Recruiting breeds drama and storylines while creating intrigue around high school and college basketball. There was no shortage of that when it came to the recruitment of the Class of 2018 in Illinois.
Most important recruit: Ayo Dosunmu to Illinois
The Illinois recruiting class is short on numbers –– the Morgan Park star is the lone commitment –– but first-year coach Brad Underwood was able to secure the top prospect in the state.
Yes, the 6-4 point guard brings credibility to Illinois basketball and its new staff as a player who is ranked among the top 30 prospects in the country. But Dosunmu, who chose Illinois over Wake Forest in the end, is also the type of player the program has been lacking in recent years –– a pure, instinctual player who was born to play basketball.
Biggest recruiting storyline: The drama surrounding Talen Horton-Tucker’s recruitment
Although no one intended for it to be, the recruitment of Horton-Tucker became a huge story locally.
Though no fault of his own, Horton-Tucker was unfortunately put through the recruiting wringer. In the final days –– and even in the final hours –– of his recruitment, the Simeon senior had to deal with the on-again, off-again saga of the home state school’s mishandling of his recruitment.
In the end, the versatile 6-5 wing had the comfort of knowing there was a coach in Steve Prohm and a program in Iowa State that had been there from the start and who Horton-Tucker had high on his list through it all.
Biggest recruiting surprise: Iowa State’s recruiting success
Horton-Tucker, Hinsdale South’s Zion Griffin and Corliss’ George Conditt are the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 ranked prospects in the Class of 2018 in Illinois. All three are headed to Iowa State.
Yes, the Big 12 school from Iowa nabbed three high-major prospects from its neighboring state.
Horton-Tucker was a player coveted by several high-major programs, including Illinois, Ohio State, Georgia Tech, Xavier and others. The late-blooming, highly-athletic 6-6 Griffin canceled an official visit to Kansas and committed to Iowa State. And Conditt, a 6-10 big with endless length and potential, sported over a half-dozen high-major offers.
Biggest recruiting steal: Javon Freeman to Valpo
The recruitment of the 6-3 wing from Whitney Young, along with his commitment to coach Matt Lottich and Valparaiso, flew under the radar a bit.
Freeman helped lead the Dolphins to a Class 4A state championship last March and is among the top six senior prospects in Illinois. He’s an active and productive player who still possesses a tremendously high ceiling.
Biggest recruiting steal, Part II: Maurice Commander to Tennessee-Chattanooga
The Southern Conference school landed a gem in Curie’s 5-11 point guard with shooting and scoring ability.
Commander chose fit and comfort over interest and offers from bigger schools in more recognized conferences.
Best uncommitted prospects: Libertyville’s Drew Peterson, Simeon’s Xavier Pinson and Conant’s Ryan Davis
While Champaign Central’s Tim Finke may be the best uncommitted player remaining in the state, the trio of Peterson, Pinson and Davis are the best unsigned seniors locally. Peterson is a versatile 6-7 wing, Pinson a pure point guard and at 6-8 Davis is a wide-bodied big man with skill.