Super Sophs – A Look at the Class of 2008

With DePaul basketball already having a committed prospect for the Class of 2009 in Burlington Central's Cully Payne, it's not too early to take a look at the best of the current sophomore class in-state. Some of the state's best were on display on Saturday at Whitney Young High School in Chicago. The Class of 2008 Top Prospects Showcase had quite the display of local talent in what looks like one of the deeper recruiting classes that Chicago and Illinois have seen.

The Gold team at the Showcase featured three players who all recently visited DePaul's X-treme Madness on October 14th. Timothy Christian 6-8 big man Josh Crittle has a college-ready body and is only beginning his sophomore year. Crittle displayed his shooting and rebounding skills on this date and overshadowed the competition. Josh has already taken unofficial visits to DePaul and Illinois. He has received a scholarship offer from DePaul and is getting serious interest from the Illini.

On the same team was Hales Franciscan's Matthew Humphrey. Humphrey is a silky smooth 6-5 shooting guard. Humphrey has very long arms and a bright future ahead of him. Matthew plays on a star-studded Hales team that is the clear favorite to win another Class A Illinois State Championship. At Hales, Humphrey plays alongside big man Javalle McGee, a California commit in point guard Jerome Randle, Marcus Relphorde, and Darien McKinstry. Already Humphrey is getting interest from ACC schools like Virginia Tech and a SEC school in Georgia. Georgia is a school that Humphrey is interested in because his sharpshooting cousin Billy Humphrey is a freshman this year for the Bulldogs.

The third member of the gold team that also visited DePaul last week is Fenton's Gozie Umeadi. The 6-3 wing displayed some athletic ability blocking shots while knocking down some long distance jumpers. Umeadi is a player who's stock will be rising.

6-5 point man DeAndre Liggins played on a team with most of his teammates from Chicago Washington. The team chemistry that this group brought allowed them to take advantage of their competition. Liggens is a very good passer and ballhandler who put on a behind the back dribbling display.

Many of the players at this event were forced to play outside of their natural position due to the lack of big men at this event. Crittle was one of the few big guys handling the inside chores.

Another player that visited DePaul on X-treme Madness Friday was Geneseo forward Tyler Storm. The 6-6 forward showed a good nose for the ball while grabbing many rebounds. Storm has not received much exposure on this side of Illinois, but is well known in Western Illinois and in Iowa. He has taken an unofficial visit to Iowa State and is receiving interest from Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois, Illinois State, and Wisconsin.

Storm's father, Brad Storm, is also his head coach at Geneseo High. The elder Storm talked about their experience at DePaul. "It was a fun and impressive night and we enjoyed it," said Storm. "The DePaul staff and everyone involved were very hospitable and the electricity in the gym showed that people are excited about the new era of men's basketball and the continuing of success with the women's program. We went in and met the coaching staff and their families. There were lots of future Blue Demons running around which was the first indication of the family atmosphere that Coach Wainwright is establishing. Coach took a few minutes to meet us in his office to explain his ambitions for the program."

Another sophomore that stood out at this event was Lake Park point guard Mike Dinunno. Dinunno is 5-10 and played on the sophomore team as a freshman last year. This year he will be playing on the varsity. Mike spent the summer playing with the 16-U Chicago Demons team. Dinunno has good court vision, handle and passing skills.

So who where the sophomores that weren't there? Not too many. But, 6-9 forward Mike Dunigan from Farragut missed the event due to a schedule conflict. 6-2 guard Matt Roth from Washington High is considered among the best sophs in the state. 6-10 forward Angel Garcia from Lake Forest Academy is another worth noting. We would be remiss if we also did not mention Isiah Williams, the 5-11 point guard at Farragut.

All in all, this showcase was one of the best organized and most talent rich events that we've seen this year. Keep an eye out for these rising talents on the IHSA scene this season.

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