Two more evaluation periods are still on tap this month, but this past week featured some of the best rising talent in the country. Here are five in-state recruits the Illini are targeting — and how they fared, courtesy Sports Editor MATT DANIELS:
The 6-foot-3, 170-pound guard in the Class of 2020 put up a solid line by averaging 18.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists with the Mac Irvin Fire at Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C. But the Morgan Park product struggled shooting from outside (7 of 40 from three-point range for 18.5 percent) and Mac Irvin Fire went 0-5 at the elite event.
The 6-foot-3, 165-pound guard in the Class of 2020 was noticed enough at Peach Jam to pick up a Duke offer at the showcase event. That’s impressive. But Steward didn’t play during the weekend after he and his MeanStreets teammates went 0-5. Still, Steward thrived, averaging 20.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists in upping his national stock.
Marcus Watson Jr.
The 5-foot-10, 155-pound point guard in the Class of 2020 saw the court plenty for Mac Irvin Fire at Peach Jam. And stuffed the stat sheet. The Morgan Park standout averaged 15.2 points (high of 25 points) and 7.4 assists (high of 11 assists) and only committed eight turnovers in five games. He did all this while averaging 33.4 minutes as well.
The 6-foot-6, 165-pound guard in the Class of 2021 averaged 13.7 points and 4.7 assists playing with the 17U Illinois Wolves at the Under Armour Association Finals in Emerson, Ga. The Rolling Meadows product is arguably the top prospect in the state of Illinois — regardless of class — and Christie did nothing to dispute that notion just outside Atlanta.
The 6-foot-7, 220-pound forward in the Class of 2021 played with the 16U Mokan Elite (Kan.) at Peach Jam. Hopkins and his teammates went 1-2, not advancing out of pool play, but the Oak Park Fenwick product averaged 14 points and 3.5 rebounds in his first two games before faring well against eventual 16U champs Team Griffin in his final game.