Powers' All-Area boys hoops team
March, 15, 2012
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com
Scott Powers/ESPNChicago.comTyler Ulis' breakout sophomore season earned him a spot on the All-Area team.Jubril Adekoya, Andrew, junior, forward: Adekoya was a double-double machine for the Thunderbolts this season, averaging 15.8 points and 11.1 rebounds. He set a single-season school record with 301 rebounds and a single-game record with 21 rebounds versus Tinley Park. He helped Andrew to a 24-3 record. He is being recruited by a number of mid-major schools.
Brian Bennett, Plainfield East, senior, center: Bennett was one of the premier big men in the area this season. He averaged 15.9 points, 6.9 rebounds and one block and shot 59.7 percent from the field for 27-2 Plainfield East, which was ranked in the top 10 for most of the season. Bennett will play at Cal Poly next season. “He is proof that hard work pays off and the players are made in the offseason,” Plainfield East coach Branden Adkins said. “He grew and matured so much as a person and as a player. He came in with a great attitude and was a leader on this team. He started to do things that we knew he could do which was be dominant on the inside.”
Connor Boehm, New Trier, senior, forward: Boehm put the finishing touches on a memorable career this year. A four-year varsity player, he averaged 19.4 points and 9.2 rebounds as a senior. He scored 1,512 career points and is the school’s all-time rebounding leader. He will play at Dartmouth next season. “Connor has developed into a great all-around player,” New Trier coach Scott Fricke said. “He can beat you from the inside or outside. It’s going to be hard to replace a double-double every night.”
Nathan Boothe, Warren, senior, center: Boothe and Darius Paul formed a 1-2 post punch that few schools could match this season. Boothe averaged 14 points, seven rebounds and two blocks for the Blue Devils. He’s headed to Toledo. “He became much more of an athlete,” Warren coach Chuck Ramsey said. “He ran the floor well. He became a good post defender.”
Kory Brown, Elgin, senior, guard: Brown really came on his senior season and especially came up big in marquee games. He averaged 17 points, eight rebounds and two assists and helped Elgin to its first Elgin holiday tournament title since 1999. He’s starting to receive Division I interest. “He can’t be stopped going to the rim,” Elgin coach Mike Sitter said. “Now, his jumper is better than last year, and his jumper last year was better than his sophomore year. He works tirelessly.”
Sterling Brown, Proviso East, junior, forward: Brown’s versatility has been key to Proviso East’s unbeaten season. He can step inside or out for the Pirates. He averages 12.7 points, which is second on the team, and a team-leading 9.7 rebounds. He’s being recruited by a number of high-major schools. “I thought in his freshman and sophomore years he would float in and out,” Proviso East coach Donnie Boyce said. “He’d give you five minutes and then disappear for two or three minutes. He’s a lot more consistent this season.”
Keith Carter, Proviso East, senior, guard: Carter emerged as Proviso East’s top player and leader this season. The Pirates have gone 31-0 and have advanced to the semifinals behind Carter’s play. He’s averaging 20.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists. He’s headed to Saint Louis next year. “He did a good job of stepping out of his shell and becoming more of a vocal leader,” Proviso East coach Donnie Boyce said. “He keeps everyone focused and allows the guys not to get frustrated.”
Scott Powers/ESPNChicago.comKeith Carter has been key to Proviso East's resurgence.
David Cohn, York, junior, guard: Cohn was one of the area’s most prolific scorers, averaging 22 points, five rebounds and five assists for the Dukes. He broke a 50-year-old school record with 47 points in a game this season and shot 51 percent from the floor and 48 percent from 3-pointer range. He has six Division I offers. “I’ve seen people score 50 points in a game, but I’ve never seen someone do it with jump shots,” York coach Tom Kleinschmidt said. “It was an unbelievable sight. It’s a sight I’ve never seen.”
Willie Conner, Crane, senior, guard: Conner turned himself into an all-around player as a senior and was one of top guards in the Chicago Public League. He averaged 21 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks for the Cougars. He is uncommitted. “Willie has a very high ceiling,” Crane coach Chris Head said. “He’s athletic, strong, has a great mid-range game. He will be a much better college player.”
Milton Doyle, Marshall, senior, guard: Doyle did a lot of everything for the Commandos this season. He averaged 19 points, eight rebounds, five assists, five steals and two blocks while Marshall to a sectional title. He will play next season at Florida International. “He had a double-double for us every night,” Marshall coach Henry Cotton said. “He had a great season for us even though he only played one year for us. I wish we could have had him longer.”
Devin Foster, Curie, senior, guard: Foster was one of the surprise standouts this season. He averaged 18 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals while helping Curie to be among the top teams in the state. He’s uncommitted. “He’s became a more complete basketball player,” Curie coach Mike Oliver said. “From last year to this year, he became a complete basketball player, especially on defense, and his rebound ability really surprised us this year.”
Billy Garrett Jr., Morgan Park, junior, guard: Garrett Jr. continued to take strides during his junior season. After taking over for Wayne Blackshear as Morgan Park’s leader, he averaged 24 points, six assists and six rebounds for the Mustangs. He is considered one of the top guards in the country and is committed to DePaul. “We had a young team that brought back two varsity players, and he helped us make it to the sectional final,” Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin said. “He is the second best player in the state’s junior class behind Jabari Parker.”
Tony Hicks, St. Rita, senior, guard: Hicks emerged as one of the state’s top seniors this season, averaging 22.1 points, four rebounds and four assists. He shot 48 percent from the field and 43 percent from 3-point range. He had five games of 30-plus points. He will play at Penn next season. “It’s been great to see Tony elevate his game from sophomore year to senior year,” St. Rita coach Gary DeCesare said. “We talked about being the best, and he put in the time to be the best. I believe he had the best senior year out of anybody in the Chicago area. I coached a lot of great players as a high school coach over the years, and Tony’s senior year was as good as any of them.”
Marlon Johnson, Joliet West, senior, center: Johnson was as tough as anybody inside this season. He averaged 14 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocks for Joliet West. He’s uncommitted. “Marlon improved more in four years than any player that I have ever coached,” Joliet West coach Luke Yaklich said. “He played an integral role in our success and is going to continue to develop at the junior college level. He is a terrific young man and has represented our program admirably.”
Reggie Johnson, St. Joseph, senior, guard: Johnson led St. Joseph with his all-around game to a 29-9 record and a regional title after the Chargers started out slow this season. He averaged 17.6 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals. He’s signed with Tennessee State. “As a coach, it was a joy to watch Reggie develop and emerge as a leader and a complete player,” St. Joseph coach Gene Pingatore.
Mike LaTulip, Prospect, senior, guard: LaTulip was one of the area’s top shooters and scorers. He averaged 22 points and four assists. He also connected on 75 3-pointers this season. He became the school’s all-time leading scorer this season. He’s headed to Illinois next season. “What impresses me the most about Mike is his work ethic and desire to get better each day,” Prospect coach John Camardella said. “He is one of the most competitive and skilled players I have coached and with this combination, he has a very bright future ahead of him.”
Scott Powers/ESPNChicago.comMike LaTulip's lethal jumper helped him average 22 points per a game this season.
Robert Knar, Mundelein, junior, guard: Knar put together a complete stat line for Mundelein, which went 26-8 this season. He averaged 22 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 steals. He also set the single-season school record with 103 3-pointers. He’s 23 points shy of the school’s career scoring record. He has a number of mid-major offers. “I thought he did a very nice job of having an overall season,” Mundelein coach Richard Knar said. “He had 201 assists to 47 turnovers. It was almost a 5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, which is phenomenal for a kid who handles the ball as much as he does.”
Donald Moore, Bloom, senior, guard: Moore is the main reason Bloom is making its first trip to the state tournament since 2000. Moore averaged a team-best 13.7 points and 3.8 assists for the Blazing Trojans. He also made a team-best 37 3-pointers. He’s uncommitted.
Jovan Mooring, Hillcrest, junior, guard: Mooring’s scoring ability has helped Hillcrest back to the Class 3A semifinals. He averages a team-best 15.2 points and scored a season-high 26 points against Lemont. He’s uncommitted.
Kendrick Nunn, Simeon, junior, guard: Along with Jabari Parker and Steve Taylor, Nunn was vital to Simeon’s success this season. He averaged 15 points a game and led Simeon in scoring in five games this season. He’s considered one of the top juniors in the country and is uncommitted. “It’s been a great year for him,” Simeon coach Robert Smith said. “He stepped up into a bigger role versus last year and his freshman year. You could see the maturity in him.”
Scott Powers,/ESPNChicago.comKendrick Nunn was Robin to Jabari Parker's Batman.
Jahlil Okafor, Whitney Young, sophomore, center: Okafor may only be a sophomore, but he’s already established himself as one of the premier big men in the country. He averaged 24.8 points, 12.6 rebounds, 5.3 blocks and 4.1 steals and shot 69 percent from the floor for the Dolphins. He’s ranked among the top sophomores in the country and is being recruited by nearly everyone.
Jabari Parker, Simeon, junior, forward: Parker is the ESPNChicago.com Player of the Year. He’s also a two-time all-area selection. There were a lot of expectations on Parker, who is the nation’s top junior, and he lived up to them this season. He averaged 26 points and nine rebounds while leading Simeon to a national ranking. He’s being recruited by nearly every school in the country. “I was impressed by how dominant he was,” Simeon coach Robert Smith said. “Whatever we needed -- blocked shots, baskets, 3-pointers, passes. He just dominated the game so much this year.”
Darius Paul, Warren, senior, forward: A two-time all-area player, Paul was as dominant as any big man this season. He averaged 17.8 points and 9.8 rebounds for Warren, which won a sectional title. He also shot 50 percent from the field. He’ll play at Western Michigan next season. "I think Darius improved a great deal from his junior season to his season year,” Warren coach Chuck Ramsey said. “He’s been the best rebounder I had in my time at Warren.”
Aaron Simpson, North Chicago, senior, guard: A two-time all-area selection, Simpson was one of most entertaining players to watch this season. He averaged 26 points a game and had numerous 30-plus-point performances. He became the school’s career leader in 3-pointers this season. He’ll play at Illinois State next season. “I teach my kids the game of Bozo when they had the buckets,” North Chicago coach Gerald Coleman said. “The best percentage is the first bucket. With Simpson, the best percentage is the sixth bucket With Simpson, that’s not basketball. You always want to take the best percentage shot. But if we had to go with a game-winning shot, I’m going to set him up for a 30-foot jump shot. I’m serious.”
Rashaun Stimage, Farragut, senior, forward: Stimage was one of the most versatile players in Chicago this season. He averaged 20 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks while leading the Admirals. He had 26 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks against St. Joseph in the final game of his career. He’s uncommitted. “When he came into Farragut, all he did was rebound and block shots,” Farragut coach William Nelson said. “His overall game has picked up a hell of a lot. From the beginning to the end, it was night and day.”
Juwan Starks, West Aurora, senior, forward: Starks completed his historic career by becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer this season. He averaged 18 points and six rebounds for the Blackhawks and led them to a sectional title as a senior. He’s uncommitted. “First of all, I thought he provided very good leadership for his team,” West Aurora coach Gordie Kerkman said. “He was our leader in scoring as well as rebounding. His biggest asset is probably his outside perimeter shooting.”
Steve Taylor, Simeon, junior, forward: Taylor was the only national-ranked top-100 senior in Illinois. He averaged 18 points and eight rebounds for the top-ranked Wolverines. He’s won two state championships and will have a chance at a third one over the weekend. He will play at Marquette next season. “I’ve been impressed by his rebounding, toughness and sacrifice,” Simeon coach Robert Smith said. “He sacrificed a lot this year. He’s a senior. He’s committed to Marquette. He’s been behind Jabari (Parker) all the time. It’s not a jealousy thing. They’re not competing against each other. That’s huge for someone who is a top-100 player to say all he wants to do is win.”
Tyler Ulis, Marian Catholic, sophomore, guard: Ulis is one of three sophomores to make the all-area team. He gave opponents fits this season and averaged 20 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists and two steals. He also connected on 47 3-pointers. His recruiting interest continues to grow. “Tyler is a very special athlete because of his game sense and leadership,” Marian Catholic coach Mike Taylor said. “Along with statistics that show he can take over a game, he has outstanding vision on the floor and an uncanny knack to involve his teammates and make everybody on the floor with him a better player. For a sophomore, he possesses tremendous maturity and a great knowledge of the game.”
Jerron Wilbut, Downers Grove South, senior, guard: Wilbut was one of the state’s top seniors and scorers. He averaged 18.8 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals for the Mustangs. He scored 33 points against Glenbard North. He’s considered the state’s top unsigned senior. “Jerron is a gifted basketball player,” Downers Grove South coach Jay Baum said. “He can get to the rim with ease and shoot the three from well behind the arc. He also takes pride in his defensive abilities. He is one of the most talented basketball players in Downers South history.”
Milik Yarbrough, Zion-Benton, sophomore, forward: Yarbrough has established himself as one of the state’s top sophomores. He averaged 23.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists this season for the Zee-Bees. He had games of 40 and 44 points. He already has a number of high-major offers. “He can score in a variety of ways,” Zion-Benton coach Don Kloth said. “Certainly, we give him freedom because he can create on his own. I’ve actually been pretty happy on how he’s developed throughout the year.”
Gabe Levin, Oak Park, senior, forward: Levin stepped up this season in a number of ways to keep Oak Park among the area’s top teams despite dealing with injuries. He averaged 19 points, nine rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks. He’s uncommitted. “He was such a versatile threat for us on both sides of the ball,” Oak Park coach Matt Maloney said. “He guarded four positions and led our team in charges. Offensively, he was more than slasher. He shot 42 percent from behind the arc and was incredible on the boards. He's going to be a steal for a Division I program.”