In the spirit of Team USA competing in the FIBA World Cup, with Chicagoans Anthony Davis and Derrick Rose playing key roles, the City/Suburban Hoops Report has compiled a Team Illinois roster.
The roster does feature many of the state’s best players, but it’s also about mixing and matching with enough shooting, playmaking, size, defenders and players who fill specific roles for any coach.
This roster is poised and ready to compete as assembled.
Point Guard: Jalen Brunson, 6-1, Stevenson
Any team you build in Illinois starts with this guy, a true lead guard who is blessed with the ability to score while also making those around him better. He’s a leader and winner with the basketball smarts you covet.
Shooting Guard: Aaron Jordan, 6-5, Plainfield East
The perfect complement to Brunson as a 2-guard with terrific perimeter size and outstanding shooting ability.
Center: Obediah Church, 6-7, Springfield
Team Illinois is going to go small and ultra-athletic with Church as the 5-man, running the floor, rebounding, dunking and blocking shots.
Power Forward: Ed Morrow, 6-7, Simeon
Any all-star team would be blessed to have a player with the mindset Morrow brings, which is a blue-collar mentality. Moss will rebound at a high level, defend bigger players and do all the dirty work at a high level.
Wing: D.J. Williams, 6-7, Simeon
With two optimal scorers at the guard position in Brunson and Jordan, Williams can do what he does best — fill a stat sheet with his versatility. Williams brings some slashing ability to go with his passing and ballhanding skills.
Sixth Man: Charles Matthews, 6-6, St. Rita
With the ability to play and defend several different positions, along with his size, athleticism and capability of being a lockdown defender, Matthews is the perfect sixth man for Team Illinois.
Glynn Watson, 5-11, St. Joseph
What a terrific point guard to bring off the bench to spell Brunson. He can step in and run a team, defend, push tempo and put pressure on opposing teams in transition.
Luwane Pipkins, 5-9, Bogan
Ideal player to bring off the bench as he brings three things every all-star cast needs: defense, toughness and a spread-the-floor shooter.
Barret Benson, 6-10, Hinsdale South
A big is needed and Benson brings legitimate size and a growing, back-to-the-basket game, which Team Illinois is lacking.
Nick Rakocevic, 6-9, St. Joseph
Another player who offers size off the bench. Plus, he’s a big with some versatility in that he can step away from the basket and stretch a defense with his shooting ability.
Isaiah Moss, 6-5, Simeon
A wing with size, athleticism and who is capable of knocking down a shot from the perimeter is needed off the bench. The fast-rising Moss fits the bill.
Nojel Eastern, 6-3, Evanston
A little infusion of youth as the super sophomore will gain some experience going forward playing with Team Illinois as a future cornerstone of this team.