With National Signing Day approaching for the Class of 2014, college coaches are turning the page and turning up the heat in pursuit of the next wave of prospects in the junior class.
The Class of 2015 in Illinois maybe isn't off-the-charts good like the Class of 2014, which has pure star power at the top and great Division I depth, but it's very solid. But any comparison to the Class of 2014 isn't fair. It's like "Low Winter Sun" following up "Breaking Bad" on AMC.
The class did take a hit locally with the departure of both K.J. Santos (Geneva) and Joseph Toye (Whitney Young) to prep schools. Those two perimeter players oozed upside with their great size and opened the eyes of college coaches this past summer. The athletic Toye would likely have been among the top half dozen prospects in Illinois in the Class of 2015, while Santos would have been among the top 12.
The City/Suburban Hoops Report takes a look at the top 15 prospects in Illinois in the Class of 2015.
1. Charles Matthews, 6-5, PG/2G, Chicago (St. Rita)
Big, long, versatile guard who has received plenty of national attention and high-level interest. With his size and length, Matthew has the capability to impact games in multiple ways. His versatility allows him to play both as a slasher off the ball or a combo-guard with the ball.
2. D.J. Williams, 6-7, WF, Chicago (Simeon)
An exciting talent who looks the part with ideal size and skill on the wing. He can put it on the floor, lead the break, finish in transition and is slippery in getting to the basket. Growing, developing and still putting his entire talented package together. With Williams, it remains about his upside, projection and will he get there?
3. Jalen Brunson, 6-2, PG, Lincolnshire (Stevenson)
He's long been a Hoops Report favorite for how he competes, composes himself and plays the game. What's not to love? Pure point guard instincts and I.Q. with high-level scoring ability, particularly as an effective perimeter shooter. Underrated strength allows him to take a pounding and absorb contact from defenders. True high-major prospect.
4. Aaron Jordan, 6-4, 2G, Plainfield (East)
So much to like with Jordan, including his size on the perimeter, consistency, temperament, character and shooting ability. Already sports offers from Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Butler, Northwestern and Xavier as a talented shooting guard with a prototypical skill-set for the position.
5. Glynn Watson, 5-11, PG, Westchester (St. Joseph)
Shifty with some speed and kick in the open court as one of the few true point guards in the class. Watson will run a team in the halfcourt, make decisions in transition and is an efficient on-the-ball defender at the other end of the floor. Offers from Purdue, Northern Illinois, Creighton and DePaul.
6. Brandon Hutton, 6-5, WF/PF, Chicago (De La Salle)
Highly undervalued in the junior class. Blessed with a terrific athletic body and a big-time motor that rarely turns off. Strong combo forward who attacks the glass and can take contact around the basket with brute strength. Skill level has improved but must continue to make strides as he morphs into a true wing.
7. Luwane Pipkins, 5-9, PG/2G, Chicago (Bogan)
Exudes toughness while playing aggressive and with confidence. Those attributes show with the way he plays the game. Comfortable as both a mid-range and long-range shooter. Decision-making and point guard instincts are still a work in progress, but he can flat-out shoot it and score with the best of them. At some point people will take notice of Pipkins.
8. Ed Morrow, 6-6, PF, Chicago (Simeon)
Despite being an undersized 4-man at this point with a limited offensive repertoire, Morrow is still always around the basketball, finishing around the rim, a factor on the glass and willing to do the dirty work. A solid athlete who gets up and down the floor and competes, makes plays.
9. Roosevelt Smart, 6-2, 2G, Arlington Heights (St. Viator)
After a bit of an up-and-down summer, Smart makes the move from Palatine to St. Viator this season to team up with Ore Arogundade. Smart is a solid mid-range shooter with an ability to knock down shots from beyond the arc.
10. Christian Williams, 6-4, 2G, Decatur (St. Teresa)
Solid summer, along with his physical attributes, increased his reputation and stock in the junior class. Big-bodied guard with enough skill to play both guard spots. Assertiveness and tenacity must pick up to maintain top 12 status in 2015, but the ceiling is very high.
11. Prentiss Nixon, 6-0, 2G, Bolingbrook
Although a little ball-dominant at times, Nixon is already one of the better scorers and shooters in the junior class in Illinois. Continues to try and make strides with his overall floor game and show that he's more than just an undersized 2-guard.
12. Jordan Ash, 6-1, 2G, Westchester (St. Joseph)
Possesses physical and character attributes you like in that he's athletic off the floor, has some strength and plays tough and hard. Fluidity, playmaking and perimeter shooting are all coming along as he matures as a player.
13. Kain Harris, 6-3, 2G, Chicago (Morgan Park)
A hulking young guard with size, strength and tools to work with. It's a big year for Harris, who needs to put all those pieces and parts together for results and better efficiency this season. He's clearly capable of making that next big jump.
14. Joshua Stamps, 6-4, 2G, Chicago (Curie)
With his size, length and shooting stroke, Stamps fits the description of your classic perimeter threat. Stamps will settle and rely too much on his jump shot at times, but he's becoming more comfortable putting the ball on the floor and creating offense for himself.
15. Myles Carter, 6-8, PF, Chicago (St. Rita)
In a class deprived of players with size, Carter fits the bill with his ability to impact games as a presence on the glass and defensively. Still raw offensively with an inside game that must become more refined, Carter has length, can get up and down the floor and a solid frame.
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