There were many prospects to watch at the 2010 Best of the Midwest Shootout. Day one's showcase game featured Lee from Huntsville, Alabama, against Chicago Whitney Young, and numerous prospects of Illinois interest were on the floor.
Class of 2011
Devin Langford, 6'-6", shooting guard (Lee HS, AL)
This was Devin's first of two showcase events in Illinois over the weekend. There had been much talk of a University of Illinois commitment for Langford. He was mum on that front when I talked to him in Marion. His team took on Chicago power Whitney Young in the final game of the night. Langford had been reported as being sick over the weekend, but wanted to play in the game.
He has excellent size and length at the shooting guard position. Once in college he will need to hit the weight room, but he has the frame to put on some mass. I thought he moved well on the perimeter. When he had the ball in his hands, he used a nice hesitation move to create space.
His jump shot has good form and a nice release. Defensively, he rebounded well and likes to fill passing lanes. His totals for the night were 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Sam Thompson, 6'-6", small forward (Whitney Young HS, IL – Ohio State)
Thompson was the star of the night. He has great athleticism and used it in this game to attack the rim with authority. The Ohio State commitment used a quick first step to blow by wing defenders and explode to the hoop.
Thompson is a very smooth player and has good length that will help on the defensive end in college. He showed off some of that ability in Marion by recording a couple of impressive blocks including one in transition.
If Whitney Young is going to achieve its goal of a state championship, Thompson will have to step up and be the leader of his team. This was a good start! I had Sam for 17 points in the victory.
Aaron Adeoye, 6'-5", power forward (Marion HS, IL)
Adeoye is an uncommitted prospect that is drawing interest from Midwest mid-majors. He played on the famed St. Louis Eagles AAU team this summer and was the unknown big man along with his four-star teammates. Aaron has a strong body and uses his strength well.
In his post game, he opened up wide and showed some nice skill. He was active on the offensive glass including a nice tip-back dunk. Running the floor was another attribute showed in this game. He said his top two schools are SIU-Edwardsville and UT-Martin.
Walter Pitchford 6'-9", small forward (Summit Christian HS, MI)
Pitchford is a former DePaul commitment that de-committed after the coaching change. He is very long and active on the glass. Walter looked smooth out on the perimeter while handling the ball and moved well without the ball. He is best as an athletic finisher.
His shot needs some work. He has a very high release point but does get good elevation off the floor. The bouncy forward showed he is a legit prospect and will have schools coming after him in the late signing period. He mentioned some of the schools he is hearing from. "Memphis, Kentucky, Arizona State, Indiana, Minnesota, and Illinois."
Class of 2013
Thomas Hamilton Jr., 6'-9", power forward (Whitney Young HS, IL)
Hamilton was recently named the top center prospect in the country by Scout.com. There is an awful lot to like in his game. He has a wide body that he uses to create room to score and rebound. The aspect of Hamilton's game that really stood out was his passing ability. He is a plus passer that sees the floor excellent for a big man, especially considering his youth.
Hamilton has soft hands and a soft touch around the hole. I would like to see him dominate in the post instead of drifting out to the perimeter. He can dominate on the interior, and when he realizes that no one will be able to stop him!
The big man has lost significant weight since I last saw him in June. This will help him in all areas of the game including quickness getting to rebounds shown in this game. He is a big time prospect that will have many schools coming after him.
Mangok Mathiang 6'-10", power forward (Brehm Prep, IL)
Mathiang has come on strong this season, playing well at the State Farm Tournament of Champions and again here at the Best of Midwest. He is extremely long and athletic. Mangok was very active on the glass recording several offensive rebounds for tip-back dunks.
While he is thin and a bit raw, the 6'-10" big man knows he is a post player and is developing his game at a nice pace, finishing strong around the hoop. He opens up wide, which makes for an easy entry pass and showed nice skill and footwork while working down low.
He had one particular left-handed turnaround hook that showed his enormous potential. Defensively he is very good with his timing and quickness. I really like the development of this young forward's game and so does the Illinois coaching staff as Jerrence Howard was tracking his progress recently at the State Farm Tournament of Champions.
Class of 2014
Jahlil Okafor, 6'-9", power forward (Whitney Young HS, IL)
Best prospect on the floor! With so many talented players on the floor in Whitney Young's game against Lee, it was Okafor in limited minutes that stood out. The young big man looks like he could eventually blossom into a Jared Sullinger type player. He has excellent size and basketball intelligence for his age.
His post game, footwork, and skills were at an extremely high level. On the glass he is very tough, grabbing the ball and keeping it high before passing it to his guards. He also was a force on the defensive end, recording several blocked shots for Whitney Young. Okafor looked like a top 10 player nationally in 2014 and probably the top prospect in the state of Illinois in that class.
Paul White, 6'7", small forward (Whitney Young HS, IL)
Many have considered White the second best prospect in the Illinois' class of 2014 behind his teammate. There is certainly much to like in the small forward's game. To be 6'-7" and have the length White does for a wing position as a high school freshman is truly remarkable.
Even if he didn't grow any more he has the size to play the wing in college right now. He could stand to gain muscle, but that will come over the next four years of high school.
His athleticism is second only to Thompson on his team, which is nothing to be ashamed of! He has big-time bounce and is a mature player on the floor. His perimeter shot looked smooth. White showed the potential to be a very good perimeter defender. Although he is only playing limited varsity minutes, he already has colleges knocking his door down.