | CNorris City Omaha Enfield | 2021StateIL (Norris City Omaha Enfield), Jalen QuinnJalenQuinn6'3" | PGTuscola | 2022State#196NationIL (Tuscola), and Jeremiah Talton (Quincy) are just a few.
Shake It Off
What guards shake their defenders off the bounce? Kimahri Wilson (Carmel), Jalen Houston (Bogan), Christian Henry (St. Rita), Jaylen Drane (Simeon), Jalen Quinn (Tuscola), Tavari Johnson (Lyons), Damari Wheeler-Thomas (Larkin), Darrin AmesDarrinAmes6'0" | PGKenwood | 2023StateIL (Kenwood), Jaylin Griffith (Simeon), and many more.
New Years Day
New Year’s is the beginning of not only a new calendar year, but the second half of the season. My favorite events of the second half of the season? Highland Shootout, O’Fallon Shootout, and Salem Invitational Tournament.
Well……I think 2020 has that covered. Spring travel team season, June national camps like Nike Elite 100, summer high school basketball with their teams, and then the July live periods were all taken away.
Who are the five best prospects in the state regardless of class? We will have this list soon in our overall rankings. Max Christie (Rolling Meadows), Bryce Hopkins (Fenwick), AJ Casey (Whitney Young), Jaden Schutt (Yorkville Christian), and Javonte Taylor (Kenwood) will be the top 5 in some order.
Here are the best shooters from behind the ARC! Blake Peters (Evanston) and Jaden Schutt (Yorkville Christian) could very well go down as two of the best shooters ever in state history. Other elite snipers include James Dent (Springfield Southeast), John Poulakidas (Neuqua Valley), Ben Schwieger (Waubonsie Valley), Jaiden Lee (Joliet West), Tyler Van Eekeren (Benet), Ethan Roberts (Hersey), Ian Burns (New Trier), Connor Davis (Neuqua Valley), Kam Craft (Buffalo Grove), Robbie Avila (Oak Forest), Bobby Durkin (Hinsdale South), Ben VanderWalBenVanderWal6'5" | SFTimothy Christian | 2022StateIL (Timothy Christian), Asa Thomas (Lake Forest), and many more.
You Need to Calm Down
Players, parents, and advisors that are in the class of 2021 and refuse to believe that their son is not going to be a D1 prospect. Right now college coaches are asking mostly about mid-year transfers, potential fifth year transfers, potential one time transfers, and JUCO prospects. I would say there are going to be five or so players max that still have a chance to sign D1 in the spring. If you are not in serious talks right now with D1 programs it is wise to look into small college options.
Top player in each class final rankings during the PHI era? Jabari Parker (Simeon – 2013), Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young – 2014), Jalen Brunson (Stevenson – 2015), Charlie Moore (Morgan Park – 2016), Jeremiah Tilmon (East St. Louis – 2017), Ayo Dosunmu (Morgan Park – 2018), EJ Liddell (Belleville West – 2019), and DJ Steward (Whitney Young – 2020).
Last Great American Dynasty
Which programs have had dynasties over the last decade. You have to start with the four peat of Simeon from 2010-2013. Their Chicago rival Whitney Young has a pair of state titles in 2014 and 2017 along with a second place in 2018. Who did they fall to in 2018? That was Belleville West who captured back to back in 2018 and 2019. Orr is on a current three peat streak of their own with 2A titles in 2017, 2018, and 2019. You can’t forget the dominant run Nick Irvin had with Morgan Park in the last decade capturing four state titles each time they reached Peoria.