Downers Grove North’s Jack Stanton commits to Princeton

Stanton is the latest Illinois high school basketball star headed to Princeton, which has built an undeniable pipeline in the state.

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Downers Grove North’s Jack Stanton (21) hits a shot from beyond the arc in the playoffs last season.

Downers Grove North’s Jack Stanton (21) hits a shot from beyond the arc in the playoffs last season.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

An upcoming official visit to Princeton on Sept. 7 has been set for several weeks. But Downers Grove North’s Jack Stanton didn’t need the bells and whistles or a final recruiting pitch to decide the red-hot Ivy League program was his college choice.

Stanton, who helped lead Downers Grove North to its best season in school history as a junior, has committed to the Tigers and coach Mitch Henderson.

“Last week is when I really felt like Princeton was the place for,” said Stanton, who took an unofficial visit to Princeton back in June. “I got super excited and it became hard to keep it in.”

Stanton saw and, specifically, heard all he needed to hear on that unofficial visit. He immediately connected with the school, culture and the coaching staff. But something Henderson said to him while on that visit resonated with him over the past couple of months.

“When we first went on our visit and we were talking about my game, they told me what I was good at, but the biggest thing was he [coach Henderson] told me what I had to improve on, which I love to hear,” Stanton said. “I want to hear what I’m bad at and can improve on. He hit those points and went and showed me exactly how to do so. That really stuck with me. I could tell he really wanted to coach me and I wasn’t just another guy.”

While a surplus of mid-major programs came calling, Princeton became the school to beat early on. Stanton talked with his family and coaches and decided as a group to take time with the process and enjoy it.

A surplus of mid-major programs came calling. There were 20-plus offers throughout the spring and summer, including several high-academic programs, a host of Missouri Valley Conference schools and Stanford.

“I’ve always liked Princeton since my unofficial visit back in June,” Stanton said. “The academics are the best of the best. The coaching staff is great, And they win, obviously. They went to the Sweet Sixteen last year. A lot of people found that shocking, but after I met the staff I thought, ‘Why can’t they do this again?’”

Princeton is coming off back-to-back 23-win seasons, including a NCAA Tournament appearance this past season and Cinderella run. That coincided with a Stanton-led DGN season that featured the Trojans winning a school-record 32 games and finishing fourth in the state in Class 4A.

The 6-1 combo guard made a name for himself throughout his junior season as a breakout star in the Class of 2024. He averaged 16 points while making a whopping 105 three-pointers with his calling card perimeter jumper. Then he starred for Breakaway in the spring and summer on the club basketball circuit.

Now Stanton is just the latest Illinois high school basketball star headed to Henderson’s program. Princeton has built an undeniable pipeline to the state.

Glenbard West’s Caden Pierce was the Ivy League Rookie of the Year as a freshman this past year, while Evanston’s Blake Peters played a significant role for the Tigers. Young’s Dalen Davis, one of the state’s top 10 prospects in Illinois last year, is currently a freshman at Princeton.

Henderson has now landed three straight Illinois top 10 prospects in succession with Pierce, Davis and Stanton.

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