Piper's take: Illini targets in Scout100

Lead basketball reporter Derek Piper gives his thoughts on where Illini targets stand in the new Scout100 rankings for 2017.

Top-100 Illini targets

http://www.scout.com/player/185842-kris-wilkes?s=169

Wilkes is a future NBA wing with his athleticism and high level of skill. He is a top-five scorer on the Under Armour circuit with 20 points per game.

http://www.scout.com/player/190148-brian-bowen?s=169

Bowen is a straight up bucket-getter, and he's a threat to score it from all three levels. He's also an elite talent and future NBA Draft pick. Bowen averaged more than 18 points per game with MeanStreets this spring.

http://www.scout.com/player/185755-jeremiah-tilmon?s=169

Tilmon missed the entire spring AAU season, but he remains in the top 20. That speaks to his talent and potential. He is a presence in the paint and he's mobile for his size. His footwork is really good, and he's only scratched the surface of what he can be as an offensive threat.

http://www.scout.com/player/185132-paul-scruggs

Scruggs is not a five-star talent, but he's considered one of the top seven players in the Midwest in this class. A dangerous outside jumper is the only thing holding Scruggs back from that next echelon. But still, he is a high-level player with his ability to attack off the dribble, finish strong at the rim and facilitate for his teammates.

http://www.scout.com/player/193163-derek-culver?s=169

Culver has the ceiling of a top-25 prospect, but he hasn't reached a level where he consistently dominates games. Coaches love his athleticism, length, and ability to run the floor, rebound and finish at the hoop.

http://www.scout.com/player/190152-jordan-goodwin?s=169

The rankings experts got it right that Goodwin is the top 2017 talent playing high school ball in Illinois. He followed up an outstanding junior season with a fantastic spring on the EYBL circuit. Goodwin averaged 16.4 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. He's still too low outside of the top 50. It's probably close enough for now, but definitely low enough to keep Goodwin hungry in July.

http://www.scout.com/player/201784-trent-frazier?s=169

This is a favorable spot for Frazier, who played one session on the EYBL circuit this spring. But he didn't play a big role being that he was rolling with a new team. Still, Frazier is the top point guard in the state of Florida, and he can flat out shoot it. He's really good in transition and off the ball-screen.

http://www.scout.com/player/194878-v-j-bailey?s=169

Bailey stepped up and produced this spring with 16.6 points per game on the EYBL circuit. He is a smooth lefty with a really strong mid-range game, and he can get to the hoop as well. Bailey is the son of Tonya Buford-Bailey, who was a hurdles national champion at Illinois, and later the head coach of the women's track and field program.

http://www.scout.com/player/196000-justin-smith?s=169

Smith made a positive climb in the rankings after showing more athleticism and aggressiveness this spring. He averaged 8.8 points and 4.8 rebounds on the EYBL circuit. Smith was most impressive with what he showed as a leaper -- catching lobs for highlight slams. He has a lot of ability at the offensive end.

http://www.scout.com/player/182480-nojel-eastern?s=169

Eastern sustained a significant drop in his ranking after this spring. He is not an elite athlete, and he needs to improve his outside jumper. That being said, he may be a tad low here. Eastern averaged 9.4 points and 4.9 rebounds on the EYBL circuit this spring. He doesn't wow you, but he makes winning plays and he has a high level of versatility.

Dropped out

http://www.scout.com/player/199262-damonte-williams?s=169

The major buzz with the rankings in Illini nation will focus on Williams' drop from a top-50 prospect to out of the top 100. Williams did not have a very good spring. He averaged nine points and 4.2 rebounds per game on the EYBL circuit, but he shot just under 26 percent from deep. His inconsistency continues to be very frustrating. Williams had three games in double figures during EYBL play, including one with 24 points and a buzzer-beater to win. But he also had four games with less than five points.

In a clash of top in-state talent when MeanStreets and Mac Irvin met in Atlanta over Memorial Day weekend, Williams essentially disappeared. He had four points, while going 1-of-4 from the field. He did something similar in the biggest game of the season for Peoria Manual in the state semifinals. The Rams needed his best, and Williams had two points on only five shots.

There are questions about his motor. There are questions about his competitive drive and ability to keep the switch flipped on. Williams has top-100 talent, but it's hard to argue that his drop is unjustified. He has not produced like a top-100 prospect.


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