- Scott Powers, Reporter
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Ten years have passed since the Chicago area claimed the consensus No. 1 senior in the country.
Simeon’s Derrick Rose, Proviso East’s Shannon Brown and Homewood-Flossmoor’s Julian Wright all reached the top 10 in the last decade, but only Thornwood’s Eddy Curry earned the top spot.
Perspectives' 6-foot-10 senior forward and Kentucky recruit Anthony Davis is now on the verge of giving the area the No. 1 player again. Davis remained at No. 2 in the Class of 2011 when ESPN Recruiting released its new rankings on Tuesday, but he has a great shot at being No. 1 when the final rankings are updated in the spring.
“This class is really pushing us to figure out how we define the best player in the class,” ESPN.com senior basketball recruiting analyst Dave Telep said. “We had three guys who are completely different, but we kind of came to the conclusion Anthony Davis is the best long-range prospect in the group. We just have 2-3 months to confirm our suspicions in some elite settings.”
Whether Davis end ups No. 1 will likely be decided how he performs during workouts leading up to the McDonald’s All-American game. It’s been difficult to assess Davis during the high school season. He doesn’t face much high-level competition with his high school team, and when Perspectives has played quality opponents, his teammates have been outmatched.
Telep and ESPN’s other analysts want to see how Davis performs while playing with and against the country’s other top players. During the spring and summer, Davis proved he belonged, and now they want to see him do it again.
“There’s any eyeball test for him,” Telep said. “When he’s on the floor with the elite players in the class, we still want to see him conducting himself like a dominant player, not deferring to the other guys, just continuing to see that evolution.”
Aside from Davis, eight other Illinois players were ranked in the new ESPNU 100. Davis was joined by Morgan Park’s Wayne Blackshear (No. 17), Whitney Young’s Sam Thompson (No. 45), Rock Island’s Chasson Randle (No. 60), East Aurora’s Ryan Boatright (No. 76), Orr’s Mycheal Henry (No. 77), De La Salle’s Mike Shaw (No. 79), St. Ignatius’ Nnanna Egwu (No. 84) and Mount Carmel’s Tracy Abrams (No. 87).
“There are a couple people on the staff who certainly feel the difference between the two is negligible, if there is any,” Telep said. “I really think Julius Randle is the most improved guy in that class in terms just of shear production, ability and potential. I think I see things in Jabari Parker that are exciting. His body continues to change in little ways. I think he’s the most cerebral forward in that class. He probably has the best basketball IQ in that class.
“There is a tighter gap now than when the season began. I think both guys are having very good years.”</p?
Whitney Young sophomore Tommy Hamilton Jr. also made the ESPN’s Terrific 25 at No. 15.
As loaded as Illinois’ Class of 2011 and 2013 are, its 2012 class didn’t anyone record in ESPN’s Super 60.