By Joe Henricksen

Class of 2013 has that look

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By Joe Henricksen

There is a whole lot to like in the Class of 2013 in Illinois. The class has star power at the top, including a player in Jabari Parker of Simeon who will be in a battle for the top spot nationally over the next two years. There is a surplus of high-major prospects and burgeoning depth with new names surfacing every month.

Here is how the Hoops Report sees the sophomore class as college prospects as it heads into the summer.

1. JABARI PARKER, 6-8, WF, Chicago (Simeon)
The state's top prospect regardless of class will continue to push towards the top spot nationally in his class. Big, skilled, versatile with an unmatched basketball I.Q. and a desire to, above all else, win and succeed. You don't find this type of character, talent, size and skill in a player who has just two years of high school under his belt very often. Parker is the total package.
2. TOMMY HAMILTON, 6-9, PF, Chicago (Whitney Young)
He's had peaks and valleys early in his career, which is common for any young player with size. Hard to ignore the abilities he possesses with that pure size. He may not be an elite athlete or a traditional on-the-block player, but the soft shooting touch, passing ability and coordination set him apart.
3. KENDALL STEPHENS, 6-4, 2G, St. Charles (East)
Hoops Report, which vaulted the smooth shooting guard into the top five players in the class nearly a year ago, has compared Stephens to a young Jeremy Lamb of UConn and isn't backing off. Stephens is silky with his jumper and adding more and more to his game. Purdue nabbed a good one who has so much more room to grow as a player.
4. KENDRICK NUNN, 6-2, 2G, Chicago (Simeon)
A 2-guard who brings athleticism and shooting range that are both of high-major quality. If Nunn can tighten up his handle and playmaking abilities to the point where he can be a true combo guard at the highest level, his stock will rise nationally. Still battles a little inconsistency, but he's an exciting talent who can change a game.
5. STERLING BROWN, 6-4, 2G/WF, Maywood (Proviso East)
At the same age, already taller, longer and with an equal skill level as his brother, Shannon Brown. He just isn't as physical or as productive as his brother at the same stage. But the ceiling Brown showcases seems to get higher as he keeps improving that shooting stroke and his overall game becomes more polished.
6. JALEN JAMES, 6-3, PG, Chicago (Hope)
Watch James just a few times and you see the natural look of a basketball player, gliding up and down the floor and oozing with potential. Big point guard prospect that is just beginning to scratch the surface. James first grabbed the attention of the Hoops Report at the Jacobs Holiday Tournament in December and hasn't let up in his progress.
7. RUSSELL WOODS, 6-7, PF, Chicago (Leo)
Physically, Woods is what you like in a college prospect with size, length and an impressive body and frame to build on. Plus, he's shown he plays with a motor and will get after it on the glass. Still must add to a somewhat limited offensive game.
8. MALCOLM HILL, 6-4, 2G/WF, Belleville (East)
Really blossomed during his sophomore year and put up fantastic numbers for a young player, averaging 16.7 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals a game. Plus, he got to the line 132 times (shooting 74%). While his perimeter shot and range must become a bigger part of his game, he's a player with size, athleticism and a great look. Terrific looking prospect.
9. KYLE DAVIS, 6-0, PG/2G, Chicago (Hyde Park)
Look for Davis to put together a monster junior year next winter and emerge as one of the top players in the class. Always looking to attack, put pressure on opponents. There isn't a better player in the open court in attacking the basket, where he uses his great burst and athleticism to finish at the rim. Still a little wild and right now lacks the point guard skills and mindset to be considered an ideal combo guard.
10. ALVIN ELLIS, 6-4, WF, Chicago (De La Salle)
This is a player 12 months from now who a lot of people could be asking, "Why weren't we talking more about him for the past two years?" Hopefully with a little more refinement in his game, along with finding his true niche and position, he will be that player. Slowly making strides as one of the more athletic and active wing players in the class. Terrific running the floor and finishing on the break.
11. JAYLON TATE, 6-2, PG, Chicago (De La Salle)
He may not be a top-level athlete, but he's crafty, slithers to where he needs to be on the floor and can get to the rim and score. Pretty fearless player considering how composed he has been playing high-level basketball at a young age. His understanding of court geometry and playing the point guard position gets better and better. Still needs to show a more advanced and consistent jumper.
12. BILLY GARRETT, JR., 6-3, PG, Chicago (Morgan Park)
Entered high school as a smart, heady and poised player for someone so young. Extremely disciplined player. Those attributes have carried him and helped him overcome a lack of explosiveness. The DePaul commit makes good reads and has a pretty consistent perimeter jumper that extends out to the three-point line.
13. DeSHAWN MUNSON, 6-3, WF, East St. Louis, Sr.
A big, strong, athletic wing that is physically gifted and absolutely loves to attack the basket off the dribble. Averaged 15 points and 7 rebounds a game as a sophomore. He can take contact and finish. While is handle is suitable for a wing, his perimeter shot must get a whole lot better. He draws fouls, gets to the line but only shot 50 percent from the charity stripe.
14. ALEX FOSTER, 6-7, PF, Chicago (De La Salle)
Physically advanced and polished at an early age, Foster has evolved into a blue-collar, get-it-done type. He's not overly explosive, but he rebounds, battles and runs the floor. He's shown an ability to step away from the basket and knock down a shot.
15. NATHAN TAPHORN, 6-6, WF, Pekin
With Taphorn it's about projection. The Hoops Report raved about the upside of Taphorn earlier this spring, calling him a "super sleeper" in an earlier blog. While he's still not physically developed or imposing athletically, his size at 6-6 (and growing?) and his ability to knock down shots with range and precision is impressive. Throw in a solid basketball I.Q. and Taphorn is a prospect who could continue to rise.
16. ANDREW McAULIFFE, 6-7, PF, Northbrook (Glenbrook North)
A true big man who can get some things done on the block and with his back to the basket. He possesses a solid skill level with a unique ability to use both hands in the lane and around the basket. Limited athletically, so another inch or two would do wonders for McAuliffe, who sports an offer from Northwestern. But with big men at such a premium, McAuliffe's stock should remain very high throughout the recruiting process.
17. QUINTEN PAYNE, 6-3, PG/2G, St. Charles (North)
The brother of former Iowa guard Cully Payne (transferring to Loyola). A guard with very good size, build and smarts. Just a solid player in many different areas of the game who will make the pass, knock a shot down and make the right play. May not be as natural and fluid as a player as his brother, but he has better size and is more versatile.
18. MARKEE WILLIAMS, 5-9, PG, Chicago (Morgan Park)
A true point guard who makes plays, has a solid court sense for a young player and is an extremely mature and advanced player for a young lead guard. Despite his lack of size and athleticism for a high-level point guard, Williams is strong and does a great job of using that strength to convert plays under pressure. He must show the capability of consistently knocking down shots.
19. LANCE WHITAKER, 6-3, 2G/WF, Bartlett
A prospect that has made a big impact as a young player at the high school level as a strong, mature wing (played a lot of PG for his high school team). Has a developed body that he uses to his advantage. Solid mid-range game who also has good balance and body control when finishing around the basket. Marginal quickness and athleticism is a question mark.
20. MOSHAWN THOMAS, 6-8, PF, Chicago (Bogan)
Agile big man who can run the floor and, with some teaching and technique, can become a defensive presence. Raw talent who is still finding his way, but he brings legit size, a nose for the ball and can clean up on the glass. Offensively, a bit challenged, developing and not yet comfortable with the ball in his hands. But he boasts an enormous package of potential and is just starting to put it all together.

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37 Comments

You might be putting Lorenzo Dillard of Niles North(a 6'0" combo guard) on this list after the summer. He hasn't played high school baksetball since 1st semester of his freshman year. But if he matures and can get on the floor at Niles North look for him to climb back up the charts. He was rated very highly coming into high school at Evanston a couple of years ago.

Jaylon Tate and Billy Garrett will move up on this list big time before the summer is over. Both run high powered teams while being able to score themselves...Watch out for these 2!!!

Thank you Joe for putting your information out there the way you do and your detailed work. Was wondering how its different ranking different classes, like this 2013 class compared to 2012 or the 2011 class. Are different years different?

You should check out Robert Knar (6'0" PG ,class of 2013) out of Mundelein. He already has scored 1000 points in a great conference! He had 30 points vs Warren (2nd in state) in the Sectional Championship. He averaged 20 ppg, 5.4 apg, 2.8 spg and made 91 3 pointers (51%). He has had 2 mid major offers already and has been recruited by:
1. Duke
2. USC
3. Indiana (visited)
4. Wisconsin (visited)
5. Northwestern (visited)
6. Dayton (visited)
7. Santa Clara
8. Virginia (visited)

He is one of the best shooters in the state and one of the best passers. He has started every game at Mundelein. He has been All-Area 2 years in a row. If he stays healthy, he will be Lake County's all time leading scorer (107 year history). He has played well against most of the kids on the list. He plays for the rising stars (Andrew McAulliffe and Quintin Payne play with him.)He can commit early but I heard he will wait because he loves Duke!

I am the head sophomore coach at Mundelein HS. You have omitted who I think is a top 5 prospect in the class of 2013. His name is Robert Knar. He is a 2 year varsity starter on a team that won 19 games when he was a freshman and 29 games when he was a sophomore. He is an unbelievable offensive player! He has already scored 1000 points in his career!He has lead his team in assists both years. He is getting a lot of high majors looking at him including Duke!

You missed one of the top 5 players from 2013. His name is Robert Knar. He can score on anyone! He had 30 in the sectional championship vs Warren. He already has 1000 career points. Many high majors are on him! Check him out!

Robert Knar:
20 ppg (1000 points in career already)
Lead team in assists as a freshman and a sophomore
91 3 pointers (51%)
6.3 rpg (2nd on team)
Started on a team that won 19 games as a freshman and 29 games as a sophomore
Just surprised not to see him mentioned...seen him outplay Stephens and James last summer...Not supper athletic, but the boy can play...ask all the North Suburban coaches that box and one him...Keep up the great articles...thanks

Come on guys! Robert Knar is a nice player, terrific high school player up here in the north suburbs but in the end Duke and other high majors don't come calling for short, white, unathletic players too often.

By the way Joe...You do a great job. Appreciate all you hard work.

No offense to Robert Knar, he is a very good high school player, but is not a projected high major college player. THis is due to his size mainly. To be a 5' 11" Duke player, you have to be an outstanding athlete. Colleges are projecting based on skill, athleticism, height, etc. Not all good high school players will become high major college players, due to these reasons.

Yes Robert Knar is a very good player but Lorenzo Dillard destroyed him at the Mundelein Tournament their freshman years when Lorenzo played at Evanston. I am not sure he's a Duke level player but I wish him the best.

Knar is a good player. But he's 5'11", Maybe. More like 5'10". Anyway, very good shooter; decent ball handler; no great athletic ability. He's not going high major. If he works hard on his game he might go mid-major, and that's a maybe. Heck the kid from Southern Illinois was a phenominal shooter and was more athletic and the same size and barely got an offer from Evansville. At this point, he's still looking low D1 unless he progresses significantly.

To Chilli, Juice and Jack:

First of all I was at the game when Lorenzo Dillard scored 7 points and Robert Knar scored 16 points. I dont know how that is killing him. Robert can dunk vertically and off 1 leg. He has been boxed and one as a sophomore 6 times and face guarded by great athletes. Mundelein played Whitney Young and Knar had 28 points and was guarded by Randolph, who couldnt handle him and then by Sam Thompson (6'9" going to Ohio State). The only reason you think he is not athletic is because he is white. Last summer against Ferrari, Howard Pulley and Playground Warriors he had 42,36 and 38 respectively in the playoffs at NY2LA. They were all athletes and not one of them could guard him. Rising Stars won that tournament and Andrew McAuliffe plays on that team and he is on your list. I think Andrew should be on that list. Robert is great with the ball and he can do something that every college coach likes: SHOOT! 91 3 pointers at 51%. Tarvis Diener, Bobby Hurley, Steve Nash, John Stockton, etc..... Non are great athletes but they are great players.I am not comparing Robert to them but they were all considered too something. Knar is a 16 year old kid who will still develop. Sometimes we get too enamered with athletic ability. It is important. I am old school, remember Tom Kleinschmidt (too slow for high major),the list goes on. Watch him play and he will change your mind!

I have seen him play and again, he is a good player. In college, however, he will be expected to guard much taller and athletic guards.

Chris killing him means Knar could not guard Lorenzo and his coach Locke took him out of the game or it would have been worse. You have to be able to play both ends of the court not just offense. Don't get me wrong I like Knar and have not said anything about his athleticism. And Ben Brust was supposed to do well at Wisconsin. All I saw this year was Brust picking splinters. I have seen Mundelein play the last 2 years and they play no defense. That's probably why Robert Knar is not on this list.

Robert didn't guard Lorenzo as they played a match up that year. Lorenzo did guard Robert and had no problem scoring. Mundelein has won 48 games since Robert has started as a point guard. Someone must have played defense. He has already had two mid major offers already so I dont understand why people think he is low major. He is totally different than Ben Brust. Ben is a wing and Robert is a point guard who makes his teammates better. 5.4 apg lead lake county for a second year in a row and 2.8 steals means he must play some d!

Yes, Knar can score. But it is true, he doesn't guard very well. It does seem to be an issue at Mundelein. That's generally known throughout the scouting world. Not trying to be mean, but that is the general consensus of people including myself, who have seen more than 7 games this year.

knar isnt even the best player in the NSC... Milik Yarbrough is..

You dont win 29 games and go 9-3 in the North Suburban conference and not play defense. When you push the tempo like Mundelein likes to do...your gonna give the other teams plenty of shots...Lets think about it, if you slow the game down and give up less points, does that mean you play better defense...cant always judge defense buy how many points you give up... Mundy won alot of close games last year...as well as alot of low scoring games...Look it up pal..The North suburban has sent out some fine players the last few years, Ohio State, U of I, Michigan, Wisconsin, and all sorts of mid- D-1 players...If you can hoop in that conference you can hoop with anyone in the state..he's not dropping 20 in the Blue West, were talking a conference rated highly every year for basketball...theres a reason why Dillard left Evanston; He wasnt gonna play...I do wish him the best of luck though...
Joe, keep up your articles...makes for good talk...

This Knar stuff is funny. He has quite a fan club out there.

Joe can you tell me how the PG position in 2013 looks to you as I know there are a few good ones in this class and on your list. Thanks for any insight on that particular position.

Kudos to the upstate 8 with 3 players on this list. Kendall has all the height and length to be a scorer at Purdue but I still have to give the upside to Whitaker. He has the genes to grow taller (his dad and brother are both over 6'5) and physically he dominated most of his opponents. If the officials hadn't swallowed the whistles in his regional final you would have seen him battling Glenbard East and probably would have grabbed an offer then. Once his shot develops more fluidity you will see him jump up the list and if he ends up at 6'4 by next season I think someone will offer him. Payne is still a project in the works. I like Knar more than I like Paynes abilities right now. If he is going to a high major team he needs to fix that free throw routine and get his head up when he dribbles. Eventually that jump pass will lead to turn overs at the next level. But on the flip side, you can't teach 6'4 and he has a great vertical to go with it. I can only imagine what damage he will do with a returning post in Nelson next year. But if I was a coach I'd be grateful to have any one of these players because you could build a system around them for the next two years.

Hey Joe,
I'm a casual ESCC and Catholic League follower. I don't think it was your rankings, but I seem to remember Royale Ewing of ST. Pat's being ranked 2 out of 8th grade. I forgot about him until a recent user posted about him. I was excited because I like going to games at St. Pat's and I thought they would have a big time player there. But now no one ever talks about him? Is he still considered a big prospect?
Thanks Joe....Love the work.

How can there possibly be this much discussion on this blog and debate over the Knar kid?This is bizarre!

Insight uhhhh wrong. Lorenzo left because of his grades and you have to have a higher GPA to play at Evanston. Evanston's is higher than the rest of the state. Whomever told you that lie they have no clue what they are talking about. Lorenzo should have started from the 1st day of his freshman year. Like I said I hope the best for Knar but right now not a high major player.

Lorenzo left Evanston because he moved out of District. Period!!! If he stayed at ETHS, he would have been able to play. Robert is an outstanding player as well as Lorenzo. I wish them both, as well as all in the 2013 year, much success in the remainder of their high school years and beyond.

hey Joe dont forget the guards over at oswego this year there loaded with talent with that transfer in thomas wilder coming to the school

WOW THERE IS SO MUCH TALENT IN THIS CLASS I CAN GO ON AND GO ON......LANGSTON,EWING,DILLARD,SIDNEY,GATES,DAVIS,TUCKER,KEITH JR,BRIGGS,CUDZICH,WILLIAMS,MCINTOSH,POLLARD,EARLS,SCHILLING,DAVIS FROM GORDON TECH,QUINN,

dillard is better than Knar without a doubt.I am just scared that Lorenzo will be another Jereme Richmond if he doesnt get his stuff together.

from what i heard, dillard is doing an awesome job academically at niles north

Lorenzo Dillard is the real deal. I saw him play tonight versus gbn and he scored like 25 points, at one point he went on a 10 point run.

Could Lorenzo Dillard be another "potential" Jereme Richmond flameout? Sure he has the pedigree of being Skip Dillard's son but that is also a "burden" as evidenced in Skip's fall from grace. Lorenzo has to focus on his studies and get out of high school first. Lorenzo still has to play within a coach's system whether it is high school or college. Lorenzo has to be mature enough to be a team player INSPITE of his alledged "star quality" and doing that would make him a great player.

Hey Joe, 21 for 26 on 4A regional champs. Nice job. Great pick on Marist over Curie. Are you coming out with picks on round 1 Sectionals?

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on May 9, 2011 9:11 AM.

Djimde makes it 7 for Illini, Jerrance Howard was the previous entry in this blog.

Hoops Report's Player Power Rankings: Part II is the next entry in this blog.

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