Taking a moment with prep evaluator Scott Burgess
A few questions with Scout.com’s Scott Burgess, who’s been evaluating prep players for 10 years:
Is it strange evaluating high school freshmen?
It’s definitely a little bit different. it’s a lot more about projecting ability and where they’re going to be in four years. When you look at the 2015 kids, they’re pretty much finished products and you see what they’re going to be at the next level. It’s almost impossible to rank them at this age because there’s so much unknown with growth and strength that it’s hard at that stage. You can see the potential in a lot of kids.
How is Illinois doing making progress with kids in the 2016 class?
They’ve identified some guys. With the 2016 class, the main guys they’ve offered are Jamal Murray from Canada. I saw him at Elite 100 for four consecutive days and he was phenomenal there. He’s a big guard who can score and get to the rack whenever he wants. The jumper is coming along, (and) he plays with a lot of flair. Justin Jackson is another Canadian, a wing who can score and slash. Jayson Tatum, in my opinion, is the No. 1 player in the country for the Class of 2016. He’s an elite scorer with elite size. He’s probably going to be a top two or three player in the NBA draft one day. He can pass, rebound, he’s a facilitator; just a complete player. Also in that class, they’ve offered Nick Rakocevic. He’s a skilled 4 man, who can stretch the floor, put it on the deck and put it on the floor. He rebounds it well. I saw him go for 20 and 20 multiple times for St. Joseph last season. Tony Bradley also got an offer recently. He’s a power forward, long arms, athletic, block shots. He’s got some mobility.
How about the 2017 kids?
They’ve offered Jeremiah Tilmon, the state’s top 2017 prospect from East St. Louis. He’s about 6-foot-10 right now, he’s got a 7-1 wingspan, runs the floor tremendously well, has range on his shot, good touch around the rim, a good back-to-the-basket game. He has the potential to be an easy 5-star and potentially one of the top players in the country.
Everyone’s been focusing on the 2015 class. Do you get the sense Illinois can land one or two of those marquee guys?
As far as the point guards, they’re in the best shape with Jawun Evans. From talking to him, they’re definitely right up there, if not the leader for him. He fits their system very well, a ball-screen player. He’s fast with the ball, an up-tempo guard who can facilitate.