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Thursday, March 24, 2011
Breaking down the field for Mr. Basketball

By Scott Powers

The ballots are in for Illinois’ Mr. Basketball, and it’s only a matter of time before the winner is announced.

Here’s a look at the top candidates for this year’s prize:

Max Bielfeldt, Peoria Notre Dame, Senior, Forward

Bielfeldt, a 6-8 power forward, averaged 23 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks for the Irish. Notre Dame went 28-0 and was nationally ranked before losing in the sectional semifinals. Bielfeldt was the Peoria area’s best player this season. He isn’t as highly touted as the other candidates, but he could steal a number of downstate votes. He is being recruited by Illinois and Michigan.


“Bielfeldt was such a huge mismatch for opponents at the high school level due to his combination of size, strength, craftiness and ability to step out and knock down a shot when he had to,” City/Suburban Hoops Report recruiting analyst Joe Henricksen said. “What sticks out is his consistent high level of production. He is such a presence and force, which enabled his teammates to thrive with so much attention paid to him every trip down the floor.”

Odds of winning: 15-1

Wayne Blackshear, Morgan Park, Senior, Guard

Blackshear, a 6-6 shooting guard, averaged 32 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and five blocks for the Mustangs this season. He had 56 points, 21 rebounds, eight blocks and seven steals in a win over Ellison. He played through a knee injury late in the year and kept up his production. Morgan Park did have a disappointing season as it was unable to defend it Public League title and didn’t advance to state. Blackshear was named the Chicago Sun-Times’ Player of the Year. He’s a two-time ESPNChicago.com all-area selection. He’s ranked No. 17 in the Class of 2011 by ESPN Recruiting. He was selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American game. He is a Louisville recruit.

“Wayne is the best player in the state of Illinois regardless of class,” Morgan Park coach Nick Irvin said. “He’s a leader. He gets his team involved. It’s not about Wayne getting 40 points. It’s not about Wayne getting 20 rebounds. He’s about winning.”

Odds of winning: 3-1

Ryan Boatright, East Aurora, Senior, Guard

Boatright, a 5-11 point guard, averaged 32 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals this season for the Tomcats. His team had its ups and downs, but won 24 games, defeated rival West Aurora for the first time in four seasons, gave Benet its only loss and reached the sectional title game. Boatright scored 63 points against Proviso West and had 55 points, 10 rebounds and 10 steals against St. Charles East. He was the ESPNChicago.com Player of the Year and is a two-time all-area selection. He is ranked No. 76 in the Class of 2011 by ESPN Recruiting. He’ll play at Connecticut next season.

“We’ve kind of compared him a little bit to Isiah Thomas,” East Aurora coach Wendell Jefferies said. “What he is really is a shorter Michael Jordan with his mentality and competitiveness. He can do it all on the court.”

Odds of winning: 5-1

Anthony Davis, Perspectives, Senior, forward

Davis, a 6-10 forward, averaged 32 points, 19 rebounds and seven blocks. He had one game of 30 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists and 11 blocks. His team had a tough season, winning six games. On a better team, he would have likely swept all the year’s awards. He’s was an ESPNChicago.com all-area selection. He was chosen to be in the McDonald’s All-American game. He is ranked No. 2 in the Class of 2011 by ESPN Recruiting. He’s a Kentucky recruit.

“Davis came on the scene last spring and has never looked back,” ESPN recruiting coordinator Reggie Rankin said. “From an unknown to being considered for the top spot in the class and signing with Kentucky, Davis has off-the-charts’ upside and is the toughest match up in high school basketball because of his size, length and guard skills.”

Odds of winnings: 50-1

Jabari Parker, Simeon, Sophomore, Forward

No underclassman has ever won Mr. Basketball, but Parker isn’t your ordinary underclassman. Parker, a 6-7 forward, averaged 15 points, six rebounds and two assists while leading Simeon to its second consecutive state title. He was an ESPNChicago.com all-area selection. He is ranked the No. 2 player in the Class of 2013 by ESPN Recruiting and is being recruited by nearly top college program.

Chason Randle
Chasson Randle is among the front-runners for Illinois' Mr. Basketball award.
“When all is said and done, he could be a dominant player like LeBron or Amare Stoudemire,” Simeon coach Robert Smith said. “He has the potential to be one of those dominant individual players.”

Odd of winning: 75-1.

Chasson Randle, Rock Island, Senior, Guard

Randle, a 6-2 point guard, averaged 22 points, eight rebounds and three assists while leading the Rocks to the Class 3A state championship. He was named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year. He is ranked No. 60 in the Class of 2011 by ESPN Recruiting. He will play at Stanford next season.

“Chasson Randle has done more for the state of Illinois high school basketball in the past year than any candidate,” Illinois Wolves club coach Mike Mullins said. “He has represented the USA, winning gold in the under-17 world championships. He recently was the only top candidate to lead his team to a state title in Peoria. All this while maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA and No. 1 class ranking. Chasson represents the ideal of Illinois high school basketball and is Mr. Basketball.”

Odds of winning: 2-1

David Sobolewski, Benet, Senior, Guard

Sobolewski, a 6-1 point guard, averaged 15.2 points, 6.1 assists, 3.8 rebound and 2.7 steals while leading Benet to a memorable season. The Redwings won their first 29 games, defeated top-ranked Simeon and was ranked No. 1 in the area and top 10 in the country at one point. Benet was upset in the sectional semifinals by East Aurora. Sobolewski’s individual stock could have benefitted from making a trip downstate. He’s a two-time ESPNChicago.com all-area selection. He’ll play at Northwestern next season.

“Dave was outstanding at handling pressure, scoring, and creating shots for his teammates,” Benet coach Gene Heidkamp said. “He consistently made others better. His leadership and decision making were important factors in our success.”

Odds of winning: 40-1