Class AA Top 20

By Frank Rusnak

  1. Peoria Richwoods- Winning every tournament they played in this summer, Richwoods has proved to be unstoppable. Led by seniors 6'4" Steve Turner and 6'8" Marcus Jackson, Coach Darling feels that 6'7" junior Rob Turner (no relation to Steve) is actually the most talented player on the team. Also, look for 5'10" junior guard John Little to play a big role in the success of the Knights. Other players that look to get significant playing time include 5'11" guard Martell Webster and 6'4" post player John Young.

    "We are going to be favored to win and I think that we have all the tools this year to put things together."

    Coach Bob Darling
    Richwoods H.S.

  2. West Aurora- Showed continued dominance coming off of their state championship last year, capturing summer championships such as the Morris Shootout and Oak Park R.F. Tournament. Leading the way has been the supreme backcourt of 6'2" freshmen point guard Jay Thomas, 6'3" shooting guard Derik Hollyfield and 6'4" senior swingman Jamaal Thompson. Overcoming their lack of height over the summer, the possible addition of 6'7" senior Akbar Lawson (from Panama) could help the Blackhawks if he is ruled eligible. If not, Coach Gordon Kerkman will ask much of post players, 6'2" Nate Eimer and 6'3" Jordan Loozano.
  3. Whitney Young- With five division one senior signees and a bevy of talented young players, (also with division one potential) the Dolphins are loaded. The loss of Najeeb Echols will hurt, but Young played well and looked to have better ball movement and chemistry during the summer when he wasn't playing. Look for forwards, Ronald Howard (Marquette), Josh Williams (UIC) and Marcus White (Junior) to get the start along with guards Chris Hill (Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and 6'2" Andre Knox (Sophomore) for Lamont Bryant's club. Coming off the bench will be 6'7" senior Brandon Allen (University of Maryland Eastern Shore) and 6'5" sophomore DeWitt Scott.
  4. Thornwood- The transfer of former Marian Catholic player, 6'6" Melvin Buckley, brings the Thunderbirds to the elite status, rather then just being a very good team. Combined with 6'10" All-American Eddy Curry, Thornwood will have a physically big team with solid guards. 6'2" junior Cornelius Jones, 6'4" senior Steve Sawyers, 6'2" junior Pierre Thomas, 6'2" junior David Moss and 6'1" senior Shenard McDonald, lead the guard play.
  5. Marshall- Holding down the middle will be the versatile 6'8" Kelly Whitney, committed to Michigan. Heading the full court press will be 6'2" senior Ronald Davis. Quick in the passing lanes and an explosive first step, Davis can finish with the best. Swingman 6'5" senior Justin Bowen will contribute in the paint as well as on the perimeter with his solid handle. The Commandos with a host of other quick athletic guards who will cause havoc on opposing defenses.
  6. Morgan Park- With some talented seniors, including 6'5" Quinnel Brown, 6'9" Jonathan Byrd and 6'2" O'Neal Carter, Coach Herb Ray is happy as he likes to get the most out of his seniors. In addition, the Mustangs could also possibly get clearance for Missouri-bound Najeeb Echols, which would match them pound-for-pound talent-wise with any other team in the state. Look for fellow seniors Clearance Kelly and Lynell Ingram to also crack the starting lineup if Echols is not ruled eligible after his transfer. 6'8" junior Marcus Arnold is definitely one to keep an eye on.
  7. Julian- With seven potential division one players in the program, talent is not an issue for the Jaguars. Leading the charge will be star junior Sean Dockery at the point guard slot. Dockery will be joined on the perimeter by 6'3" freshman J.J. Watson and 6'4" Larry Booth. In the post, seniors Anton Palmer and Martesse Williams will be hard at work, but both could also take the ball outside with success. Solid reserves, for the Jaguars are 5'5" junior point guard Mike Wilson and 6'10" senior center Jason McKinnon.
  8. Lincoln-Way- The Knights are headed into battle by four-year varsity player and Marquette-bound Kevin Menard. Averaging 20.4 points and 9 rebounds last season, the 6'6" Menard is joined by last year's starters, senior point guard Adam White and senior swingman Adam Ferrari. Look for 6'9" (and still growing) junior James Augustine to play a big role as well.
  9. Mt. Zion- Not achieving much team success in the past (never won a Sectional), the smallest Class AA school in Illinois (735 students), Mt. Zion looks to change all of that this season. Led by division one signees, 6'2" guard Matt McCollum (Ball State), 6'3" guard/forward Neil Plank (Wisconsin) and 6'7" power forward Jake Sams (Indiana State) the Braves have obvious talent. However, the talent doesn't stop there. With 6'5" junior sharpshooter Logan Glossor, who as well is D1-bound, Mt. Zion has solid size combined with good athletes and shooters. Also, Sam's little brother, 6'7" sophomore Michael and 6'3" 200-pound junior Matt Yelovich should help contribute in the post.
  10. Moline- Coach Frank Dexter has a solid ball-club this year led by 6'3" senior guard Chris Hickey. A great shooter with a solid build, Hickey can put points on the board in a hurry. Lacking a true point guard, the Maroons will go with 6'3" junior Jay McAdams-Thornton and 6'1" senior Ryan Scannel on the perimeter. Moline's formidable front-court is led by 6'6" center Travis Hoyt and 6'5" Justin Ward; both seniors.
  11. Rockford Guilford- The Vikings will lack height this year but will make up for it with their superior speed. One of the quickest teams in the state this year, Guilford is led by the quick Aaron Robinson. The Minnesota-bound 5'8" point guard, Robinson is an adept penetrator and has an improving outside shot. To compliment Robinson are fellow speed-demons, 6'2" guard Cedric Ousley, 6'0" senior guard Marcus Roby and 5'9" senior guard Tierre Box.
  12. Joliet- Illinois-bound Roger Powell does it all for the Steelmen. A 6'6" powerhouse, he can, and will, use his strength to clean the glasses and then proceed to use his quickness compiled with his long-range shooting to beat you on the outside. Assisting Powell will be 6'6" junior Kellen Easley, 6'3" junior Jeremy Cartwright, 6'6" senior Terrance Chapman and junior point guard Brandon Shoemaker.
  13. Springfield Lanphier- 6'1" Marques Warfield will provide senior-leadership for the young Lions. Warfield is capable of catching fire at the forward position. With the tough-to-stop backcourt of super soph Richard McBride and 6'6" junior Andre Iguodala, Coach Craig Patton has mega-athletes with superstar abilities. Look for 6'6" senior center Montez Slater to be the force Lanphier is looking for in the middle.
  14. Peoria Central- Coach Charles Buescher has a young team this year led by Iowa-bound Marcellus Sommerville. Proving that he can do serious damage with his outside shot this summer, Sommerville might see some increased time on the outside but with the Lion's lack of size he will be needed in the paint. Central's guards are young, but all have shown considerable talent. Led by sophomores 5'8" Dan Ruffin, 5'9" Tyson Langhorn and 6'1" Brett Jones, the Lions will be a quick team that enjoys pressing a lot.
  15. Proviso East- Led by All-State candidate 5'10" junior Dee Brown, the Pirates have a deep and talented squad. Joining Brown in the backcourt will be 6'0" senior Chris Shields and look for 6'2" super soph Shannon Brown to have a banner year. With basketball skills oozing out of his slender frame, Shannon has athletic abilities that are unteachable. With a formidable front court led by 6'5" swingman Jared Carswell and 6'8" big-bodied Reggie Roberson, Proviso has the tools to make some noise this year.
  16. Centralia- The winningest program of all time, the Orphans have a tall and talented team this year. At small forward for Coach Rick Moss' club will be 6'7" senior Chris Carter. A skilled big man, Carter has a solid outside shot. Joining Carter will be Jonathon Smith, a 6'7" junior center and Josh Shaw, a 6'5" senior forward
  17. Westinghouse- With an athletic front court, including 6'5" senior Jamal Washington, 6'4" junior Darius Glover and 6'5" junior Richard Russel, the Warriors will again be tough coming off of a state championship appearance. Leading the guard attack will be water-bug point junior guard Jamaal Brown. Coach Chris Head will have total control of the team and will have his team well-conditioned and hustling 100% of time.
  18. Rockford Boylan- Led by sharp shooting Joe Tulley-clone Mike Britton, the Titans look to make some noise this year. The 6'3" senior shooting guard, Britton, will be joined in the backcourt by junior point guard Steve Harris. Recognized most for his football skills, the 5'10" Harris is a supreme athlete, formidable ball-handler and ample play maker. Look for 6'7" junior Jason Winkler to hold down the middle with his rail-thin frame.
  19. Crane- Young and talented, the Cougars will need the leadership of Arizona-bound guard Will Bynum. Coach Anthony Longstreet has a bevy of talented sophomores that will need to mature quickly for Crane to produce this year. Of the sophomores, 5'10" Carl Marshall, 5'11" Jamale Tidwell, 6'3" Tremel Gilot, 6'5" Florentino Valencia and 6'7" Lorenzo Thompson will lead the way for the young Cougars.
  20. Danville- Returning a backcourt of two players recognized as All-State Honorable Mention last year, the Vikings will be a guard-oriented team. 6'2" senior guards, DaJuan Gouard and Juan Robinson will make things happen for Coach Scott Olson's ball club.


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