There is a ton of talent in Illinois in the Class of 2021, some of which has high-major offers and potential.
While their junior year of high school is just starting, one of the top players in the class is already off the board as Schaumburg’s Chris Hodges committed to Wisconsin Thursday night.
Hodges is the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s No. 7 ranked player in the Class of 2021. The 6-8 post player picked up an offer from Wisconsin in June after showcasing promise, production and improvement over the course of his first two seasons.
As a sophomore, Hodges was instrumental in helping the Saxons to a regional championship. He averaged 16 points a game while shooting 66 percent from the field and adding 6.2 rebounds and two blocks a game.
“I felt at home there,” Hodges said, who has been to the Wisconsin campus on three different occasions, including a recent visit to Madison.
Although it’s an early commitment, Hodges said there was no reason to wait it out.
“When you feel like you’ve found the spot, you run with it,” Hodges said. “I had a great feeling there from the get-go. Everything felt like the right fit for me –– the offense, the coaching staff, the city, how they develop players there.”
Wisconsin, which has done an outstanding job identifying big men early and offering, hopes it has struck it rich a third time in Illinois. Frank Kaminsky of Benet and Ethan Happ of Rockridge were Illinois big men prep products who became two of the most productive players in Wisconsin basketball history in recent years.
“It was really appealing what they’ve done with their players and what their big men have done,” Hodges said. “It’s pretty flattering and motivating having the staff compare me to some of those guys.”
Big men are coveted and at a premium. The Badgers lock in a player who has a blue-collar approach with a fundamental game that’s headed in the right direction. While he’s comfortable on the block and with his back to the basket, Hodges’ face-up game continues to slowly improve.
“I want to work and continue to get better,” Hodges said.