(Scott Phillips/NBCSports.com)

Elite Academic Showcase Recap: Nick Rakocevic steps up his play on opening night

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WAUKEGAN, IL — The July live evaluation period tipped off at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, and with it, came the Elite Academic Showcase in the far northern Chicago suburb of Waukegan.

Although the event wasn’t loaded with high-major names and top-ranked kids like the LeBron James Skills Academy, Reebok Breakout Classic and the adidas Unrivaled Camp — all of which will be covered by College Basketball Talk extensively this week — it did give college coaches a nice option to see some talented players on the opening night of the period before the adidas camp in Chicago tipped off on Thursday.

Although Class of 2016 forward Nick Rakocevic was clearly the best prospect and most talented player in the building, a lot of other players took advantage of the setting to play in front of the coaches and perform well. Among the coaches in the building included DePaul head coach Oliver Purnell and assistants from Indiana, Ohio State and Xavier. Davidson head coach Bob McKillop was also present and led a strong contingent of mid-major head coaches that included Loyola’s Porter Moser, UIC’s Howard Moore, and Northern Illinois’ Mark Montgomery.

Rakocevic proves worthy of top 100 ranking in 2016: The headliner of the one-day showcase was 6-foot-10 forward Nick Rakocevic. Coming in at No. 64 in Rivals.com’s Class of 2016 rankings, the forward from the suburbs of Chicago is the best prospect from Illinois in the 2016 class and he showcased his inside-outside game on Wednesday night. Rakocevic has the shooting touch and skill to play on the perimeter while also showing a willingness to mix it up a bit on the interior.

Rakocevic told NBCSports.com that he has scholarship offers from Creighton, Florida State, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Miami, Purdue, Wisconsin and Xavier while Duke, Florida, Michigan State, Ohio State and Oregon have been in touch.

After a busy July, that includes a stop at Peach Jam, Rakocevic is trying to take visits to Florida, Michigan State, Ohio State and Oregon.

DePaul shows Devin Gage is a priority recruit: Much has been made about Oliver Purnell recruiting the city of Chicago during his tenure at DePaul, but the head coach showed that recent Class of 2016 guard Devin Gage is a priority recruit on Wednesday by being the only high-major head coach in attendance at the Elite Academic Showcase.

The 6-foot-2 Gage was the point guard at Curie High School and played alongside future Kansas forward Cliff Alexander this past season, but the athletic floor general recently picked up his first high-major offer at the DePaul Team Camp in June.

Playing in front of Purnell and the other coaches in attendance, Gage attacked the basket and displayed his strong athleticism while also knocking in some jumpers from the perimeter.  Although his decision making needs some work, Gage has a lot of traits to work with going forward and he’ll be monitored by Midwest programs in July.

Gage told NBCSports.com that Bradley, DePaul, Hampton and UIC have offered him scholarships.

Davon Dillard starts July in a big way: As the No. 123 prospect in Rivals‘ 2015 rankings, 6-foot-5 wing Davon Dillard has a chance to play his way into more scholarship offers with a strong July.

At the Elite Academic Showcase on Wednesday, Dillard came out strong and displayed his high-level athleticism to go along with a developing skill set on the wing. Dillard can run a bit wild with the ball in his hands, but he has the athleticism and upside to play at the highest level if he can limit turnovers and make smart decisions.

Dillard told NBCSports.com that Creighton, Marquette, Oregon, Purdue, USC and Xavier have shown the most recent interest and he claims scholarship offers from Creighton, Marquette and Purdue.

#CBTtop100: Counting down the Top 100 Players in college basketball

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We’ll be counting down the top 100 players in college basketball all week long. Be sure to check back here throughout the week as the countdown continues over @CBTonNBC.

Jalen Coleman-Lands cleared to practice

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Jarrod Uthoff #20 of the Iowa Hawkeyes defends against Jalen Coleman-Lands #5 of the Illinois Fighting Illini in the second round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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When Illinois takes on Southeast Missouri State in the opener of the 2016-17 season, the Fighting Illini should have it’s starting backcourt out on the floor.

According to Jon Rothstein, Jalen Coleman-Lands has been cleared for all basketball activities. The sophomore two-guard has been recovering from a broken bone in his right hand.

The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.

Coleman-Lands will team up with Tracy Abrams, a point guard who was granted a sixth year of eligibility after missing the past two seasons due to injuries.

This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.

The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.

NBC Sports projected Illinois to finish eighth in the Big Ten this season.

Curtis Jones jumps over Tom Crean

Tom Crean
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Indiana held its annual Hoosier Hysteria on Saturday night.

One of the highlights from the team’s dunk contest was when freshman guard Curtis Jones jumped over Indiana head coach Tom Crean.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a newcomer us his coach as a dunk contest prop. Last week, Rawle Alkins cleared Arizona head coach Sean Miller en route to a reverse jam.

Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.

WATCH: Edmond Sumner take off from the foul line

CINCINNATI, OH - FEBRUARY 03:  Edmond Sumner #4 of the Xavier Musketeers dunks the ball during the game against the St. John's Red Storm at Cintas Center on February 3, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Edmond Sumner is a big reason why Xavier is likely going to be a preseason top-10 team.

On Saturday night, during Musketeer Madness, Sumner won the team’s dunk contest when he took off from the foul line.

Sumner defeated freshmen Tyrique Jones and Quentin Goodin. J.P. Macura, the reigning Big East Sixth Man of the Year, took home the honors last year.

The 6-foot-6 redshirt sophomore is coming off a debut season in which he averaged 11.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.

WATCH: Duke goes crazy for Chase Jeter’s bottle flip

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Chase Jeter #2 of the Duke Blue Devils looks on in the second half against the North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The bottle flip has become an international sensation in recent months.

It’s as simple as it sounds: flipping a water bottle in the air, attempting to have it land upright.

Duke sophomore forward Chase Jeter, in front of 9,300-plus fans, successfully pulled off the bottle flip on Saturday night at Duke’s Craziness.

Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.