Welcome to the Hoops Report's Illinois Prep Basketball Fantasy League Draft.
No, it's not real. So all you high school hoops junkies trying to find out how to get in and be a late entry, relax.
So, yes, in reality this is a fantasy draft about a fake fantasy league. But play along. Team Heinrich Maneuver is on the clock ...
Those that are oblivious to fantasy leagues -- and all those that will go berserk certain players aren't higher due to being a better player or prospect -- they are about statistics, production and building a fantasy team at different positions. This isn't about what player you want leading your team to a state championship or who will be a better college player. In fact, some of the top players on the top teams may not always be the best fantasy players due to team balance.
Relax. Have some fun with it as we head into Thanksgiving weekend.
First, we need some rules. We'll keep it simple, including just points, rebounds, steals, blocks and assists. There will be bonus points awarded for any double-doubles, which for this league will consist of any player who puts up 10-plus points + 10-plus rebounds or 10-plus points + 8-plus assists in a game. Every double-double recorded is five bonus points.
With so few big men in the high school game, the roster (we are only drafting a starting five and one sub for a six-team league) will have six players -- five starters and a sub. Every team must start what we will consider two "bigs," which can be a combination of a forward and/or center. There are a few players that will be particularly valuable because they can go both guard and forward.
Here we go with a live draft dialogue with six owners of the Illinois Prep Fantasy Basketball League, with several team names having a Chicago basketball feel and connection ...
Team 1 (Heinrich Maneuver): Jahlil Okafor, C, Whitney Young. No-brainer. Big men are a premium and hard to find in real life and in the fantasy world. There will be a quick drop-off in production from bigs, so I just got me the big one! Plus, that double-double bonus each game will be a gimme for the big fella. Could put up ridiculous fantasy points for me. This is my fantasy aircraft carrier!!! This is Shaq-Fantasy-World circa mid-1990s!
Team 2 (Unibrow's): Jabari Parker, F, Simeon. I know fantasy rule No. 1 is not to draft a player who has been on the shelf for some time in the first round. But it's Jabari! A little worried about getting out of the gate slowly with this whole foot thing, but I'll live with it. Even if he does have to miss some time, survive, get him back healthy and have him ready. JP will be big come fantasy playoff time. He'll put up points, rebounds, blocks and throw some double-doubles in there. Plus, I get one of the two mandatory bigs on my roster.
Team 3 (Deng Girl!): David Cohn, G, York. Surprise pick?!?!? During halftime of some West Suburban Silver game in mid-January, I can see it now. Some York opponent sitting in the locker-room at halftime telling his coach, "I can't do it anymore! I give up! I can't guard him!" And THAT is when you know you have a fantasy player worth drafting this high! Cohn averaged 20 points a game last year as a junior. I mean he scored 47 points in a single game! He's going to put up some big numbers and be a fantasy dream.
Team 4 (Maggette & Meatballs): Cliff Alexander, F, Curie. I'll get my guards later. I'm taking a big here. I was hoping he would fall to me here. It's like getting Kevin Love in my NBA fantasy league last month after Lebron, Durant and Chris Paul were taken. (Crap! I lost Kevin Love to injury two days after I drafted him. Hope I didn't curse Big Cliff). I'm banking on Big Cliff giving me 18 points, 10 boards and 5 blocks on a consistent basis.
Team 5 (Apocalypse Noah): Kyle Davis, G, Morgan Park. I know he's going to share touches, shots and points with Billy Garrett. And from a fantasy perspective, that worries me. But Davis is too big of scorer and plays in a system that's going to get me fantasy points. I love his potential for exploding numbers in certain games.
Team 6 (LeBrontourage): Malcolm Hill, G/F, Belleville East. Versatile fantasy performer due to being a guard/forward, so I can slide him wherever I want. He's a high-end fantasy performer in all leagues.
Team 6: Ben Moore, F, Bolingbrook. I took a guard in Malcolm Hill in the first round and will take a big with my wrap-around pick. Fantasy wise, the numbers were solid but modest last season. But certainly something to build on now that he's more confident and assertive. Moore is a potential double-double player on a regular basis. He's going to get me some assists and steals, too. And he's going to get me some blocks. I've got two players now who will be filling a stat sheet in Hill and Moore.
Team 5: Tyler Ulis, G, Marian Catholic. I should take a big but I'm going with another guard to team with Kyle Davis because I'm surprised Tyler Ulis fell this far. High-majors are overlooking him and now fantasy owners are, too?!?!?! I can't believe I get Ulis in the second round. He averaged 20 points, 4.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 2 steals as a junior! I may have just won the league with this pick.
Team 4: Milik Yarbrough, F, Zion-Benton. Who are these guys in this league? These fools are going to let me have Yarbrough this late? In the third round? Come on! He counts as one of my forwards, has a green light and freedom, can score any way he wants and had games of 40 and 44 points last season en route to averaging 23 points a game. Gotta be the steal of this fantasy draft, right?
Team 3: Sean O'Mara, C, Benet. Could start slow due to the football run and late start to the hoops season. But with a high-scoring guard in Cohn already locked up, I need a big this late in the second round. O'Mara will be the focal point for Benet. Will get plenty of touches.
Team 2: Kendrick Nunn, G, Simeon. This is like drafting Durant and Westbrook in my NBA Fantasy League. I just want to watch OKC. And I just want to go watch Simeon games. So I'll live with the unselfishness of Parker and Nunn on the same fantasy team. Just a couple of steady producers.
Team 1: Jared Brownridge, G, Waubonsie Valley. With Okafor as my cornerstone who will give me big fantasy points each night out, I'm going with a guard who is capable of 20-plus regularly. That's Brownridge. Plus, I have my wrap-around pick in the third round coming ...
Team 1: Keita Bates-Diop, F, Normal U-High. I am going to add another big and maybe trade one when all these saps that are taking guards will come calling me. Bates-Diop isn't selfish enough for fantasy purposes. Still, he's considered a big in the fantasy world, and I think I can get 18-20 a night from him with 7-8 boards and some blocks. Now I have Okafor and Keita.
Team 2: Jubril Adekoya, F, Andrew. Now I've got a high-scoring guard in Cohn, Nunn and Adekoya, who averaged a DOUBLE-DOUBLE as a junior with 16 points and 11 rebounds a game. Big-time value in the third round!
Team 3: Alec Peters, F, Washington. I've got Cohn, O'Mara and Peters in the first three rounds. I'm too white!!!!! Oh, wait, it's just fantasy. I did have Michael Orris, Connor Boehm, Mike Latulip, Gabe Levin and Robert Knar last year.
Team 4: Billy Garrett, Jr., G, Morgan Park. Solid pick when you look at his numbers from last year. But Morgan Park going to be more balanced this year with KD and that talented group. Still, I think he will still put up solid numbers. Garrett teaming up with Big Cliff and Yarbrough? I like this as long as I don't screw up my last two picks.
Team 5: Alex Foster, F, Seton Academy. A big senior year from Foster numbers-wise could mean a fantasy title for me. I had to go big here with Tyler Ulis and Kyle Davis already on my roster.
Team 6: Malachi Nix, G, Niles North. Size certainly doesn't matter in fantasy! So I'll take my productive 5-6 terror this high. My team is versatile with G/F Malcolm Hill. And I have my big in Ben Moore. Nix is a perfect fit for me here. He averaged 19.5 points and nearly 4 assists as a junior. Underrated pick for me, if I say so myself.
Team 6: Jovan Mooring, G, Hillcrest. The Hoops Report calls him a mini-version of Vinnie "The Microwave" Johnson for a reason. He's going to get that green light all winter long after scoring over 15 points a game as a junior.
Team 5: Sterling Brown, G/F, Proviso East. Hey, I get an all-stater with versatility who I can slide in at different positions AND who averaged 13 points and 9 rebounds a game last year? He's too unselfish to put up 25 a night, but the fantasy points will pile up when I add in all the work he gets done with points, rebounds, steals, blocks and assists.
Team 4: Kevin Kozan, G, Providence. There has been a run on underrated, high-scoring fantasy guards. I better get me one. And Kozan isn't afraid to put up a shot or two (or three or four or five). He can flat-out score.
Team 3: Peyton Allen, G, Chatham-Glenwood. He's sure to put up numbers playing in the Central State Eight, right? I mean it's the Central State Eight! He could pop for 30 in matchups with Rochester, Taylorville, Jacksonville and Sacred Heart Griffin.
Team 2: Evan Boudreaux, F, Lake Forest. Yes, I have Jubril Adekoya and Jabari Parker already. But with a trio of Parker, Adekoya and Boudreaux, I have three potential players who will get me double-double bonus points regularly. Boudreaux is a rebounding machine and will surely put up 13-15 points a night.
Team 1: Charles Matthews, G, St. Rita. I know you're a young fella, but boy are people talking big about you! And I know it might be risky to count on a sophomore for fantasy-type numbers, but I'm rolling the dice on this one.
Team 1: L.J. McIntosh, G, Marist. People forget the numbers he put up as a junior, averaging 15.6 points a game. He also rebounds a little (3.6 rpg) and will get me some assists and steals. A stat-sheet stuffer who is a year older. Love this pick to round out my team.
Team 2: Miles Simelton, G, Oswego. I see your Nix and Mooring and Kozan and all the other underrated guards who can score and up you with Miles Simelton, who is going to slice up the Southwest Prairie this year. He could potentially put up some big offensive numbers for me for a fifth-round fantasy pick.
Team 3: Sean O'Brien, G, Mundelein. Fantasy wise, how did he stumble to the sixth round? If my top pick, Jabari Parker, comes back strong and healthy, my "Unibrow's" team HAS to be the favorite. Already have the best fantasy logo and jersey (think Anthony Davis' menacing eyes with the 'Brow stretching across the front of the jersey, just above the numbers). Now I have the best team. O'Brien? With Knar out? And playing in that Mundelein system? I've struck GOLD!
Team 4: Kendall Stephens, G, St. Charles East. I know he dropped to me here in the fifth round because of the torn labrum. But until he's not on the floor -- they say he's going to play through it -- I can't fathom not taking a potential 20-plus scorer who is going to get 7-8 rebounds, block a shot or two, get a steal and a few assists. If he plays and stays healthy, this pick may win me this fantasy league.
Team 5: Ethan Happ, F, Rockridge (Taylor Ridge). I have no clue where Taylor Ridge or Rockridge or Ridgerock or Taylor Rock is. ... All I know is I have some kid committed to a Big Ten school (Wisconsin) who plays in some conference called the West Central who I picked up in the last round!!!!! That's gotta be good for 20 and 10 every night out, doesn't it?
Team 6: Andrew McAuliffe, F/C, Glenbrook North. If he can stay healthy he's a big man that is going to deliver numbers for sure.
Team 1: Miki Ljuboja, F, Riverside-Brookfield. You know those fantasy drafts that are done during the first week of the season, an unsuspecting player goes off in a game or two, you hope no one else really noticed and you push the envelope and draft him high? That's this pick right here. Ljubuja goes for 30 points and 17 rebounds Tuesday night in 19 minutes of action. He's a big. And he will put up some potential big numbers in some of those Metro Suburban Conference games.
Team 2: Erick Locke, G, Oak Park-River Forest. The classic fantasy stat stuffer. He's going to put up numbers. I wonder if this is a Keeper League? I could stash this junior away for two years.
Team 3: Michael Finke, F, Champaign Centennial. And this wraps up my second consecutive All-Caucasian fantasy basketball team with Cohn, O'Mara, Peters, Allen, O'Brien and Finke. I sure hope this works out better than my NBA Fantasy team of Kevin Love, Steve Nash, Andrew Bogut, David Lee, Luke Ridnour and Jimmer Freddette.
Team 4: Marlon Jones, F, Orr. A bit of a roll-of-the-dice here as I need some backup support at the forward position with just two players, Big Cliff and Milik Yarbrough, on the roster. Jones is a wild card. He didn't play last year. But I think he could potentially put up some big numbers for the Spartans this year.
Team 5: Ore Arogundade, G, St. Viator. This is my stat-sheet stuffer right here. Last year he averaged 14.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2 assists a game. If those numbers even slightly improve as a junior, that's going to be close to 30 fantasy points a game from my sixth round pick!
Team 6: JaVairius Amos-Mays, G, North Chicago. It's just stupid NOT to have a player from North Chicago on a fantasy basketball team. They play free, loose, with a green light and pile up points.
So who will be the favorite? What team brings the most fantasy points value?
Team 1 • Heinrich Maneuver
Jahlil Okafor, C, Whitney Young
Jared Brownridge, G, Waubonsie Valley
Keita Bates, Diop, F, Normal U-High
Charles Matthews, G, St. Rita
L.J. McIntosh, G, Marist
Mike Ljuboja, F, Riverside-Brookfield
Team 2 • Unibrow's
Jabari Parker, F, Simeon
Kendrick Nunn, G, Simeon
Jubril Adekoya, F, Andrew
Evan Boudreaux, F, Lake Forest
Miles Simelton, G, Oswego
Erick Locke, G, Oak Park
Team 3 • Deng Girl!
David Cohn, G, York
Sean O'Mara, C, Benet
Alec Peters, F, Washington
Peyton Allen, G, Chatham-Glenwood
Sean O'Brien, G, Mundelein
Michael Finke, Champaign Centennial
Team 4 • Maggette & Meatballs
Cliff Alexander, F, Curie
Milik Yarbrough, F, Zion-Benton
Billy Garrett, Jr., G, Morgan Park
Kevin Kozan, G, Providence
Kendall Stephens, G, St. Charles East
Marlon Jones, F, Orr
Team 5 • Apocalypse Noah
Kyle Davis, G, Morgan Park
Tyler Ulis, G, Marian Catholic
Alex Foster, F, Seton
Sterling Brown, G/F, Proviso East
Ethan Happ, F, Taylor Ridge (Rockridge)
Ore Arogundade, G, St. Viator
Team 6 • Lebrontourage
Malcolm Hill, G/F, Belleville East
Ben Moore, F, Bolingbrook
Malachi Nix, G, Niles North
Jovan Mooring, G, Hillcrest
Andrew McAuliffe, F/C, Glenbrook North
JaVairius Amos-Mays, G, North Chicago
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