Big Tim's Class of 2023 Top 10 players for Illinois Volume 3!!!!!
This is a loaded class in Illinois, just think what it would be if JJ Taylor, Matas Buzelis, Jeremy Fears Jr, and Kylan Boswell did not leave the state? It would be a historic class, but it is hard to come up with a Top 10. I'm going to add a few players on the cusp that could move in if others fall off with their game. Some guys have made major strides in their game this Spring. I've seen these players at NY2LA (Milwaukee,WI) Nike EYBL (Indianapolis), Bill Hensley Spiece Run N Slam (Fort Wayne,IN) and Grassroots Roundball Showcase (Waukegan,IL)Look for more movement this Summer going into the Fall. Here we go:
1) Owen Freeman, Bradley Bourbonnais(6'10" forward)- Iowa commit has been dominant on every stop this Spring for Midwest Pro Academy. He's showing his step out three point shot this Spring, as well as his fundamental footwork on the interior. Nice spine moves and powerful finishes on the interior. Becoming a better rim protector at the basket, and pulling in a lot of defensive rebounds. Can post up in the paint and on the mid post, turning over either shoulder and scoring. Does not get rushed getting shots up in the paint. Solid in this spot. Ranked 138th nationally by 247 sports which is way too low for his abilities.
2) Darrin Ames, Kenwood Academy(6'2" point guard)- He's the most talented guard in the state, but I think he has the ability to do more. He can get to any spot on the court with his slick ball handling. Has a nasty step back jumper from three as well as in the lane. He's now a big time finisher at the rim dunking on players. He's very good at getting the ball to shooters at the three point line and lobs to the basket. Just wish he would take over more offensively with the Mac Irvin Fire on Nike EYBL Circuit. There are a lot of very good guards coming for his spot on this list. He can be a pesky defender with quick hands and good footwork to give other point guards fits. Ranked 66th nationally by 247 sports and has the ability to get higher on that list.
3) Cameron Christie, Rolling Meadows(6'6" combo guard)- He's one of the guys who could jump Ames on this list. Outplayed him at the Bill Hensley Spiece Run N Slam in their matchup. He's playing more of a wing position this Spring with the Illinois Wolves on Under Armour Circuit and thriving. He's good off the catch and shoot three pointer as well as off the dribble. He's a point guard by trade but has grown 6 inches over the last 18 months. He's now a jumbo point guard height wise with a long wingspan to disrupt other guards. Needs to get stronger and will as he gets older. Rebounds well for a guard. Ranked 106th nationally by 247 sports. Look for him to move up by end of the Summer.
4) Asa Thomas, Lake Forest(6'6" combo guard)- He's a knock down three point shooter off the catch and shoot with an improving skill set off the dribble. He's has been a consistent scorer for Illinois Wolves on Under Armour Circuit in the three settings I've seen him. Can score with his movement off the ball as he makes the defense work by running around screens to get open for his sweet jumper. Rebounding well at the wing spot this Spring and is improving his athleticism. Not ranked nationally at this point. Works hard defensively and plays pick and roll well. Also a great pick and pop partner with his three point shooting.
5) Daniel Johnson, Whitney Young (Chicago) (6'6" combo guard)- He's playing better and better with each outing for Meanstreets on Nike EYBL Circuit. Knockdown three point shooter that can also attack off the bounce and finish at the rim. Plus defender of all three wing positions and makes the offensive player work by moving his feet, and getting good position. Could be the best wing defender in the state. Hits the boards well on both ends of the court. He's becoming more consistent with his performances as he gets more and more healthy. Has a great chance to move up this list. Not ranked nationally at this point.
6) Dalen Davis, Whitney Young (Chicago) (6'0" point guard)- He has stepped up his game this Spring. Looks quicker, more decisive, and is hitting the three point shot consistently for Meanstreets on the Nike EYBL Circuit. Setting his teammates up with penetration and passes on the money to shooters and feeding the post. Has become a better defender of other point guards and has played well in some high profile matchups with top point guards in the class. Not ranked nationally and this could be because of his size or lack of it.
7) Brock Harding, Moline (6'0" point guard)- First time on this list as I had not seen him play live before this Spring. He plays for Mid Pro Academy and makes the engine run for them. He's deceptively quick guard who gets where he wants on the court. Has shown he can hit the three, has a nice floater in the lane, and is now putting his head on the rim with dunks. Pesky defender who bothers other point guards making life miserable for them. He's a great leader who's intensity gets his other players fired up. Good passer who sets up teammates with catch and shoot threes and is great at feeding the post, and getting Owen Freeman the ball. Not ranked nationally but is getting more notoriety by the tournament.
8) Zack Hawkinson, Sacred Heart (Springfield) (6'6" forward)- Young man is showing the college scouts this Spring he has a perimeter game. He's now hitting threes and making plays off the dribble, scoring at the rim, or making passes to teammates at the three point line and in the post. This goes with his nasty inside game and strong hands in the interior. Vice grip hands that makes it just about impossible to take ball away from him. Plays very well through contact in the paint. Yet another player off Mid Pro Academy on this list.
9) DeAndre Craig, Jr, Mount Carmel (Chicago) (6'2" point guard)- Young man gets to the basket at will and can finish in a variety of ways when he gets there. Has developed a three point shot to compliment his attacking game off the dribble. Plus defender who can guard either position in the back court. Quick hands to get steals on the ball and in the passing lane. Good shot to move up on this list. He dropped not because he has not played well, he's been solid but one young man has played so well he jumped onto the list. He's come a long way as a leader and playing for Team FVV(Fred Van Vleet) has elevated his game.
10) Ty Pence, St Joe Ogden (6'6" guard)- Can get his own shot, nasty two dribble mid range jumper who makes it look easy. Hits three pointers at a high rate off the bounce, or with the catch and shoot. Finishes at the rim with good athleticism will posterize you with a quickness. Just watch the youtube video that's loaded. Good defender off the ball and works hard to be a two way player. Plays with a flair on the court and an edge. Can run the point for you in a pinch. Same evaluation as the last update as he's been very consistent playing for Mid Pro Academy.
On the cusp:
Mark Nikolitch-Wilson, Rolling Meadows (6'8" forward)- Soft hands, good rebounder, nice spin moves using his body to get to the basket. Has added a three point shot on the step out from the lane. Plays for Full Package Athletics.
Jack Fiegen, New Trier (Winnetka) (6'4" shooting guard)- Want a knockdown three point shooter college coaches? Here's your guy who hit 8 threes in THREE DIFFERENT GAMES at the Bill Hensley Spiece Run N Slam. He's also improved making moves off the dribble. Plays for Full Package Athletics.
Miles Rubin, Simeon (Chicago) (6'9" forward)- Smooth big man who can hit shots out to 15 feet, rebound, and a big time rim protector. Showing more of a perimeter game will move him up on the list. Plays for Meanstreets on Nike EYBL Circuit.
Ahmad Henderson II (Brother Rice) (Chicago) (5'10" point guard)- He's been solid all Spring it's just other players have stepped up their games. He's one of the best leaders at the point guard position in the State. Has to become a more pesky defender. Plays for Young And Reckless(Y n R).
Jalen Griffith, Simeon (Chicago) (5'9" point guard)- Very good at both ends of the court with a nice mid range jumper and can hit the three. Pesky defender on the defensive end with quick hands to get steals. Plays for Team Rose on Adidas Circuit.
Darius Loury, Kenwood Academy (Chicago) (6'7" wing)- Good complementary piece with a nice step out three point shot. Rebounds well for his position. Has to get more consistent with Mac Irvin Fire on Nike EYBL Circuit.
Danny Stephens, Southeastern, Bowen(IL) (6'7" wing)- Tough hard nosed wing who can hit the three and hits the boards. Plays in a part of the state not many people get to see him play. Can guard three positions on the defensive end. Runs with Mid Pro Academy.
Darrion Baker, Hillcrest(Country Club Hills) (6'7" wing)- A lot of talent who shows he can hit the three, handle the ball like a guard, and is getting better as a rim protector and on the glass. Plays for Team Rose on Adidas Circuit.
Bryce Tillery, Hillcrest (Country Club Hills) (5'9" point guard)- If he was 6'0" he would be higher on this list. A dog on the defensive end who gets into you and gets a lot of steals. Great leader who can get to the basket and finish along with a nice floater.