THE MORE THINGS STAY THE SAME
REVIEWING THE AREA’S TOP SENIOR HOOPS PROSPECTS AFTER A SUMMER WITH LIMITED OPPORTUNITIES To SHINE
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.
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.
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.
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. ✶
Chris Hodges (20)