Class of 2024 Top 10 players for Illinois Volume 2!!!!!!
This list will definitely change over the next two years as players develop and some rest on their laurels and do not get better. I could be drastically different by the time these young men graduate from high school. Some will play their way on or off the list during the Spring and Summer travel season this year. I've said now I don't go by national rankings I go by what my eyes see. Here we go:
1) Morez Johnson Jr, St Rita(Chicago)(6'9" forward)- Illinois commit. Still on top of the list from Volume 1. A double/double machine who plays strong on both ends of the court. Can score from 15 feet in with a nice jumper, spin and finishes at the rim. Above average rim protector who runs the floor well transitioning on both ends of the court. Has a high motor on the court at all times. Has quick feet to guard the pick and roll. Passes well out of the high post. He is showing up on some national lists now and will continue to do so. Plays for Meanstreets on the Nike EYBL Circuit. Regional Champ. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r61SO9RcfOw.
2) Nous Industraitis, Lemont(6'5" guard)- He has moved up on the list as he did a lot after leading his high school team to a Supersectional berth. First one since 1975. Was clutch throughout most of the playoff run. Knockdown three point shooter, who can attack the basket well off the dribble, finishing with dunks, and Euro step around defenders. Finishes with either hand at the basket, who hits two dribble mid range pull-up jump shots. Rebounds at a high rate for a guard, makes the right play with pinpoint passes to teammates on the perimeter. Has gotten more aggressive defensively. Starting to get some well deserved notice nationally. Plays for Meanstreets on the Nike EYBL Circuit. School list is growing: https://verbalcommits.com/players/nojus-indrusaitis. Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z00RjKsLtsM.
3) James Brown, St Rita(Chicago)(6'9"forward)- Fell one spot not because he did not play well, but another player stepped up his game. He's the top ranked player nationally in Illinois. Nice finisher at the basket with either hand, runs the floor well, good rebounder, and has extended his range out to about 18 feet. He has gotten better attacking off the dribble, and is a rim protector. Good at guarding the pick and roll and has gotten better at scoring from the high post. Plays for Meanstreets on Nike EYBL Circuit. Impressive school list: https://www.verbalcommits.com/players/james-brown-il. Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMmH8rK3xLM.
4) Dekwon Brown, Limestone Community(Bartonville)(6'3" point guard)- Peoria area player who's very good at running a team as well as scoring. He can hit three's, score off the bounce and finish at the rim. He's good at setting up teammates for open shots, or finishes at the rim. Loves to attack the basket, finishing in a variety of ways with either hand. Defends at least all three perimeter positions. The next big thing to come out of the Peoria area runs with the Mac Irvin Fire on Nike EYBL Circuit. https://verbalcommits.com/players/dekwon-brown. Has one offer but look for them to grow this Spring and Summer. Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaIkoLTEk7Y.
5) Isaiah Green, Hillcrest(Country Club Hills)(6'0" guard)- Big time three point shooter who's good off the dribble and stand still jump shooting. Is quick off the bounce, getting to the basket and finishing. A scorer on two dribble mid range pull-up jump shots. Will be interesting to see if he'a able to run point guard position on his travel team. He'll be running with the Mac Irvin Fire on Nike EYBL Circuit. He has no offers as of yet but look for him to pick up some on the circuit.
6) Jaheem Webber, Normal Community(6'9" forward)- Big bodied forward who can score with his back to the basket on either block. Scores with jump hooks over either shoulder, and drop step dunks. Finishes everything around the rim. Rebounds at a high level on both ends of the court. Runs the floor changing ends offensively and defensively. Good passer out of the post. Can hit the 15 foot jump shot and is a good rim protector. Team won a Regional Title. Here he blocks the shot of #1 player in Class of 2023 Owen Freeman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fX1DmBUYGvM. Offer list should pick up as he runs with Illinois Wolves on Under Armour Association Circuit. More highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWuLMper5bo.
7) Joshua Pickett, Aurora(West)(6'5" guard)- Can play either guard position. Hits threes at a high rate off the dribble and off catch and shoot. Gets to the basket with his ball handling and size at the position. Finishes at the basket using his size and length to do so. Good passer to three point shooters on the perimeter. Can guard all three perimeter positions, getting steals off the ball and fast break finishes. Runs with Mac Irvin Fire on Nike EYBL Circuit. https://verbalcommits.com/players/joshua-pickett. Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqiGBXAOHXY.
8) Jaden Smith, Kenwood Academy(Chicago)(6'9" forward)- He's on this list for his potential. Has a lot of tools in the tool box. Jump hook over his left shoulder, has a nice spin move on the block to score. Can hit the 15 foot jumper, rebounds well, and is a good rim protector. Changes ends very well. Showed flashes of that potential this past season trying to get acclimated to a late transfer from Lincoln Park(Chicago). Runs with Mac Irvin Fire on Nike EYBL Circuit. https://www.verbalcommits.com/players/jaden-smith.
9) Payton Kamin, DePaul College Prep(Chicago)(6'6" guard)- Knockdown three point shooter who can hit off the dribble or catch and shoot. Has improved getting to the basket and finishing usually with a nice Euro step around defender. Long wing defender who guards his position well. Good weak side rebounder. Has a nice two dribble pull-up jumper in the lane. Big Spring and Summer for him. Runs with Illinois Wolves of Under Armour Association Circuit. https://www.verbalcommits.com/players/payton-kamin. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjqZBUGHN5A.
10) Carlos Harris III, Curie(Chicago)(6'2" point guard)- A tough hard nosed guard who loves attacking the basket. Quick first step gets him by his defender to get to the bucket. He does it consistently throughout the game and is good at getting tough finishes. An improving three point shooter who now has a mid range pull-up jumper in his game. Gets into you defensively, getting steals and making life miserable for the opposing point guard. Two end warrior who gets after it defensively. Plays hard all the time and is an improving passer getting his teammates involved. Runs with Meanstreets on Nike EYBL Circuit. https://verbalcommits.com/players/carlos-harris-lll. Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sy7tzKPxcEU.
Note: I have not seen Cooper Koch, of Notre Dame(Peoria)(6'9" forward) on video nor in person as of yet. He could likely be a Top 10 player in the state but cannot evaluate him till I see him either online or in person. I will try to get a chance to see him in a couple of settings this Spring and Summer. Runs with Indiana Elite on Adidas Circuit 3SSB.