Top 2024's in Illinois

With the summer coming to a close and our state-by-state rankings future up and live, it's time to zoom in on a collection of states to break down the top long-term prospects. Here, I'll zoom in on the top 2024's in Illinois. All the prospects listed currently play in the state.


1. Morez Johnson

Remains the leader in the clubhouse after a monster spring and summer with Meanstreets. He's been in the top tier of the state since early in his high school career, and he's continued lean in even further on his strengths every step of the way. The future Illini big man has developed into a true anchor down low on both ends of the floor — a high level screen setter, owns the glass, stuffs up the paint and finishes well around the rim. Spacing the floor has long been considered the next step for him, but his skillset scales seamlessly to the next level and he's produced at a high level against the nation's finest. 

2. Cooper Koch

Often under-discussed because he's outside of the Chicagoland area, but Koch has progressed over the last year and put together another fantastic summer. A Swiss-Army knife with Indiana Elite, the future Hawkeye shot the lights out once again. Sped up his release, making even quicker decisions and grown more adept driving closeouts with improved strength and quickness. Among the very best nationally in a 'connector' role, Koch fits in a wide range of lineups and bring value regardless of the personnel alongside him. Size, shot-making and an outstanding basketball IQ, Fran McCaffery has a high level big wing and a hand-in-glove fit on the way to Iowa City. 

3. Angelo Ciaravino

The breakout of the spring and summer, but one I've been beating the drum on for sometime now. The 6-6 wing has an infectious level of competitiveness to him, and it bleeds through in his style of play. Relentless energy, fearlessness attacking the cup, versatile defense and activity without the ball. Now being prioritized by a number of high majors, Ciaravino has made strides physically over the last year while also making a leap as an athlete and growing more efficient as a spot up shooter. The intangibles have been palpable for years now, but the rest of his game is now following suit. 

4. Jack Stanton

Massive spring and summer for Stanton, but the surge began in the winter with Downers Grove North. A premier pull-up shooter with excellent feel, he's popped as a shot-maker across each setting but the most impressive facet in terms of progression has been his ability to impact winning when the shot isn't falling. The cerebral guard makes the right play time and time again, and has a knack for identifying the seams in different defenses each time out. I'd bet on hyper-competitive floor general being productive at the next level for a long time largely due to the manner in which he processes the game.

5. Chris Riddle

Since arriving back in the state after a stint at AZ Compass, Riddle has dealt with injuries and inefficiency in stretches, but I'm bullish on his long-term upside. 6-5 with a strong frame, functional athleticism and a lightning quick first step. He's shown some ability to generate his own offense, but he's at his best attacking closeouts, playing in transition and bringing activity off the ball to find seams. Riddle has to continue to grow more efficient as a shooter and in his decision-making process while polishing his pace, but he's quietly progressing in key areas and is young for the class. Best basketball appears to be well ahead of him.

6. Jaden Smith

Bigs always tend to make more time to put the pieces together, and while Smith was one of the first in the state to arise, he's progressed quite a bit over the last few months. A fluid mover at 6-11, he brings promising mobility defends and blocked upwards of 2 shots per game with Mac Irvin in the EYCL. The tools have been there, but he's grown more consistent with his motor, the ball skills have improved and he's progressed as a rim protector without fouling. Smith may take time to adjust at the next level, but the rate of growth as a rim runner are very promising, as shown by a high major recruitment now. 

7. Lathan Somerville

Back in the state after a few years in the Southeast, the Rutgers bound bring man has been a steady producer in the EYBL with Brad Beal Elite while improving his frame steadily over the past year. The focus early on with plenty of young bigs is tracking whether or not the shooting makes a leap, and similar to Morez Johnson, Somerville has continued to sharpen his strengths. Reliable at the line, physical in deep and as a screen-setter, he brings a ton of value as a roll man with a high motor and soft hands. Continuing to improve his mobility and athleticism to protect the rim without fouling will be key, but the future B10 big man has the tools to translate. 

Jakstys put together a strong season with Yorkville, showing steady signs of progression in terms of consistent impact. The size leaps out from the jump, nearing 7-0 with loads of physical upside. Long-term on the offensive end, he brings versatility as a roll or pop man with soft hands and touch. On the other end, especially as he continues to grow more flexible, strong and functionally athletic, he has the instincts to evolve into a sound rim protector with plus length. The Illini commit is far from a finished product, but has a promising foundation to build on.

 9. Je'Shawn Stevenson

Came away very impressed by Stevenson early in the spring, and he rode the momentum into a strong summer with Meanstreets. From the key cog in an offense in the scholastic period to a complementary slasher and bucket getter with Meanstreets, the 6-4 guard's ability to toggle between roles and bring value shined bright. Steady and straightforward as a decision-maker, he plays North/South and takes seems to make the simple play in the best way with each opportunity. Being pursued by a variety of mid-majors, I'd bet on him making the leap to the next level rather quickly with plenty of upside to blossom into much more in the right spot. 

 10. Shaheed Solebo

Solebo closed the summer in a big way, showing well in the scholastic period with Lane Tech and with Young & Reckless down the stretch. 6-4 and fluid with a quick first step, he brings pass, dribble, shoot productivity as a versatile guard who can shift on or off the ball. Still growing stronger and more consistent from three, but brings infectious energy and competitiveness in his approach. Being prioritized by a number of in-state programs with interest coming in around the map, he's one could gain momentum into the fall.


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