Henricksen: Breaking down top dozen prospects in Class of 2018

SHARE Henricksen: Breaking down top dozen prospects in Class of 2018

St. Patrick’s Xavier Pinson (11) takes his time bringing the ball down court against St.Viator. Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

The Class of 2018 has certainly been fluid over the past 12 months with new names rising and old names dropping.

While Morgan Park’s Ayo Dosunmu has been a constant in the Class of 2018 –– the 6-5 point guard has been the state’s top senior prospect since he entered high school –– there have been several new, high-profile arrivals over the past year.

George Conditt of Corliss was a no-namer a year ago and Hinsdale South’s Zion Griffin was barely a blip on the radar. Now they’re both among the top five prospects in the class.

The Class of 2018 still lacks Division I depth and will end up producing far less Division I players historically than the average class in this state. The class is sorely lacking space-the-floor shooters and there isn’t a whole lot of difference-making players with size.

After playing out the summer months, here are the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top 10 prospects in the class heading into their senior year.

1. Ayo Dosunmu, 6-5, PG, Morgan Park

He’s been No. 1 since the day he entered high school and has remained at the top. A smooth, pure point guard who was born to play the position with his size, length, passing ability and feel.

Dosunmu doesn’t shoot it particularly well right now, but it’s improving and he just brings so many other things to the table. He’s particularly damaging in the open court where he sees the floor, can penetrate and kick while being a unique finisher at the basket.

The “official list” is still long and Illinois has been considered the front-runner but USC and Wake Forest are set for September visits.

2. Talen Horton-Tucker, 6-5, WF, Simeon

You just don’t find many prospects who can do all that Horton-Tucker can with the ball, including the ability to dribble, pass and shoot. He fills a stat sheet and you have to love his make up. The big-bodied, skilled perimeter player can impact the game in a multitude of ways while making those around him better.

With so much late interest and offers coming later for Horton-Tucker, there remains plenty of uncertainty surrounding his recruitment. That “trimmed” list now sits at 13 schools.

3. Zion Griffin, 6-6, WF/PF, Hinsdale South

The breakout player in the class. Blessed with legit high-major athleticism and a terrific motor, Griffin has climbed to No. 3 in the class. There is a tremendous amount of upside remaining, but the combination of a budding confidence and an improved perimeter jumper with three-point range is why Griffin’s stock has soared.

Griffin recently narrowed his list down to Illinois State, Iowa State, Kansas and Pitt. Following an official visit to Illinois State last weekend, Griffin has three official visits remaining.

4. George Conditt, 6-10, PF, Corliss

It was just eight months ago when hardly anyone knew the name George Conditt. And his rise continues. After a breakout spring he collected 20-plus offers, and they’ve just kept coming. Blessed with endless length and very good skill and coordination for a player his size, Conditt is still in the development phase, both physically and with his individual game.

The high-upside Conditt released a “final 11” schools with an official visit set this weekend to Iowa State.

5. Xavier Castaneda, 5-11, PG, Whitney Young

Often the forgotten player in the class and a little under-appreciated for the player he is, but it’s Castaneda who led his team to a state championship last year in Class 4A. Smart, poised, calm and with a sneaky burst in the open floor who gets others involved –– just the type of ingredients you want in a point guard.

Castaneda has scheduled visits with South Florida, Wichita State and Kent State and has Valpo heavily involved.

6. Javon Freeman, 6-3, WF, Whitney Young

A long, active and athletic wing who took off during the second of half of his junior season in helping lead the Dolphins to a Class 4A state championship. Freeman is a slasher and finisher at the rim, especially in the open court, and has the potential to be an impact defender down the road. Freeman will visit Akron, Valpo and Florida Gulf Coast.

7. Tim Finke, 6-6, WF, Champaign Central

While it’s true the tough, strong, physical Finke has to regroup a bit after an up-and-down July on the club circuit, look for a better, more confident Finke in what should be a big senior campaign. The shot must become more consistent.

8. Darius Beane, 6-3, PG Carbondale

Southern Illinois will be getting a good one in this long and versatile point guard with natural talent, size and athleticism. He’s still growing into his game and body while possessing terrific upside. Beane also brings some basketball smarts to the floor.

9. Tamell Pearson, 6-9, PF, Morgan Park

This is a hard-working, high motor-running big man in a land where big bodies are difficult to find. While Pearson’s offensive game continues to move forward, including an improving face-up jumper, he’s already built a reputation as a solid defender and rebounder with the right mentality.

10. Drew Peterson, 6-7, WF, Libertyville

The long and versatile Peterson understands the game and is coming off a highly-productive junior season while still boasting considerable upside. He continues to develop  his game and body. Peterson has an array of interest and is working on setting up visits with William & Mary, Rice and Yale.

11. Xavier Pinson, 6-3 PG, Simeon

About as smooth as they come with the ball in this class. An elite passer with an uncanny ability to find teammates other guards never find. If you have talented pieces around Pinson he’s going to thrive because he loves to get others involved.

The body is thin and lacks strength while the perimeter jumper in a work in progress, but he really knows how to play and impact a game on the offensive end.

An eye-opening July has made Pinson a coveted mid-major prospect. He sports offers from Toledo, Kent State, Buffalo, IPFW, George Mason, Indiana State, Hofstra, Cleveland State, Drake, UW-Milwaukee, SIUE and Western Illinois.

12. Maurice Commander, 5-10, PG, Curie

Yes, he’s very high on this list, but it’s a belief in Commander of who and what he has become as a player and what he will be at the next level. There are those who are scared off by his size but Commander has grown so much as a player. He’s improved his lead guard/playmaking skills and can really score the basketball with an advanced pull-up jumper and efficient three-point range.

Commander, a winner who competes and brings intangibles, picked up offers from Missouri State, Evansville, UW-Milwaukee, UC-Davis, Wofford, Youngstown State, Tennessee-Chattanooga and SIUE.

Follow Joe Henricksen and the City/Suburban Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport

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