The Class of 2016 in Illinois was lacking –– lacking high-major prospects and overall Division I players.
There have surely been some success stories, but overall, from top to bottom, there is a real shortage of impact players in the college ranks from the Class of 2016.
However, it’s a class that has certainly been making recent headlines in the basketball world.
Charlie Moore, the top-ranked player in the class from Morgan Park, just recently announced he’s coming home. Moore has transferred from Kansas to DePaul.
Simeon’s Zach Norvell left Gonzaga and has entered his name in the 2019 NBA Draft after helping the Zags to a No. 1 ranking and NCAA Tournament’s Elite Eight.
And former Glenbard West star Justin Pierce is currently on a visit to North Carolina and is down to the Tar Heels, Michigan and Notre Dame as one of the hottest grad transfers on the market.
Here is a look at how the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top dozen prospects in the class have fared at the collegiate level.
1. Charlie Moore, 5-11, PG, Morgan Park (Cal/Kansas/DePaul)
After a solid freshman season at Cal (12.2 ppg, 3.5 apg), Moore transferred to Kansas. After sitting out a year and then playing a small role this past season (13 minutes a game), the former Sun-Times Player of the Year is on the move again. He will finish his career at DePaul.
2. Isaiah Roby, 6-8, WF, Dixon (Nebraska)
Always a tantalizing talent with upside, Roby averaged 11.8 points and 6.9 rebounds a game this past season. After scoring just 786 career points in three seasons, Roby declared for the NBA Draft and is projected as a second-round pick.
3. Zach Norvell, 6-5, 2G, Simeon (Gonzaga)
Norvell sat out his freshman year and had two highly-productive seasons scoring and shooting the basketball –– he scored 1,023 points and made 174 three-pointers in two seasons –– before departing early for the NBA. He was a part of a Gonzaga program that went 65-7 in his two seasons playing.
4. Nick Rakocevic, 6-11, C, St. Joseph (USC)
After a solid sophomore campaign (8.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg), Rakocevic broke through with a big junior season as he averaged 14.7 points and 9.3 rebounds a game.
5. Barret Benson, 6-10, C, Hinsdale South (Northwestern)
He played minimal minutes in his time at Northwestern, graduated in three years and is currently on the grad transfer market. He visited Southern Illinois this past weekend.
6. James Jones, 6-3, 2G, Bogan (Buffalo)
Left Buffalo after just one season where he played in 13 games and was a junior college All-American at Williston State in North Dakota this past season.
7. Justin Pierce, 6-7, WF, Glenbard West (William & Mary)
An outstanding three years of work, including a junior season in which he put up 14.9 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists, has made Pierce one of the most coveted grad transfers in the country. In just three seasons at William & Mary, Pierce left with these career totals; 980 points, 576 rebounds and 205 assists.
8. Nick Robinson, 6-5, WF, Kenwood (St. Joseph/Valpo)
Sat out this past season after transferring to Valparaiso from St. Joseph, where he played significant minutes his first two seasons. As a sophomore he averaged 7.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists a game. He will have two years remaining at Valpo.
9. Devin Gage, 6-1, PG, Curie (DePaul)
Gage’s minutes and numbers have increased all three years with the Blue Demons. This past season he averaged 9.1 points and 3.9 assists a game as a junior.
10. Tarkus Ferguson, 6-3, 2G, Belleville Althoff (UIC)
The athletic guard finished the season leading the Flames in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and minutes. He was a second-team All-Horizon League choice after averaging 15.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.2 assists a game as a junior. Ferguson is on pace to finish his career with 1,500-plus points, 700-plus rebounds and 600-plus assists.
11. Mike Smith, 5-10, PG, Fenwick (Columbia)
After two very impactful years –– Smith averaged 13.6 points a game as a freshman and 17.6 points as a sophomore –– an injury as a junior limited him to just eight games this past season.
12. Lorenzo Edwards, 6-7, WF. Lake Forest (St. Joseph)
After three years playing in the Atlantic 10, the versatile forward has entered the transfer portal. Edwards averaged 17 minutes a game last season, averaging 5.4 points and 3.5 rebounds a game.
• Loudon Love-Vollbrecht, 6-9, C, Geneva (Wright State)
The big man is in the midst of putting together one heck of a career for Wright State in the Horizon League. After redshirting as a freshman, the 6-9, 280-pound center averaged 12.9 points and 9.7 rebounds in his first season. He put up 15.1 points and 8.2 rebounds this past season while earning All-Horizon League first team honors. Love-Vollbrecht missed his senior year at Geneva after suffering a knee injury in football and wrapped up his career as the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s 20th ranked player in the class.
• Tajuan Agee, 6-8, PF, Vocational (Iona)
He was still growing physically as a senior and just starting to tap into his world of potential as a player. After spending two seasons at Tyler Junior College in Texas, Agee signed with Iona and helped the Gaels to the NCAA Tournament this past season. He averaged 13.2 points a game and led the team in rebounding with eight rebounds a game.
• Christian Peevy, 6-6, WF, Mount Carmel (Incarnate Word)
A late-bloomer as a player and physically, Peevy, who finished up as the No. 29 ranked player in the class, had a breakout senior season for Mt. Carmel and signed with Incarnate Word. After redshirting as a freshman –– and leading the Cardinals in scoring (13.1 ppg), rebounding (4.4 rpg) and steals this past season as a redshirt sophomore –– the still improving Peevy is in the transfer portal.
Biggest Small College Impact
• Kevin Krieger, 6-5, WF, Plainfield North (Minnesota State)
He’s already scored 987 points in his three years playing at Division II Minnesota State. This past season he averaged 14.1 points and 7.3 rebounds a game for the Mavericks. Krieger was the 35th ranked prospect in the Class of 2016.
• Jake Rhode, 5-10, PG, Mount Carmel (Elmhurst)
Another Caravan player makes the list. While the Hoops Report was a big fan of Rhode, he was still far down the list on the player rankings in what was a rather weak class. The 70th ranked player coming out of the Class of 2016 is putting together a monster career at Division III Elmhurst. He averaged 19.9 points a game this past season as a junior, along with 3.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists.