Best of the Midwest: Day Two

Marion, Ill. – The rise of Otto Porter is continuing. With high majors just now learning about him, Porter absolutely stole the show and proved that he deserves to be talked about along with the nation's best. Also several young players from Illinois showed why Big Ten schools will be living in the state over the next few years.

Otto Porter, PF, Scott County – Porter was a bit of a mystery man coming into the year having been seen by very few people, but that is no longer the case. First he exploded with a strong performance at the Marshall County Hoopfest, and then he continued it with a very good showing against Chicago Simeon on Saturday night.

He projects best as a face up power forward or big small forward in college, and his mid-range game is something to behold. His pull-up jumper can be unguardable due to his high release and long arms, and even the tough shots go in. Also he nailed both of his attempts from three and pulled down seven rebounds. Overall he finished with 20 points on 7-10 shooting with seven boards and three blocks.

Dantiel Daniels, PF, Holt – Playing in front of his future head coach, Chris Lowery, Daniels did what he does. The undersized warrior power forward always plays hard and always rebounds. Daniels also looks to be a bit more athletic. All of his damage comes within five feet, and his handle needs a lot of work, but Daniels knows how to produce. For the game he finished with 15 points, 16 rebounds, and four blocks.

Darien Walker, SG, Simeon – On a loaded squad he clearly isn't the first option, but Walker had a solid game for Simeon. He was knocking in shots from deep, playing tough defense, and attacking the rim quite well. He is just a role player, but he does it well and was one of the more productive players that Simeon had in a big win.

Steve Taylor, PF, Simeon – Illinois isn't loaded like usual in the 2012 class, but probably the best player in the state is Taylor, and he showed why on Saturday. Taylor knocked in a trio of threes and scored down low with a couple of buckets. He could stand to be a better rebounder, but at 6-foot-7 with long arms and good athleticism, Taylor has the ability to stretch the floor as a power forward and once he adds strength, his game really flourish.

Jelani Neely, PG, Simeon – A starter in the Simeon backcourt, Neely sets up everything. He played with good pace and really had his scoring working. The best thing Neely does is be a pest on defense, and his presence in the passing lanes and pressuring the ball kept Scott County Central from getting into their offense all night long.

Jabari Parker, PF, Simeon – Parker looks to be in excellent shape shedding some weight that he carried in the summer, and with that his athleticism continues to improve. As always he is super skilled with an unreal feel for how to play. Parker didn't have his best game, and could have rebounded better, but he still finished with 16 points and six boards. He hit a pair of threes, dished out several nice passes, and overall is the glue to the Simeon squad. No doubt he lived up to expectations despite not being quite as good as he is capable of being.

Kendrick Nunn, SG, Simeon – He is just beginning to scratch the surface of how good he is going to be, and that is a little bit scary. Nunn has a great looking stroke, and is extremely athletic. He blocked a trio of shots in the game, and plays with a high motor on every possession. On a normal team he would be a go to scorer, but for Simeon he comes off the bench. Nunn could emerge as one of the better off guards in his class as the season progresses and he gets more comfortable at the varsity level.

Otto Porter says his phone has been ringing quite a bit in the past week. He still only claims offers from Missouri and Georgetown, but he did note that UCLA, Tennessee, and Memphis have been in touch.

Oregon and Wake Forest dispatched assistants to check out Porter, and no doubt they were impressed. Chris Lowery of Southern Illinois was the only head coach to be seen this weekend in Marion.

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