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Signing Day Preview: Biggest steals, the Bloom bonanza and more

Here are some story lines from a busy week, where many players will be lucky enough to sign and live out a dream.

Curie’s Ramean Hinton (23) shoots at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament last season.
Curie’s Ramean Hinton (23) shoots at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament last season.
Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times

The recruiting process is a grind for everyone.

The players deal with the pressure to commit when others want them to commit. The parents stress over what school and coaching staff is best for their son. And the careers of college coaches hinge on a teenager’s decision.

As a result, the National Signing Period in November is a culmination for so many who are in the high-stakes game of college basketball recruiting.

Here are some story lines from a busy week, where many players will be lucky enough to sign and live out a dream.

Biggest recruiting steal

Ramean Hinton scores in multiple ways. He rebounds and defends. And coaches love the passion he plays with and toughness he brings to the floor.

That’s why Hinton, a versatile 6-4 wing who plays with relentless energy, is the biggest recruiting steal thus far in the Class of 2020. Hinton, one of the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top 10 prospects in Illinois, is headed to Southeast Missouri State, a program in the Ohio Valley Conference that has gone 44-80 the past four years.

Best unsigned prospect

The Adam Miller recruitment rolls on. Local fans wait patiently with Illinois as one of his finalists.

Miller, who has announced he will make his decision Nov. 21, is the No. 2 prospect in the state in the Class of 2020 and among the nation’s top 30. The 6-3 guard has limitless range on his jumper and is wired to score the basketball.

While Illinois has been front and center for quite some time, there are some who believe that Arizona remains appealing to the high-scoring guard. But it would be a surprise here if it was anyone but Illinois.

Best unsigned prospect: Part II

While Miller will be making a decision next week, Jeremiah Williams of Simeon is in no rush.

While the versatile 6-4 guard was a prime target for several mid-major programs this past summer and fall, Williams decided to play out his senior year after making the move from St. Laurence to Simeon.

Look for the interest in Williams to increase over the course of the season as he becomes a focal point for one of the state’s premier programs.

The Bloom bonanza

Bloom’s ballyhooed Class of 2020 has been waiting for this signing period for years. Big man Martice Mitchell (Minnesota) and guards Donovan Newby (UW-Milwaukee), Keshawn Williams (Tulsa) and Dante Maddox (Cal-State Fullerton) will all sign this week with Division I programs.

Christian Shumate, a 6-5 high-level athlete who transferred in from Plainfield East, is a Division I talent who will play out his senior year.

Best small college recruits

Currently the highest ranked City/Suburban Hoops Report players to commit or sign with non-Division I programs are Matthew Ambrose of Stevenson and Beau Frericks of Cary-Grove.

Frericks, a 6-0 lead guard who had a terrific summer, is headed to Division II Lewis. As a junior last season the sharpshooter connected on 40 percent of this three-point attempts and shot 84 percent from the line en route to averaging 19.4 points a game.

Crystal Lake’s Christian Lerum (33) tries to block a shoot put up by Cary-Grove’s Beau Frericks (2).
Crystal Lake’s Christian Lerum (33) tries to block a shoot put up by Cary-Grove’s Beau Frericks (2).
Worsom Robinson/For the Sun-Times

On Tuesday, Indianapolis landed Ambrose, a coveted Division II prospect. The 6-3 Ambrose shot 45 percent from three and averaged 14.3 points a game.

Division I players and high-majors by the numbers

Currently the Class of 2020 in Illinois has churned out 25 players who will sign with Division I programs this week. When you add several certain Division I prospects who have yet to commit, that total number should sneak past 30.

Last year the Class of 2019 produced 31 Division I players while several others will have to wait for their Division I opportunity as they play out a year or two at junior colleges and prep schools. But this year’s total still falls short of the normal number of Division I prospects the state has typically produced.

When Miller commits, this year’s senior class will have five high-major recruits, including Young’s D.J. Steward (Duke), Bloom’s Martice Mitchell (Minnesota), Morgan Park’s Marcus Watson (Wake Forest) and Marian Catholic’s Ahron Ulis (Iowa). That surpasses last year’s number of three high-majors out of Illinois and equals the Class of 2018 count of five.