When it’s all said and done, the upcoming senior season for a few select players at the top of the class will determine just who’s the best college basketball prospect in the state.
Yorkville Christian’s Jaden Schutt, Glenbard West’s Braden Huff and Young’s AJ Casey are in the mix for the state’s top senior prospect.
If not for Buffalo Grove’s Kam Craft transferring out of state, the Class of 2022 would have four players vying for the No. 1 spot.
But as the game moves inexorably in the direction of elite shooters, the state’s best shooter takes over the top spot as we head into the season.
1. Jaden Schutt, 6-4, Yorkville Christian
He has been known as the state’s best shooter. Now he’s also known as a Duke recruit, the first Illinois native Jon Scheyer, Duke’s coach-in-waiting, has landed from his home state. Schutt is a sneaky athlete with textbook shooting form who has gotten better at creating his own shot and scoring.
2. Braden Huff, 6-10, Glenbard West
There are few players in the state and country with the type of skills Huff plays with at his size. That’s why he’s headed to Gonzaga for an official visit this weekend. You can run an offense through him because of his dribble-pass combination, and he’s also able to stretch the floor with his three-point shooting.
3. AJ Casey, 6-8, Young
It was an up-and-down summer for the multifaceted Casey, who has been a fixture in the rankings since the day he entered high school as a hot-shot freshman. He maintains the “high-major recruit” label because of his size and the tools he possesses. Consistent high-level production is the next step for him.
4. Jalen Quinn, 6-3, Tuscola
The Loyola recruit offers terrific size and a strong body at point guard. The unselfish Quinn can get into the lane and to the basket while absorbing contact. His offensive game will take a jump as the outside shot becomes more consistent.
5. NJ Benson, 6-7, Mt. Vernon
A breakout player this past offseason, Benson has become a must-have mid-major prospect. While still a bit unrefined, he’s an athletic big man who rebounds, blocks shots, finishes around the rim and plays with a motor.
6. Tavari Johnson, 6-0, Lyons
A silky-smooth ball-handler who empowers his teammates, Johnson plays with pace as well as with patience. He’s able to blend scoring and table-setting beautifully as a point guard.
7. Trey Pettigrew, 6-3, Kenwood
He’s a combo guard with a nice blend of size and athleticism. Pettigrew offers impressive glimpses of talent and boasts some offensive explosiveness but has battled inconsistency.
8. Ben VanderWal, 6-6, Timothy Christian
Fresh off a monster summer, VanderWal chose Furman last month over more than a dozen offers. He brings energy and a blue-collar approach along with an ability to stretch the floor because of his three-point shooting.
9. Xavier Amos, 6-8, Young
The recent Northern Illinois commit is a versatile frontcourt player with tantalizing upside and a physical profile. He has a growing game on the block and is comfortable facing the basket.
10. Cade Pierce, 6-5, Glenbard West
The value the highly versatile Pierce brings at both ends of the floor is endless. A difference-maker defensively with his size, length and toughness, Pierce is the ultimate glue player at the next level with upside remaining.