By the time you read this, at the conclusion of the holiday basketball tournaments for 2010, you will have had an opportunity to evaluate what longtime recruiting analyst Bill "Flash" Flanagan reports is a good-but-not-great crop of point guards in Illinois.
"Point guards are the toughest thing to find, the true point guards, players like Deron Williams, Derrick Rose, Steve Nash, Chris Paul and Jason Kidd," Flanagan said. "Scouts are looking for true point guards, pass-first type kids who are leaders and good distributors, the kind who make everybody else on the floor better than what they normally would be."
"AAU ball doesn't encourage the development of true point guards. It encourages scoring, not pass-first players, which is what a true point guard is. Too many kids think shot first. They think they can be scoring point guards. Only the truly great ones can do that, like Isiah Thomas. Most kids are never going to reach that level."
Here is Flanagan's list of the top point guards in Illinois this season:
1. Chasson Randle, Rock Island: He is committed to Stanford. He is a straight-A student, a great leader and citizen. He is very smart, which also makes a difference in separating great point guards from the rest of the class. He plays for Mike Mullins and the Illinois Wolves. Mullins' son Brian, who played at Downers Grove South and Southern Illinois and now is playing professionally in Europe, also was an outstanding point guard. Randle is a genuine Mr. Basketball candidate who ranks as the No. 68 player in the nation according to Rivals.com.
2. Bobo Drummond, La Lumiere Prep, LaPorte, Ind., transfer from Peoria Central: He is committed to Southern Illinois. He has all the qualities of a true point guard, even more than Randle, but he is only 5-11 and not as talented or a better outside shooter than Randle. A junior, he could be reclassified as a sophomore. He transferred to the prep school to improve his academic standing.
3. David Sobolewski, Benet. He is committed to Northwestern. He and Randle are very close. He has come on strong and is one of the primary reasons why Benet is ranked among the top teams in the state. He is a well-built physical kid who has good leadership qualities, smarts, a good outside shot and has a pass-first mentality.
4. Anthony Beane, Normal Community. He is a junior whose father is an assistant coach at Illinois State and once played at Kansas State. He doesn't have the statewide reputation of others on this list but Iowa and Kansas are recruiting him. He plays for Dodie Dunson's AAU team. He is a true point guard, athletic with a pass-first attitude. He was the No. 2 player at the Morris camp behind Whitney Young freshman Jahlil Okafor.
5. Tracy Abrams, Mount Carmel. He is committed to Illinois. He is more of a combo guard. He tries to be too much of a scoring guard. Will he develop into a true point guard at Illinois? Remember, it took two years for Demitri McCamey to develop into a point guard at Illinois. Abrams will have to make the same transition. He is an unselfish player so he has the potential to do it.
6. Jeff Stokes-White, Peoria Manual. The son of former Bradley player Charles White, he was a standout in the state tournament last year. He has been offered by Southern Illinois. He is the reason why Peoria Manual is so good.
7. Donovine Stewart, Bartonville Limestone: He is committed to Bradley. He led the state in scoring as a freshman, averaging 28 points per game. He doesn't score as much as before, now about 25 per game. He is a scoring point guard who was offered by Illinois as a freshman. But he chose Bradley because he wanted to stay closer to home.
8. David Molinari, Peoria Notre Dame: The son of Western Illinois coach Jim Molinari, who formerly coached at DePaul, Northern Illinois, Minnesota and Bradley, he is a true point guard. He also can score but he looks to pass first. He is one of the reasons why Peoria Notre Dame is one of the leading teams in the state. He is uncommitted. Dartmouth is recruiting him. I believe he definitely is a Division I player, maybe MAC or Missouri Valley.
9. Kyle Heck, Metamora: A 6-3 senior, he is uncommitted and unappreciated and overlooked. He is being recruited by Division I schools, including Loyola, mostly Ivy League, Patriot League, MAC. But he is flying under the radar. His strengths are he is a better perimeter shooter than most. He is a combo guard, a team player, a good ball-handler. His coach, Jim Youngman, is a great teacher of the game who once coached at Abingdon, Springfield Lanphier and Highland.