Some signs of great things to come
There was no shortage of drama and storylines leading up to national signing day for the Class of 2018 on Wednesday. A recap:
Most important recruit: Ayo Dosunmu to Illinois.
The Illinois recruiting class is short on numbers — the Morgan Park star is the lone commitment — but first- year coach Brad Underwood was able to secure the top prospect in the state.
The 6- 4 point guard brings credibility to Illinois and its new staff as a player who is ranked among the top 30 prospects in the country. Dosunmu, who chose Illinois over Wake Forest, is the type of player the program has been lacking in recent years: a pure, instinctual player who was born to play basketball.
Biggest recruiting storyline: The drama surrounding Talen Horton- Tucker’s recruitment.
Although no one intended for it to be, the recruitment of HortonTucker became a huge story locally.
Through no fault of his own, Horton- Tucker was unfortunately put through the recruiting wringer. In the final days — and even in the final hours — the Simeon senior had to deal with the on- again, off- again saga of Illinois’ mismanagement of his recruitment.
In the end, the versatile 6- 5 wing had the comfort of knowing there was a coach in Steve Prohm and a program in Iowa State that had been there from the start and who Horton- Tucker had high on his list through it all.
Biggest recruiting surprise: Iowa State’s success.
Horton- Tucker, Hinsdale South’s Zion Griffin and Corliss’ George Conditt are the second-, third- and fourth- ranked prospects in Illinois. All three are headed to Iowa State.
Yes, the Big 12 school raided a neighboring state for three highmajor prospects.
Horton- Tucker was a player coveted by several high- major programs, including Illinois, Ohio State, Georgia Tech and Xavier, among others. The late- blooming, highly athletic 6- 6 Griffin canceled an official visit to Kansas and committed to Iowa State. And Conditt, a 6- 10 big with endless length and potential, sported over a half- dozen high- major offers.
Biggest recruiting steal: Javon Freeman to Valparaiso.
The recruitment of the 6- 3 wing from Young, along with his commitment to coach Matt Lottich and Valpo, flew under the radar a bit.
Freeman helped lead the Dolphins to a Class 4A state championship last March and is among the top six senior prospects in Illinois. He’s an active, productive and still possesses a high ceiling.
Biggest recruiting steal, Part II: Maurice Commander to Tennessee- Chattanooga.
The Southern Conference school landed a gem in Curie’s 5- 11 point guard with shooting and scoring ability. Commander chose fit and comfort over interest and offers from bigger schools in more recognized conferences.
Best uncommitted prospects: Libertyville’s Drew Peterson and Simeon’s Xavier Pinson.
While Champaign Central’s Tim Finke may be the best uncommitted player remaining in the state, Peterson and Pinson are the best unsigned seniors locally. Peterson is a versatile 6- 7 wing and Pinson is a pure point guard.
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Ayo Dosunmu of Morgan Park ( left) and Talen Horton- Tucker of Simeon signed with Illinois and Iowa State, respectively, on Wednesday. | WORSOM ROBINSON/ FOR THE SUN- TIMES