Illini Recruiting Insider With Ryan Evan

Illini Recruiting Insider With Ryan Evan

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 ChrisHoltmann 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–the 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 have 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.

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.


No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *