Illinois litters Rivals' Top 150 with 10 players

Illinois litters Rivals' Top 150 with 10 players
September 4, 2013, 4:00 pm
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Mark Strotman

The state of Illinois is entering a golden age of sorts in terms of homegrown high school talent, and perhaps nowhere is that better seen than the 2014 class.

Rivals.com released its newest 2014 rankings earlier today, and 10 of the 150 players hail from Illinois.

Leading the way, of course, is Whitney Young's Jahlil Okafor, who holds the top spot. The 6-foot-10 center is widely considered the top prospect in the country with a rare combination of size, footwork and outside shooting ability. He'll have his choice of where to go to school, cutting his list to eight in May and setting up official visits for the fall.

Most years 6-foot-8 Curie foward Cliff Alexander would be the talk of the state, but Okafor seems to have stolen some of his spotlight. Still, Alexander finds himself at No. 4 on the list thanks to his elite strength and leaping ability. Like Okafor, plenty of the top schools in the country -- Arizona, Baylor, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky and Louisville to name a few -- are after him.

Ohio State-bound small forward Keita Bates-Diop comes in at No. 24, with 5-foot-8 point guard Tyler Ulis checking in at No. 33. Ulis has recently made headlines for his continued interest in Iowa, to go along with blue-blood programs such as Michigan State and Kentucky.

Okafor's teammate, small forward Paul White, is also closing in on making a decision. The No. 54 ranked player in the state will choose between Arizona, DePaul, Georgetown, Minnesota and Connecticut.

Following in the same mold as Jimmy Butler, Marquette-bound forward Malek Harris was ranked No. 77 in the state. The four-star wasn't even ranked in the Rivals 150 before this past summer.

Mac Irvin Fire's Josh Cunningham has plenty of offers from around the Midwest, and another solid season could bump the No. 80 prospect even higher on the list.

Vic Law, the No. 96 ranked player, is hoping to turn around a Northwestern program that has never made the NCAA Tournament. His commitment was Chris Collins' first as Wildcats' head coach.

Springfield guard Larry Austin (No. 111) and Rockridge forward Ethan Happ (140) rounded out the Illinois players.

Simeon Academy had zero players in the Top 150.