They’re moving on. The 2018-19 school year is coming to a close, and 29 players are signed and set to play Division I basketball from the Class of 2019.
That number should settle in at right about 30 after a few uncommitted players make decisions and a few signed players end up at junior colleges or prep schools. That approximate number has been familiar of late in Illinois but is far from the norm when breaking down Division I numbers in this state over the last several decades.
From a recruiting perspective, here’s a snapshot of the Class of 2019 in Illinois:
Most promising prospect: EJ Liddell, Belleville West.
The talent, production, physical attributes and winning attitude — not to mention what’s inside of the Ohio State recruit — make him without question the player with the most promise. Liddell is a two-time state champion and among the top 50 prospects in the country.
Best uncommitted senior: Tujauntae Williams, Orr.
Arguably the biggest riser in the senior class in the last 12 months, he had plenty of high-major suitors and is down to TCU, Cincinnati, Minnesota and Northwestern State.
Most underrated signing: Terrence Hargrove to Saint Louis.
There wasn’t a lot made of the versatile 6-7 forward signing with Saint Louis last November. Then the entire state was able to see Hargrove lead East St. Louis to a Class 3A state title with a dynamic 51 points, 22 rebounds and nine blocks.
Best mid-major recruit: Marquise Kennedy, Brother Rice.
With his superior speed and athleticism, along with his growing all-around game, Kennedy showed during his senior season that he’s a mid-major recruit with high-major talent.
Most overlooked Division I prospect: Antonio Reeves, Simeon.
Sure, there were a few schools in on Reeves at the end, including the one he ultimately signed with — Illinois State. But this shot-making 6-5 guard’s recruitment was way too underwhelming for the upside he possesses and the season he had for the Wolverines.
Biggest Division II recruiting steal: Ryland Holt to Minnesota State.
The upside is through the roof at the Division II level for the little-known Holt, a wiry and athletic 6-5 wing from tiny Gibson City who led his team to a third-place finish in Class 2A. In two state-tournament games in Peoria, he put up 52 points, 22 rebounds, four assists and five blocks.
Biggest Division III recruiting steal: Jack McDonald to Augustana.
After receiving Division II interest and offers, the heady pure point guard decided to play for Division III power Augustana after leading Geneva to 32 wins and a sectional title.
Where the top players in the Class of 2019 are headed
Rashaun Agee, Bogan (New Mexico State)
Myles Baker, Young (Central Connecticut)
Deonte Billups, Moline (Purdue-Fort Wayne)
Trey Boston, Downers Grove North (uncommitted)
Ciaran Brayboy, New Trier (Harvard)
Bryant Brown, Waukegan (Tampa)
Trey Calvin, St. Viator (Wright State)
Donovan Clay, Alton (Valparaiso)
Kejuan Clements, Simeon (Hinds Community College)
Fred Cleveland, Leo (North Carolina A&T)
Tyler Cochran, Bolingbrook (Northern Illinois)
Keenon Cole, Streamwood (Northern Illinois)
Perry Cowan, DePaul Prep (Brown)
RayJ Dennis, Oswego East (Boise State)
Nate Ferguson, Lemont (Drake)
DaJuan Gordon, Curie (Kansas State)
Terrence Hargrove, East St. Louis (Saint Louis)
Jeremiah Hernandez, St. Viator (Kent State)
Markese Jacobs, Uplift (DePaul)
Lance Jones, Evanston (Southern Illinois)
Marquise Kennedy, Brother Rice (Loyola)
Sherif Kenney, Orr (uncommitted)
EJ Liddell, Belleville West (Ohio State)
Vince Miszkiewicz, South Elgin (Incarnate Word)
Jeremiah Oden, St. Rita (uncommitted)
Greg Outlaw, Orr (Central Connecticut)
Chris Payton, Bloomington (Southern Illinois)
Antonio Reeves, Simeon (Illinois State)
Deng Reng, Wheaton North (Ferris State)
Evan Taylor, Glenbard West (Lehigh)
Kendrick Tchoua, Benet (Indianapolis)
Alex Timmerman, Crystal Lake Central (Bucknell)
Tom Welch, Naperville North (Loyola)
Chris White, Marian Catholic (Maryville)
CJ Wilbourn, Normal (Wisconsin-Milwaukee)
Tujautae Williams, Orr (uncommitted)
Joseph Yesufu, Bolingbrook (Drake)