The top 10 prospects in the state’s Class of 2023

The state’s Class of 2023 is still trying to establish itself, whether that’s from a national perspective or simply proving some doubters wrong locally.

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Rolling Meadows’ Cameron Christie (24) shoots against St. Patrick during the Riverside-Brookfield Shootout.

Rolling Meadows’ Cameron Christie (24) shoots against St. Patrick during the Riverside-Brookfield Shootout.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

The state’s Class of 2023 is still trying to establish itself, whether that’s from a national perspective or simply proving some doubters wrong locally.

The perception and progress of the class has been slowed, due to both Covid-19 shutdowns early in their careers and the departure of some high-profile players who left the state.

If you were to add the trio of JJ Taylor, Matas Buzelis, and Jeremy Fears Jr., who began their high school careers at Kenwood, Hinsdale Central, and Joliet West, respectively, the class would certainly be looked at in a different light.

Take the most recent national rankings as an example of what could have been in Illinois and the hype that would be accompanying the class.

Buzelis, who spent last year at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire, is the No. 7 ranked player in the country by both Rivals and 247Sports.

Taylor, who left Kenwood last year for Donda Academy in California, is ranked No. 39 by Rivals and No. 31 by 247Sports.

And Fears, who has committed to Michigan State and plays at La Lumiere in Indiana, is ranked No. 64 and No. 41, respectively, by Rivals and 247Sports.

That’s three consensus top 50 players in the country originally from Illinois.

Then there is Kylan Boswell, a gifted point guard who grew up in Champaign and played there during his middle school years. He left the state before his freshman year and was at Compass Prep in Arizona this past year. Also among the top 50 players in the country, Boswell re-classified to the Class of 2022 earlier this month and is headed to Arizona.

The profile of the players who have left the state is eye-opening. The talent still playing in Illinois includes another top 100 player and a few others on the cusp of cracking that list.

Here are the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s current top 10 prospects in the class.

1. Cameron Christie, 6-5, Rolling Meadows

A wiry versatile player with endless length, Christie is a smooth perimeter threat as a shooter. He can play both on and off the ball and shows pull-up, slashing, and three-point shooting ability.

Overlooked nationally at this point — he’s ranked as high as No. 110 by 247Sports — there is no denying Christie offers the highest ceiling of any player in the class. Gaining weight and strength will be critical to being impactful early on at the college level.

2. Darrin Ames, 6-0, Kenwood

An electric scorer with potentially game-changing shot-making ability, “Dai Dai” is currently a top 100 talent in the national rankings.

Ames creates space and makes tough shots. He is constantly putting pressure on a defense. In addition to his shooting prowess, both from mid-range, beyond the arc, and with step-back jumpers, this lefty guard is also a crafty finisher with an expansive layup package at the rim.

3. Dalen Davis, 5-11, Young

Davis is as locked in as a player as he’s been in his high school career, impressing all spring and summer long. The compact point guard plays at his own pace while showing a blend of scoring and facilitating. He boasts a sneaky burst and is a dangerous ball-scoring point guard.

4. Macaleab Rich, 6-6, East St. Louis

A physical specimen at the high school level with elite athleticism and explosiveness off the floor. He’s been productive throughout his high school career and has blossomed this summer, showcasing a bruising game with more skill and finesse than originally given credit for. As a result, high-major programs are lining up.

5. Brock Harding, 5-10, Moline

A pure point guard who sees everything on the floor and has an innate ability to create opportunities for others. Harding always remains in control, dictating the pace with the ball in his hands. The perimeter jumper has improved and can now keep a defense honest. The Iowa commit plays with high-level confidence, grit, and toughness.

6. Owen Freeman, 6-9, Moline

After playing three seasons at Bradley-Bourbonnais, the Iowa commit is headed to the Quad Cities for his senior season. He’s a mobile, athletic big who runs the floor. Though he’s still raw in some technical areas, Freeman has shown steady improvement. He has a frame to build on and tools, touch, and finesse to work with offensively.

7. Miles Rubin, 6-9, Simeon

There are strides he must still make offensively and from a physical standpoint, but the big man has shown vast improvement over the past year. His stock continues to rise for the Loyola recruit. He offers rare versatility as a defender. A capable finisher around the basket who uses both hands. He competes, gets on the glass, and plays within himself.

8. Asa Thomas, 6-6, Lake Forest

Thomas hangs his hat on being an elite shooter who moves well without the ball. He has shown the ability to be the space-the-floor shooting threat with the tremendous range that college coaches covet. He adds size and a penchant for rebounding from the perimeter.

9. Darrion Baker, 6-9, Hillcrest

There are few players in the class who have shown more improvement. With a solid frame and size, Baker has emerged this summer. He has shown he can face up to the basket and score around it. Plus, there is plenty of reason to believe his game will continue to develop.

10. Drew Scharnowski, 6-8, Burlington Central

What a six-month run it’s been for Scharnowski, who brings so much intrigue with his ability to handle the ball and knock down a three. It’s not easy to find a player at his size who’s this mobile and skilled. He’s gone from a complete unknown to a mid-major Division I prospect, thanks to the versatility and upside he possesses.

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