The Class of 2012 in Illinois didn’t have a lot of pop. There wasn’t a Jabari or a Jahlil. There wasn’t a Brunson or a Ulis.
In fact, there was just one top 100 player ranked nationally –– Simeon’s Steve Taylor.
The lack of high-major interest, commitments and signings were minimal to non-existent four years ago. As we look back at the class and re-do the rankings four years later, there isn’t a single player in the reworked top 10 who played in a high-major conference.
This class also lacked overall Division I depth throughout and was greatly plagued by poor academics and off-the-court issues.
Three of the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s previous top 10 prospects in the class are either not playing Division I college basketball or didn’t crack this top 20 re-ranking.
How about this statistic: Of the 26 players listed below, 18 of those 26 played at multiple schools in college and somewhere other than the original school it signed with out of high school.
The City/Suburban Hoops Report stated four years ago it was the weakest class the state has produced in two decades of the Hoops Report’s existence. The college careers didn’t change that thought.
The majority of that group has played out their college careers, with a few fifth-year seniors and redshirts with one year left to play. Here is a re-ranking of the high school graduating class of 2012.
1. Fred Van Vleet, 5-10, PG, Rockford Auburn
College: Wichita State
Final ranking in 2012: No. 3
No debate here. Van Vleet became a star and household name in college basketball over his four years at Wichita State. He helped guide the Shockers to a Final Four as a freshman, orchestrated an unbeaten regular season as a sophomore, and by the time he was a senior he was on POY watch lists nationally. He scored 1,439 points and dished out 638 assists in his career while compiling 121-24 record in four years.
2. Anthony Beane, 6-2, PG, Normal
College: Southern Illinois
Final ranking in 2012: No. 7
Put together an outstanding career at SIU, finishing as the school’s third all-time leading scorer with 1,917 points. The athletic guard improved his shooting while in college –– he made 21 three-pointers as a freshman and 72 threes as a senior –– and was an all-conference selection in the Missouri Valley three times.
3. Tim Williams, 6-8, PF, Homewood-Flossmoor
College: Samford and New Mexico
Final ranking in 2012: No. 9
Under-recruited and overlooked coming out of high school where he split time between basketball and quarterback of the football team, Williams has been highly productive in college.
He was the Southern Conference Freshman of the Year at Samford. As a sophomore he led the team in scoring, rebounding, blocks and steals before transferring to New Mexico. With one year of eligibility remaining, Williams is coming off an All-Mountain West First Team selection this past season as a junior.
4. Marcus Posley, 6-0, 2G, Winnebago (Ball State/St. Bonaventure)
College: Ball State, Indian Hills Community College and St. Bonaventure
Final ranking in 2012: No. 13
An AAU teammate of Van Vleet in high school, the big, physical perimeter player was a star this past season at St. Bonaventure. Posley, who started his career at Ball State and played a year of junior college basketball, averaged 16.7 points a game as a junior and 19.6 points, 3.6 assists and 3.4 rebounds a game as a senior for the Bonnies.
5. Milton Doyle, 6-4, 2G, Marshall
College: Loyola (signed with Kansas)
Final ranking in 2012: No. 5
After originally signing with Kansas, Doyle landed at Loyola and has put together three productive seasons as he heads into his senior campaign. Doyle has averaged 14.9, 11.4 and 11.2 points a game over three years and will enter this season as one of the top returning players in the Missouri Valley Conference.
6. Nathan Boothe, 6-9, PF/C, Warren
Final ranking in 2012: No. 22
What a transformation Boothe made since his days at Warren. This past year the big and skilled Boothe put up some whopping numbers: 19.3 points, 9 rebounds and 3.4 assists a game. He scored nearly 1,500 career points and pulled down over 750 career rebounds.
7. Tony Hicks, 6-1, 2G, St. Rita
College: Penn and Louisville
Final ranking in 2012: No. 12
The 6-2 guard took the Ivy League by storm. He immediately put up big numbers through three seasons, averaging 10.4, 14.9 and 13.2 points a game before deciding to sit out his senior year, complete his degree and transfer to Louisville as a fifth-year senior. He will play for the Cardinals this winter.
8. Keith Carter, 6-0, PG, Proviso East
College: Saint Louis and Valparaiso
Final ranking in 2012: No. 11
An integral part of a Valpo team that won 76 games in his three seasons after transferring from Saint Louis. This past season he averaged 10.3 points, 4.5 assists and 3.3 rebounds a game.
9. Akeem Springs, 6-3, 2G, Waukegan
College: Northern Illinois, UW-Milwaukee and Minnesota
Final ranking in 2012: No. 13
The big, rugged wing will finish his career at Minnesota this coming season. He played at Northern Illinois as a freshman before playing two years at UW-MIlwaukee. Last season he put up 13.2 points and 5.3 rebounds.
10. Gabe Levin, 6-6, WF/PF, Oak Park-River Forest
College: Loyola Marymount, Marquette and Long Beach State
Final ranking in 2012: No. 26
Arguably the biggest riser in the class from where he was to where he is now. He blossomed after a year of prep school, averaging 11 points and 7 rebounds a game as a freshman at Marymount. He transferred to Marquette, then headed to Long Beach State, where this past season he averaged 9.5 points and 5.9 rebounds a game.
11. Darius Paul, 6-8, PF, Warren
College: Western Michigan and Illinois
Final ranking in 2012: No. 10
OK, so this was a difficult one. On talent and potential alone we’re talking a player who should be ranked higher on this list. But he played just one season of Division I basketball, averaging 10.4 points and 5.7 rebounds a game as a freshman at Western Michigan.
12. Steve Taylor, 6-7, PF, Simeon
College: Marquette and Toledo
Final ranking in 2012: No. 1
He was the consensus No. 82 ranked player in the country following his senior year. After playing sparingly at Marquette his first two years, Taylor averaged 5.9 points and 5 rebounds a game in 22 minutes of action as a junior. He sat out this past season after transferring to Toledo. Still some time to push his way back up this list with a stellar showing in the MAC this winter.
13. Kory Brown, 6-4, WF, Elgin
College: North Dakota State
Final ranking in 2012: No. 27
A stat sheet stuffer and defender throughout his career, finishing with 934 career points, 575 rebounds and 244 assists. Brown was a key player for four 20-win teams and two NCAA Tournament teams. If we knew then what we know now, Brown would have played in the Missouri Valley.
14. Connor Boehm, 6-7, PF, New Trier
Final ranking in 2012: No. 25
Underrated career in the Ivy League where he wrapped up a four-year run where he scored over 1,100 career points.
15. Aaron Simpson, 5-10, 2G, North Chicago
College: Lincoln Junior College and DePaul (signed with Illinois State)
Final ranking in 2012: No. 8
He originally committed to Illinois State but then spent two years in junior college. Simpson signed with DePaul and had two uneventful seasons, averaging 4.8 points as a junior and 6 points a game this past season as a senior.
16. Rashaun Stimage, 6-8, PF, Farragut
College: Daytona State College, Blinn Junior College and DePaul
Final ranking in 2012: No. 3
After a two-year junior college stint, the highly-athletic Stimage signed with DePaul. Stimage, who had so much raw upside, averaged 5.7 points and 4.6 points a game as a senior for the Blue Demons.
17. Reggie Johnson, 6-1, 2G, St. Joseph
College: Miami-Ohio and Hampton (signed with Tennessee State)
Final ranking in 2012: No. 28
He signed with Tennessee State, landed at Miami-Ohio and ultimately transferred to Hampton. You could argue the burly and rugged Johnson could be a few notches higher on this list after the production he put up in college (he finished with over 1,200 career points in college). As a senior this past season at Hampton, Johnson averaged 18.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4 assists a game.
18. Brian Bennett, 6-9, C, Plainfield East (Cal-Poly)
Final ranking in 2012: No. 29
The big fella came on out of nowhere during his senior year of high school and then put together a rock solid college career. He finished his four-year career with 1,108 points and 557 rebounds while starting 82 games and playing in an NCAA Tournament.
19. Willie Conner, 6-4, WF, Crane (Florida A&M/Buffalo)
College: Florida A&M, Odessa Community College and Buffalo
Final ranking in 2012: No. 21
Conner played his freshman year at Florida A&M, had a big sophomore season at Odessa Community College and then played at Buffalo this past season. With a year of eligibility remaining, Conner returns to a team that reached the NCAA Tournament this past season as he averaged 11.8 points a game in 29 minutes of action.
20. Darrell Combs, 6-2, 2G, Thornwood (Eastern Michigan/IUPUI)
College: Blinn Junior College, Eastern Michigan and IUPUI
Final ranking in 2012: No. 17
He played his freshman season at Blinn Junior College, followed by a sophomore season at Eastern Michigan where he averaged 7.5 points a game. This past season as a junior at IUPUI, Combs averaged 16.3 points a game.
Dropping out of the final Class of 2012’s Top 20
■ Marlon Johnson, 6-9, Joliet West (New Mexico Highlands)
College: Tallahassee Community College and New Mexico Highlands
Final ranking in 2012: No. 4
Academics were a hurdle in getting to the Division I level. After going the junior college route, he resurfaced at a Division II school in New Mexico, where he averaged 15 points and 9 rebounds a game this past season.
■ Jerron Wilbut, 6-3, 2G, Downers Grove South (Cal-State Northridge)
College: Seton Hall and Cal-State Northridge
Off-the-court issues have hampered Wilbut’s career, which originally began at Seton Hall. He played 19 games this past season for CSNU and averaged 9.2 points a game.
Final ranking in 2012: No. 6
■ Jeff White, 6-0, PG, Peoria Manual (Loyola)
Wrapped up his Loyola career as a regular contributor all four seasons, starting 57 games and finishing with over 600 career points.
Final ranking in 2012: No. 15
■ Michael Orris, 6-2, PG, Crete-Monee
College: Kansas State, Northern Illinois and South Dakota State (signed with Illinois)
Final ranking in 2012: No. 16
The well traveled Orris will play his fifth year at South Dakota State after two role-playing years at NIU and one season at Kansas State.
■ Devin Foster, 6-3, 2G, Curie
College: Mott Community College and Robert Morris
Final ranking in 2012: No. 18
He played at Mott Community College before landing at NAIA Robert Morris, where he played 11 minutes a game and averaged 4 points a game this past season.
■ T.J. Bell, 6-8, C, Charleston
College: Indiana State
Final ranking in 2012: No. 20
He saw limited minutes early in his career and then missed the 2015-2016 season after rupturing his achilles.
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