Big names getting better

By Joe Henricksen

While Kendrick Nunn of Simeon has long been one of the top players in the Class of 2013 in Illinois, the 6-1 guard’s stock — as expected — is soaring nationally.

Nunn, who was the No. 3 prospect in the Hoops Report’s junior class rankings heading into July, is off to the Nike Peach Jam this week with his Meanstreets team with a surplus of high-major offers and interest. The highly athletic shooting guard, who is playing a lot more with the ball in his hands this spring and summer with Meanstreets on the club basketball circuit, was terrific at Baylor Basketball’s D-1 Elite Event at York High School.

The combination of being a high-major athlete and a high-major shooter has been the obvious attraction over the past year, but Nunn continues to improve with the ball in his hands. While his off-hand still needs a lot of work, he is creating more and more for himself and others. Plus, he’s tough, defends, competes and is an electric finisher at the rim for a player his size. Nunn is an exciting talent whose reputation will only grow nationally.

The interest is coming like an avalance, with Memphis, Illinois, Arizona, Syracuse, Texas A&M and Pitt all hot and heavy after Nunn.

Jabari Parker gets better and better

After a few days at the Lebron James Skills Academy and an appearance at the D-1 Elite Event at York High School while playing with the Mac Irvin Fire, Simeon’s Jabari Parker is still opening eyes.

This has been quite a summer for the state’s top player. He was MVP of the USA under-16 gold-medal-winning team in June. College coaches in attendance at Lebron last week raved about Parker’s play, with some saying he was the best player in Akron regardless of class. And his overall play this summer has shown two things: his body is completely re-shaped and he’s improved every area of his game since most fans last saw him leading Simeon to a state championship in March.

Remember, Parker is still very young, even for his class. But the natural maturity, along with the fact the baby fat has disappeared, has added explosiveness to his game. The jumper, including a ridiculous-for-his-age step-back three-pointer, is now a serious weapon. Throw in the fact he’s 6-8 with an off-the-charts basketball I.Q, feel and character, and it’s easy to see why Parker is a program-altering recruit.

What really is most impressive about Parker is the attention hasn’t altered his workmanlike attitude and relentless pursuit of getting better. As has been stated numerous times over the past couple of years in this space and in the Hoops Report publication, the kid is just a different breed. He’s special in so many ways, starting with the fact he shows and feels zero entitlement as the nation’s top player. Parker will go down as one of the best prospects to ever come out of the state of Illinois. Yes, that’s some lofty praise and expectations, but it’s only a matter of where he falls among the top prep prospects the state has produced.

Hoops Report’s Best in 2013

The City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top 10 college prospects in the Class of 2013.

1. Jabari Parker, 6-8, WF, Chicago (Simeon)

2. Kendall Stephens, 6-4, 2G, St. Charles (East)

3. Kendrick Nunn, 6-1, 2G, Chicago (Simeon)

4. Jalen James, 6-3, PG, Chicago (Hope Academy)

5. Malcolm Hill, 6-4, WF, Belleville (East)

6. Tommy Hamilton, 6-9, PF, Chicago (Whitney Young)

7. Sterling Brown, 6-4, 2G/WF, Maywood (Proviso East)

8. Billy Garrett, Jr., 6-3, PG/2G, Chicago (Morgan Park)

9. Jaylon Tate, 6-2, PG, Chicago (Simeon)

10. Kyle Davis, 6-0, 2G, Chicago (Hyde Park)

Hoops Report’s No. 2 in 2012

The Hoops Report has gushed over the pure upside and ceiling of Farragut’s Rashaun Stimage throughout the spring and summer. And it will continue for the player the Hoops Report tabbed as a breakout player in July.

Stimage, the Hoops Report’s No. 2 prospect in the Class of 2012, is a high-major prospect. He does things and offers attributes no one else in the class can. He plays hard, competes and is relentless on the glass with his high motor. He runs the floor and blocks shots with his length, athleticism and an extremely quick burst off the floor. Plus, on occasion, he has shown an ability to knock down a shot anywhere from 15-20 feet with a workable looking shot.

There is still plenty of room for improvement as the 6-7 Stimage is still a bit rough around the edges. His basic fundamentals and a few basic concepts are not yet automatic. But in a class where there isn’t a ton to get extremely excited about when projecting to the highest level in college, Stimage is getting close to being that guy.

The Hoops Report will have more from what it took in from the D-1 Elite Event at York High School, as well as other July evaluations, later in the week.

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