By Joe Henricksen
You tend to forget he's just a freshman in high school. Mount Carmel's Tracy Abrams opened eyes in March with scintillating performances in state tournament play. Now he has people drooling. And when you combine these three elements -- raw talent, unlimited potential and current productivity -- he's really unmatched and the best of a ridiculously loaded Class of 2011.
Abrams, for such a young player, has the unique ability of taking over games, which other than Limestone's Donivine Stewart, you just don't see at that young of an age. But Abrams does so in a variety of ways. He did in big-game settings in March and against quality opponents in St. Ignatius, DeLaSalle and Whitney Young. And though it was just an offseason game in late spring, he did it again in a jaw-dropping performance Saturday against Bloom at the Riverside-Brookfield Shootout. He was a one-man wrecking crew in helping his team overcome a 20-point deficit.
Abrams is the most athletic point guard in Illinois. As a prospect he's better and way more advanced than any of the top players in the Class of 2009 (D.J. Richardson, Brandon Paul, Diamond Taylor, Joseph Bertrand) were at the same age. He has incredible open floor speed with a devastating first step that makes him a nightmare to defend. Abrams is at his best when attacking the basket as he's a dazzling, fearless finisher with great body control. He also shows the ability to develop into a great lockdown defender as his length allows him to play bigger than his 6-0 or 6-1 size. He still needs some work on his shooting mechanics and will have to speed up his release on his perimeter shot. But make no mistake, he can get his shot whenever he wants to in the halfcourt.
In March the Hoops Report raved about Abrams, noting one key, impressive attribute at that time: fearless. When you watch him that fearlessness, along with his pure athleticism and productivity, is what continues to jump out at you and sets him apart from the other high-ceiling 2011 prospects.
How the Hoops Report sees the top 10 in the Class of 2011....
1. Tracy Abrams, 6-1, PG, Chicago (Mt. Carmel)
2. Mike Shaw, 6-7, WF, Chicago (DeLaSalle)
3. Sam Thompson, 6-6, WF, Chicago (Whitney Young)
4. Donivine Stewart, 5-11, PG, Bartonville (Limestone)
5. Chasson Randle, 6-1, 2G, Rock Island
6. Wayne Blackshear, 6-4, 2G, Chicago (Curie)
7. Jay Parker, 5-9, PG, Harvey (Thornton)
8. Andrew Jordan, 6-5, WF, Peoria (Woodruff)
9. Dre Henley, 6-4, WF, Chicago (DeLaSalle)
10. Jamie Crockett, 6-3, WF, Olympia Fields (Rich Central)