All-State POY finalists

All-State POY finalists

On Sunday, we’ll unveil our All-State Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year. Before the envelope is handed out, here are five candidates, listed alphabetically, in the running for the honor.

Cliff Alexander
Chicago Curie

One of the premier big men in the country, the junior power forward is near the top of John Groce’s recruiting list, along with many other high-major Division I schools. Alexander averaged a double-double (21.3 points, 13 rebounds) for a Condors squad that lost in a loaded Class 4A Argo Sectional to Chicago Whitney Young.   

Billy Garrett Jr.
Chicago Morgan Park

Oliver Purnell sure hopes the senior guard can replicate his prep career at Allstate Arena. The DePaul signee was the catalyst all season for the Class 3A state champion Mustangs, averaging 17.6 points and leading Morgan Park to a 33-3 record.

Malcolm Hill
Belleville East

The Illinois signee didn’t have a deep postseason run (the Lancers lost their Class 4A postseason opener) but Hill thrived throughout the season for a 24-4 squad. The 6-foot-7 senior wing leaves as the school’s all-time leading scorer and as one of the better players to come out of the Metro St. Louis area in quite some time.

Jahlil Okafor
Chicago Whitney Young

The uncommitted junior center is the top prospect in the Class of 2014, according to several recruiting services. He imposed his will throughout the season, shooting above 70 percent from the field and averaging 20.7 points for a 27-4 team that advanced to a Class 4A sectional championship game before falling to Chicago Simeon.  

Jabari Parker
Chicago Simeon

A foot injury hindered the start of his senior season. But the Duke signee made up for it in the postseason, leading the Wolverines to their fourth straight Class 4A state championship. The 6-8 forward wrapped up his career with a game-high 20 points to go along with eight rebounds in Simeon’s 58-40 win against Stevenson in the state championship game.