Survey says: College coaches rank state’s top prospects

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Belleville West’s EJ Liddell (32) gets a dunk against Larkin. Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times.

The City/Suburban Hoops Report turned to college coaches in recent weeks to see where they would rank the top players in the state as college prospects.

A total of 26 college coaches who have seen all of the top prospects in the state play in the past year were surveyed. Coaches were asked to rank the top five Illinois prospects currently in high school today, regardless of class.

There was a total awarded for each place. A first-place vote netted 10 points, a second-place vote resulted in eight points, third-place received six points, fourth-place received four and fifth-place votes picked up two points.

Only three players –– Belleville West’s E.J. Liddell, Simeon’s Talen Horton-Tucker and Morgan Park’s Adam Miller –– received a vote from every coach that was surveyed.

Here are a few of the quotes from college coaches regarding the in-state talent.

“There is no way E.J. Liddell isn’t the best player and best prospect in your state. No way.” … “I don’t think people realize how much potential there is at the next level for Talen Horton-Tucker. His game is only going to grow.” … “I just believe several of the current, nationally-ranked players out of Illinois are overrated.” … “Max Christie is the real deal.” … “There are a couple of those players you mentioned who are very overrated nationally.” … “Give me E.J. Liddell. You can have the rest.” … “I don’t think Markese Jacobs gets talked about enough. If he can figure a few things out, I think he can be a ton.” … “What a difference there is between this top group and top groups of the past from Illinois.”

Here are the results from the survey with the votes they received.

1. E.J Liddell, Belleville West (Class of 2019)

1st: 24

2nd: 2

3rd: 0

4th: 0

5th: 0

Total Points: 256

2. Talen Horton-Tucker, Simeon (Class of 2018)

1st: 2

2nd: 16

3rd: 5

4th: 2

5th: 1

Total Points: 188

3. Adam Miller, Morgan Park (Class of 2020)

1st: 0

2nd: 5

3rd: 13

4th: 5

5th: 3

Total Points: 144

4. Ayo Dosunmu, Morgan Park (Class of 2018)

1st: 0

2nd: 0

3rd: 5

4th: 13

5th: 5

Total Points: 92

5. D.J. Steward, Fenwick (Class of 2020)

1st: 0

2nd: 0

3rd: 2

4th: 3

5th: 6

Total Points: 36

6. Francis Okoro, Normal West (Class of 2019)

1st: 0

2nd: 1

3rd: 0

4th: 2

5th: 7

Total Points: 30

Of all the players who received votes, freshman Max Christie was the only prospect who has not been seen by the majority of the coaches surveyed. Nonetheless, Christie still managed to receive two second-place votes, along with one fourth-place vote and one fifth-place vote for a total of 22 points.

There were four coaches who included Markese Jacobs of Uplift among their top five. Jacobs received one third-place vote and three fifth-place votes to finish with 18 total points.

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

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