Illinois Class of 2017 Outlook
The class of 2017 is phenomenal! This group is on track to rival the 2013 and 2014 groups of recent years. It has depth across the board and star power. Maybe not quite the elite star power of Jabari Parker,…
The class of 2017 is phenomenal! This group is on track to rival the 2013 and 2014 groups of recent years. It has depth across the board and star power. Maybe not quite the elite star power of Jabari Parker, Jahlil Okafor, and Cliff Alexander, but quite a bit of high major talent!
When you look at this class there are nine guys that are the headliners which could all end up being top 100 kids nationally before it is all said and done. They are across the board at different positions with point guards Nojel Eastern (Evanston) and Alonzo Verge (Proviso West), shooting guards Jordan Goodwin (Belleville Althoff) and Da’Monte Williams (Peoria Manual), small forwards Charles Payton (Bloomington) Javon Pickett (Belleville East) and Justin Smith (Stevenson), with the front court anchored by power forward Christian Negron (Larkin) and center Jeremiah Tilmon (East St. Louis).
The toughest part about this group of nine is separating them. Tilmon is in a tier all to himself. After that it gets tough when comparing what they are now, to what their ceiling is, what their floor is, who will grow, who will develop that weakness in their game, and the list goes on. All nine project as high major prospects at this stage. That is what we do know. It is going to be fun to follow the progress of these guys over the next few seasons.
This 2017 class doesn’t stop after those guys though! The point guard position is strong with potentially as many as double digit guys being under consideration at the D1 level. After Eastern and Verge it is led by Evan Gilyard (Simeon) and Jalen Clanton (Riverside Brookfield) who both had big July’s. The depth continues with guys like Willie Herenton (Stevenson), Josiah Wallace (Marshall), and PJ Pipes (Lemont) to name a few.
The wing position is strong overall led by Goodwin, Williams, Payton, Pickett, and Smith. After them are a pair of guys who are just on the cusp of that group in Jamal Nixon (Fenwick) and Trevian Bell (Joliet West). Both play with the Illinois Wolves and are physical wings that get the job done. Nana Akenten (Bolingbrook), Elijah Joiner (Curie), and Demarius Jacobs (Uplift) each boosted their stock with monster summers on the grassroots circuit. You can’t forget about all of the wings from Meanstreets standout 16U group including the likes of AJ Youngman (Peoria Manual), Lucas Williamson (Whitney Young), Romon Douglas-Watkins (Peoria Manual), Coreyoun Rushin (Westinghouse), and Craig Beaudion (Foreman).
After Tilmon and Negron there are a still many quality low post prospects including Manny Patterson (Kenwood) who had a nice summer showing improvement and consistency in his game. Cameron Krutwig (Jacobs) made a name for himself with Young Legends on the travel team circuit and picked up quite a few offers. A few low-major prospects to look at include Lenell Henry (Morgan Park), TJ Clifford (Downers Grove South), Malik Binns (Morgan Park), and Justin Carpenter (Mt. Carmel).
Quality depth at the D2 level and beyond continue to emerge as well. This class has a chance to be very special as a group!