There wasn’t a program-changing player or a hot recruiting sweepstakes that took place in the Class of 2016 in Illinois. But today’s National Signing Day will still include some recruiting steals and good fits at various levels, along with a whole lot of dreams fulfilled.
With a significant number of players still uncommitted and still on the board in the senior class in Illinois, including a couple of top five prospects, here is a breakdown of this year’s early signing period.
Best recruiting fit
■ Simeon’s Zach Norvell to Gonzaga
A big name since he entered high school, Norvell was smart, calculated and patient in figuring out his college destination. And it paid off as the 6-5 guard found an ideal fit in Gonzaga.
Norvell, who fits what Gonzaga does at both ends of the floor, won’t be recruited over as the Bulldogs win with their style of player rather than top 20 recruiting classes. He goes to an established program where he could see early playing time but won’t feel the need to work immediate wonders.
Biggest recruiting steals
■ Glenbard West’s Justin Pierce to William & Mary
The 6-5 wing emerged during his junior year and blossomed this past spring and summer. His recruiting stock and ranking rose as Pierce moved into the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s list of top 15 prospects in the senior class. With Pierce’s overall talent and remaining upside, he’s a recruiting steal for the Colonial Athletic Association school.
■ Bogan’s James Jones to Buffalo
When you combine his 6-3 size, athleticism and shooting ability, Jones can often show better than a Mid-American Conference recruit. Buffalo sure hopes so as the Bogan guard is poised for a big senior year and could prove to be recruiting steal in the MAC.
Best uncommitted prospect
■ Charlie Moore, Morgan Park
The visits appear to be finished, so the state’s top prospect is now just weighing his options between Cal, Memphis, VCU and Pitt. Time will tell but VCU just landed its second combo guard this week, while Pitt took a point guard in late September.
Biggest small college recruiting steal
■ Deerfield’s Jordan Baum to University of Chicago
A year ago in this same space and under this same category, the University of Chicago landed a recruiting steal out of the north suburbs –– Lake Forest’s Noah Karras. Fast-forward 12 months and this year it’s Deerfield point guard Jordan Baum, a smart, savvy lead guard with size who is a big Division III recruiting coup.
■ Charlie Moore, 5-10, PG, Morgan Park
■ Nick Rakocevic, 6-11, PF, St. Joseph
■ Micah Bradford, 5-11, PG, Bradley-Bourbonnais
■ Mike Smith, 5-10, PG, Fenwick
■ Lorenzo Edwards, 6-6, PF, Lake Forest