High School: Michigan State

Marian Catholic senior point guard Tyler Ulis named Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan State and USC as his four finalists on Thursday, according to his father.

Ulis, a 5-foot-9 point guard from Matteson, Ill., is ranked No. 38 overall and the No. 8 point guard in the Class of 2014 by ESPN. He eliminated DePaul, Florida State, Northwestern and Purdue from the schools he was considering.

[+] EnlargeTyler Ulis
AP Photo/Damen Jackson/Triple Play New Media

DePaul, Florida State, Northwestern and Purdue are out for point guard Tyler Ulis, who has narrowed his prospective college choices to Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan State and USC.

“It’s been a long time coming for him,” Ulis’ father, James Ulis, said in a phone interview on Thursday night. “He always felt like he could play at this level. It’s nice for him to be rewarded and people can see it.”

Ulis holds offers from Iowa, Michigan State and USC, but not from Kentucky. James said Kentucky coach John Calipari has expressed interest in Ulis and believes an offer could be coming.

“There’s mutual interest,” James said. “We’ve had the opportunity to talk to Coach Calipari, and they basically said Tyler is a great point guard, great leader and they would love to give him an opportunity to run their program. Coach Cal wants to get to know Tyler and us to get to know him.”

Kentucky made the list because of its recent successes, James Ulis said.

“John Calipari has produced the most point guards in recent years and has taken them right to the NBA,” he said. “He obviously knows how to coach point guards. He knows how to put them in positions to lead the team. He’s a tough coach. There’s accountability from Day 1 to win and win at a high level.”

While Kentucky is the newest suitor of Ulis, Iowa has been on him the longest.

“What I love about [Iowa coach Fran McCaffery] is from the beginning he clearly stated Tyler was the point guard to lead his team,” James said. “What is being said about Ty now is what Fran said about him last year. We also like the offense that Fran runs, and Fran is just a great guy. Tyler will get an opportunity to play the style he wants to play.”

Style also factored in Ulis’ decision to keep USC on his list. Ulis was attracted by the fast-paced game USC coach Andy Enfield used while previously at Florida Gulf Coast.

“Tyler really loves his offense, that open style of game -- pass, run-and-gun and open space,” James said. “They get up and down the court. They get after it. He’s coached in the NBA and obviously has some shooting videos out. He’s a great shooting coach. I think for Ty to go to the next level he has to knock down the 3 consistently.”

Michigan State also made the cut for a variety of reasons.

“Michigan State, obviously the tradition at point guard; I’m a big Magic Johnson fan,” James said. “They’ve won. They’re had success. You want your kid to play for Coach [Tom] Izzo. They always get some really good players. Obviously the family tie, [Tyler’s cousin] Travis Walton played there.”

James said no in-state schools made his son’s final list because the other schools were better fits. DePaul and Northwestern had been recruiting Ulis, and his family created relationships with DePaul coach Oliver Purnell and Northwestern coach Chris Collins. The family also recently heard from Illinois, but James said it was too late in the process to consider Illinois.

“Illinois recently reached out to us concerning Tyler,” James said. “It would be tough to go that direction because they were going another direction before. We respect that. I didn’t know the reason they hadn’t approached Tyler [previously]. We were told they weren’t going to recruit another point guard in 2014. Once Tyler did what he did [on the club travel scene], Coach [John] Groce reached out.”

James said his son plans to set up official visits in September and decide on a school before the early signing period in November.

Jabari to tab college choice Dec. 20

December, 12, 2012
Chicago Simeon's Jabari Parker, the No. 2 senior in the country, will announce his collegiate plans on Dec. 20, according to his high school coach.

Read the entire story.

Jabari Parker likely out season opener

November, 23, 2012
Simeon forward Jabari Parker, the nation’s No. 2-ranked senior, is considered doubtful for his team’s season opener on Dec. 1, his father said on Friday.

Parker, a 6-foot-8 forward, fractured his right foot while playing with Team USA at the FIBA under-17 World Championships in Lithuania in July. He is currently wearing a boot and undergoing rehab.

(Read full post)

Proviso East's Brown to visit Mizzou, Miami

September, 7, 2012

Proviso East senior guard Sterling Brown has set up official visits to Memphis, Miami and Missouri, his father said on Friday.

Brown, a 6-foot-4 guard, will visit Missouri on Oct. 12, Miami on Oct. 19 and Memphis on Oct. 26, according to his father Chris Brown. Chris said his son was considering all three schools along with many others, including Colorado, DePaul, Illinois, Michigan State, Northwestern and Oregon State.

“He’s still wide open,” Chris said. “His radar is still open.”

Brown’s older brother Shannon Brown starred at Michigan State, and Spartans coach Tom Izzo has been recruiting Sterling. Chris believed Michigan State would offer Sterling next week when the Spartans visit Proviso East.

“It’s not about what school Shannon went to,” Chris said. “It’s about what schools are recruiting Sterling. Michigan State has shown interest in him.”

Shannon recently said he didn’t care where Sterling ended up.

“I’m just letting Sterling do him,” Shannon said last month. “I’m letting Sterling make his own decisions. Let him go out there and play his game the way he wants. If he wants my opinion on something, I’ll definitely give it to him. I want to see him want to go to a school he wants to go play at.”

Chris said he was hopeful Brown would commit and sign with a school in November.

Brown averaged 13 points and nine rebounds last season. In a state championship loss to Simeon and its star Jabari Parker, Brown scored a game-high 25 points on 10-of-18 shooting, hit two 3-pointers, grabbed five rebounds and had one steal and one assist.

Top 100: Hits, misses of Illinois, DePaul

February, 27, 2012

The struggles of DePaul and Illinois in recent years have been largely blamed on their in-state recruiting. While both programs have attracted some Illinois players, they’ve struggled to sway the most significant ones and in some cases failed to project players who became stars.

Here are my top 100 players the state has produced since 2003, which spans Illinois coach Bruce Weber’s career and that of three DePaul coaches. The criteria for this list included success in college and the pros for the older players and ability and potential for the younger ones.

1. Derrick Rose (Memphis, Class of 2007): DePaul and Illinois were said to be in the mix, but neither seemed to have a real chance. Rose wanted a shot at a national championship in his one year in college. Memphis lost in the national championship game in that one season, and the Tigers later had to vacate the season due to NCAA violations -- some of which had to do with Rose. He was the No. 1 pick by the Chicago Bulls in 2008 and is the reigning NBA MVP.

[+] EnlargeDavis
Scott Powers/ESPNChicago.comAnthony Davis was rated as the nation's top recruit in the Class of 2011.
2. Anthony Davis (Kentucky, 2011): Davis mentioned DePaul for a bit and Illinois tried to get involved like everyone else, but John Calipari trumped everyone again. Davis has all but locked up honors as the top freshman and top defender in the college ranks. He also is a leading candidate to be named National Player of the Year. Kentucky is the No. 1 team in the country, and Davis is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NBA draft.

3. Evan Turner (Ohio State, 2007): DePaul and Illinois offered Turner, but Ohio State won out. Turner was undervalued nationally coming out of high school, but he was the second-best player in the state’s Class of 2007 next to Rose. After being named the Big Ten player of the year as a junior, Turner was drafted No. 2 in the 2010 draft and averages 8.4 points and 5.7 rebounds for the Philadelphia 76ers.

4. Shaun Livingston (Duke, 2004): Livingston chose Duke over Illinois and Arizona, but ended up entering the NBA draft instead. He was taken No. 4 overall by the Los Angeles Clippers. He suffered a career-changing knee injury in 2007 and is now a role player for the Milwaukee Bucks.

5. Shannon Brown (Michigan State, 2003): Brown was already committed to Tom Izzo by the time Weber took over at Illinois. Brown started nearly every game of his three-year career at Michigan State. He was taken in the first round of the 2006 NBA draft. He averages 8.7 points for the Phoenix Suns.

6. JaVale McGee (Nevada, 2006): McGee played his senior year in Chicago and didn’t receive a whole lot of interest. Northwestern recruited him, and he signed with Nevada. He spent two years at Nevada and was selected in the 2008 NBA draft. He now starts for the Washington Wizards and is averaging 12.0 points, 8.8 points and 2.7 blocks.

7. Julian Wright (Kansas, 2005): Bill Self swooped in and convinced Wright to commit to Kansas during a home visit. Wright was thought to be heavily considering DePaul and Illinois. He spent two years at Kansas before being picked No. 13 in the 2007 NBA draft. He last played in the NBA in 2011.

8. Wayne Blackshear (Louisville, 2011): Blackshear included DePaul and Illinois on his list, but Louisville was the team to beat after he visited there. He just recently began playing for Louisville after suffering an injury prior to the season. He’s expected to be a future NBA player.

9. Iman Shumpert (Georgia Tech, 2008): Shumpert eliminated Illinois before his final list. He chose Georgia Tech over Marquette and North Carolina. Shumpert led Georgia Tech in scoring, rebounding and assists his junior season. He left school early and was drafted No. 17 in the 2011 NBA draft. He’s started 17 games in his rookie season for the New York Knicks.

[+] EnlargeJohn Scheyer
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesJon Scheyer averaged 14.4 points per a game and started three of his four seasons at Duke.
10. Jon Scheyer (Duke, 2006): Scheyer came down to Duke and Illinois, and the lure of Coach K and the Blue Devils’ storied program won out. Scheyer won a national championship as a senior. He averaged double-digit points throughout his career and is now playing overseas.

11. Sherron Collins (Kansas, 2006): Collins chose Kansas and former Illinois coach Self over the Illini. Collins’ class won 130 games and a national championship in his four years at Kansas. Collins was among the top guards in the country his last two seasons and is now playing overseas.

12. Meyers Leonard (Illinois, 2010): The Illini were on Leonard as early as anyone, and he awarded them with his commitment. He was ranked No. 47 overall in the Class of 2010 by ESPN. He’s blossomed as a sophomore for Illinois and is expected to be a future lottery pick. He could be among the nation’s premier college players if he stays for another season.

13. Jereme Richmond (Illinois, 2010): Richmond committed to the Illini as a freshman. He wavered in his commitment at times, but remained loyal to the Illini. He showed glimpses of his potential as a freshman, but his first year at Illinois was defined by its rockiness. He entered the NBA draft after one year and was not selected. He was later arrested for gun charges. Richmond is now playing for the Sauk Valley Predators of the Premier Basketball League.

14. Jerel McNeal (Marquette, 2005): McNeal chose Marquette over Dayton and Purdue. Despite being one of top players in the Chicago area, McNeal wasn’t highly touted nationally. He is Marquette’s career leader in points and steals. He is now playing overseas.

15. Jacob Pullen (Kansas State, 2007): Pullen had considered Illinois, but decided on Kansas State. Pullen was a star in the Big 12 during his final seasons at Kansas State. He averaged 19.2 and 20.2 points in his last two years. He is now playing overseas.

16. Ryan Boatright (Connecticut, 2011): Boatright committed to USC as a freshman, later committed West Virginia and finally ended up at Connecticut. He wasn’t given much national respect out of high school, but he was the best high school player in the Chicago area last season. He’s now starting as a freshman for the Huskies.

17. Jeremy Pargo (Gonzaga, 2005): Pargo also considered Illinois during his recruiting process. He had a memorable career at Gonzaga and is now a backup guard for the Memphis Grizzlies.

18. Demetri McCamey (Illinois, 2007): McCamey was outshined by high school teammate Evan Turner his senior season, but was still among the state’s top players. McCamey was a four-year starter for the Illini and earned all-conference honors his final three seasons. He is now playing overseas.

19. Patrick Beverley (Arkansas, 2006): Illinois was in the mix for Beverley. He starred at Arkansas for two seasons before being suspended and then leaving the team. He was selected in the 2009 NBA draft and is now playing overseas.

20. DeAndre Liggins (Kentucky, 2008): Liggins played his final high school season at an out-of-state prep school. Liggins started for Kentucky his junior year and helped the Wildcats to the Final Four. He entered the draft early and was taken in the second round in 2011. He plays for the Orlando Magic.

[+] EnlargeBrandon Paul
Bradley Leeb/US PresswireGurnee native Brandon Paul averages 14.7 points a game for Illinois and had a 43-point game earlier this season.
21. John Shurna (Northwestern, 2008): Shurna wasn’t highly recruited and fell into Northwestern’s lap. He recently became the school’s all-time leading scorer. He has a shot at being drafted after this season.

22. Brandon Paul (Illinois, 2009): Paul was the state’s top high school player in 2009, but didn’t receive a lot of national recruitment. Paul was erratic his first two years at Illinois, but has taken strides to becoming a star this year. He has NBA potential.

23. Michael Dunigan (Oregon, 2008): Dunigan, a McDonald’s All-American, and his AAU teammate Matt Humphrey were considering Illinois, but opted to attend Oregon together. Dunigan left Oregon after two seasons and has been playing overseas since.

24. Mac Koshwal (DePaul, 2007): Koshwal was ranked as high as No. 18 in the Class of 2007 by one scouting service. Koshwal was near a double-double throughout his career at DePaul. He left after his junior season and was not drafted.

25. Bobby Frasor (North Carolina, 2005): Frasor, a McDonald’s All-American, picked North Carolina over Stanford. Injuries derailed his career, but Frasor was still a role player for the Tar Heels and helped them to a national championship. He recently retired from playing overseas to pursue a coaching career.

The next 10

26. Jamarcus Ellis: Junior college, Indiana, 2004
27. Stefhon Hannah: Junior college, finished at Missouri, 2004
28. Jerome Randle: California, 2006
29. Michael Thompson: Northwestern, 2007
30. Chasson Randle: Stanford, 2011
31. Tracy Abrams: Illinois, 2011
32. Drew Crawford: Northwestern, 2009
33. Jack Cooley: Notre Dame, 2009
34. D.J. Richardson: Illinois, 2009
35. Lenzelle Smith Jr.: Ohio State, 2010

Next 65*

Maurice Acker: Ball State, finished at Marquette, 2005
Joseph Bertrand: Illinois, 2009
Ben Brust: Wisconsin, 2010
Calvin Brock: Illinois, 2004
Brian Carlwell: 2006, Illinois, finished at San Diego State
Joevan Catron: 2006, Oregon
Justin Cerasoli: 2004, Seton Hall, finished at Loyola
Bill Cole: 2007, Illinois
D.J. Cooper: 2009, Ohio
Jamee Crockett: 2011, DePaul
Justin Dentmon: 2004, Washington
Kevin Dillard: 2008, Southern Illinois, now at Dayton
Dion Dixon: 2008, Cincinnati
Alex Dragicevich: 2011, Notre Dame
Osiris Eldridge: 2006, Illinois State
Brandon Ewing: 2005, Wyoming
Nnanna Egwu: 2011, Illinois
Myke Henry: 2011, Illinois
Colin Falls: 2003, Notre Dame
Carlton Fay: 2007, Southern Illinois
Tony Freeman: 2005, Iowa, finished at Southern Illinois
Reggie Hamilton: 2007, now at Oakland
Crandall Head: 2008, Illinois, now at a junior college
Matt Humphrey: 2008, Oregon, now at Boston College
Lewis Jackson: 2008, Purdue
Othyus Jeffers: 2003, junior college, finished at NAIA
Aaron Johnson: 2007, UAB
Anthony Johnson: 2010, Purdue
Jeremy Jones: 2009, junior college, now at Kansas State
Lazeric Jones: 2008, junior college, now at UCLA
Roosevelt Jones: 2011, Butler
Verdell Jones: 2008, Indiana
Frank Kaminsky: 2011, Wisconsin
Jeremiah Kelly: 2008, DePaul
Robert Kreps: 2007, UIC
Mario Little: 2006, junior college, finished at Kansas
Kevin Lisch: 2005, Saint Louis
Sam Maniscalco: 2007, Bradley, now at Illinois
Dameon Mason: 2003,Marquette, finished at LSU
Richard McBride: 2003, Illinois
Mike McCall: 2010, Saint Louis
Chas McFarland: 2006, Wake Forest
Charles McKinney: 2011, DePaul
Trent Meacham: 2004, Dayton, finished at Illinois
Nate Minnoy: 2005, Purdue, finished at NAIA
Bryan Mullins: 2005, Southern Illinois
Jeremy Nash: 2006, Northwestern
Cully Payne: 2008, Iowa, now at Loyola
Shaun Pruitt: 2004, Illinois
Jason Richards: 2004, Davidson
Brian Randle: 2003, Illinois
Rayvonte Rice: 2010, Drake
Justin Safford: 2007, Missouri
Matt Shaw: 2004, Southern Illinois
Mike Shaw: 2011, Illinois
Stan Simpson: 2008, Illinois, now at Memphis
Jamar Smith: 2005, Illinois, finished at Southern Indiana
Ahmad Starks: 2010, Oregon State
David Sobolewski: 2011, Northwestern
Mike Stovall: 2007: Oregon State, finished at DePaul
Sam Thompson: 2011, Ohio State
Mike Tisdale: 2007, Illinois
DeAndre Thomas: 2005, junior college, later at Indiana
Willie Veasley: 2006, Butler
Will Walker: 2006, DePaul

* In alphabetical order