The big game of the weekend was the City-Suburban Shootout featuring Illinois recruit Shaun Pruitt. Pruitt is someone that Illini fans are really hoping can come in right away and contribute as a freshman. What they saw Saturday was something that I have not seen out of Pruitt in a long time. Shaun came out with lots of fire and enthusiasm in the 1st quarter and looked to really want this one for his team. Pruitt has an assortment of post moves, something that Illini fans are craving from James Augustine. Pruitt's athleticism seemed much improved against Peoria Central as he attacked the rim with two handed monster jams and numerous tip-ins. Pruitt attacked the boards with authority as well.
STRENTHS: strong upper body, reliable jumper, legit 6'9, runs the pick and roll very well.
WEAKNESSES: needs more explosiveness, get better conditioning, takes it up too weak sometimes.
ILLINOIS INTEREST: Committed
Another player on hand Saturday was Calvin Brock of Chicago Simeon. Calvin is someone who Illinois is reportedly keeping a close eye on. Brock is the best kept secret in the state of Illinois for '04 and has drawn rave reviews as of late. Brock is very unselfish and seems to know the game of basketball very well. Didn't get many open looks on Saturday but managed to score his points on put backs and hustle plays. Would be a great addition to Pruitt in next years class.
STRENGTHS: good court awareness, team first mentality, explosive leaper, nice height for a SG/WF, seems to be a student of the game.
WEAKNESSES: very thin, decent shooter, not a "wow" type player.
ILLINOIS INTEREST: Medium-High
Chris Singletary and Farragut took the court on Saturday. Singletary is a highly touted point guard from the Class of ‘06. Chris was disappointing to me for the 1st time this weekend. I don't think he's much taller than 6'1. Singletary consistently put up wild outside attempts and didn't show any special ball handling or passing skills. I've seen Chris play lots better than this and should be someone that the Illini monitor closely over the next year.
STRENGTHS: Rich McBride type build, finishes well, can get to the lane whenever he wants.
WEAKNESSES: almost always goes right, poor shot selection, doesn't always get teammates involved.
ILLINOIS INTEREST: High
The final player of the weekend we'll analyze is DeAndre Thomas. Thomas is a big man the Illini have been looking at in the ‘05 class. Many people will argue that Thomas is a 6'4 C/PF but that's not the case. I think he's definitely 6'6 or taller, don't let the round frame deceive you. Thomas has enormous hands and a soft shooting touch he was money from the free throw line.
STRENTHS: nice touch and ball handling for a big man, won't get pushed around on the blocks, could lose some weight and be an effective post player and rebound on the D1 level.
WEAKNESSES: too short for a high major program, not a great leaper or shot blocker.
ILLINOIS INTEREST: Medium
Contributing to this article was Illiniboard.com member Ryan Christie