Bill "Flash" Flanagan, the Bloomington-based recruiting analyst, summed up a summer of basketball observations before going to the hospital to undergo back surgery.
* The best player I've seen? Glenbrook South's 6-9 Jack Cooley, who is committed to Notre Dame. "He is skilled for a big man...mobile, good timing, good passer, great second and third efforts," Flanagan said.
* Player to watch: Peoria Central's Bobo Drummond, a 5-11 freshman, a high major prospect who is in a class with the best point guards in the state. He isn't as good as Washington senior Dyricus Simms-Edwards, who missed the summer with a stress fracture of his right foot, but he is the best freshman in the Peoria area.
* Another player to watch: John Wilkins, a 6-9 high school graduate from Belgium and the son of former Hales Franciscan, Elgin and Illinois State star Jeff Wilkins.
Wilkins, who was living with his mother in Belgium, wants to play college basketball in the United States. His father called Flanagan, asked him to evaluate his son and to help give him some exposure to college coaches.
John played at Rick Ball's exposure camp at Illinois-Chicago and at a camp at Peoria Central conducted by A.J. Guyton, Marcellus Sommerville and Daniel Ruffin. Then he joined Mike Mullins' Illinois Wolves and went to Las Vegas, then Phoenix.
How good is he? "He is a mid-major plus and high-major minus prospect. Some say if he got stronger (he weighs 215 pounds) he would be a high-major player. He needs to get stronger. But everyone loves him because he is very skills, can play the 3 or 4 position and is a good perimeter shooter, ball-handler and passer," Flanagan said.
The youngster hasn't talked to any colleges yet and hasn't got too much time to make up his mind. But Purdue, Bradley, Illinois State, Indiana, DePaul, Providence, Rhode Island, Dayton, St. John's, Wichita State, Butler, TCU, Baylor and Valparaiso have expressed interest.
Another player to watch: Jarod Oldham, a 6-3 combo guard from Decatur Eisenhower, who played in the shadow of Lewis Jackson (Purdue) and Jeremy Robinson (Illinois State) last season. A member of the class of 2010, he has been offered by Bradley and Kansas reportedly is recruiting him.
* Illinois-bound D.J. Richardson of Peoria Central has had a good summer and improved on his weaknesses, ball-handling and shooting. But he still isn't the point guard that Illini coach Bruce Weber might be looking for.
* Illinois-bound Joseph Bertrand of Sterling played well at the Illinois elite camp but has struggled elsewhere. He weighs only 160 pounds and must put on weight and get a lot stronger to play in the Big Ten.
* Mount Carmel guard Tracy Abrams is the best prospect in the class of 2011. He is quicker and more athletic than Bartonville Limestone's highly touted Donivine Stewart. But he isn't a point guard. He isn't a good ball-handler and tends to play out of control.
* De La Salle's Michael Shaw has a world of potential but the 6-8 sophomore-to-be lacks aggressiveness. He played timid at the Riverside-Brookfield event and recruiting analyst Van Coleman and other observers reported the same trait at Las Vegas.
* Proviso West has two Division I prospects in 6-7 Robert Covington and 6-1 guard Tremmell Owens, both members of the class of 2009.
* Others who impressed in recent weeks were 6-2 freshman Jwan Stark of West Aurora, 6-4 sophomore Armani Flannigan of Rockford Boylan, Wisconsin-Green Bay bound point guard Seth Evans of Seneca and 6-1 senior guard Paris Gulley, who was the second best player on Peoria Manual's Class 2A runnerup last season.