1. Derrick Rose 6-3 G Simeon (Chicago Ferrari)- Best freshman in the state, top 5 in the nation. Has the best handle in the state, can jump out of the gym and glide over people, and has a pure stroke. He led his Simeon team to the city-sophmore state championship with 19 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, and 4 steals. I personally feel that Simeon could of won state if he played varsity. The gaurd play wasn't that strong for Simeon when it counted. This summer his AAU team will wreck house, with him, Trey Blue, Tim Flowers, Antonio Topps, Brandon Hall, Kevin Johnson, Dionte Gaskew, and Colby Johnson. They've already won state at Rose dropped 23 points against the Michigan Hurricanes (6th in the nation) at Spiece (Ft. Wayne). He has an article in the sports section of the Chicago Suntimes, "Simeon's Rose in full bloom" (Sunday, May 2, 2004). At the Houston Kingwood Classic he was regarded as a top 10 sophmore in the nation (with scouts not knowing he was only a freshman). He scored 27 points and had 12 rebounds (while Illinois head coach Bruce Weber was watching) against a Texas team that finished 5th in the nation last year. This kid can play with any and everyone, at any level.
2. Russell Mackins 6-5 F Cairo (Team Illinois)- Versatile performer. 6-5 and still growing, could be a beast in Class A, but needs to play better competition. Helped his shool team to an undefeated regular season. He did not participate in the state tournament where everyone could of had a first hand look at him. The truth will come out this summer where everyone will see just who Russell Mackins is.
3. Justin Taylor 6-2 WF Rich Central (Next Level Sports)- One of the best leapers in his class. Has a nice mid-range jumper and has big hands. He played varsity all year, but rumor is that he is older than the typical freshman so playing varsity at his age isn't that much of an accomplishment. Not many know if the rumor is true but time will tell. He is well developed already. Although some say he's old, he still has a very nice game. He gave good minutes this year and made the all-tournament team in the Big Dipper. Needs to get better at handling the ball and handling pressure. He's on the AAU circuit with Next Level Sports, along with Anthony Morris, Dwayne Mayes, and DeMario Williams. They qualified for nationals in the state tournament but I think they would of made it to the championship if Anthony Morris would of played against Meanstreets.
4. Jonathon Montgomery 6-3 G Lincoln Park (Full Package)- Started at guard for Lincoln Park Varsity, even though the team was mostly frosh. and soph. Has an ok jumpshot but is a natural scorer. He was on TV against Simeon and played a good game and let everyone know he was for real. His young talented team gave Simeon a run for their money. He hit a last second shot to beat Prosser, winners of the State Farm Holiday Classic, in Bloomington/Normal. Playing against bigger and better competition all 4 years will have a great affect on him. His team should be at the top in a few years. He's playing AAU with Full Package, along with Jaloni Poston, Logan Derrick, Shannon Adams, and his little brother Jeremu Montgomery who is also a top prospect of his class. They were upset in the state tournament by the IL Rebels. His team will have to play better if they want to compete on the national level.
5. Tim Flowers 6-5 PF Simeon (Chicago Ferrari)- Tim is a beast. He boards hard and loves the game. He has fun while playing and is an excellent leader on the court. Flowers played sophmore for Simeon and helped his fellow team mate, Rose, win the city-sophmore championship. Tim gets the job done, he puts the ball in the basket. He is working on his mid-range game, just incase he doesn't get any taller. The only problem I see is that he doesn't get down the court that well, he will need to change that if he wants to be a top college prospect.
6. Breland McKnight 6-4 PF Peoria Manual (Illinois Warriors 16U/Illinois Fire 17U)- McKnight is a powerful force inside. He is a strong player who can get it done. Down in Peoria he played different types of teams, this summer we will see if he can hang with everyone.
7. Trey Blue 6-1 PG/SG Thornwood (Chicago Ferrari)- Blue has played varsity all year for a good team. Blue did well in many big games and his name was in the paper a lot this year. He has a good jumper, he made it downstate for the three-point contest as a freshman. With that, his handles are with the best and is a pressure player. He wants the ball when the game is on the line. A highlight in the sectional semi-final he hit 2 free-throws to prevail over Julian. Those throws clinched the win 54-50 in 2OT's. He has made a name for him self. He broke his foot the first week after the season was over but is back on his feet now. He missed the state tournament but this past weekend he played at the Spiece tournament (Ft. Wayne, IN). He was not his best but he played well enough to score double-digits in each game. He was the second leading scorer for Ferrari behind for against the Michigan Hurricanes. He is not 100% as of now but he hasn't lost his skills. He just needs to get his legs strong again and develop his quickness back. Watchout for the backcourt tandem of him and Colby Johnson next year. It might be a fun site to see if Darnell Westbrook stays and gets his grades.
8. Colby Johnson 6-3 SG/F Thornwood (Chicago Ferrari)- Is a fun player to watch and fun is what you will get it if Blue and Johnson stay at the same school. These two in the back court will light some eyes. He was a little timid this year on varsity, I feel it's because Bob Curran made them run plays all game, but this summer you will see the real Colby Johnson on Ferrari where he can get out and run and throw some dunks down. He has a good jump shot and a good, strong inside game as well. He is long and can go up and get everything. He is an all-around player who rebounds, scores, and plays defense. He is one of the few that I've seen who likes to play defense. He stays in shape as well. A highlight in the first game Thornwood played Thornton at home, he had 6 points and 10 rebounds, Thornwood won by 14. The first game against Julian, he held Brandon Ewing to 4 points while Thornwood started 2 freshman and 2 sophmores. He should shine this summer with his nation-ranked team. He helped Ferrari to a state championship and got some dunks in the mix. He has perfected his pull-up jumpshot and is a prolific slasher.
9. Justin Bocot 6-2 SG Bloomington (Team Illinois)- Bocot is showtime. Justin is a little flashy but he can get the job done when it's needed. He has ball handeling skills, a decent jumpshot, and a very high leap that allows him to dunk. He can sometimes get carried away with the crowd but I think that pumps him to play better. A mistake that Justin can not continue to make is trying to "return the favor". At the state tournament a kid threw the basketball through Bocots legs and scored. The crowed laughed so Justin decided to try to get him back. Bocot held his finger up to the crowd and said wait. He came down dribbled the ball through his legs about 8 times then shot a brick. Scouts won't like that type of play when he gets older. Some may understand now, but in order for him to become a nation-wide prospect he will have to play basketball. Even if he likes the crowd, that's ok, but he needs to just play along with them. Overall, Justin is very long and athletic. He has a nice body that will allow him to play at the next level. I think Justin Bocot is out to prove that he belongs with the best.
10. Grant Monroe 6-4 SG Schaumburg (Illinois Wildcats)- Nice size and a great shooter! Played varisty for a good team and will be very good his senior year if he grows a little more and perfects the jumper even more. We'll see how he fairs against guys his age this summer. So far I have not seen him in AAU, if he's not noticed that will hurt him in the long run.