How the Class of 2020 is faring in college basketball

The two most highly regarded and decorated players from the class — Duke’s DJ Steward and Illinois’ Adam Miller — have certainly had their moments.

SHARE How the Class of 2020 is faring in college basketball
Adam Miller of the Fighting Illini drives to the basket against Rajeir Jones of Chicago State.

Adam Miller of the Fighting Illini drives to the basket against Rajeir Jones of Chicago State.

Getty

The Class of 2020 hasn’t exactly lit up the college basketball world in the opening weeks of the season.

But the two most highly regarded and decorated players — Duke’s DJ Steward and Illinois’ Adam Miller — have certainly had their moments.

When Duke and Illinois faced each other this week in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, it was a reunion of sorts.

Steward and Miller had squared off the last two years with Young and Morgan Park, respectively.

Illinois took care of Duke 83-68, with Miller doing what he does best. He made a trio of three-pointers to finish with nine points. Steward also made three three-pointers and had 13 points.

Steward is playing 30 minutes a game for the Blue Devils. He’s averaging 13.4 points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal. He scored 24 points and went 4-for-9 from three-point range in his Duke debut, an 81-71 victory against Coppin State.

Miller started off with a bang, scoring 28 points in his debut against North Carolina A&T and following it up with 15 points in a win over Chicago State.

He’s averaging 11.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in 29 minutes.

More important, he has given a highly ranked Illinois team with huge expectations exactly what it needs: outside shooting.

When looking at the big picture, it’s clear Steward and Miller have had the biggest impact among the crop of freshmen from Illinois. And while the big story might be the lack of overall early production at the college level out of the Class of 2020, there are a few others who have had their shining moments.

St. Viator product Connor Kochera, a 6-3 scoring guard who is playing at William & Mary, made a big splash in his first college game.

He led the Tribe with 19 points and shot 6-for-9 from the field, including 6-for-7 from three-point range, in an 86-78 loss to Old Dominion. But COVID has shut down William & Mary basketball for two weeks in December.

After a stellar career at Morgan Park, Marcus Watson is playing 30 minutes a game and leading Western Illinois in assists and steals.

The 5-10 point guard’s scoring average is modest at 6.3, but he’s chipping in with 3.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists and two steals through the first three games.

Transactions: Illinois preps in the pros

West Chicago’s John Konchar signed a four-year contract with the Grizzlies for $9 million.

Meyers Leonard, who led Robinson to a state championship and played two years at Illinois, will remain with the Heat. The 7-footer signed a two-year deal for $20 million.

Sterling Brown, the former Proviso East star, signed a one-year contract with the Rockets for $1,678,854 in late November.

Big man Jahlil Okafor from Young signed a two-year contract with the Pistons. Terms of the deal have not been announced.

Benet’s Frank Kaminski inked a one-year contract with the Kings.

The biggest winner was Rockford Auburn’s Fred Van Vleet, who re-signed with the Raptors for four years and $85 million.

The Latest
MLB
He tested positive for the performance-enhancing substance Stanozolol. Mejia is the second Brewers player disciplined this season under Major League Baseball’s drug program.
The shooting happened just after 3 p.m. in the 2300 block of South Western Avenue, down the street from Finkl Academy, Chicago police said.
White Sox take the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader with their second straight win in Kansas City.
Fields, though, has a skillset that’s jumped out to Lucas Patrick during the offseason program.
DJ Miriam can’t wait to perform alongside all of her favorite Latin American and Caribbean artists at this Grant Park music festival.