THE MORE THINGS STAY THE SAME

RE­VIEW­ING THE AREA’S TOP SE­NIOR HOOPS PROSPECTS AF­TER A SUM­MER WITH LIM­ITED OP­POR­TU­NI­TIES To SHINE

Chicago Sun-Times - - CENTER OF ATTENTION - BY JOE HENRICKSEN | @joe­hoop­sre­port

Thanks to the pan­demic, this hasn’t been a nor­mal off­sea­son for high school play­ers hop­ing to strut their stuff. Thus, there hasn’t been a ton of move­ment in the player rank­ings for the Class of 2021 be­fore th­ese se­niors start their year. Here’s a look at the top 10 col­lege prospects in the class.

MAX CHRISTIE

6-6, Rolling Mead­ows

The Michi­gan State-bound guard has put up mas­sive num­bers since his fresh­man year, in­clud­ing a ju­nior cam­paign last sea­son in which he av­er­aged 24 points and 10 re­bounds. Blessed with size, length and tremen­dous ver­sa­til­ity on the perime­ter, Christie is among the top 20 play­ers in the coun­try. But what makes him even more in­trigu­ing is that even though he’s highly ranked, he doesn’t seem to have reached his ceil­ing.

BRYCE HOP­KINS

6-6, Fen­wick

Af­ter his de-com­mit­ment from Louisville, the tal­ented hy­brid for­ward is among the best avail­able prospects in the coun­try. A top-40 tal­ent who has been ul­tra-pro­duc­tive through­out his ca­reer, Hop­kins brings a blend of power and fi­nesse on the of­fen­sive end. He can over­power you phys­i­cally in get­ting to and fin­ish­ing at the bas­ket, or he can step out and play some point-for­ward.

AHAMAD BYNUM 6-1, Simeon

Ex­plo­sive ath­let­i­cally and a dynamic weapon of­fen­sively, he can put pres­sure on the de­fense with his shoot­ing and by get­ting to the bas­ket off the drib­ble. The DePaul re­cruit scores in bunches with his takeover of­fen­sive abil­i­ties.

LOUIS LESMOND

6-5, Notre Dame

There’s so much tal­ent in Lesmond that it’s im­pos­si­ble not to see — from his bonafide shoot­ing abil­ity to his sneaky ath­leti­cism. He led one of the state’s best teams in scor­ing as a ju­nior, with 16.5 points a game. Har­vard landed a good one in what may turn out to be the re­cruit­ing steal of this class.

ISA­IAH BARNES 6-7, Simeon

A player who bloomed a lit­tle later than oth­ers in the class, Barnes brings a phys­i­cal pro­file — size and high-level ath­leti­cism on the wing — that at­tracted a dou­ble-digit num­ber of high-ma­jor of­fers this past spring. The Michi­gan com­mit can wow with a dunk and step out and make a three.

CHRIS HODGES 6-8, Schaum­burg

Hodges has con­tin­ued to make strides since emerg­ing as a bal­ly­hooed prospect as a fresh­man. A mo­bile post player headed to Wis­con­sin, he has some old-school big man in him. He has de­vel­oped a back-to-the-bas­ket game, in­clud­ing a jump-hook, to go with im­proved foot­work and a de­vel­op­ing step-back, mid-range jumper. TROY D’AMICO

6-7, Notre Dame

There’s so much to like in this South­ern Illi­nois re­cruit. He com­petes, brings a blue-col­lar ap­proach to the floor and is highly pro­duc­tive — he av­er­aged 15.6 points last sea­son on fewer than 10 shots a game. D’Amico will battle around the bas­ket, han­dle the ball and knock down a three-pointer as an ul­tra-skilled 4-man. TY JOHN­SON

6-2, DePaul Prep

A big-time threat with the ball in his hands, and a huge re­cruit­ing get for Loy­ola. Last sea­son, he av­er­aged 22 points a game. He’s a dev­as­tat­ing of­fen­sive weapon, as he’s elec­tric in the open floor and has out­stand­ing shoot­ing range. John­son has buried 115 three-point­ers the last two sea­sons. He could con­tinue to rise in the rank­ings as his se­nior year plays out. BEN SCHWIEGER

6-5, Waubon­sie Val­ley

A clas­sic high-up­side player with the phys­i­cal at­tributes, in­clud­ing length, ter­rific bounce and a still-de­vel­op­ing body. Whether show­cas­ing above-the-rim fin­ish­ing abil­ity or a jumper that’s smooth out of his hand and will only get bet­ter, the Loy­ola-bound Schwieger is just start­ing to scratch the sur­face of the player he will be. AN­THONY SAYLES

6-1, Notre Dame

Sayles is all about the right things as a player and leader. A phys­i­cally im­pos­ing point guard with strength and a col­lege-ready body, he re­mains one of the top un­com­mit­ted prospects in the state. He defends, han­dles the ball and scores when needed, while his perime­ter jumper con­tin­ues to im­prove. ✶

Max Christie

Bryce Hop­kins

Chris Hodges (20)

Ahamad Bynum

Isa­iah Barnes

Troy D’Amico

An­thony Sayles

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