Top Early Season Performers In Illinois

Top Early Season Performers In Illinois

Since the high school basketball season started in Illinois there have been a number of players who have turned in notable performances.  They include those who continue to enhance their stock and are beginning to establish a national reputation, some who remain unheralded and under the radar, and even a few who were virtually unheard of before the season began. 

With all of that in mind, we now take a look at the players who we have been especially impressed with thus far.  This list is relegated to players that we have watched in person since the first Thanksgiving tournament that we took in not quite three weeks ago.  It does not include players who we wrote about in recent entries such as Marian Catholic’s 5’8 point guard Tyler Ulis and some top downstate prospects in the 2014 class.

  • Gavin Schilling    
  • 6’9   2013   PF   Chicago (De LaSalle)

Others have gotten a bit carried away with their praise of Schilling and some of the comparisons that we have read border on the ridiculous.  But make no mistake about it–Schilling is clearly De LaSalle’s best college prospect.  In fact, it isn’t even close.  Schilling was De LaSalle’s best player when we watched him on opening night at the Hoops For Healing Thanksgiving Tournament vs. Naperville North.  He posted a double-double in points and rebounds in that contest and is capable of doing that on any given night.  Schilling’s recruiting continues to go through the roof, with TCU being the latest school to extend a scholarship offer, joining the ranks of Illinois, DePaul, Oregon State and USC.  Several others are showing strong interest.  We still believe that right now Schilling is most comparable to University of Illinois sophomore center Meyers Leonard (forget the height differential–their style of play is practically identical).  There is no question that Schilling ranks among the top five prospects in Illinois from the 2013 class with a chance to be among the top three before it is all over.

  • Jubril Adekoya     6’6   2013   PF/WF   Tinley Park (Andrew)
  • Jawad Adekoya   6’4   2012   2G     Tinley Park (Andrew) 

There is not a more underrated pair of teammates in the state than the Adekoya brothers.  Both were outstanding in Andrew’s victory over Crete-Monee at the Crete-Monee Thanksgiving Tournament, accounting for 52 of the team’s 62 points in that contest.  Jubril is a workhorse who does most of his team’s dirtywork around the basket.  He has great mid-range scoring capability, gets after it on the glass and is unselfish.  He currently holds offers from several mid-major programs.  Jawad, meanwhile, is a D1 player in his own right, as he is an outstanding perimeter shooter with 3-point range, is good on the break and has shown that he can score off the dribble in addition to spotting up.  The Adekoya brothers are the main reasons why Andrew is one of the top teams in Chicago’s south suburbs and en route to their best season in school history.

  • Maurius Hill    6’5   2013   PF   Flossmoor (Homewood-Flossmoor)  

Homewood-Flossmoor’s 2012 trio of Tim Williams, Delvon Rencher and Tyrone Sherman have grabbed most of the headlines the past couple of years but in the early going this season no player on the team has been more effective than Hill.  In fact, on a team that is stacked with great athletes, Hill may actually be H-F’s most athletic player.  He is strong, can jump out of the gym and is a consistent inside scorer.  As a result, Hill is capable of dominating the interior when facing man-to-man defenses, including versus taller opponents.  The biggest question is his shooting range, but from everything we have seen indicates that Hill definitely has D1 ability.

  • Keith Carter     6’0   2012   PG   Maywood (Proviso East)

Every time we watch Proviso East play we come away thinking that Carter is the glue to the team.  Carter consistently energizes the Proviso East squad and his teammates seem to feed off of his play.  This was plainly evident at both the State Farm Tournament Of Champions in Washington, IL and the WFMB Sportsradio 1450 Shootout in Springfield.  Above all else, Carter has a great motor and has proven that he is a clutch player, as he gets it done in crunch time and seems to make big plays when his team needs them.  It is for all of these reasons that Carter is a tremendous get for Rick Majerus and St. Louis University.

  • Sterling Brown     6’4   2013   2G/WF   Maywood (Proviso East) 

If there is one word that defines Brown’s game it is versatility.  He gets it done around the basket, can score from the perimeter and can handle the ball.  Brown did a superb job on 6’5 2013 2-guard and University Of Illinois commit Malcolm Hill in helping to lead Proviso East to victory over Belleville East at the State Farm Tournament Of Champions and at the very worst played Hill to a standstill.  He tends to get lost in the shuffle at times when talking about the top off-guards in Illinois from the 2013 class (a loaded position), but as far as we are concerned Brown remains near the top of the list and is a player that will continue to get even better.

  • Malcolm Hill     6’5   2013   2G   Belleville (East) 

There are few players in the state who mean more to their team’s success than Hill.  It is plain to see how much Belleville East relies on Hill for offensive production and more often than not he responds.  Hill is a great mid-range scorer, is outstanding in the open court and seemingly gets to the basket at will.  He is especially adept at getting into the lane, drawing contact and either finishing or getting to the free throw line.  All of this is even more impressive when one considers that Belleville East lacks a pure point guard who can get Hill the ball on a regular basis.  He still needs to get stronger and work on expanding his range, but we look for Hill to be a valuable contributor at the University Of Illinois much sooner than later.

  • Deontre Brown     6’1   PG   Plainfield (East)

We still aren’t exactly sure what college level Brown is best suited for.  However, one thing is certain–he can definitely score.  Brown did just that in propelling his team to the championship at the Ron Johnson Thanksgiving Classic in St. Charles, IL.  But it is not Brown’s scoring ability that has made him a better player in comparison to a year ago.  It is the fact that Brown is now playing much more aggressively and has become more of a leader on the floor.  Brown has great quickness and as a result can consistently get to the basket.  He can also push the ball up the floor and hit open shots.  Brown is a major reason why Plainfield East is currently undefeated and ranked among the top 15 teams in the Chicago area.  We believe that he would be a gem for any small college program looking for an offensive-minded point guard.

  • Reggie Johnson     6’1   2G   Westchester (St. Joseph) 

O.K–you want to hear about a TRUE recruiting steal?  Reggie Johnson is an absolute steal for Tennessee State every way you slice it.  Johnson was the best player on the court at the Ron Johnson Thanksgiving Classic when we watched him lead St. Joseph to victory over St. Charles East.  Johnson has tremendous upper body strength which enables him to get into the lane and either finish or get to the foul line.  He is capable of overpowering smaller and weaker defenders when isolated one-on-one.  More than a few D1 college assistants are kicking themselves over not being able to get in on Johnson prior to him signing.  In fact, one of them told us, “I’m jealous!”

  • Gabe Levin     6’6   PF   Oak Park (H.S.) 

With 6’1 2012 point guard and Bradley University recruit Ka’Darryl Bell currently sidelined due to injury, Levin has stepped up in a big way as he has consistently put up numbers.  He was named the MVP at the St. Patrick Thanksgiving Tournament, where he led his team to the tournament championship.  Levin is effective around the basket due to being a strong rebounder and doing a good job of establishing post position.  He is also capable of facing up and knocking down shots out to 3-point land although he can be streaky.  Right now Levin seems intent on heading to prep school next season even though he continues to attract recruiting interest from several D2 programs and a few low D1s.

Additional Notes

… Adam Chick, a 6’0 2012 point guard from Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, IL has committed to Suffolk University, a D3 school located in Boston.  Chick has been a three year varsity performer at Glenbrook North.  His commitment was confirmed by assistant varsity boy’s basketball coach Scott Lidskin.

… Congratulations go out to the #1 player in the nation regardless of class–that of course being 6’8 2013 forward Jabari Parker from Simeon Career Academy on being named the USA Basketball Male Athlete Of The Year.  Parker joins a long line of outstanding basketball players who have won the award, including Kevin Durant, Jason Kidd, Carmelo Anthony, and Michael Jordan.  Parker’s award was confirmed to us by his father–Chicago basketball legend Sonny Parker.

We welcome comments regarding this story or any other entry published by Illinois Prep Bulls-eye.  They can be made by e-mailing us at [email protected]

Continue to check in with Illinois Prep Bulls-eye for all of the latest as it pertains to recruiting and high school basketball in Illinois.


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