College Coaches Galore Watch Whitney Young Defeat De LaSalle At York Class 4A Sectional

College Coaches Galore Watch Whitney Young Defeat De LaSalle At York Class 4A Sectional

On an evening that featured a plethora of outstanding Class 4A sectional matchups, no game had more overall talent on the floor than tonight’s sectional semifinal contest at York High School in Elmhurst, IL between Whitney Young and De LaSalle.  There were as many as 13 division one players on display from amongst these two teams.

If that isn’t enough, what adds even more fuel to the fire is the fact that the abundance of talent at both Whitney Young and De LaSalle consists of underclassmen who are all among the top prospects in Illinois from their respective classes.  It is therefore no wonder that college coaches turned out in droves to take in the action.  And of course Illinois Prep Bulls-eye was there as well.

Among the coaches in the gym at York were University Of Illinois head coach Bruce WeberNorthwestern University head coach Bill Carmodyand assistant coach Tavaras HardyUniversity Of Wisconsin Associate Head Coach Greg GardFairfield University Associate Head Coach Bob SimonIllinois State University assistant coach Paris ParhamUniversity Of Illinois-Chicago assistant coach Al Biancalana and Loyola-Chicagoassistant coach Adam DeMong.

There is no question that the Big Ten coaches in attendance were primarily focusing their attention on 6’8 class of 2013 forward Tommy Hamilton and 6’9 class of 2014 center Jahlil Okafor from Whitney Young and 6’7 class of 2013 forward Alex Foster from De LaSalle.  From among these three players, the one who turned in the best performance was undoubtedly Okafor.  In fact, the argument can be made that Okafor was the difference in the game, as he dominated the paint area in the second half, finishing with consistency and cleaning up on the boards in helping Whitney Young to a 59-56 victory.  Okafor ended up with 12 points and 7 rebounds.  There is absolutely no doubt in our minds that Okafor is hands down the #1 player in Illinois from the 2014 class.

6’6 class of 2011 wing Dre Henley was sensational in defeat for De LaSalle, finishing with 24 points and doing everything within his power to keep his team in the game despite missing a three-pointer at the buzzer that would have forced overtime.  Henley scored at will on baseline drives, finger rolls in the lane and pullup jumpers, including a couple from beyond the 3-point arc.  As we have previously mentioned, we consider Fairfield to be the current leader for Henley’s services, as coach Simon has practically been living with Henley over the course of the last month.   

Also performing extremely well for Whitney Young was 6’7 class of 2011 wing and Ohio State University recruit Sam Thompson, who finished with 16 points and was very much a leader on the floor for his team.  Thompson also turned in a strong defensive effort and hit a free throw in the closing seconds to help seal the win.

Other underclass prospects that the majority of college coaches in the house were keeping close tabs on included 6’4 class of 2013 off-guard Alvin Ellis and 6’1 class of 2013 point guard Jaylon Tate from De LaSalle, and 5’6 class of 2012 point guard Derrick Randolph, 6’5 class of 2012 forward Nate Brooks, 6’6 class of 2012 forward Jermaine Morgan and 6’7 class of 2014 forward Paul White from Whitney Young.  Illinois-Chicago already has a 2012 commitment from Whitney Young’s 6’2 shooting guard Gabriel Snider.

Additional Notes

… We had a feeling that tonight would provide the most exciting evening of basketball in the Illinois state tournament, and when checking the results from around the state in Class 3A and 4A it looks as though we were right on the money.  To begin with, the #1 ranked teams in both 3A and 4A were eliminated tonight.  Peoria Notre Dame and 6’8 class of 2011 forward Max Bielfeldt were upset by Peoria Central 51-46, while Benet Academy and 6’1 class of 2011 point guard and Northwestern University recruit David Sobolewski fell to East Aurora by a score of 60-52.  Both teams were undefeated heading into tonight’s action.  Do we dare say that when one considers what happened tonight, many of the sectional finals in both Class 3A and 4A this coming Friday night will be anti-climatic?

… East Aurora’s 5’11 class of 2011 point guard and University Of Connecticut recruit Ryan Boatright finished with 29 points, 6 assists and 4 steals in carrying his team to the win over Benet.  Is there any doubt that Boatright is now the odds-on favorite to win Mr. Basketball?

… Contrary to what others are reporting, while East Aurora’s win over Benet certainly qualifies as an upset, it is NOT the upset of the year.  After all, Benet had to play the game on East Aurora’s home floor and with that being the case, there were many (including us) who thought that East Aurora stood a most realistic chance of winning.  We take absolutely nothing away from East Aurora and Boatright whatsoever, but tonight’s outcome still does not change our vote for Mr. Basketball. 

… Call it nothing more than a gut feeling on our part, but now that his high school season is over, Bielfeldt may end up taking the official visit to the University Of Michigan that he has talked about sooner rather than later. 

… Crane appears to be a very dangerous team in class 3A and a definite threat to not only reach the state finals in Peoria but possibly win it all.  6’4 class of 2012 off-guard Willie Conner was absolutely on fire tonight for Crane, finishing with 32 points including 8 three-point field goals in his team’s 68-53 win over Wheaton Academy.  Although we did not see this kind of shooting display from Conner when we watched Crane defeat St. Joseph in the 3A regional final last Friday, we do know that when he is in the groove he can score points in a hurry.

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


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