A player like no other, East St. Louis' 6'9"
Darius Miles is our '99-'00 Illinois Player of the Year.
"Darius is probably one of the best talents to
come out of Illinois in years. He's a very unique talent," says Darius' AAU coach,
Larry Butler (also of IllinoisSpotLite.com).
Indeed Darius is very unique, at 6'9" he is
usually the quickest player on the floor. He has a great handle on the ball and a pull up
jumper that needs to be respected. One skill that is often overlooked in Darius' game is
his ability to not only create for himself but also for his teammates.
Already given the University of St. Johns a
commitment to play for them next season, it is still undecided if he will actually uphold
his pledge. Two things that are supposedly getting in his way are his lack of grades and
the possibility of entering the NBA Draft next season.
Larry Butler shuns any naysayers who proclaim that
Darius will not qualify academically, "I think with Darius taking the test on time he
shouldn't have a problem with passing the exam." So if his grades won't be a problem
for Darius then is it safe to say that we can see him on the New York campus next year?
"The NBA talk for next year is very serious," proclaims Butler.
"It's hard to describe him because of all of
his talents...he's just a special player."
Cedrick Banks 6'3" Senior Guard
The leader of the #3 team in the country, Cedrick has played brilliantly for his
Warriors team doing whatever is needed to win. Averaging 16 points 9 rebounds and 4
assists for the 24-1 Warriors Cedrick is one of the best defenders in the state and is a
terrific slasher going to the hoop with his floater that he will loft over bigger
opponents. Not yet an academic qualifier, UIC, DePaul or Loyola might end up with a great
recruit slipped through the cracks.
Imari Sawyer 6'1" Senior Guard ML King-
A dynamic scoring point guard, Imari can breakdown defenders with the littlest of ease.
His team this year hasn't had the talent that M.L. King has had in the past but Imari has
still led them to the Red Central championship. Imari has averaged 31 points and 12
assists this year for his King team. Imari is headed to play with the DePaul Blue Demons
for next season.
Andre Brown 6'9" Senior Forward Leo-
One of the nations best postplayers, Andre is a terrific rebounder and a great lowpost
scorer. A tribute to his great play, Andre will play in the prestigious McDonald's
All-American game. Averaging 23 points and 13 rebounds for a 23-1, #1 ranked Class A team,
Andre will certainly be a great addition for the DePaul Blue Demons next season along with
Eddy Curry 6'10" Junior Center Thornwood-
Simply overpowers everyone at the high school level. For such a big man Curry is very
light on his feet and able to play good (at times intimidating) help defense. Not many had
the Thunderbirds of Thornwood picked to end the season as one of the state's best,
boasting such a young team (start 5 underclassmen). However Curry changed all of that,
averaging an impressive 24 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks per game and showing
leadership qualities the Thunderbirds finished the regular season with a 23-3 record. A
good student, every college in the nation would love to get their hands on Curry.
Darius Miles 6'9" Senior Forward East St.
Our '99-'00 Class Illinois Player of the Year, Darius is an offensive juggernaut.
Averaging 23 points, 11 rebounds and 7 blocks for a 22-2 team, Darius has some lofty
expectations for the playoffs. Last year leading his team to the state quarterfinals, this
year Darius hopes to achieve the next level, bringing a 22-2 team into the playoffs.
Dwyane Wade 6'4" Senior Forward Richards-
A deceivingly quick player, Wade often explodes into the passing lanes to excite with
his explosive fastbreak dunks. Physically a strong player with great leaping ability he
also does well on the low blocks. Posted phenomenal stats this year for an above average
ball club with 27 points, 11 rebounds, 4.4 steals, 3.5 blocks and 3.4 assists per game.
Headed to Marquette next year, Wade will certainly make Tom Cream a happy man.
Matt Lottich 6'3" Senior Guard New Trier-
Is there anything Mr. Lottich doesn't do well? He not only excels on the basketball
court, but he also was the schools starting quarterback and a pitcher on the baseball
team. On the hardwood Lottich has no major deficiencies being a scoring threat and
playmaker on offense and an in-your-face pest on defense. Lottich averaged 20 points and 6
assists for a 21-4 team. Headed to Stanford next year, Lottich also is not too shabby in
Odartey Blankson 6'6" Senior Forward
In his earlier days at Hillcrest Odot, as he is called, was overshadowed by his
nationally know teammate, Reo Logan. Logan, still a great prospect in his own right is
still doing well, but this season Odot has showed why he should be the center of
attention. Averaging 20 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals Blankson is headed,
with his good friend Dwyane Wade, to Marquette University for next year.
Brett Melton 6'4" Senior Guard
Possibly the state's best three-point shooter this year, Brett continually guided his
team to wins with his prolific shooting prowess. Also, showed his ability to take the ball
to the hoop needs to be respected. The Illini-bound Melton averaged 24.5 points, 6
rebounds and 4 assists per game.
Jamar Avant 6'8" Senior Forward
Jamar has had a great season performing solidly in the paint for the Murphysboro. Jamar
is capable of a double-double night in and night out. A strong post player Jamar has
already committed to Murray State in Kentucky and will be a nice fit for the Racers.
Martell Bailey 5'10" Senior Guard
Along with Cedrick Banks, Martell has led their Westinghouse to a 24-1 season while not
having a regular starter over 6'3". With one of the quickest first steps in the state
Martell has averaged 14 points and 9 assists. Not only can Martell blow by defenders
effortlessly but also when he gets to the basket he is a great finisher despite being only
5'10". A great student in the classroom as well, it looks like UIC, Loyola or Notre
Dame will end up with a great recruit.
Cameron Echols 6'7" Senior Forward
The city's best rebounder, Cameron has done all of the dirty work for his 26-3 Simeon
team. Leading his team to a great season Cameron is not done as he looks to lead his team
to the city title. Averaging 20 points and 14 rebounds Cameron is one of the best
prospects still available in Illinois.
T.J. Cummings 6'8" Senior Forward
Building a great reputation for himself over the summer during AAU competition, T.J. has
set lofty standards for him to achieve during the season. Although he has performed rather
well in the rough and rugged SICA East, it is probably not what most would have expected
out of him. Despite this T.J. has averaged 20 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks a game for a
solid Homewood-Flossmoor team. Already signed on to play with the Bruins of UCLA Cummings
will be a welcomed addition out in Cali.
Roger Powell Jr. 6'6" Junior Forward
The player of the year in the SICA West, Roger has displayed some astounding skills in
leading his team to a conference title. At the beginning of his career Roger mostly
excelled on the low blocks but now elevating his game to another level he can drain the
3-pointer with ease. Averaging 18 points and 7.5 rebounds Powell has already given the
University of Illinois a commitment as a junior.
J.D. Summers 6'3" Senior Guard Quincy-
J.D. has always had the skills to be a top player but over the past year he has really
grown and matured physically. J.D. is a strong shooting guard that has averaged 21 points
this season while leading his Quincy squad to a 21-4 record. J.D. is also able to help his
team out in the post some, grabbing rebounds and playing post defense. Unsigned as of now,
it looks like Western Illinois is looking at him the strongest.