Henricksen: Fact or fiction with in-state talent, news and recruiting

SHARE Henricksen: Fact or fiction with in-state talent, news and recruiting

As we sprint towards the end of the busy spring AAU season, some questions are answered and some narrative is provided as we play a little game of “fact or fiction.”

There is a clear favorite for Morgan Park’s Charlie Moore.

The verdict: FICTION

With official and unofficial visits in the books and momentum building –– seniors are reporting to their campuses next month –– you would surely think the state’s top ranked senior would be on the verge of making a decision. Come on, someone must have the inside track at this point.

But this one has been unconventional. The top-rated player in the state, who has starred for high-profile AAU and high school teams, and has taken multiple visits is still on the board at this time in May? Odd.

Even some of the schools prominently mentioned for Moore, both last fall and this spring, are atypical.

“In limbo” has been the description those close to Moore have given, as recently as Tuesday afternoon, in regard to his looming decision.

You get the feeling the only reason this one will end soon is because it has to end soon. As a result, nothing would be shocking when Moore finally does pull the trigger.

Illinois will have a consensus top 50 prospect in the national rankings in the Class of 2017, avoiding a second straight year without one.

The verdict: FACT

We await the release of the updated national rankings from recruiting analysts and national evaluators following the spring circuit. But right now there isn’t a single player from Illinois who is a consensus top 50.

However, Belleville Althoff’s Jordan Goodwin has been a monster while playing with the St. Louis Eagles. In 11 Nike EYBL games this spring, Goodwin has averaged 17 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists a game in 25 minutes of action while leading the Eagles to a 8-3 record.

It’s hard to imagine with the production, along with the attention he’s received due to his game-changing play over the past six weeks, that he isn’t a top 50 prospect. He will –– or at least should be –– very soon.

The Class of 2017 is better than the Class of 2016 and the Class of 2018 is better than the Class of 2017.

The verdict: FICTION

When looked at closely, the entire statement just isn’t completely true at this point in time. Yes, the junior class is better and deeper than the graduating senior class. But right now, at this early juncture, the sophomore group doesn’t equal the class ahead of it in overall talent at the same stage.

The Class of 2017 has not moved the needle this spring on the club circuit.

The verdict: FACT

Sure, the aforementioned Jordan Goodwin has raised his profile and, most likely, will climb in national rankings. But for a class that had a whole bunch of hype locally and nationally 12 months ago, the progress has not accelerated at the pace expected.

The majority of big names in the class have not overwhelmed this spring, while players who were thought to be no-brainer Division I players last summer are playing their way back to the small college basketball pack. They just don’t know it yet.

The graduating Class of 2016 is the weakest class the state has produced in 20 years.

The verdict: FICTION

Over the past 20 years the state has produced three significant lemons, one of which is the Class of 2016. But as of today, this senior class doesn’t quite have the distinction of being the weakest. Time will tell, however.

The Class of 1999 and the Class of 2012 were memorable for the wrong reasons. They were talent-starved classes, with the Class of 2012 still given the distinction of the worst in the 20 years of the City/Suburban Hoops Report.

The open high school coaching jobs were filled with slam dunk hires.

The verdict: FICTION

With apologies to the open jobs and those who filled them, there wasn’t a ton of buzz surrounding the hires at various coaching positions across the Chicago area.

But that’s also a sign of the times in the high school coaching ranks. The domino effect doesn’t occur like it does in college as a result of unstable public school districts, various pay differences and the security coaches have built up with their respective teaching jobs.

There were a couple of open jobs where the schools went down the road in trying to land a big, high-profile name. However, neither one materialized at either school.

It’s quite possible a coach or two among the small bunch that were hired this spring show they are on the fast track of becoming an up-and-coming coach. But their work is cut out for them.

The top prospect in each current high school class in Illinois is from outside the Chicago area.

The verdict: FACT

It’s a fact –– for now. And there is a chance it might be the first time in history the top senior, junior and sophomore all hail from outside the city and suburbs.

While Tim Finke of Champaign Central is the highest ranked player nationally among sophomores from Illinois, Morgan Park’s Ayo Dosunmu is coming fast. At the end of the day, there is going to be a battle and a real discussion for that top spot between Finke and Dosunmu, likely sooner than later.

Jordan Goodwin of Belleville Althoff is a mainstay right now as the No. 1 player in the Class of 2017, while Normal’s Francis Okoro is no doubt the best freshman prospect in the state as a 6-10 physical specimen with upside.

Follow Joe Henricksen and the Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport

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