March is maddening

March is maddening

Yes, they play a high level of basketball in Illinois.

The numbers don’t lie: 236 players from state high schools are on current Division I rosters. The players are spread across 30 conferences and 114 schools.

There are stars (Jabari Parker, Chasson Randle, Fred VanVleet) and guys who sit at the end of the bench.

Some of them will be playing in the NCAA tournament. Might even win a national title.

The Illinois roster includes 10 from the state. Illinois coach John Groce wants the talent to stay home — if the fit is right.

As a longtime college assistant and head coach, he has seen what Illinois players are able to do at the next level and beyond.

“Illinois, outside of California and New York, has the most professional basketball players from the state,” Groce said. “I think the coaching is great here in our state. I think people take a lot of pride in basketball. I think there is an attraction and an affection for high school basketball in our state. You can tell that from the fan bases.”

The number of Division I players from Illinois doesn’t surprise Groce.

“I think it speaks of the talent in our state,” Groce said.

Groce expects the bulk of his players to come from Illinois or nearby.

“I think the biggest thing is getting guys who are Illini guys,” Groce said.

Draw a six-hour radius around Champaign-Urbana. That will be Groce’s recruiting breadbasket. Now and forever.

And his home state is a critical part of the plan.

Recruiting analyst Joe Henricksen has been following basketball in the state for two decades. His City/Suburban Hoops Report provides the lowdown on college prospects.

When it comes to producing talent, Henricksen ranks Illinois among the top handful of states.

He also lists New York, Florida, California, Ohio and Michigan.

“I think it is all cycles,” Henricksen said. “Decade by decade, I think it’s different. Right now, the current senior class is as good as we’ve had in a long time. But the Class of 2012 was one of the worst. The 2016 class, it’s a very weak class.

“We just went through a five- or six-year window with Cliff Alexander, Jahlil Okafor, Jabari Parker, Anthony Davis. We’re not going to see that again for a long time.”

The Alexanders and Parkers help draw attention to their sport. Young players see that and want to be just like Cliff and Jabari.

“There’s always somebody like that, whether it be Derrick Rose, and it helps,” Henricksen said.

With such a rich talent history in Illinois, college coaches know their way to the state. To the point that the state might be over-recruited.

“It takes a unique and special coaching staff, particularly assistant coaches, who know and understand the landscape of recruiting Illinois,” Henricksen said. “Some schools tend to waste time recruiting Illinois. At the end of the day, they may not have the type of connections, relationships and understanding to successfully recruit, particularly Chicago. There is a certain way about it.”

In a typical year, there are 40 to 50 Division I recruits in the state. That’s a big number. But the number of schools fighting for those players is also big.

Once a college finds success recruiting Illinois, it will come back. Often. The current Green Bay roster includes five from the state.

“It definitely helps,” Henricksen said. “If a kid’s successful with a program, their kids and coaches see that. They know they are being taken care of and looked out for.”

Less than two years into his Illinois tenure, Groce is doing well in recruiting, Henricksen said.

“He’s done as good a job as you possibly can in the amount of time that he’s been here,” Henricksen said. “I see no reason why to be concerned. I think he’s laid the groundwork of what he needed to do for recruiting purposes.”

Basketball in Illinois is in a great state
All 236 Illinois products playing in D-I. Note: players who graduated from prep schools not in Illinois were not counted:

America East
Albany
PLAYER    HIGH SCHOOL    YR.    POS.
David Wiegmann    Breese Central    Sr.    F

Stony Brook
Rayshaun McGrew    Chicago Vocational    So.     F

American
Connecticut
Ryan Boatright    Aurora East    Jr.    G

Louisville
Wayne Blackshear    Chicago Morgan Park    Jr.    G-F

Southern Methodist
Sterling Brown    Proviso East    Fr.    G
Crandall Head    Rich South    Jr.    G
Ben Moore    Bolingbrook    Fr.    F

Atlantic 10
Dayton
Kyle Davis    Chicago Morgan Park    Fr.    G
Eddie Eshoo    Benet Academy    Fr.    G
Kendall Pollard    Chicago Simeon    Fr.    F
Bobby Wehrli    Benet Academy    So.    F

Saint Louis
Austin Eagleton    Springfield SH-G    Fr.    G
Dwayne Evans    Neuqua Valley    Sr.    F
Mike McCall Jr.    Chicago Foreman    Sr.    G
Royce Simpson    Chicago Marist    Fr.    G

ACC
Boston College
Alex Dragicevich    Glenbrook North    Jr.    F

Clemson
Adonis Filer    Chicago Mount Carmel    So.    G

Duke
Jabari Parker    Chicago Simeon    Fr.    F
Todd Zafirovski    Lake Forest    Sr.    F

Florida State
Kiel Turpin    Normal West    Sr.    C

Wake Forest
Doug Niedrich    Stevenson    Jr.    F

Atlantic Sun
Florida Gulf Coast
Brian Greene Jr.    Thornton    So.    G

Northern Kentucky
Matt Rosenwinkel    Rochelle    Fr.    G

Stetson
Cameron Harvey    Wheaton Academy    So.    G
Andrew Zelis    Wheaton North    Fr.    C

Big 12
Iowa State
Abdel Nader    Niles North    Jr.    F

Oklahoma
D.J. Bennett    Sandburg    Jr.    F

Texas Tech
Alex Foster    Chicago Seton Academy    Fr.    F

West Virginia
Tyrone Hughes    Chicago Whitney Young    So.    G

Big East
Butler
Roosevelt Jones    O’Fallon    Jr.    F

DePaul
Jamee Crockett    Crete-Monee    Jr.    F
Cory Dolins    Niles West    So.    G
Billy Garrett Jr.    Chicago Morgan Park    Jr.    F
Myke Henry    Chicago Orr    Jr.    F
Edwind McGhee    Champaign Central    Sr.    G
Peter Ryckbosch    Chicago St. Ignatius    So.    F

Marquette
Dylan Flood    Benet Academy    Jr.    G
Steve Taylor Jr.    Chicago Simeon    So.    F

Xavier
Landen Amos    Chicago Mount Carmel    Sr.    G
Kevin Coker    Plainfield South    So.    F

Big South
High Point
Anthony Lindauer    Moline    Fr.    G

Big Ten
Illinois
Tracy Abrams    Chicago Mount Carmel    Jr.    G
Joseph Bertrand    Sterling    Sr.    G
Nnanna Egwu    Chicago St. Ignatius    Jr.    F/C
Malcolm Hill    Belleville East    Fr.    G
Mike LaTulip    Arlington Heights Prospect    So.    G
Kendrick Nunn    Chicago Simeon    Fr.    G
Darius Paul    Gurnee Warren    So.    F
Rayvonte Rice    Centennial    Jr.    G
Ahmad Starks    Chicago Whitney Young    Sr.    G
Jaylon Tate    Chicago Simeon    Fr.    G

Michigan
Brad Anlauf    Hinsdale Central    So.    F
Max Bielfeldt    Peoria Notre Dame    Soph.    F

Michigan State
Alvin Ellis III    Chicago De La Salle    Fr.    G

Northwestern
Drew Crawford    Naperville Central    Sr.    G-F
Dave Sobolewski    Lisle Benet Academy    Jr.    G
Nathan Taphorn    Pekin    Fr.    F

Ohio State
Sam Thompson    Chicago Whitney Young    Jr.    F
Lenzelle Smith Jr.    Zion-Benton    Sr.    G

Wisconsin
Ben Brust    Mundelein    Sr.    G
Duje Dukan    Deerfield    Jr.    F
Frank Kaminsky    Lisle Benet Academy    Jr. F

Big West
Cal Poly
Chris Eversley    Walter Payton Prep    Sr.    F
Brian Bennett    Plainfield East    So.    F

Hawaii
Brandon Spearman    Chicago Simeon    Sr.    G

UC Davis
Tyler Les    Peoria Notre Dame    Sr.    G

Colonial
Charleston
Chad Cooke    Bolingbrook    So.    G

Delaware
Kyle Anderson    Newark    Jr.    G

Hofstra
Zeke Upshaw    University of Chicago Lab    Sr.    G-F

UNC Wilmington
Luke Hager    Chicago Whitney Young    So.    F

William & Mary
Tim Rusthoven    Wheaton Academy    Sr.    F
Fred Heldring    New Trier    Sr.    F

Conference USA
North Texas
Armani Flannigan    Rockford Boylan    Jr.    F

Rice
Andrew Drone    Gallatin County    Fr.    C
Horizon
Green Bay
Vincent Garrett    Chicago Marshall    Sr.    G
Josh Humphrey    Crete-Monee    So.    G-F
Greg Mays    Crete-Monee    Jr.    F
Alfonzo McKinnie    Chicago Marshall    Jr.    F
Keifer Sykes    Chicago Marshall    Jr.    G

UIC
Marcus White    Chicago De La Salle    Fr.    G
Gabe Snider    Chicago Whitney Young    So.    G
Lance Whitaker    Bartlett    Fr.    G-F
Jordan Harks    Glenbard South    Sr.    F-C
Jay Parker    Harvey Thornton    Jr.    G
Frank Dounis    Maine South    Fr.    G
Ahman Fells    Chicago Simeon    Jr.    F

Milwaukee
Akeem Springs    Waukegan    So.    G
        
Valpo
Keith Carter    Maywood Proviso East    So.    G
LaVonte Dority    Chicago Foreman    Sr.    G
Lexus Williams    Chicago Marist    Fr.    G
Jubril Adekoya    Tinley Park Andrew    Fr.    F
Alec Peters    Washington    Fr.    F

Youngstown State
Ronnye Beamon    Calumet City Bishop Noll    Fr.    G

Ivy League
Brown
Sean McGonagill    Riverside-Brookfield    Sr.    G

Dartmouth
Connor Boehm    New Trier    So.    F
Mike Fleming    Lincolnshire Stevenson    Fr.    G

Harvard
Alex Nesbitt    Chicago Lab    Jr.    G

Penn
Tony Hicks    Chicago St. Rita    So.    G

Princeton
Steven Cook    Winnetka New Trier    Fr.    F

Yale
Sam Downey    Lake Forest    Fr.    F

MAAC
Niagara
Marvin Jordan    Peoria Manual    Sr.    G

Siena
Brett Bisping    Morton    So.    F

MAC
Akron
Deji Ibitayo    Rich Central    Jr.    G

Ball State
Quinten Payne    St. Charles North    Fr.    G
Rocco Belcaster    Berwyn Morton West    So.    F

Bowling Green
Richaun Holmes    Lockport    Jr.    F

Buffalo
Jarod Oldham    Decatur Eisenhower    Sr.    G
    
Central Michigan
Austin Stewart    Normal West    So.    G

Eastern Michigan
Karrington Ward    Lockport    Jr.    F
Darell Combs    Thornwood    So.    G

Kent State
Devin Carter    Centennial    So.    G

Miami
Brian Oddo    Providence Catholic    So.    F
Will Sullivan    Elmhurst York    Jr.    G

Northern Illinois
Aaron Armstead    Chicago Hales Franciscan    Jr.    G
J.J. Cravatta    Streator    So.    G
Keith Gray    Chicago Brooks    Jr.    F
Kevin Gray    Chicago Brooks    Jr.    F
Anthony Johnson    Chicago Whitney Young    Jr.    G
Michael Orris    Crete-Monee    So.    G
Pete Rakocevic    Burbank St. Laurence    Jr.    C
Jordan Threloff    DeKalb    Jr.    C

Toledo
Nathan Boothe    Warren Township    So.    C
Julius Brown    Hillcrest    Jr.    G

Western Michigan
A.J. Avery    Chicago St. Rita    So.    F
Tim Brennan    Lincoln Park    Jr.    G-F
David Brown    Hononegah    Sr.    G
Charles Harris    Lake Forest    G-F    Fr.
Hayden Hoerdemann    Bloomington CC    Jr.    G

MEAC
Florida A&M
Jamie Adams    Chicago Hales Franciscan    Sr.    G
Willie Connor III    Chicago Crane    So.    G
Trey Kellum    Peoria Central    So.    F

Maryland-Eastern Shore
Issac Smith III    Chicago Leo    Jr.    G
Troy Snyder    Bolingbrook    Sr.    F

Missouri Valley
Bradley
Mason Alwan    Peoria Richwoods    Sr.    G
Ka’Darry Bell    Oak Park-River Forest    So.    G
Walt Lemon Jr.    Chicago Julian    Sr.    G
Jordan Prosser    Eureka    Sr.    C
Mike Shaw    Chicago De La Salle    Jr.    F
Xzavier Taylor    Chicago Morgan Park    Fr.    F-C

Drake
Karl Madison    Springfield Lanphier    Jr.    G

Evansville
Mike Leazer    Northridge Prep    So.    G

Illinois State
Paris Lee    Proviso East    Fr.    G
Matt Stacho    Naperville North    So.    G
Nick Zeisloft    LaGrange Lyons    So.    G

Indiana State
T.J. Bell    Charleston    Fr.    F-C
Lucas Eitel    Marshall    Sr.    G

Loyola
Milton Doyle    Chicago Marshall    Fr.    G
London Dokubo    Conant    Jr.    G
Cal Kennedy    Chicago Brother Rice    Fr.    F
Tony Nixon    Seton Academy    Sr.    G
Jeff White    Peoria Manual    So.    G
Tanner Williams    Orion    So.    F

Northern Iowa
Robert Knar    Mundelein    Fr.    G

Southern Illinois
Anthony Beane    Normal Community    So.    G
Colby Long    Mount Zion    Sr.    G
Sean O’Brien    Mundelein    Fr.    F
Tyler Smithpeters    Harrisburg    Fr.    G
Bronson Verhines    Woodlawn    Sr.    F
Dawson Verhines    Woodlawn    Jr.    G

Wichita State
Fred VanVleet    Rockford Auburn    So.    G

Mountain West
Boise State
Derrick Marks    Plainfield Central    Jr.    G

Colorado State
David Cohn    Elmhurst York    Fr.    G

New Mexico
Deshawn Delaney    Chicago Carver    Jr.    G
    
Northeast
Fairleigh Dickinson
Scott Kingsley    Chicago St. Rita    Fr.    G
Malachi Nix    Niles North    Fr.    G

Wagner
Jay Harris    Oswego East    Jr. G

Ohio Valley
Austin Peay
Cory Arentsen    Breese Mater Dei    So.    G
Will Triggs    Edwardsville    Sr.    F

Eastern Illinois
Alex Austin    Chicago Mount Carmel    So.    G
Dylan Chatman    Belleville West    Jr.    G
Justin Earls    Chicago De La Salle    Fr.    F
Anthony Johnson    Oblong    Fr.    G
Ethan Miller    Charleston    Fr.    G
Donald Moore    Chicago Bloom    So.    G
Josh Piper    Centennial    Jr.    F
Julian Robertson    Chicago Ace Tech    So.    G
Aaron Siler    Robinson    Fr.    G
Reggie Smith    Thornton    Jr.    G

Eastern Kentucky
Jeff Johnson    Centennial    Sr.    F
Marcus Lewis    Streamwood    Sr.    G

Jacksonville State
Joe Kuligoski    Sandburg    Fr.    G-F

SIU-Edwardsville
Tim Johnson    Crete-Monee    Sr.    G
Ray Lester    Crete-Monee    Sr.    F
Keaton Scheer    Breese Central    Jr.    G
Donivine Stewart    Limestone    So.    G

Tennessee State
Cameron Johnson    Chicago Hales Franciscan    So.    G
Patrick Miller    Chicago Hales Franciscan    Sr.    G

Tennessee Tech
Ty Allen    Rich South    Jr.    G

Pac-12
Stanford
Chasson Randle    Rock Island    Jr.    G
Jack Ryan    Glenbrook South    So.    G-F

Patriot
American
Langdon Neal    Chicago Francis Parker    Fr.    G

Bucknell
Ben Brackney    Lincoln    Sr.    G

Holy Cross
Dave Dudzinski    Kaneland    Sr.    F-C

Lehigh
Miles Simelton    Oswego    Fr.    G

SEC
Missouri
Hayden Barnard    Aurora Metea Valley    Fr.    F

Tennessee
Quinton Chievous    Niles Notre Dame    So.    G
Texas A&M
Fabyon Harris    Hyde Park    Sr.    G
Southern
Davidson
Andrew McAuliffe    Glenbrook North    Fr.    F

Samford
Tim Williams    Homewood-Flossmoor    So.    F

UNC Greensboro
Modestas Masilionis    Lemont    Jr.    G-F

Wofford
Lee Skinner    Glenbard East    Jr.    F

SWAC
Grambling State
Steven Danridge    Dolton Thornridge    Sr.    F-C

Jackson State
Marquis Todd    T.F. North    Fr.    F

Mississippi Valley State
Ervin Thomas    Chicago Marshall    Sr.    F

Prairie View A&M
Rashaan Surles    Homewood-Flossmoor    Fr.    G


Summit
IPFW
Joe Edwards    Westchester St. Joseph    Jr.    G
North Dakota State
Lawrence Alexander    Peoria Manual    Jr.    G
Kory Brown    Elgin    So.    G

South Dakota State
Josh White    Edwardsville    Fr.    G

Western Illinois
Garret Covington    Edwardsville    Fr.    G
Jordan Foster    Chicago Seton Academy    So.    G
Billy Molinari    Peoria Christian    Sr.    G
Remy Roberts-Burnett    Joliet West    Jr.    G
Jabari Sandifer    Naperville Neuqua Valley    Fr.    G

Sun Belt
Arkansas Little Rock
Maurius Hill    Homewood-Flossmoor    Fr.    F

Texas-Arlington
Johnny Hill    Glenbard East    Jr.    G

Western Kentucky
Aaron Adeoye    Marion    Jr.    F

West Coast
Santa Clara
Jared Brownridge    Aurora Waubonsie Valley    Fr.    G

WAC
Cal State Bakersfield
Corey Hall    Ada South McKinley    Sr.    F

Chicago State
Joshua Batson    Chicago Curie    So.    G
Quron Davis    Chicago Simeon    Fr.    F
Eddie Denard    Chicago Foreman    Sr.    F
Jared Dimakos    Lake Forest    So.    G
Jamere Dismukes    Rich East    Sr.    G
Johnny Griffin    Bloom Trail    Fr.    G
Arthur Gage    Plainfield Central    Jr.    C
Kurt Karis    Glenbrook North    Fr.    G
Rahjan Muhammad    Neuqua Valley    Jr.    G
Clarke Rosenberg    Evanston    Jr.    G
Matt Ross    Dixon    Sr.    F
Aaron Williams    Chicago Vocational    Sr.    F

Texas-Pan American
Jamal Dantzler    Chicago Von Stuben    Sr.    G
Shaquille Hines    Chicago Harlan    So.    F
Alex Majewski    Chicago Brother Rice    Fr.    F
LJ McIntosh    Chicago Marist    Fr.    G
Elijah Watson    Chicago St. Patrick    Fr.    G

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