Chicago Sun-Times
By Joe Henricksen

One last look at the Class of 2013

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The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association's all-star game was played in Bloomington Saturday night, which closed the book on the Class of 2013 in Illinois as prep players.

When you look at how this class transpired over the course of four years of high school basketball, there were certainly some constants: Jabari Parker was the Hoops Report's No. 1 ranked prospect his freshman year and remained there; Kendrick Nunn and Alvin Ellis had big names as freshmen and both ended up signing with Big Ten schools; the Hoops Report vaulted Kendall Stephens into the top five prospects early on, quicker than most, and he maintained that lofty status in the eyes of the Hoops Report.

But the development of teen-aged basketball players is fluid, with early-developing players that just don't get bigger or better and late bloomers who mature physically and as players later in their high school career.

Take a look, here, at how the Hoops Report had the Class of 2013 prior to the start of their junior year. The good? The top four players nearly two years earlier are the exact same in these final rankings, just interchangeable, while seven of the top 10 remained the same.

Interestingly, there were three players (Gavin Schilling, Tommy Hamilton and Jalen James who finished their careers outside the state at prep schools) and two players (Marquise Pryor and A.J. Riley) who didn't even play their senior year for various reasons. Plus injuries to Parker and Kendall Stephens stalled their respective senior years.

The biggest rise among all players in the final Hoops Report Top 25 was Oswego's Miles Simelton, who was a varsity performer as a freshman. But Simelton began to blossom, both athletically and as a player, the summer before his senior year. Then with an influx of added confidence, took off as a senior and became one of the best unsigned prospects throughout his senior year.

The City/Suburban Hoops Report takes a final look at the list of top prospects in the class and where they're headed next year.

1. Jabari Parker, 6-8, WF, Simeon
Signed with Duke
There hasn't been a more decorated or public figure among any high school player in state history. A future pro, Parker won four state championships at Simeon and two gold medals with Team USA. The only downer is we as fans were never granted the opportunity to see Parker at his peak as a high school player due to the foot injury that slowed him down as a senior.

2. Malcolm Hill, 6-6½, WF, Belleville East
Signed with Illinois
Unfairly, Hill always fought the Chicago bias playing in the southern part of the state. But Hill was consistently among the top prospects in the class regardless of where he played. A big scoring wing (25.3 ppg) with size, length and the ability to get to the free-throw line. Although still in the budding stages as a player, Hill flashes immense talent and upside.

3. Kendall Stephens, 6-5½, 2G, St. Charles East
Signed with Purdue
Was off to a monster start to his senior year, even while playing with a torn labrum. But he eventually had to shut it down in December. Sweet shooting guard is healthy again. Terrific range, beautiful release and size to get his shot off, Stephens will only get better as he adds weight and strength. He's been valued a little more by the Hoops Report, thus it has higher expectations of him than most do going forward.

4. Kendrick Nunn, 6-2, 2G, Simeon
Signed with Illinois
Interchangeable between the No. 2 and No. 3 spot. An explosive athletic guard with a motor who is a big-time finisher at the rim. At his core he's a tough, hard-nosed guard who defends, makes plays and wins -- and wins a lot. Extremely coachable, look for Nunn to flourish in college as his overall skill level will make a jump with his will to improve.

5. Sterling Brown, 6-5, WF, Proviso East
Signed with SMU
When the stakes were the highest, Brown came up big. He twice led Proviso East to Peoria and played at a high level in state tournament play. Versatile weapon who can play and guard multiple positions on the floor and, in time, should be able to score in a variety of ways as well.

6. Billy Garrett, Jr., 6-4, PG, Morgan Park
Signed with DePaul
Brings strong basketball characteristics every time he steps on the floor, so many of the cliché basketball attributes apply. Smart, steady, mature point guard led Mustangs to a state title in March. Will play significant role immediately for Blue Demons because he knows how to play.

7. Alvin Ellis, 6-4, WF, De La Salle
Signed with Michigan State
Originally signed with Minnesota. Opened things back up following the dismissal of Tubby Smith and was a hot commodity this spring. Improved perimeter skills launched his stock as a prep player, which combined with his length and athleticism vaulted him into the top 10 in the class.

8. Kyle Davis, 6-0, PG/2G, Morgan Park
Signed with Dayton
Teamed up with Billy Garrett, Jr. and helped lead the Mustangs to a Class 3A state championship. A blur in the open court, explosive in transition and a big-time finisher for his size. A consistent perimeter jumper is all that's missing for the tough-minded Davis.

9. Ben Moore, 6-8, PF, Bolingbrook
Signed with SMU
The long, bouncy Moore wasn't among the top 25 prospects in the class two years ago. Stock skyrocketed in the months leading up to his senior year. He can put it on the floor, is active around the basket and can run rim to rim effortlessly. Late bloomer has made a favorable early impression with coach Larry Brown this summer at SMU.

10. Alec Peters, 6-7½, PF, Washington
Signed with Valparaiso
Has been a Hoops Report favorite since the summer before his junior year. Averaged 22.3 and 8.9 rebounds a game as a senior for a 28-2 team and scored 1,471 career points with 169 career three-pointers. The sweet shooting, competitive forward was a recruiting steal for Valpo.

11. Kendall Pollard, 6-5, WF, Simeon
Signed with Dayton
A player who steadily improved and climbed the rankings as he was given a bigger role and opportunity. Underrated athletically and for all that he brings to the table. A junk yard dog type who will guard and defend anyone, play physical, take a charge and finish around the basket. Teams win with players like Kendall Pollard.

12. Jaylon Tate, 6-2, PG, Simeon
Signed with Illinois
Was a big name as a freshman at De La Salle. Took a back seat as a junior after transferring to Simeon and then put together a steady, rock solid senior year in helping the Wolverines to a fourth straight state title. A true point guard who was undervalued a bit as a senior.

13. David Cohn, 6-2, PG/2G, York
Signed with Colorado State
Unique distinction of playing four varsity seasons under four different head coaches. He flourished, nonetheless, scoring 1,640 career points. More athletic than he looks, this scorer plays with a constant motor and has the ability to play both guard spots effectively.

14. Paris Lee, 5-10, PG, Proviso East
Signed with Illinois State
A terror on the ball defensively who constantly puts pressure on opposing ballhandlers. Capable of knocking down a shot. At the end of the day, this jet-quick, energizing guard just makes plays that help a team win.

15. Nathan Taphorn, 6-7, WF, Pekin
Signed with Northwestern
Physically still maturing so his best basketball days are ahead of him. Possesses size, skill and the ability to stretch a defense with his shooting.

16. Jared Brownridge, 6-1, 2G, Waubonsie Valley
Signed with Santa Clara
Was a constant scoring and shooting the basketball throughout his career, finishing with 1,608 career points. Arguably the best three-point shooter in the state with picture-perfect mechanics and consistency. Found the ideal fit, level and conference to play in college.

17. Russell Woods, 6-8, PF, Simeon
Signed with John A. Logan C.C.
Was a presence for Simeon during its state title run on the glass and protecting the rim. Didn't put up big numbers but has the coveted length, size and athleticism college coaches covet. A player college programs will keep a close eye on over next two years as he develops offensive skills.

18. Miles Simelton, 5-11, PG, Oswego
Signed with Lehigh
This recruiting steal in the Patriot League put together a big senior year in leading Oswego to a school record 28 wins. Quickness, athleticism and shooting range allowed Simelton to get shots and baskets when he wanted. An explosive but unselfish scorer.

19. Jubril Adekoya, 6-6, PF, Andrew
Signed with Valparaiso
Throughout his career, both in high school and in AAU, it's always been about production with Adekoya. He's strong, competes, plays through contact and finishes around the basket. A rugged rebounder who averaged 20.3 ppg, 10.3 rpg as a senior.

20. Sean O'Brien, 6-6½, WF, Mundelein
Signed with Southern Illinois
A true multi-faceted player -- and an unsung one as well. O'Brien handles it like a guard, has the size of a forward and filled the stat sheet night after night. The versatile perimeter player recorded five triple-doubles on the year and finished up averaging 21 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists a game.

21. Alex Foster, 6-7, PF, South Holland (Seton Academy)
Signed with Texas Tech
After playing three years at De La Salle, transferred to Seton. He helped the Sting to a second-place finish in Class 2A, averaging 10.9 points and 6.8 rebounds a game as a senior. Big, strong body who can get up and down the floor and is at his best finishing around the basket.

22. DeShawn Munson, 6-3, PG/2G, East St. Louis Sr.
Signed with Iowa Western Community College
Munson put up huge numbers, averaging 17.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 8.3 assists and 4.1 steals a game. Elite athleticism, strength and a college-ready body whose shooting and playmaking ability is still a work in progress. A player who will be watched closely by Division I programs over the next two seasons.

23. Morris Dunnigan, 6-2, 2G, Joliet (West)
Signed with Vincennes Junior College
His high-level athleticism returned (suffered an ACL injury midway through his career) and he went out with a bang, putting together a difference-making senior year (17.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 3 apg, 2 spg). Dunnigan was capable of taking over games late, knocking down a three-pointer or throwing down an impressive dunk.

24. A.J. Riley, 6-2, PG, Peoria (Notre Dame)
Signed with John A. Logan Community College
A frustrating 12 months for Riley, who was ruled ineligible at Manual at the end of his junior year, spent time at LaLumiere Prep School in Indiana before enrolling at Peoria Notre Dame -- and being ruled ineligible by the IHSA for his entire senior season. A big-bodied, strong and tough point guard who gets to the rim.

25. Andrew McAuliffe, 6-8, PF, Northbrook (Glenbrook North)
Signed with Davidson
Does a lot of different things for a true 6-8 big man. He may lack ideal athleticism, but this skilled post player has the unique ability to finish and shoot very well with both hands around the basket. He then will face up and stick the 12-15 foot jumper. Terrific signing for this Southern Conference program.

Hoops Report's six best college signings for the fit and level
▪ Alec Peters, Washington - Valparaiso
▪ Kendall Pollard, Simeon - Dayton
▪ Miles Simelton, Oswego - Lehigh
▪ Garrett Covington, Edwardsville - Western Illinois
▪ Jared Brownridge, Waubonsie Valley - Santa Clara
▪ Steven Cook, New Trier - Princeton

Follow Joe Henricksen and the Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport

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The sacrifice that these boys have put in has paid off. Working out when others are not. Hard work and dedication pay off. College work outs will be a challenge to most and they have to step up to the challenge.

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This page contains a single entry by Joe Henricksen published on July 1, 2013 8:04 AM.

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