Illini Recruiting Insider With Ryan Evan

June 21, 2017

12:30 P.M. CST


A Look At The Top 5 2018 Prospects In Illinois

By Ryan Evan--Illinois Prep Bulls-Eye Recruiting Contributor

Now that the 2017 class has come and gone, I want to turn my attention to the 2018 group in the state of Illinois. While lists 
and rankings are a huge part of recruiting, they don't define a player. Kids develop differently for many reasons and at their
own pace. At this point in time these are the top five 2018 prospects the state. Four out of the five are Illini targets. As for
the fifth, many orange and blue fans may know his uncle quite well. Right now I see at least 2 of the names on this list
playing in Champaign this time next year.

1) Ayo Dosunmu 6'5 PG Chicago (Morgan Park)

The highest rated target for the Illini is the top ranked player in the state of Illinois as well. Dosunmu will be a favorite for Mr.
Basketball and Gatorade Player Of The Year honors next season. He is a consensus top 30
player nationally who has
really shined during the Spring Evaluation Period. In addition, Dosunmu was one of the leading
scorers playing for the Mac
Irvin Fire on the Nike EYBL circuit, showcasing his ability to get to the
rim at will and create for his teammates. Dosunmu is
a winner and intense competitor. He showed well for
himself at the Pangos All-American camp this summer as well.
Above all else, Dosunmu makes the right plays and defensively
can cause havoc with his length. Morgan Park will be a
favorite to win 3A again this upcoming season
and Dosunmu will be a big reason why. Illinois has been at the top of his
list for a while along with
Xavier, but with the likes of Kansas and Kentucky in the mix this won't be as easy of a finish as
some would
expect. Dosunmu looked at home in the State Farm Center on his unofficial visit yesterday wearing the old
"flyin" Illini throwbacks. His strong connection with Illini assistant coach Chin Coleman can't go unmentioned along with
the fact that Brad
Underwood is making Dosunmu a top recruiting priority and showing him precisely how he will be
utilized in
his offensive schemes. Getting Mark Smith was a huge feather in Underwood's cap. Getting Dosunmu on board
would call for a bow.

2) Talen Horton-Tucker 6'5 2G Chicago (Simeon)

While many in the state may speculate and say Tim Finke is the second best player in the state for 2018, it is my opinion
that Tucker's consistency and willingness to play both sides of the ball with
complete effort all the time tips the scale in his
favor. This time last year I don't believe this was the
case but as I mentioned before kids can blossom and develop quickly.
Horton-Tucker has a game that reminds me a
lot of Rayvonte Rice. Sporting a strong/physical frame, he uses his body well
to
finish at the basket and move defenders when needed. Not only that, but Horton-Tucker has sneaky good athleticism to
match. He can
keep defenders honest with his shooting range as well as drive to the hoop. He showed very well for himself
during the spring AAU Nike EYBL with the Mac
Irvin Fire. Even though the team didn't qualify for the prestigious Peach
Jam in North Augusta, SC in mid-July, I believe you could
see him play for Meanstreets in a couple weeks. Horton-Tucker has
shown
me he is a Top 100 player nationally. He was a huge reason Simeon advanced to the Class 4A state finals, defeating
Mark Smith
and Edwardsville in the super-sectional along the way. I see another state appearance next year for Simeon as
Horton-Tucker
will continue to play with a chip on his shoulder. I believe his ranking and star status is under-appreciated.
Talen is visiting Illinois today and I project him being one of the first in-state prospects from 2018 to commit, probably as
early as August/September. Northwestern, Xavier and SLU are hard after his services as
well. This may end up being
Chin Coleman's first big pickup as an assistant for Illinois.


3) Tim Finke   6'7   WF   Champaign (Central)

Although Finke is third on the list, it doesn't mean he is any less of a fit or important than the first two. Finke has a mix of
athleticism and skill that is a perfect fit for what Brad Underwood runs at the
3/4. He reminds me a lot of Thomas Walkup,
not only on looks but skill. Tim
handles the ball well and is a dangerous shooter from deep. While he he very streaky,
when his shot isn't falling he is quick enough to
get in the lane and finish with authority if needed. He is definitely smoother
and a better athlete
than his brother Michael. As is the case with many high school players, the main thing preventing Tim
from ranking even higher is inconsistency. With Chris
Holtmann having left Butler I see Vanderbilt, Notre Dame and
Oregon being the teams battling it out for
his services along with Illinois. Tim should help lead Central past the sectional
this year and by that time the prevailing question will be if his
family history is enough to help land him in orange and blue.
Either way, one thing is certain--t
he new staff has the Illini in the game at this point.

4) George Conditt   6'10   C   Chicago (Corliss) 

As many of you know the rise of Conditt happened within nine months and after a five inch growth spurt. When I did an 
article on him a few weeks ago his offers were at 17. He is well over 20 now and added a second high major offer when
Washington came forward late last night. I have been told Conditt will be taking all five officials before he decides during
the winter. While I do feel he ultimately ends up as an Illini, his game will draw even more looks from big time programs this
summer. In July Conditt will be heading to Las Vegas with his Team RWA AAU squad, where a lot more eyes will be
watching, likely resulting in even more scholarship offers. Illinois played their cards right by offering when they did. Conditt has a guard's game at nearly seven feet tall. He rebounds, blocks shots and can get up and down the floor
like a gazelle. There is not much to dislike and I fully agree with the Illini staff offering. The icing on the cake for me is
Conditt's range from beyond the arc, which makes him a complete mismatch for opposing big men. I believe Illinois is in
great shape at the moment and don't see that changing over the coming months.
5) Javon Freeman-Liberty 6'4 WF Chicago (Whitney Young) There is a lot of talent in 2018 and this fifth spot could of went a few different ways. I believe this kid earned it by his play in
the state tournament along with helping MeanStreets qualify for the Peach Jam. In Indianapolis Freeman-Liblerty single- handledly kept them in a couple games when his teammates were struggling. He has superior athleticism in relation to the
other four players on this list and attacks the basket relentlessly. Freeman-Liberty can finish with contact and is aided in
this area by his incredible length. I believe he is a high major prospect and will continue to get better over the next 12
months. Right now Freeman-Liberty has offers from Toledo, Loyola, Valparaiso, Drake, Bradley and Chicago State.
He also told me that Tulsa and Syracuse have expressed interest . I expect many more offers to come, as basketball is
in his blood and he's a competitor. His uncle is former Illini great Marcus Liberty. Even though I don't expect an offer from
Illinois, that doesn't mean that Freeman-Liberty won't ultimately land offers from other high major programs. He is certainly
worth keeping an eye on as he tries to lead Whitney Young back to the state finals in Peoria again next season.
 

Editor's Note: While the analysis in this story is exclusively courtesy of Ryan Evan, the rankings of the top 5 players
were finalized on the basis of a consensus between Ryan, Roy Schmidt and Harv Schmidt.

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