Stevenson forward Justin Smith is ready to hit the road in June.
Four-star wing Justin Smith has made plenty of highlight plays above the rim this spring. He has opened eyes with his boost in athleticism and assertiveness. Smith did more of the same on Saturday with Stevenson at the Riverside Brookfield Summer Shootout. He splashed jumpers in the halfcourt, and threw down some rim-rattling slams in transition. Smith had a team-high 19 points in the opener, and he followed it up with 18 points in the next contest.
A number of suitors have lined up at the next level. The Illini have continued their pursuit, and they'd like to get Smith on campus this month for a visit. Smith will head to the NBPA Top-100 Camp later this month. His team will go to Michigan for their team camp as well. Smith told IlliniInquirer.com that he also has plans to visit Michigan State and Xavier right now.
Morgan Park's Ayo Dosunmu continues to shine bright.
Rising junior Ayo Dosunmu has made one thing very clear this spring: He's the next big thing on the hardwood in Chicago. The 2018 point guard is a natural-born bucket-getter in the backcourt. He led Morgan Park with a game-high 35 points in his team's first game on Saturday, which ranks sixth among all individual scoring outings in the 14-year history of the tournament.
Dosunmu dominated on the 16U EYBL circuit in April and May, and he made his mark on the 17U scene as well. The 6-foot-3 point guard averaged 17 points per game in seven contests at the 17U level this spring, while shooting 47.7 percent from the field and 50 percent from deep. Dosunmu has an effortless flow to his game, and he is extremely difficult to contain off the dribble. The Illini extended an offer to Dosunmu early last month, and he also has offers from SMU, Texas A&M and UNLV. John Groce and his staff would like to get him on campus as soon as possible.
Don't sleep on Curie's Elijah Joiner.
Three-star combo guard Elijah Joiner is a no-doubter at the mid-major level. But on Saturday, he showed why some higher level programs may want to pay attention. Joiner is a physical guard at 6-foot-3, and he is dangerous when he's in attack mode off the bounce. He's also the unquestioned leader of the defending 4A champs.
Joiner averaged 11.4 points per game last season, including a 22-point outing in the semifinals against Auburn. He was 4-of-5 from deep during that contest as well. Joiner had a team-high 16 points in a win over West Aurora on Saturday. His most recent offers are from Ball State, St. Louis and Toledo. He holds offers from DePaul and UAB as well. That list could grow even more this summer.
Whitney Young point guard Xavier Castaneda is the real deal.
Junior point guard Xavier Castaneda has savvy beyond his years as a floor general. He directs traffic and leads his team like an established veteran with his ball IQ. Castaneda is superb in transition as well. He controls the pace of the game with his ability to shift gears, and he kicks it into high gear in the open court. Castaneda showed off his end-to-end speed in a blowout win over Richards on Saturday.
He forced turnovers at the defensive end, and in a flash, he finished at the hoop. Castaneda showed that he can hit the outside jumper as well. His overall intangibles are exactly what programs look for in a lead guard. He has the looks of a high-major playmaker right now, despite no high-major offers at the moment. Castaneda visited Champaign for Illinois' home finale against Minnesota last season, and the Illini would love for him to come back down for another trip to campus.
St. Joe's point guard Marquise Walker is prime for the big-time.
In the search for the top point guard in the state in the 2019 class, look no further than St. Joe's sophomore Marquise Walker. The 5-foot-10 playmaker will take over the spotlight in a program that will be without Nick Rakocevic, who is on his way to USC. Walker showed flashes of what he can be during the state tournament last season, as he posted a team-high 18 points in a heated battle against Althoff in the 3A semifinals.
Walker had 16 points in a close loss against Kenwood on Saturday, and that performance just scratched the surface of his potential. Walker has been a standout performer with Nike Team Florida on the EYBL 16U circuit this spring. He possesses great handles and an ability to knife into the lane. Walker is a skilled distributor in transition as well, and he can put points on the board with his jumper. The Illini have taken notice, and Walker told IlliniInquirer.com that he plans to take a visit to Champaign this month. Kansas also wants to get him on campus.