Boy, thinking back to a year ago at this time we were ALREADY thinking ahead to the Class of 2013. There was just so little recruiting drama around the Chicago area in the Class of 2012 as we geared up for the stretch run.
Simeon's Steve Taylor, the state's top senior prospect, had already committed to Marquette following the July evaluation period. Top five prospect Fred Van Vleet of Rockford Auburn had already decided two months earlier, committing to Wichita State in early July. And four of the top eight players in the class were destined to go the JUCO route. The September and October recruiting buzz leading up to the November signing period last fall? Uh, there was none.
This year? Whoa. Plenty of recruiting storylines to follow that go well beyond all-everything Jabari Parker. There is plenty of intrigue, especially with several uncommitted high-major prospects -- Parker, Simeon teammate Kendrick Nunn and Proviso East's Sterling Brown to name a few -- and a couple late, fast-rising prospects who keep grabbing more and more recruiting interest.
The City/Suburban Hoops Report takes a look at several of the top uncommitted prospects in the Class of 2013 and where they stand in mid-September.
• Kendrick Nunn, Simeon
This one is probably the most watched and public recruitment remaining, which naturally comes with a top 75 recruit nationally from a state powerhouse. There was an official list of five released in early August, which included Illinois, Marquette, Memphis, Ohio State and UCLA. But after receiving a commitment from Allerik Freeman, a 6-4 shooting guard from Findlay Prep this past weekend, UCLA is out. Memphis is trying to hang in while Ohio State is trying to make a late surge. At the end of the day, it appears the two that have been there the longest and most steadfast throughout the recruiting process -- Illinois and Marquette -- will be duking it out. Both Illinois and Marquette were impressive in their in-home visits earlier this week. Nunn will take his official visit to Illinois this weekend, with a trip planned to Marquette in the middle of October.
• Sterling Brown, Proviso East
There are three official visits set: Miami, Memphis and Missouri. But all three are scheduled for October, so who knows what can happen and who can make some headway in the next couple of weeks. Maybe SMU? Coach Larry Brown and the Mustangs recently entrenched themselves in the Brown Derby and could very well land one of the two remaining official visits Brown plans to take. A rather lengthy list of high-major schools remain in the hunt as well, so this one is nowhere near close to a conclusion. The other caveat is just where does Michigan State stand? Sparty, where Sterling Brown's brother Shannon played, has shown increased interest but has yet to offer. Has Michigan State played around too long?
• Ben Moore, Bolingbrook
In a pre-July evaluation period blog on the Hot 10 that will open the eyes of college coaches the most, Moore was included on that list. But the Hoops Report didn't quite envision this much eye-goggling leading up to Signing Day. This is one recruitment where the list tends to get longer before it gets shorter due to the late, rising interest of higher-level programs. Plus, the 6-8 forward brings much to the table with his sound academics. Moore, the No. 10 ranked prospect in the Hoops Report's Class of 2013 (and climbing), just received an offer from Northwestern. Now other high-majors, including Missouri and Illinois, are taking serious looks. He took an official visit to Colorado State last weekend. Detroit has been recruiting Moore the longest, while SMU head coach Larry Brown and his staff have made a very favorable impression. Look for Moore to trim his list much sooner than later before it gets out of hand.
• Kendall Pollard, Simeon
The 6-5 senior is wide open. There is a surplus of mid-major and mid-major plus programs involved, but he has not taken any official visits and doesn't have any official visits lined up at this point. There are several in-home visits taking place, including Southern Illinois, Colorado State and Dayton.
• Alvin Ellis, De La Salle
The recruitment of the 6-4 athletic wing has always made sense, with the Ellis family doing a nice job of zeroing in on certain programs and not letting the number of schools interested get out of hand. Ellis will visit Minnesota the weekend of Sept. 22 and is trying to schedule a visit with Kansas State in October. Northwestern remains in the mix at the high-major level, with Wichita State, Illinois State and LaSalle all prominently mentioned.
• Alec Peters, Washington
The list of offers surged throughout the spring and summer for the sweet shooting Peters. While sporting more than 20 offers, it's been believed that Illinois State was the school to beat for the 6-7 senior. But both Boston College and Valparaiso have made great strides and received official visits, with a previous visit to BC and an upcoming visit to Valpo this weekend. Those three programs now stand above the rest, with a few high-majors still poking around, including Tennessee, which stopped in to check on Peters.
• Alex Foster, Seton Academy
It seems we've all followed the Alex Foster recruitment for so long. That's what happens when you're a hot shot prospect so early in a prep career. It's been a little tight-lipped, but the suitors are out there for senior big m an. Although the 6-7½ Foster remains wide open, a trio of schools have shown the most interest and were all in this week to check in on Foster. Auburn, Tennessee and Minnesota remain high on Foster's list.
• Jared Brownridge, Waubonsie Valley
And then there were three. Brownridge, one of the elite shooters in the state of Illinois, secured double-digit scholarship offers from a plethora of mid-major programs over the past 12 months. The list has been trimmed. The 6-1 guard visited Southern Illinois last weekend and will make the trek to California and visit Santa Clara this weekend. He will wrap up his third and final official visit with a trip to Drake later this month.
• Sean O'Brien, Mundelein
The 6-6 versatile O'Brien continues to impress and slide his way up the rankings and as a prospect after a solid summer playing with Fundamental U. O'Brien has four official visits and in-home visits set up, including Santa Clara, Southern Illinois, Bradley and Northern Illinois. UW-Milwaukee, Western Michigan and Florida Gulf Coast have all been involved.
Follow Joe Henricksen and the Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport
Fill up the Hoops Report Mailbag
It's been awhile. Too long. Time for the City/Suburban Hoops Report and its loyal readers and followers to re-connect. Thus, it's time for the Hoops Report Mailbag -- Part VI.
Get creative, have fun, make it interesting as previous mailbag questions have brought out some of the best in high school hoops conversation. The Hoops Report will try to get to all your questions, with the best of the bunch addressed first in a blog later this month.
Email the Hoops Report with your question at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a name (first name, initials, nickname -- something to be recognized, along with where you're from.) Or you may leave a question here on the comments section of the blog, which won't be posted but will be included in the mailbag.
Here are the links to the previous five Hoops Report mailbags.