Now that most of the schools have their Letters of Intent in hand you're seeing releases about most of the big prospects. While the very big prospects like Dai-jon Parker and Mike Shaw signed with other schools (Vanderbilt and Illinois respectively) these young men are expected to help schools in the future. Here's a quick run down of the four classes. (Note: Chicago State isn't included because their class hasn't been officially announced yet.)
When listing each school's classes I've tried to highlight the local players and give a quick run down of what each class will bring to the table next season and beyond.
Players: Chicago-area players Dave Sobolewski (6-2, G, Benet Academy, Naperville, Ill.) and forward Mike Turner (6-8, F, University of Chicago Laboratory High School, Chicago, Ill.), plus Tre Demps (6-2, G, Ronald Reagan, San Antonio, Texas)
Comments: With the departure of Michael Thompson there is going to be an opening at point guard. Bill Carmody worked to fill that void with this class. The additions of Sobolewski and Demps should make things easier. Both are intelligent points guards, with Demps being rated slightly higher by ESPN's Scouts Inc. Turner though could end up being the best player from this class. He'll need some time to develop, but he's got good size and athleticism and a good feel for the game that could make him a valuable post player for the Wildcats. It seems like Northwestern was on Turner early in the process and it could end up being a valuable move for Carmody.
Players: Chicago-area players Macari Brooks (6-2, SG, Rich South H.S.) and Jamee Crockett (6-4, F, Crete-Monee) plus Braeden Anderson (6-8, F, Wilbraham and Monson Academy, Wilbraham, Mass.), Shane Larkin (5-11, PG, Dr. Phillips H.S., Orlando) and Derell Robertson (6-9, C, Mendenhall School, Mississippi)
Comments: By getting two Mac Irvin Fire AAU program players to commit to DePaul Oliver Purnell has begun to reopen the city of Chicago to the Blue Demons. While DePaul did lose out on Shaw, there is a lot of athleticism in this class and it appears to fit well with Purnell's style of play. Larkin is the big get in this class and will immediately push from playing time with Brandon Young and Jeremiah Kelly during his freshman season. All of these players want to push the ball in transition and are very athletic. They seem to fit Purnell's style of play perfectly. Getting Anderson to sign now was big for DePaul, because there seem to be scouts that think he could become a break out type player while playing in the United States this fall, as he's originally from Okotoks in Alberta, Canada.
Here's some video of Robertson from a local television station.
Players: Colin Beatty (6-4, G, Barton County CC, Lanham, Md.) and Joe Crisman (6-4, G, Munster, Munster, Ind.)
Comments: Two more guards for the Loyola program. Beatty and Crisman both appear to be good fits for Loyola and with Geoff McCammon and Terrance Hill graduating there was some need for some more backcourt help. Of course, there is also some need for size and Jim Whitesell will have to try and take care of that issue later. Crisman was named the 11th best player in the state of Indiana by the Indianapolis Star in October. It said he's "physically strong and a well-round offensive threat." Sounds like someone I'd expect to be in a Ramblers uniform come the fall.
Players: Chicago Public League (CPL) players Jerome Brown (6-4, SG, Morgan Park H.S.), Ahman Fells (6-5, G/F, Simeon) and Greg Travis (6-0, PG, Currie), along with 6-foot-5 shooting guard Marc Brown (6-5, SG, Dallas), and Will Simonton (6-11, C, Fishburne Military Academy, Va.)
Comments: This class is an excellent start for Flames head coach Howard Moore. Getting Brown to come to UIC is a job well done. Brown had previously committed to Florida State and also could've gone to Minnesota, Nebraska or Penn State. The five players spread the range from bigs to smaller players and all have a lot of upside. There is a good mix with the three CPL players along with two outsiders that help round out the talent on the roster. Considering the roster overhaul that UIC is likely to undergo at the end of this season it's a good start for Moore, but there's still work to be done.
The other thing that stands out? How well respected many of these recruits are for their defense. That's going to be a hallmark of Moore's teams and bringing those types of players in is obviously important to him.