High school basketball: a look back at the 2021 class

If one class deserves a little more attention, it’s this year’s seniors. And we’ll give it to them.

The class of 2021 has been part of history no one could have imagined, including two seasons where no state champion was crowned and a senior season that featured a dozen games and a playoff series. entire canceled.

As high school kids graduate statewide, we look back and recognize this group of gamers who have endured so much in the past 15 months of a global pandemic.

Best of Class: Max Christie, Rolling Meadows

Michigan state custody was the top-ranked prospect to enter high school and stayed there every four years.

As a 6-6 goalie with diverse play, Christie has done everything that was asked of him as a player and developing as a prospect. He posted huge numbers while also being ranked among the top 20 players in the country and earning All-American recognition from McDonald’s.

All that was missing – and it wasn’t his fault – were high-stakes games, high-profile games, and opportunities to help turn a star into a legend in this state.

Biggest winner: Blake Peters, Evanston

Even without winning a state title –– no one has in the past two years –– Peters has plenty of wins on his four-year resume.

With Peters averaging 15 points per game as a freshman, Evanston was 27-6 and was third in the state. As a sophomore, Peters helped Evanston finish second in Class 4A and clinch 32 wins, then led the ‘Kits’ to the section final and a 29-4 record as a junior before Covid- 19 does not disconnect the season.

In total, marksman Peters has been part of 105 wins in four years, including a shortened senior season, while also winning four Central Suburban League South titles.

But with Peters, it was more than just winning totals. It was also about how he went about winning with several memorable, decisive and winning moves. He was the heart and soul of a fabulous four-year Evanston run.

Best foreign flavor: Louis Lesmond, Notre Dame

The influx of top European talent has been a boon at the highest level in basketball, with the NBA dominated by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic.

Illinois high school basketball was also a big recipient with the international arrival of Lesmond, who moved from France with his family and played for Evanston in sophomore. Following a transfer to Notre Dame, the 6-5 wing has become a star over the past two seasons.

With a shooting range to the three-point line, height and athleticism, and a defensive presence, Lesmond is in the top five prospects in the senior class. He turned down the most important offers and headed for Harvard.

Biggest climb: Ben Schwieger, Waubonsie Valley

No one was talking about Schwieger in first year when he was completely unknown. In sophomore, it was all about showing, and the numbers didn’t warrant much name recognition.

Even after accumulating just 3.2 points and 1.8 rebounds per game in sophomore, junior stats remained intriguing but somewhat modest with 16.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. .

But the athletic 6-6 Schwieger’s high ceiling was what made him so intriguing.

At the end of his junior season, he was still relatively unknown. But Schwieger was among the top twelve in the City / Suburban Hoops class and an average target. He finishes as a No.8 ranked prospect and heads to Loyola.

Most Prominent Recruits: Max Christie, Rolling Meadows and Bryce Hopkins, Fenwick

Both Christie and Hopkins stood out from the rest of the pack as their high school careers unfolded – Christie immediately as a hard-hitting freshman and Hopkins with a breakout second season.

As a result, they were the two national rookies with high majors and Blue Bloods on them both. But there is no doubt that the lack of visits, due to Covid, has calmed the gossip and recruiting drama for all of the top 100 hires, including Illinois’ top two prospects.

Hopkins’ recruiting started off as a rather ho-hum recruiting with the 6-6 forward committing very early to Louisville, pulling the trigger even before starting his junior season.

But Hopkins, ranked No. 35 in the country by Rivals, withdrew from the Cardinals last August, sparking a wave of recruiting. He eventually ended up with rival Louisville, Kentucky, where he was among the top five recruiters in the country.

Because as esteemed and high-ranking as Christie was throughout her career, the recruiting was about as balanced as you’ll find. He turned down Blue Blood’s offers and interest and focused on some Big Ten options, choosing Tom Izzo and Michigan State last July.

Christie is the highest ranked rookie Izzo has landed since five-star Jaren Jackson in 2017.

Biggest Recruitment Theft: TY Johnson, DePaul Prep

The class will undoubtedly have a player or two surpassing at a higher level than anyone would have dreamed of. But the bet right now is on Johnson, who was a dynamic backcourt scorer while leading DePaul Prep to the Chipotle Clash of Champions to close the season.

Drew Valentine, who succeeds Porter Moser as head coach of the Loyola Ramblers’ searing basketball program, was able to keep Johnson on board after Moser left for Oklahoma. It’s a big deal.

Johnson is a mid-major recruiting flight. The 6-3 goalie continued to climb the ranks throughout his career and landed in the top 10 after flourishing as a junior. He’s got the kind of size, speed, and scoring ability in the backcourt that would typically catch a lot of eyes during evaluation times. But there wasn’t, so it became a recruiting battle between Loyola and the state of Colorado.

The Unsung Elder: Julius Rollins, Hillcrest

A player who may never have quite received his due during his career, Rollins produced early in his career and quietly maintained his status throughout his career.

Rollins, who averaged 17.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game last season, is a bit of a throwback. But he’s also showing clues to being a New Age hybrid forward as his skill level improves.

The 6-6 Rollins brings energy, plays hard, rebounds, and as shown, has improved his perimeter jumper and progressed with his overall skill level. Rollins did the job and is now at least a threat from the three point line. Kent State grabbed a nice one.

Best yet on the board: Amar Augillard, Zion-Benton

You are never quite sure what the tough and physical 6-5 Augillard is as a player. But he’ll go for a bucket, whether with a rider, powerful straight-line workouts to the basket or by contact as a powerful inside finisher. He has scored over 2,000 career points with the Zee-Bees.

While Augillard will have to determine the defensive end of the game, the size, physique, and prowess he possesses are enough to land somewhere at the major low or medium level. He remains the highest ranked, uncommitted City / Suburban Hoops Report prospect in the class.

Top 10 from the Final City / Suburban Hoops report: 1. Max Christie, Rolling Meadows; 2. Bryce Hopkins, Fenwick; 3. Isaiah Barnes, Simeon; 4. Louis Lesmond, Notre-Dame; 5. TY Johnson, DePaul Prep; 6. Ahamad Bynum, Simeon; 7. Chris Hodges, Schaumbourg; 8. Ben Schwieger, Waubonsie Valley; 9. Troy D’Amico, Notre-Dame; 10. KJ Debrick, Springfield Lanphier


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