The following is my scouting report on the Illinois prospects at the 2011 Nike Elite 100.
Class of 2013
Devin Williams, 6'-8", power forward (Cincinnati Withrow High School, Ohio)
This was my first opportunity to see Williams in person. He is a physical specimen with wide shoulders and a strong body. His tough and rugged style of play fits into the Big 10 perfectly.
Williams impressed most on the boards. He was tough and physical going after rebounds. The rising junior showed an aggressiveness and desire to grab rebounds that you don't see in the average high school player.
He is quick off the floor for second chance points. He wears goggles, and just like another Illini recruit that sported them, Nnanna Egwu, he sprints down the floor hard to be part of the transition game.
From an offensive standpoint, he showed solid post moves and the ability to take his man off the dribble from 15 feet. Williams proved he is certainly worthy of an offer from the Illini and brings toughness and rebounding on the interior.
Deshaun Munson, 6'-4", shooting guard (East St. Louis High School)
Munson showed well at the event in his hometown. He is a plus athlete who is versatile and brings many intangibles to a team. The rising junior proved once again his passing is special as he made several spectacular passes throughout the week.
He attacks the hoop hard and gets to the rim with ease. In an event where hardly anyone plays defense, Munson showed he was a good on-ball defender who can create turnovers when getting in passing lanes.
The biggest concern with Munson remains his two handed jump shot. His high school coach Ray Coleman has assured me he will be putting in work with Munson to improve his shot. If his jump shot was average, he would rank among the top 8 prospects in the state. He is still a high major target in the top 15 in Illinois.
Billy Garrett, 6'-4", point guard (Morgan Park High School – DePaul commit)
Garrett has already committed to his dad and Depaul, but being a top prospect from the state, he is certainly worth a mention. My biggest concern with the younger Garrett was whether or not he could play the point, considering he plays off the ball for his high school team and often in AAU.
Throughout the week in St. Louis, he proved he could play the point guard position and run a team. He has excellent size and poise for the position. His jump shot is pure from mid-range out to beyond the arc.
The most impressive aspect that stood out to me was his leadership and ability to make plays for himself and others in key moments. He moved into my top 10 in state players in the class.
Sterling Brown, 6'-4", shooting guard (Proviso East High School)
Brown showed off his athleticism in transition several times throughout the week. His jumper was hot and cold, but when he was on he made several shots from mid-range and out to three. These two aspects are going to be what earns Brown a high major scholarship. He needs to continue to improve in other areas of his game to be a more well-rounded player but still has what it takes to play in the Big 10.
Nolan Berry, 6'-8", power forward (De Smet High School, Missouri)
Berry was definitely more comfortable in this year's event than last year, where he was a last minute addition. The big man is effective running the floor and finishing in transition. In the half court he can play at all three levels. He has skilled moves in the post and showed the ability to score with his back to the basket.
He can take his man off the dribble and get to the hoop. His jump shot is pure and smooth. He still needs to add more weight, but I was impressed with how he fought hard on the boards against several of the physical big men in the tournament.
Kendall Pollard, 6'-4", small forward (Simeon High School)
Pollard was a relative unknown coming into the camp as he played for a loaded Simeon team. He proved he was worthy of being in St. Louis with the nation's best.
Pollard was particularly impressive in transition as a wing finisher. He proved he was a good defender with all the tools to be great. Pollard could be a prospect who breaks out this upcoming season with a bigger opportunity. He will be playing in July with Meanstreets.
Jaylon Tate, 6'-2", point guard (Undecided High School for 2011)
The talk of the message boards in the days leading up to the camp was Jaylon Tate and what high school he would attend next year. Surprisingly, Tate was unaware of how much attention he was receiving on the web.
On the court, Tate played solid and did what he does best by running his team. One aspect which popped out to me despite how much I have seen him was his explosive ball handling and crossover. His jump shot was solid from 15 feet. Tate remains my top point guard prospect in state and among the top five players in his class.
Alvin Ellis, 6'-4", shooting guard (De La Salle High School)
Ellis struggled shooting the ball throughout the week. He is a big-time athlete with upside. This upcoming season could be his breakout year with Tate no longer at De La Salle.
Quinten Payne, 6'-4", shooting guard (St. Charles North)
Payne is the younger brother of Cully Payne, who was a top prospect a few years ago. This was my first chance seeing Payne. The shooting guard is very good athlete and had a huge dunk over a big man which I saw from three courts down.
He drives hard to the hoop in the half court. One area he struggled with was turnovers. His shooting ability is solid and projects as a mid-major plus player.
Alex Foster, 6'-8", combo forward (De La Salle High School)
Foster played both in the post and on the perimeter during the week. When stepping out to the perimeter, he showed he could attack his man off the dribble and had a good feel for passing the ball. He struggled shooting the ball when I watched him. I am still a fan of Foster's upside, and he ranks in the top 10 prospects in the state.
Jordan Martin, 6'-9", power forward (Hazelwood Central High School, Missouri)
Martin was a last minute addition to the camp, but was a pleasant surprise. The Illini have shown interest in him. He has good size for the power forward position, with nice muscle tone.
Martin is athletic and showed glimpses of star potential with his post play. On one occasion, he sealed his man and finished with a powerful slam. He played great in spurts scoring on several possessions in a row and then disappearing for a quarter. His rebounding was solid. He is certainly in the mix with the Illini in 2013.
Class of 2014
Johnnie Vassar, 6'-0", point guard (Lawrence Academy, Massachusetts)
The player of the week from an Illini perspective was Johnnie Vassar. He has a small, compact body with excellent natural strength. He is quick with the ball in his hands and can break down his defender. He is aggressive but always under control. Vassar can find open teammates in transition or attack the hoop with his deceptive hops.
I really liked how Vassar ran his team and put his teammates in the best position to make plays. He understood the strengths and weakness of each player and put them in places where they could succeed.
Vassar is a pass-first point guard, but don't take his scoring ability for granted. He can put the ball in the hoop, especially off the bounce. Vassar proved to me he is without a doubt worthy of an Illini offer.