May 23, 2011

Breaking down the wings

Over the past couple of weeks, Orange&BlueNews has broken down the point guards and the post players who have interest in the Fighting Illini. We now take a crack at the wings.

Leading the pack is all-world Jabari Parker of state champion Chicago Simeon. Parker is ranked No. 4 nationally in the class of 2013, and he has the talent to move up even higher before he is done with high school. The Illini also still are in the mix for 2012 shooting guard Gary Harris from Fishers (Ind.) Hamilton Southeastern. Harris still has a long list of suitors.

In this report, we break down some of the shooting guards and small forwards who are on the Illinois recruiting radar.

Jabari Parker (2013), 6-foot-7, Chicago (Simeon)

The top player in the state of Illinois regardless of class, Parker is a program changer and a recruiting priority for Illinois. He has the full package -- can play multiple positions, is an outstanding athlete and has an unmatched basketball IQ. Illinois will put on the full-court press for Parker.

Gary Harris (2012), 6-foot-4, Fishers (Ind.) Hamilton Southeastern

The top-ranked player left on the Illinois recruiting board for 2012, Harris is a plus athlete with the size, skills and confidence to star at the next level. His recruitment has taken some twists and turns, and Harris is playing it close to the vest at this point. Past leaders for Harris reportedly have included Louisville and Michigan State.

Kendrick Nunn (2013), 6-foot-2, Chicago (Simeon)

Nunn is a high-scoring, left-handed two guard who can shoot it to three-point range and has the athleticism to play above the rim in transition. He wreaks havoc defensively with long arms and superior lateral quickness. Nunn has yet to pick up an offer from the Illini.

Paul Turner (2014), 6-foot-4, Westchester (Ill.) St. Joseph's

Turner, who played a pivotal role at St. Joe's as a freshman, is a future combo guard. He can be a scorer or play the lead guard spot on occasion. Turner can shoot it from long range and post up smaller guards. He already is physically mature and often dominates at the 15U level. Turner has excellent midrange scoring ability and loves the turn-around jump shot from the short corner.

Milik Yarbrough (2014), 6-foot-5, Zion (Ill.) Zion-Benton

The highest-scoring freshman among all of the 2014 prospects in Illinois last season, Yarbrough gets it done is a variety of ways. He is a natural scorer with unlimited range who eventually should top out at around 6-foot-7, which is great size for a college wing.

Paul White (2014), 6-foot-7, Chicago (Whitney Young)

A long and athletic combo-forward, White projects as a wing in college, and he will need to improve his handles and outside shot some. White is solid from midrange and at finishing around the basket.

Zak Irvin (2013), 6-foor-5, Fishers (Ind.) Hamilton Southeastern

Time in the weight room and a developing jump shot have improved Irvin's stock. Irvin is ranked No. 97 nationally, but he should move up when the next rankings come out. He is an excellent on-the-ball defender who handles it very well and can lead the fast break and get the offensive rolling in the half court.

Malcolm Hill (2013), 6-foot-5, Belleville (Ill.) East

Hill is a long, smooth wing with a knack for putting the ball in the basket. Hill has improved his stock as much as anyone this spring, and now he is picking up offers from high major schools. Ideally, Hill grows a bit and plays the "3" at the next level, but he can play guard.

Peter Jok (2013), 6-foot-3, Des Moines (Iowa) Roosevelt

Jok was ranked high early on, but he was set back by a knee injury. When healthy, he is a versatile wing who can put up big time points from all ranges. There is little recruiting information coming from the Jok camp, but Illinois will be on his short list. He should be back to full strength by late summer.

Jerron Wilbut (2012), 6-foot-2, Downers Grove (Ill.) South

A talented shooting guard who has improved his leadership skills this spring, Wilbut just has to clear some academic hurdles to get more high major interest. He plays above the rim, handles it well enough and can shoot lights-out to three-point range. Wilbut has played as well as anyone in the 2012 in-state class this spring.

Peyton Allen (2014), 6-foot-3, Chatham (Ill.) Glenwood

Allen is a point forward type with great vision and feel for the game. He has been out of action with a concussion for roughly a month, but he should return to the court soon. Allen has basketball IQ beyond his years and a sweet jump shot with perfect rotation. He is still growing and could reach the 6-foot-6 range.

Alvin Ellis (2013), 6-foot-5, Chicago (De La Salle)

Ellis is an athletic wing with a nice upside. He has the potential to be a good high major prospect, but he will need to improve his overall skill package and add some strength. Ellis teams with Nunn and point guard Jaylon Tate on one of the top AAU teams in the Midwest.

Nate Taphorn (2013), 6-foot-6, Pekin (Ill.)

A pure shooter who is blowing up this spring, Taphorn isn't as far along physically as some of the other prospects in his class, but he has good length for a wing, a text-book jump shot and will mix it up inside despite his slight build.

DeShawn Munson (2013), 6-foot-3, East St. Louis (Ill.)

Munson excels at running the court and finishing with authority in transition. One of the early stars on the AAU travel circuit this spring, he will have to completely change the form on his jump shot. Munson's forte is getting to the rim, and he does it as well as anyone.

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