How odd of a year has it been recruiting the state of Illinois’ Class of 2016?
The commitment of Morgan Park’s Charlie Moore on Wednesday capped off arguably the strangest recruiting year for any class that’s come through Illinois in a long time.
For starters, the state’s top player was an uncommitted prospect through the middle of May.
Maybe it was the time of the year. Maybe it was because he already committed to a school last fall and was forced to open things back up because of a coaching change at Memphis. Maybe it was because people tired of the wait. Maybe it was because Cal –– and several schools on his final list –– didn’t resonate locally. But the Moore decision came with as little fanfare and buzz as we’ve ever seen from a top-ranked player in the state, who also happens to be a top 100 player in the country with a sterling résumé.
This is a super talented scoring lead guard with a personality and passion for people and the game of basketball. Now California and coach Cuonzo Martin have their point guard of the future.
“I’ve been talking with Cal since Day 1,” said Moore of the recruiting process and choosing the Golden Bears. “I’ve built a great relationship with not only the coaching staff but a couple of their players as well.
“It’s a great conference and the opportunity to come in and play right away was a big factor in my decision.”
From a personal evaluation standpoint, Moore in the Pac-12 is a darn good fit. The 5-11 point guard’s individual game should flourish in the up-and-down style the conference plays.
But for Moore to get to his final destination of Berkeley was a long, twisting, unorthodox road. The Golden Bears were talked about as a major player for Moore back in November, before he ultimately chose Memphis. I actually thought Cal would land Moore –– back in November.
But this time around? Not so much. With recent visits to LSU, SMU and Georgia Tech, it just seemed the direction had turned down a new road.
“I just wanted to see other schools, compare them and see what the best situation was for me,” says Moore of the drawn out process.
But the Moore recruitment wasn’t the only odd recruiting journey in this Class of 2016. It was a quirky year, for sure.
It took schools from a combined 3,763 miles away to land two of the top four prospects in the senior class, with St. Joseph’s Nick Rakocevic headed to USC (2,006 miles away) and Simeon’s Zach Norvell off to Gonzaga (1,757 miles away).
Fenwick’s Mike Smith, one of the most productive seniors in the state and among the top dozen prospects in the Class of 2016, is headed to the Ivy League to play at Columbia. He turned down a boatload of mid-major programs for the promise and prestige of athletics and academics.
In February, the little-known Matt Chastain of tiny Leroy was either going to have to walk-on at a Division I school or go the Division II route. But in a span of two weeks he went from zero Division I offers to landing one from Utah and a dozen-plus others before committing and signing with Loyola in a wild couple of weeks.
When is the last time St. Joseph –– in Philadelphia –– landed any Chicago player? And here they have two of the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top 10 prospects in the Class of 2016 heading there in Kenwood’s Nick Robinson and Lake Forest’s Lorenzo Edwards.
Then this spring, out of nowhere, UNLV signs a pair of Chicago Public League players: Kenwood’s Zion Morgan and Simeon’s Ben Coupet. Who did the Runnin’ Rebels beat to land this tandem?
And with all the comings and goings, all the odd recruiting twists and even some bizarre offers and even worse fits during this Class of 2016 recruiting year, here sit two very talented Hoops Report top 25 prospects in the class –– George Willborn of De La Salle and Dulan Scott of Farragut –– still on the board, uncommitted. Both Valpo and UC-Santa Barbara have shown interest, while Northern Illinois offered Willborn in April, but how is this athletic and productive 6-3 guard still available?
Here is a list of where many of the top players in the Class of 2016 are headed next year for college.
Tajuan Agee, 6-6, WF/PF, Hyde Park (Tyler JC)
Bryce Barnes, 5-9, PG, Bogan (UW-Milwaukee)
Jordan Baum, 6-3, PG, Deerfield (University of Chicago)
Travon Bell, 6-2, 2G/WF, Mather (Chicago State)
Dakota Bennington, 6-3, 2G, Peoria Christian (Olivet Nazarene)
Barret Benson, 6-10, C, Hinsdale South (Northwestern)
Xavier Bishop, 5-8, PG, Springfield Lanphier (UMKC)
Micah Bradford, 5-11, PG, Bradley-Bourbonnais (Valpo)
Jamal Burton, 6-3, WF, Morgan Park (Vincennes JC)
Matt Chastain, 6-5, WF, Leroy (Loyola)
Ben Coupet, 6-6, WF, Simeon (UNLV)
Anthony D’Avanzo, 6-7, PF, Niles Notre Dame (Lewis)
Illijah Donnelly, 6-2, PG, Bloomington (UI-Springfield)
Chris Duff, 6-2, 2G, Carmel (Western Illinois)
Lorenzo Edwards, 6-7, WF/PF, Lake Forest (St. Joseph)
Tarkus Ferguson, 6-3, 2G, Belleville Althoff (UIC)
Nick Finke, 6-7, Champaign Central (Army)
Bennett Fuzak, 6-7, PF, Geneva (Union University)
Devin Gage, 6-1, PG/2G, Curie (DePaul)
Brendon Gooch, 6-6, WF, Belleville Althoff (Southern Illinois)
James Gordon, 6-5, PF, Simeon (Toledo)
Elyjah Goss, 6-7, PF, Plainfield East (IUPUI))
Evan Hines, 6-3, 2G, Niles West (Minnesota State-Moorhead)
Zach Hollywood, 6-8, PF, Bradley-Bourbonnais (Ball State)
Myles Howard, 6-8, PF, Marian Catholic (Northern Michigan)
Daniko Jackson, 5-9, PG, Riverside-Brookfield (North Greenville)
James Jones, 6-3, 2G, Bogan (Buffalo)
Nate Kennell, 6-5, 2G/WF, Metamora (Bradley)
Kevin Krieger, 6-5, WF, Plainfield North (Minnesota State)
Marcus Latham, 6-2, 2G, Alton (Parkland JC)
Tommy Lucca, 5-10, PG, Richmond-Burton (Michigan Tech)
Noah McCarty, 6-7, PF, Sterling Newman (Northern Illinois)
Zion Morgan, 6-3, 2G, Kenwood (UNLV)
Charlie Moore, 5-11, PG, Morgan Park (California)
Skyler Nash, 6-4, WF, Riverside-Brookfield (Gould Academy Prep, Maine)
Zach Norvell, 6-5, 2G, Simeon (Gonzaga)
Daniel Ogele, 6-6, PF, St. Ignatius (Navy)
Darius Oliver, 6-4, WF, Leo (Kirkwood CC)
Donovan Oliver, 6-4, Kewanee (Lewis)
Christian Peevy, 6-4, WF, Mt. Carmel (Incarnate Word)
Justin Pierce, 6-6, WF, Glenbard West (William & Mary)
Mike Pollack, 6-3, 2G, DeKalb (Northern Michigan)
Nick Rakocevic, 6-11, PF, St. Joseph (USC)
Jarrin Randall, 5-10, PG/2G, Morgan Park (Western Michigan)
Tyrone Rhivers, 5-11, PG, North Lawndale (St. Gabriel Prep School)
Nick Robinson, 6-6, WF/PF, Kenwood (St. Joseph
Isaiah Roby, 6-8, WF, Dixon (Nebraska)
Matt Smith, 5-11, PG, South Elgin (Western Michigan)
Mike Smith, 5-10, PG, Fenwick (Columbia)
Brandon Suggs, 6-8, PF, Winnebago (Bethune-Cookman)
Sam Taylor, 5-11, 2G, Thornton (Northern Michigan)
Loudon Vollbrecht, 6-8, C, Geneva (Wright State)
Antonio Williams, 5-11, 2G, Proviso East (Indian Hills CC)
Alonzo Chatman, 6-6, PF/C, Morgan Park
Jacob Cushing, 6-6, WF, Neuqua Valley
Jamal Parks, 6-4, WF, Bloom
Dulan Scott, 6-3, 2G, Farragut
Josh Thomas, 6-3, 2G/WF, Simeon
George Willborn, 6-3, 2G, De La Salle