By Joe Henricksen
Regional play begins this week for Class 3A and 4A schools, while the Class 1A and 2A schools enter sectional action. High school basketball fans have been reading about and watching this year's seniors for several years. Here are the Hoops Report's top 40 college prospects in the Class of 2010 as they head into their last hurrah. Enjoy them while you can before they bolt for Division I basketball.
1. Jereme Richmond, 6-7, WF, Waukegan .... Began his career No. 1 in the class and remained the top player in the state throughout. A state title would really enhance his legacy as one of the state's elite talents. As highly regarded as Richmond is, his less-talked about attributes sometimes go unnoticed, such as his dominating defensive presence with his shot-blocking ability and his passing skills on the offensive end.
2. Meyers Leonard, 7-0, C, Robinson .... Big-time talent and best big man prospect in the state since Eddy Curry. This type of player, with size, coordination, bounce and skill, are so difficult to find. The sky is the limit for this prized Illinois recruit. Will lead Robinson into Class 2A sectional this week.
3. Crandall Head, 6-3, 2G, Richton Park (Rich South) .... It's been a rough 12 months for a player with such physical abilities. A lot of time was missed, but the upside, athleticism and talent all remain. If he can bring it all together and work hard under coach Bruce Weber and his staff, he can still maximize his potential.
4. Lenzelle Smith, 6-3, WF, Zion-Benton .... A quiet season for a player so good, but he will be a do-what-it-takes player at the college level to help his team win. He is a terrific passer on the wing, will rebound and finish and even do some dirty work for a player with such a big reputation. Smith is closing in on 80 wins over the last three seasons.
5. Duje Dukan, 6-8, WF, Deerfield .... The scary part with Dukan is he's just scratching the surface as a player. Huge senior year, though, finally made people realize how much he's improved, how talented he is and what the future holds for a player that fits in very nicely with what Wisconsin does. Shooter, passer and handler but must get stronger and bulk up his frame.
6. Alex Dragicevich, 6-6, WF, Northbrook (Glenbrook North) .... Big, rugged scorer at the high school level who can put points on the board in a variety of ways, whether it's drawing contact and getting to the line or knocking down shots with range. Should fit in nicely with what Notre Dame does on both ends of the floor. Dragicevich and GBN should enjoy a long run in March.
7. Mike McCall, 6-2, 2G, Chicago (Foreman) .... Has put together an impressive senior season and has hopes of leading his team to Peoria. McCall is a winner, who brings some toughness, defensive ability and a nice combination of shooter and finisher for a guard. As he plays more under control and improves his offhand, the future is bright. A certain all-state player.
8. Ben Brust, 6-2, 2G, Mundelein .... A shooter with range and consistency, capable of putting up 30-plus each time out at the high school level. Will provide Iowa a perimeter scoring threat next season as a freshman with his shooting and better-than-advertised athleticism. As he gets better off the bounce, Brust will become that much more of an efficient scorer.
9. Jay Harris, 6-1, PG/2G, Oswego (East) .... Breakout senior year has vaulted him more than anyone in the class, jumping from the 28th ranked prospect in November Hoops Report rankings to top 20 by January and into a spot in the top 10 heading into March. A shooter who fills it up with a soft, smooth release and with range. Possesses big-time scoring ability without forcing shots.
10. Rayvonte Rice, 6-3, WF, Champaign (Centennial) .... Making a run at Mr. Basketball and Player of the Year honors with a huge senior year. Plus, he's a winner as Centennial could claim its second straight state title. Big, strong physical wing who is more athletic and a better shooter than people give him credit for. Gets things done in a lot of different ways. Terrific recruit for Drake.
11. Ahmad Starks, 5-8, PG, Chicago (Whitney Young) .... Oregon State point guard has a knack for knocking down shots -- and some big shots -- for a team that hopes to be playing for a second straight state championship in a few weeks. Starks plays with confidence and isn't going to back down from anything.
12. Anthony Johnson, 6-3, 2G, Chicago (Whitney Young) .... The Purdue-bound guard still will knock down shots from the perimeter and has added to his game a bit in terms of being more aggressive. Little bit of a loose handle, consistency and strength will be the difference in determining what impact he has at the next level.
13. Phillip Jackson, 6-8, PF, Chicago (Hyde Park) .... A wildcard recruit and prospect for some college program. An agile big man who can run the floor but has sat out the entire year and missed some experience and development.
14. Dwayne Evans, 6-5, WF, Naperville (Neuqua Valley) .... Blue-collar, throwback player who will battle on the boards and step out with an improving face-up game. Evans, who should be able to provide coach Rick Majerus some versatility at Saint Louis, hopes to get over the hump and reach Peoria this year after two straight supersectional berths.
15. Jordan Threloff, 6-9, C, DeKalb .... When you get a chance to snatch up a true, legit big man, you do it. Threloff has had a very productive senior year and will give Illinois State legit size and an on-the-block player.
16. Reggie Smith, 5-11, 2G, Harvey (Thornton) .... Still wows you with his athleticism and competitiveness. Those areas you just can't teach. Smith is still trying to improve in the skills areas and evolve into a bonafide basketball player.
17. Fabyon Harris, 5-8, PG, Chicago (Hyde Park) .... Jet-quick, hard-nosed, tough lead guard who thrives in an up-tempo style. Harris has improved his jumper and takes a fearless approach to the floor each time out. Remains one of the best unsigned players in the state who goes out and puts pressure on opponents on both ends of the floor.
18. Patrick Miller, 5-10, PG, Chicago (Hales Franciscan) .... As of right now the powerful point guard is one of the real recruiting steals in the Class of 2010 for Tennessee State. Tough, strong, plays with some recklessness that is difficult for opponents to deal with. And he may be on his way to leading the Spartans to a Class 2A state title.
19. Brandon Spearman, 6-3, WF, Chicago (Simeon) .... Maybe he will blossom and the whole package will come together at Dayton. Big-bodied wing continues to show flashes
20. Karl Madison, 5-9, PG, Springfield (Lanphier) .... Lefty guard can handle the role of point guard as he can do a number of things offensively. While not an outstanding shooter, he will knock a shot down, can get to the foul line and score. Just needs to gain consistency and get stronger, but Drake will be a nice fit.
21. Lavonte Dority, 5-11, PG, Chicago (Foreman) .... The South Florida recruit's playmaking ability and shooting stroke have made improvements. He's still at his best using his strength in getting in the lane and to the basket.
22. Alex Rossi, 6-5, 2G, Winnetka (New Trier) .... Although not talked about a lot, the Cal-bound guard is having a nice senior year, both in knocking down shots and really defending on the perimeter. This has been a bounce-back year for both Rossi and New Trier.
23. Walter Lemon, 6-2, 2G, Chicago (Julian) .... Remains one of the better unsigned prospects in the state. An absolute force in the open court and finishing at the basket. Still in the process of refining his overall game and shooting stroke. Lemon and Julian could put a scare into Lyons Township if it gets by Brother Rice in its regional opener.
24. Eric Gaines, 6-4, 2G, Country Club Hills (Hillcrest) .... Very versatile perimeter player with size for 24-3 team that has a shot of doing some real damage in Class 3A. Gaines can defend multiple positions, get to the rim, finish and brings some important intangibles to the floor. Perimeter shot is still a work in progress. Big expectations for Hillcrest in the next couple of weeks.
25. Tommy Woolridge, 6-1, 2G, Chicago (Foreman) .... Always the unsung player for one of the state's top teams. Just has a knack for coming up with big baskets and making key plays down the stretch of games. Plays hard and is willing to get after it and defend.
26. Tim Rusthoven, 6-7, PF, Wheaton (Academy) .... William & Mary has to be ecstatic they were able to land a player like Rusthoven, who has put up impressive numbers for a team that is 24-2. He gets it done around the basket and can step out and face the basket as a 4-man.
27. Jon Gac, 6-8, PF, Chicago (Mount Carmel) .... Rapidly improving big man whose best basketball is clearly down the road. But he's long, runs the floor, has some bounce and has become much more productive. Gac may be the key to Caravan's success in March.
28. Chris Olivier, 6-7, PF, South Holland (Seton) .... A big body, low-post player Division I schools look high and low to find. As his motor improves, his production and consistency will as well. He's become a better finisher around the basket.
29. Anthony Shoemaker, 6-5, WF, Joliet .... Long and springy athlete who has the ability to make some plays around the rim, on the boards and defensively. He remains a little on the raw and unpolished side.
30. Sean McGonagill, 6-1, PG, Riverside-Brookfield .... Smart, heady point guard who makes the right decisions, the right pass and will knock down shots. Will be one heck of a player in the Ivy League for Brown.
31. Wayne Simon, 5-10, PG/2G, Westchester (St. Joseph) .... Just a basketball player who goes out and produces on a consistent basis and in a lot of different ways. Slithers to the rack, knocks down mid-range jumpers and a willing defender.
32. Rico Richardson, 5-9, PG, Chicago (Bogan) .... Winner, leader, true point guard. Opened eyes in the city this year as his team is the No. 3 seed in the Lyons Sectional.
33. Adonis Bailey, 6-4, WF, Oak Lawn (Richards) .... Long, raw, active and still developing wing who with two years of junior college ball could be a real college find down the road.
34. Jeff Johnson, 6-8, PF, Champaign (Centennial) .... Big-bodied player who has changed his body type over the course of the last year. He will knock down shots from the perimeter and shoot with range.
35. Dave Dudzinski, 6-8, PF, Maple Park (Kaneland) .... Skilled, face-up big man who can get up and down the floor. Getting better and better with a bright future.
36. Jarod Oldham, 6-3, 2G, Decatur (Eisenhower) .... Long and versatile on the wing whose game is still coming together.
37. Alex Brown, 6-8, PF, Herrin .... Long, lanky with a big upside as his skills develop.
38. Vincent Garrett, 6-5, PF, Chicago (Marshall) .... Freakish athlete has shown the ability to produce in what has been a terrific senior year.
39. Jermaine Winfield, 6-4, PF, Chicago (North Lawndale) .... Blue-collar workhorse who does what needs to be done for his team to win.
40. Hollis Hill, 6-0, PG/2G, Chicago (Vocational) .... Quick scorer who can put points on the board in bunches and shoot with range.
40. Paul Bunch, 6-10, C, Chicago (North Lawndale) .... Big man has produced more than ever before in his career.
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