Traveling Team: Illinois Warriors

The Illinois Warriors continue our introductions of top traveling teams. This year's bunch looks to be deep as the Warriors have elite level prospects in three classes.

Larry Butler's Illinois Warriors team was so good one summer that Dwayne Wade came off the bench. Now, Butler's 2004 edition isn't quite that deep on big timers but there is talent up and down the roster, especially on the perimeter.

In fact, Butler's boys will probably anxiously anticipate zone defenses.

"We can really shoot it overall," Butler said. "We can really stroke it.

"We'll have a lot of size but every guy on this team can shoot, including Russell Mackins. He's a tough kid. He's sound and doesn't make a lot of mistakes. He's our next big time player after [Jon] Scheyer."

Beginning with Julian Wright, who is the team's top 2005 standout, the Warriors have three kids who could one day find themselves on all-star game rosters. Scheyer has been hailed as one of the elite shooters in America regardless of Class and is an elite player in 2006.

Mackins, a 6-5 winger from Cairo High, is about to burst onto the national scene after a fine freshman season of high school ball. Some feel he's the top prospect in 2007 in the state of Illinois.

Wright, who spent most of his high school season at the point, assumes his natural wing position again this spring.

"Julian is a guy whose game is unappreciated. He rebounds, he blocks shots and he's averaging right now 7-8-9 assists a game. He can go get 14 points. He's very comfortable with what he can do right now. On the circuit, he'll kill people. He's going to be a big time college player. His stat line is unbelievable."

Illinois Warriors (Oak Forest, Ill.)

Head Coach Larry Butler

Affiliation Nike

Top Prospect Julian Wright

Projected Starters SF Julian Wright (6-8, 190, JR), SG Jon Scheyer (6-5, 180, SOPH), C Jimmy Covington (6-8, 235, JR), SG Josh Tabb (6-4, 180, JR), PG Angel Santiago (5-10, 160, JR)

Others SG Jamar Smith (6-4, 180, JR), SG Jarrett Starwood (6-2, 180, PREP), SF Billy Parrish (6-4, 185, JR), PG Ray Nelson (6-2, 170, JR), SG Phillip Perry (6-2, 175, JR), SF/PF Kenyale Evans (6-7, 185, JR), PF Dermarr McKnight (6-8, 190, JR), C Marquis Young (6-9, 240, JR), SG Russell Mackins (6-5, 180, SOPH)

Famous Alum Quentin Richardson

First National Event Boo Williams


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