While Malik Newman is generally regarded as the top prospect in the 2015 class, another guard receiving high praise from scouts is Jalen Brunson. The 6-foot-2 Illinois native, whose father is former NBA guard Rick Brunson, is considered to be one of the best point guards in the 2015 class and has been a highly sought-after player as a result.
Saturday afternoon Jalen tweeted out the final eight schools on his list in no particular order, with those schools being UConn, Michigan State, Illinois, Purdue, Kansas, Villanova, Michigan and Temple (his father’s alma mater).
Brunson earned AP Class 4A All-State honors as a junior at Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Ill., posting averages of 26.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.7 assists and 2.9 steals per game. Brunson, the lone junior to be selected, finished in a tie for the most points received with center Jahlil Okafor.
Okafor, who was a McDonald’s All-American this year, will be attending Duke in the fall. Also on that first team All-State squad were power forward Cliff Alexander (headed to Kansas), point guard Tyler Ulis (Kentucky) and power forward Sean O’Mara (Xavier).
Among Brunson’s noteworthy moments as a junior was his 56-point performance in a 75-68 loss to Okafor’s Whitney Young squad in the semifinals of the Illinois state tournament, with the crowd giving him a standing ovation as he left the floor. The output set a state tournament single-game scoring record.
Video credit: Ball is Life
Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.
Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.
Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.
The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.
John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.
We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.
For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.
Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.
As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.