With National Signing Day quickly approaching in November, senior prospects have been flying off the shelf this month with commitments as college coaches look to finish up their work in the Class of 2014.
There is still some talent remaining in the senior class, including overlooked Simeon senior Donte Ingram, who is poised for a breakout season after a gut-wrenching junior year.
“I’m just very excited,” says Ingram of the chance to finally be one of the key cogs in the Simeon machine. “Last year was a rough season with the transfer and eligibility issue. But I always kept working, and the players and coaches here have prepared me for this season. I’m ready to step up to the plate.”
Ingram, who transferred to Simeon from Danville prior to last year, battled on-and-off again eligibility issues with the IHSA over the transfer and found minutes and opportunities hard to come by on a star-laden team featuring Jabari Parker, Kendrick Nunn, Kendall Pollard and Jaylon Tate.
Now, Ingram has grown to 6-5 and is feeling comfortable again on the floor. He’s gained more confidence, seems even more explosive off the floor, has a terrific mid-range game and is capable of stepping out to the three-point line. Plus, he’s more than capable of filling a stat sheet in multiple ways with his size and length. Simeon coach Rob Smith believes Ingram is ready to be one of the focal points of this year’s Simeon team.
“He’s going to be big for us,” says Smith. “He just has to remain consistent and know he doesn’t have to do too much.”
The City/Suburban Hoops Report takes a look at the top uncommitted prospects in the Chicago area not named Okafor or Alexander.
■ Josh Cunningham, 6-6½, WF/PF, Morgan Park
The top uncommitted prospect left on the board after Jahlil Okafor and Cliff Alexander. Right now it looks like Creighton, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Minnesota and Bradley are front and center for the productive forward with a motor and athleticism. If Cunningham can improve his ballhandling skills as much as his jumper, he could be a terrific fall signee for any of the aforementioned programs.
■ Donte Ingram, 6-5, 2G/WF, Simeon
A highly undervalued and overlooked prospect in the senior class with terrific size on the perimeter. Ingram just makes plays on both ends of the floor. Missouri State had offered but recently took a junior college commitment. Hampton and UMKC are right there, with Loyola and others starting to poke around.
■ Marlon Jones, 6-8, PF, Orr
“I really think this year is going to be his coming out party,” says Orr coach Lou Adams of his big man who is long, athletic, blocks shots and runs the floor. A host of mid-major programs are hoping the talented big man falls to them.
■ Dominique Matthews, 6-2, PG/2G, St. Rita
A combo guard with size, strength and scoring ability who is being courted by several mid-major programs. Wouldn’t be a surprise to see Matthews play out his senior year and be a late signee in April.
■ Sean O’Mara, 6-8½, C, Benet Academy
With his visits complete, this one is down to the wire and, realistically, in its final days. And it’s a two horse race down the stretch between Xavier and Loyola.
■ Milik Yarbrough, 6-5, WF, Zion-Benton
A big-bodied wing with scoring ability. He’s produced throughout his high school career and is on track to become the leading scorer in Lake County prep basketball history. Yarbrough thoroughly enjoyed a visit to Auburn earlier this month.
And 20 others …
The City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top uncommitted prospects from around the state in the Class of 2014, listed in alphabetical order.
• Louis Adams, 6-3, 2G, Orr
• Peyton Allen, 6-4, 2G/WF, Chatham-Glenwood
• JaVairius Amos-Mays, 6-3, 2G, North Chicago
• Gage Davis, 6-3, 2G, Bolingbrook
• Mangisto Deng, 6-7, WF, Mooseheart
• Tyquone Greer, 6-6, WF/PF, Orr
• Kurt Hall, 6-4, WF//PF, North Chicago
• Jaycee Hillsman, 6-4, WF/PF, Simeon
• Torry Johnson, 6-3, PG/2G, Morgan Park
• Ashawn Jones, 6-3, PG/2G, Farragut
• Tevin King, 6-0, PG/2G, Providence St. Mel
• Erick Locke, 6-0, PG/2G, Oak Park-River Forest
• Makur Puou, 6-10, C, Mooseheart
• Darreon Reddick, 6-3, PG/2G, Belleville East
• Miles Reynolds, 6-2, PG/2G, Whitney Young
• Terrance Shelby, 6-3, 2G/WF, Bartonville (Limestone)
• Denzel Smith, 6-5, WF/PF, Danville
• Joseph Stamps, 6-3, 2G, Curie
• Brock Stull, 6-3, 2G, Rockford Boylan
• Lamont Walker, 6-4, WF, Morgan Park
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