Young standouts from All-Illinois Invite

Lead basketball reporter Derek Piper breaks down some top 2018 and 2019 in-state prospects from the All-Illinois Invite last Saturday.

Talen Horton-Tucker - Simeon 2018 wing (Mac Irvin 16U)

There wasn't a more impressive player at the 16U level than Simeon wing Talen Horton-Tucker. The big-bodied guard is a unique talent with a Jared Sullinger-like build to his 6-foot-4 frame. But don't let his bulk fool you. Horton-Tucker is quick and mobile, and he is extremely skilled with the ball in his hands. He has exceptional handles, which allow him to push the ball in transition. He uses his body to create space on drives and finish through contact. Horton-Tucker also has a knock-down stroke, and he is an active defender. 

Horton-Tucker isn't a prototypical guard. He doesn't fit into that kind of box. But you could say the same about Belleville Althoff wing Jordan Goodwin, who is now considered the best player in the state. The Illini want Goodwin as much as any player on the recruiting board in the 2017 class. They're well aware of Horton-Tucker in 2018 as well. Both players are simply best described as 'gamers'.

Ayo Dosunmu - Morgan Park 2018 point guard (Mac Irvin 16U)

Some may not know how to pronounce his name, but Ayo Dosunmu's game is easy to understand. The 2018 point guard is next in a line of really good point guards at Morgan Park over the past few years, along with Mr. Basketball winner Charlie Moore and Marcus LoVett. Dosunmu is a smooth athlete at 6-foot-3, and he is a natural playmaker with his vision. He plays with an effortless flow, and he is lethal in the open floor. He can also break down his defender in the halfcourt and find his way into the lane.

Dosunmu is currently considered the No. 2 in-state prospect in 2018 behind Champaign Central wing Tim Finke. Illini head coach John Groce extended an offer to Dosunmu last week, and he told that it was a "great feeling". More offers are coming, and if he can become consistent with his outside jumper, he'll be one heck of a talent.

LJ Johnson - Morgan Park 2019 guard (Mac Irvin 15U)

Morgan Park freshman guard LJ Johnson was a dominant force on Saturday. Johnson is an explosive offensive weapon with his combination of athleticism, scoring ability and handles. He threw down a number of slams - getting above the rim with ease. No one was able to contain him off the dribble, and he played with a sense of determination to score at will. Johnson is already considered one of the top five players in the state in 2019, and he could be one of the top two.

Kezo Brown - Simeon 2018 point guard (Mac Irvin 16U)

It was an odd high school season at Simeon for Kezo Brown. Once considered as one of the most promising in-state prospects on the rise, Brown was on the bench more than the court as a sophomore. His playing time took a significant dip from his freshman year. Brown has been back on the court this spring in a talented backcourt with Horton-Tucker and Dosunmu. He's had no problem putting points on the board. Brown can heat up from the outside with a smooth lefty stroke. He also has good quickness and playmaking ability, which were the highlights of his freshman year. Brown must change paces effectively, while also not relying too much on the outside shot.

Kahlil Whitney - Solorio 2019 forward (Mac Irvin 16U)

Solorio forward Kahlil Whitney has already been tabbed as the best prospect from the state in the 2019 class. At 6-foot-5, Whitney has the length, athleticism and frame to become an elite-level talent. He also sports a nice stroke, and he is a finisher around the rim. Whitney is still developing and learning, while playing up a level on the AAU circuit. But he has the potential to be a blue-chip recruit when it's all said and done.

Bacari Simmons - Simeon 2018 wing (Mac Irvin 16U)

There are plenty of players to focus on when looking at the 16U Mac Irvin Fire, but Simeon wing Bacari Simmons is making sure not to be forgotten. Simmons is an athletic scorer with some flash to his game. He poured in 31 points in an impressive outing last Saturday. Simmons showed off a nice lefty stroke, and he attacked the rim off the bounce. He will join Horton-Tucker, Brown and Evan Gilyard on a talented Simeon team next season.

Markese Jacobs - Uplift 2019 point guard (Mac Irvin 15U)

Rising sophomore point guard Markese Jacobs is one to watch. Jacobs is quick, strong and athletic as a scoring playmaker. He is particularly dangerous in transition, and he can hit the three as well. Jacobs and Johnson make for one heck of a combo in the Mac Irvin Fire backcourt.

Brandon Hurt - Marian Catholic 2018 point guard (Team Rose 16U)

Marian Catholic point guard Brandon Hurt had a good showing on Saturday. Hurt is rock-solid in many aspects of his game. He makes plays for himself and his teammates off the bounce. He changes paces well, and he has good overall feel for the game.

Treavon Martin - Curie 2018 forward (Team Rose 16U)

At 6-foot-7, Curie forward Treavon Martin has an attractive combination of length and athleticism. He threw down a highlight flush on Saturday that electrified the gym. Martin is also a very good rebounder. He posted 10 points and 14 rebounds in the Class 4A final in March. Martin is raw as a total package, but there is no question that he is very talented.

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