By Roy & Harv Schmidt
Before others misinterpret what we are about to say, let us emphasize that we still believe Warren's Brandon Paul is the #1 player in the state from the class of 2009. However, Whitney Young's Chris Colvin is rapidly making a strong push for that spot. And we are not saying that based on one game--we are saying it based on the solid performances that he has turned out throughout the spring.
The bottom line is that over the course of the past two and a half months Colvin has been nothing but a model of consistency. He played extremely well when we saw him in April at the King James Shooting Stars Classic in Akron, OH with his Chicago Express traveling team and also at the Windy City Classic at the University Of Illinois-Chicago's Physical Education Center competing with Top Flight. Since that time Colvin has also played at a high level at a number of team camps at which Whitney Young has participated.
At the University of Illinois' elite camp last weekend in Champaign, there were many who thought that Colvin was the best player there. While we aren't going to quite go that far, there is no question that he was among the top five players based on performance. At the Illini's satellite camp at Moody Bible Institute which concluded yesterday, Colvin was undoubtedly the best player in attendance, as he helped lead Whitney Young to the camp championship.
What we like the most about Colvin is that unlike many of the other talented guards in Illinois from the class of 2009, Colvin is a pure point guard. In fact, he doesn't try to be anything else. With that being said, he brings a huge amount of leadership and intangibles to the table.
Colvin is an outstanding ball handler who is virtually unstoppable in a one-on-one situation. We believe that there is no one capable of staying in front of him when guarding him man-to-man. Colvin is absolutely explosive to the basket and when he finds a free path in the open court, not only is he going to leave his defender in the dust, he is either going to score or get fouled almost every time. Simply put, he does everything well except shoot. Recruiting-wise, Colvin's frontrunners include Florida State, Oklahoma, Iowa and Providence (all of whom have offered), and he is also receiving heavy interest from Marquette.
Last season there were times when it was difficult for Colvin to even get minutes for Whitney Young because of the enormous amount of depth that existed in their back court. We can guarantee everyone that won't be the case next season. Colvin, along with Marcus Jordan, are the undisputed leaders of a team that is already making a strong argument to be ranked as the preseason #1 team in the state come November. Add 5'8 junior Ahmad Starks into the mix, and it goes without saying that Whitney Young has a guard trio that ranks as the best in the state.
At the present time, we would break down all of the top guards in Illinois from the class of 2009 in this way: Brandon Paul is the best defender, the most well-rounded and has the best up side; Peoria Central's D.J. Richardson is the best scorer and the one guard that you want to have the ball in crunch time; Sterling's Joe Bertrand is the best shooter; North Lawndale's John Taylor may actually be the most naturally talented and Colvin has been the most consistent and offers the most intangibles.
In a class which is undoubtedly guard heavy, all of these aforementioned players are unique in their own special way. That is perhaps the biggest reason why we have long said that there is no clear-cut #1 player from Illinois in the class of 2009. We still give the nod to Paul right now, but at the rate Colvin is going, he is quite capable of laying claim to that honor by the end of the July evaluation period.