This year’s senior class will be off to their college destinations in a couple of months.
It’s been a whirlwind for the Class of 2022, a class that dealt with a global pandemic, remote learning and regular postponements throughout their high school careers.
When it comes to the top spot in the class — the best college prospect in the class — it’s been a three-player race since the start of the season. An argument could be made for Glenbard West’s Braden Huff, Yorkville Christian’s Jaden Schutt and Thornton’s Ty Rodgers.
All three are accomplished stars who put up significant numbers and didn’t disappoint. But the prospect list comes down to the trifecta of production, measurables and long-term potential. While Huff just might be the least ready to make an immediate impact — time will tell — he boasts the highest ceiling with his combination of size and skill set.
Here is a final look back at the Class of 2022 and where they rank as college prospects.
1. Braden Huff, 6-11, Glenbard West
A big man with true guard-like skills is headed to Gonzaga following a senior year in which he helped the Hilltoppers to a state title. Will need to get significantly stronger for the next level, but he boasts the off-the-charts skill level coveted in today’s game. The vision and shooting touch for a player his size translates.
2. Jaden Schutt, 6-5, Yorkville Christian
Regarded as an elite shooter and one of the best in state history. The Duke recruit buried a whopping 334 threes in his career. But he’s shown to be much more than just a fluid shooter while leading the Mustangs to a Class 1A state championship. He’s evolved as more of a complete scorer while showcasing underrated athleticism.
3. Ty Rodgers, 6-5, Thornton
The non-stop motor and winning mentality stand out. Throw in athleticism, a rugged style and being about all the right things and Rodgers is a coach’s dream. A player perfectly set for the positionless game teams now play at the highest levels. And the player in the class who may be more college-ready than any other. That’s all a good thing for coach Brad Underwood and Illinois.
4. Xavier Amos, 6-8, Young
A recruiting steal for Northern Illinois, Amos continues to get better and better. He’s become a versatile big and put together a highly-productive season in helping the Dolphins to a state runner-up finish. The frame, along with the improvement and potential in his jumper, provides even more reason for optimism going forward.
5. AJ Casey, 6-8, Young
A name that’s been on the radar since the day he entered high school as the No. 1 ranked prospect in the class. There is still upside in this athletic forward with length and versatility who is headed to Miami. While the consistency is still coming, Casey has shown he can be effective at all three levels as an offensive player. .
6. Jalen Quinn, 6-3, Tuscola
The Loyola recruit put together an ultra-productive career. He scored over 2,300 career points. There will be an adjustment early on going from Class 1A basketball in Illinois to the Atlantic 10 Conference. But Quinn has the size, body type and makeup that will suit him well at the point guard position. The development of his jumper will key to his success.
7. Nick Martinelli, 6-7, Glenbrook South
Following a coaching change at Elon, Martinelli is now committed to Northwestern following a standout career for the Titans. Crafty and unique with his game, Martinelli has always found a way to impact any game he plays in, both in high school and on the AAU circuit.
8. Trey Pettigrew, 6-4, Kenwood
A bucket-getting combo guard with ideal size in the backcourt, Pettigrew has a wide array of shot-making ability. He’s a shot creator who can be streaky at times but will become more consistent with time. Pettigrew has signed with Nevada.
9. Caden Pierce, 6-5, Glenbard West
The quintessential Swiss Army knife who is an absolute defensive menace. Instrumental in all aspects of the game and can fill a range of roles. The tremendous length, sneaky athleticism and gutsy competitiveness bodes well for the Princeton-bound recruit.
10. Ben VanderWal, 6-6, Timothy Christian
The breakout player in the class last summer, VandeWal is a space-the-floor 4-man who is efficient from the three-point line. He also brings a toughness and tenacity on the glass and to the floor each time out. Furman nabbed a good one who could flourish in the Southern Conference.
11. Zach Cleveland, 6-6, Normal
Liberty landed a steal in Cleveland, an active and athletic forward who plays above the rim and with energy. Has a knack for making big, game-changing plays. As his perimeter jumper improves, so will his chance to impact that much more at the college level.
12. NJ Benson, 6-7, Mt. Vernon
A late-blooming big who shined last summer and became a coveted mid-major recruit. With a body to work with and pop off the floor, Missouri State will welcome a still raw but full of upside big man.
13. Tavari Johnson, 5-11, Lyons
Another senior who broke out last summer on the AAU circuit, showcasing his playmaking ability as a smooth-and-easy point guard. Akron landed a true facilitator with a feel for the position and some scoring punch.
14. Robbie Avila, 6-9, Oak Forest
There were few players in the state who produced more over the course of their career. Avila, who signed with Indiana State, finished his career with over 2,000 points and nearly 1,000 rebounds. An extremely skilled big man who can dribble, pass and shoot and is blessed with a high basketball I.Q.
15. Jackson Munro, 6-8, New Trier
A breakout year included a monster finish to his senior season. The Dartmouth recruit became a double-double machine and proved to be a versatile big man. Munro can play with his back to the basket, and he can face up from the three-point line and space the floor.