By Joe Henricksen

Hoops Report vault: What a difference four years makes

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Anyone who follows recruiting knows it's far from an exact science.

When following recruiting at the earliest stages, including the rankings of freshmen in high school and the offers tossed around to freshmen and sophomores, there are way more misses than hits. It's inevitable with the different rates young players progress and develop.

That's why it's interesting to take a look back at a City/Suburban Hoops Report story that was published in this very blog four years ago to the week, which was titled: "And the survey says ..."

When you look back to four years ago, Waukegan's Jereme Richmond was the undisputed top college prospect in the state of Illinois. Meyers Leonard of Robinson had just bloomed. And the much-heralded trio in the Class of 2013 -- Jabari Parker, Tommy Hamilton and Alex Foster -- were enjoying their final summer before entering Simeon, Whitney Young and De La Salle, respectively.

Enjoy a story -- and the interesting findings from the research -- from the Hoops Report vault that shows how different recruiting can look four years later.

The following story was published in the City/Suburban Hoops Report blog on June 18, 2009.

And the survey says ...

Forget about talent evaluators, both locally and nationally. Forget about the message boards. Forget about the media hype. Forget about the AAU affiliations. When it comes to figuring out just who the best college basketball prospects are in the state of Illinois -- regardless of class -- lets ask the college coaches themselves.

The City/Suburban Hoops Report's unscientific, all-off-the-record conversations with nearly 20 college coaches, including head coaches but mostly assistant coaches, included the following question: Who are the three best college basketball prospects in the state, regardless of class, not named Jereme Richmond?

The final tally, which includes 18 coaches who have likely seen the most of Illinois high school players, showed what everyone has been talking about: the Class of 2013 is awfully special.

First-place votes received five points, second-place votes received three points and third-place votes received one point.

The player that received the most first-place votes overall with a total of six coaches putting him at the top was Class of 2013 star Tommy Hamilton, who will be attending Whitney Young this fall. The 6-8 freshman-to-be also had the most total points with 42. Simeon-bound Jabari Parker, another Class of 2013 star, was second with a total of 30 points. Meyers Leonard of Robinson had the second most first-place votes with four and finished third overall with 26 total points.

The following are the results from the Hoops Report survey which, again, did not include Jereme Richmond of Waukegan. The players are listed in order of the points they received, with first-place votes in parenthesis.

1. Tommy Hamilton, 6-8, PF, Fr., Chicago (Whitney Young) ----- 42 points (6)
2. Jabari Parker, 6-4, 2G/WF, Fr., Chicago (Simeon) ----- 30 points (3)
3. Meyers Leonard, 7-0, C, Sr., Robinson ----- 26 points (4)
4. Alex Foster, 6-7, WF/PF, Fr., Chicago (De La Salle) ----- 19 points (3)
5. Wayne Blackshear, 6-4, WF, Jr., Chicago (Morgan Park) ----- 13 points (1)
Tracy Abrams, 6-0, PG, Jr., Chicago (Mt. Carmel) ----- 13 points
7. Chasson Randle, 6-2, PG/2G, Rock Island ----- 8 points (1)
8. Sam Thompson, 6-5, WF, Chicago (Whitney Young) ----- 3 points
Mike Shaw, 6-8, PF/WF, Chicago (De La Salle) ----- 3 points
10. Crandall Head, 6-3, Chicago (Crane) ----- 2 points
11. Dre Henley, 6-5, WF, Chicago (De La Salle) ----- 1 point
Reggie Smith, 6-0, 2G, Harvey (Thornton) ----- 1 point
Nnana Egwu, 6-9, C, Chicago (St. Ignatius) ----- 1 point

Notes of interest from the survey
Whitney Young's Tommy Hamilton was tabbed by the most coaches as 12 of the 18 coaches had them among their top three. Simeon's Jabari Parker was next with 9 of the 18 coaches including him on their list.

• How overwhelming were the numbers for the Class of 2013? Tommy Hamilton and Jabari Parker finished first and second, with Alex Foster finishing fourth, and those totals came even though there were three or four college coaches that admitted they had not seen all of the 2013 stars play as of yet. Thus, the coaches didn't even include those three on their list.

• Of the 18 coaches just one college coach had De La Salle's Mike Shaw among his top three as the junior-to-be gained one second-place vote.

• By contrast, Sam Thompson of Whitney Young received three third-place votes to get his three points.

Chasson Randle was named by just two of the 18 coaches but received a first-place and a second-place vote for his 8 total points.

• There wasn't a single player from the Class of 2012 on any of the 18 coaches' list of the top three college prospects.

Comments from coaches ...
• "Outside of the top three or four players in the Class of 2010, I just don't see any no-doubt-about-it high-major players."

• "There is very little true high-major talent in the Class of 2010."

• "I am sure because of how young coaches are now looking, viewing and evaluating players, that those young kids [Parker, Hamilton, Foster] will get a lot of the votes. We are always looking for the young ones now because of their upside."

• "You will see some of those Class of 2011 kids who were highly ranked early in their career get jumped by others between now and their senior year."

• "The talent and potential of those three 8th graders is ridiculous, but we also haven't seen their weaknesses exposed or how hard they are going to work over the next four years."

Follow Joe Henricksen and the Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport

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Joe, Points Made! One thing is for sure, from my perspective anyway, Illinois is not the hotbed of basketball talent it once was. What's interesting to me is trying to figure out why. Is it just a cyclicle thing or is there some sort of 'environmental' reason that we are overlooking as to why places like Indiana and Ohio are producing more 'college-ready' players than we are.

I believe we have 13 division 1 schools here in the state and over the past 2 years only one (Illinois) made the NCAA tournament. Everytime a coach position comes open at one of the division 1 schools in the state, the chatter often becomes trying to find someone with Chicago ties to fill it. I'm wondering if that thinking is outdated based upon the trend. As this stage of the game and for the 10 years, I'd be more concerned with hiring someone with ties to Indianapolis than Chicago.

Just an observation....

We got 5 guys from the list at the U of I plus Jereme Richmond who was "too good to be on the list" and we still were not a very good team.
Recruiting is confusing business.
Maybe Sean Harrington is right, athleticism versus skills./fundamentals.

Very interesting stuff. I think fans were more excited and overrated Mike Shaw more than college coaches (as proven here in this survey) and you Joe, who I know you never had real high. Always going to have overrated kids and late bloomers. Always.

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on June 11, 2013 7:56 AM.

Prospects nab offers while at successful UIC camp was the previous entry in this blog.

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