The top unsigned basketball players in the Class of 2021

The best uncommitted senior prospects in the area with all levels of interest from Division II to mid-major Division I programs.

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Joliet West’s Jaiden Lee (3) gets an open look for a three point shot against Simeon last season.

Joliet West’s Jaiden Lee (3) gets an open look for a three point shot against Simeon last season.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

The high school basketball recruiting world has certainly taken a step back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The NCAA enacted a dead period last March. That dead period will run through at least April 15.

As a result, there will be a total of 13 continuous months of inactivity on the recruiting front. No unofficial official visits. No in-person communication. No live evaluations.

Then there is the NCAA’s decision to grant every current player another year of eligibility. Throw in likely college transfer rule changes where everyone is granted a one-time transfer without penalty, and it’s an absolute mess for the high school basketball prospect. Finding a home at the college level for a high school prospect has never been more tricky.

Nonetheless, there are unsigned prospects who are waiting, patiently, for an opportunity. Here are the best uncommitted senior prospects in the Chicago area with all levels of interest from Division II to mid-major Division I programs.

Ola Ajiboye, Evanston

A transfer from Von Steuben who has battled injuries over the past year and remains raw and unrefined as a player. But the 6-7 big is mobile, active and boasts some untapped potential. Would a full season at Evanston have allowed for a true breakthrough?

Jakobi Heady, Hillcrest

There were moments last season as a junior where the 6-7 Heady clearly played and looked the part of a Division I prospect. That was just a hint of what was to come. This budding prospect is long, rangy and blessed with a soft shooting touch out to the three-point line.

Jaiden Lee, Joliet West

A sniper from the perimeter, the 6-4 Lee was set to become a major offensive force as a senior and present himself as more than just a knockdown shooter. The lanky guard’s length and improved ball skills on the perimeter provide more versatility at both ends of the floor.

Grant Newell, Young

Newell really is an under-wraps prospect who poised for a breakout senior campaign. With an ideal physical profile, including size, coordination, athleticism and a body that will fill out nicely, Newell is an enticing looking prospect. The 6-7 forward offers up face-up skills, shooting range and some inside scoring on the offensive end.

Ethan Roberts, Hersey

Roberts is coming off a seriously underrated season. He moved in from Tennessee prior to last season, so he remains an unknown outside the northwest suburbs. The 6-5 Roberts can play both guard spots and filled a stat sheet as a junior. He was a monster late in the season, averaging 25 points a game down the stretch. He has size in the backcourt, a feel for the game with his vision and passing, and is a Division I prospect.

Anthony Sayles, Notre Dame

Arguably the top uncommitted prospect in the class, the physical point guard is a mid-major talent who has been impactful since he burst on the scene as a freshman.

The 6-2 Sayles has been solid and steady ever since, averaging 13.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists a game last season while playing with two other Division I talents (Troy D’Amico and Louis Lesmond).

Jaeshon Thomas, Young

Thomas relies heavily on an advanced pull-up jumper while his overall scoring ability can place pressure on a defense. The compact 6-2 guard was prepared for an expanded role and responsibility for the Dolphins with the departure of DJ Steward and Tyler Beard.

Kimahri Wilson, Carmel

There is creativity in his game. The 6-0 point guard gets teammates involved. Wilson shows flashes of playmaking, scoring and a feel for the game that indicate he has significant room for growth as a player moving forward.

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