By Joe Henricksen
If you're reading this blog, well, you know them. Come on! You're reading a high school basketball blog when it's 90 degrees in July. Yep, you know them.
College coaches know them, too.
The following short list, which consists of a few players in the Class of 2013 and a few more in the Class of 2014, is made up of no-doubt-about-it Division I prospects. There are scholarship offers sprinkled among them -- ranging in level and amount depending on the player -- yet they still have more to prove. Every player in the state (Yes, you too, Jabari) has PLENTY to prove now and over the next several years. Lets not forget that.
These players probably aren't going to enhance their stock in the eyes of the City/Suburban Hoops Report -- they are already pretty highly regarded and a few very highly ranked in their respective class-- but they will among college coaches. These are the players the Hoops Report believes will increase their options the most (i.e. more scholarship offers) over the course of these next three weekends during the July evaluation period -- and likely receive interest from higher programs than they currently are.
Class of 2013
• Kendall Pollard, Simeon
There isn't a player in the senior class who has raised his stock in the eyes of the Hoops Report more since the conclusion of the regular season than Pollard. In the last four or five months he's made a huge jump. There has been a transformation for the 6-5 wing, who has climbed his way into the Hoops Report's top 10 players in the class and is currently the No. 7 ranked player in the class. When it's all said and done and August rolls around, we'll look back and say Kendall Pollard was the hottest new name in the Class of 2013 in Illinois.
Of all the players on this list, Pollard probably does have the most interest surrounding him. After all, he plays with Simeon and Meanstreets, and the Hoops Report profiled Pollard's rise in early June. But he's going to be hit a lot harder and by some bigger programs, including a few in high-major leagues, after coaches get a look of his reshaped body and how his skill level is so much further along. Plus Pollard has something to hang his hat on: He just goes out and plays, defends and competes. He brings his lunch bucket and goes to work every day.
• Paris Lee, Proviso East
Come on all you mid-major programs in need of a point guard! Where are you? When the Hoops Report looks at this 5-8 pint-sized whiz who puts constant pressure on opponents, it can't figure out why he's sitting there with two offers heading into July. Right now it's Loyola and Western Michigan who have extended offers, with both Illinois State, Ball State and Wyoming picking up its interest of late. Expect a slew of mid-major and mid-major plus type programs to be on the list at the end of this month. Lee's speed, quickness, charisma and know-how just terrorizes opponents. Plus, he has a little of that "it" factor you love.
• Ben Moore, Bolingbrook
It's not as if Moore hasn't drawn some interest and received offers. The likes of Loyola, Detroit, Toledo, SIUE, IPFW and UC-Irvine have offered Moore. But this active 6-7 senior brings bounce, length and athleticism while adding to his developing skill level. This past season he had a breakout year, going from an unknown to a potential mid-major prospect. He has the coveted "upside" so many coaches try to land and has an opportunity to raise his stock this month. If his motor is running full throttle throughout July, he's going to pick up more interest.
• Alec Peters, Washington
The offer list is getting pretty lengthy for a player the Hoops Report has been gushing about for 12 months. After July plays out, it will be a matter of how long the 6-7 shooter wants the list to get. He will be that valuable to a number of college programs due to his sweet shooting stroke and the ability to stretch a defense. Peters is the best pure shooter in the state of Illinois. The Hoops Report has viewed Peters as one of those elite, must-get mid-major-plus type recruits as plenty of coaches will be checking in on the Peoria Irish this July.
• Jabari Parker, Simeon
Thought he may need a little more exposure. ... Kidding.
Class of 2014
• Tyler Ulis, Marian Catholic
(Full disclosure: Ulis is the Hoops Report's favorite player in the history of basketball). OK, that first statement is a stretch of the truth. Actually, it makes the Hoops Report laugh when it hears the so-fun-and-easy-to-watch point guard has two offers at this point. TWO? Really? I know little people in basketball have to prove their worth that much more, but it borders insane where the recruitment of Ulis currently sits. While DePaul and Loyola have offered, there will be double-digit offers after he plays out July with Meanstreets -- and playing an age group up, by the way. There is no player, this side of Jabari Parker, who impacts a game more than the 5-8 Ulis. Trust the Hoops Report on this, please.
• Tyquane Greer, Orr
He's certainly a name. Providence was sold and on board last winter (Kudos to the Friars, by the way!). And DePaul offered him this summer. But for a player with his talent and now a national ranking among the top 100 players in the country in the Class of 2014, the offers have come in pretty slowly for this long, athletic 6-6 wing who can knock down shots. The Hoops Report has been intrigued with Greer and his vast upside and ceiling for quite some time and is a believer. He's a high-major talent. And plenty more high-major schools will notice that and offer Greer soon.
• Malek Harris, Sandburg
A prospect who blossomed this spring and opened eyes by showcasing his versatility and size at 6-7, Harris will become liked even more with the Illinois Wolves this month. DePaul, Iowa and Miami-Ohio have offered Harris, who is looking to show he can shed a little of that 'tweener label. Can he develop into a true wing while maintaining an ability to score around the basket? With the high motor he plays with can he be a bit of a skilled, undersized 4-man? He certainly looks the part and is now playing it as well.
• Ore Arogundade, St. Viator
Right now it's Northern Illinois with the lone offer for the 6-2 off-guard. While there is a lot of interest, that's it. There should already be a whole lot more offers from the likes of Mid-American Conference and programs at that level for a player who brings this combination: disruptive defensively, will knock down a shot on occasion, get to the rim, plays hard and brings zero baggage. He will receive plenty of exposure with the Illinois Wolves this month. Look for Arongundade, who is a top 15 talent in the Hoops Report's Class of 2014 player rankings, to grab a lot of attention among mid-major and mid-major plus college programs this July.
• Darreon Reddick, Belleville East
The downstate kid can play. He's a big-bodied combo guard at 6-3 with a frame to take contact while he gets where he needs to go. Reddick knocks down mid-range jumpers with regularity while extending his range and becoming an adequate 3-point shooter. He plays in the shadow of 2013 star Malcolm Hill at Belleville East, but Reddick, who plays on the club circuit with the Southwest Illinois Jets, will burst on the scene before long as me matures as a player.
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