How Iowa State landed Simeon's Talen Horton-Tucker to finish a huge Chicagoland recruiting haul

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How Iowa State landed Simeon's Talen Horton-Tucker to finish a huge Chicagoland recruiting haul

Iowa State capped off a tremendous year recruiting the Chicagoland area on Thursday night as Simeon senior wing Talen Horton-Tucker committed to the Cyclones during a press conference in the Simeon auditorium.

The 6-foot-5 Horton-Tucker is the third player from the area to commit to Iowa State in the senior class, joining Corliss big man George Conditt and Hinsdale South wing forward Zion Griffin. Horton-Tucker selected the Cyclones over his other finalists of Illinois and Xavier. The senior took official visits to all three schools during the recruiting process.

The Chicagoland trio is an impressive coup for head coach Steve Prohm on the recruiting trail as Iowa State has recruited the state better than any other program in the country this fall.

Jumping on all three recruits with earlier scholarship offers than most other high-major programs, Prohm and the Iowa State staff deserve a tremendous amount of credit for formulating a plan to recruit three of the state's four best talents and get them to leave the Land of Lincoln. Iowa State assistant coach Daniyal Robinson also deserves credit as the Illinois native has a lot of recruiting ties in the state that also helped form lasting connections.

For a versatile wing like Horton-Tucker, he saw how Prohm and the Cyclones used another versatile wing in Deonte Burton last season as a comparison for how Iowa State might use him over the next few years. Much like Horton-Tucker, the 6-foot-4 Burton was undersized playing as a small-ball four, but he was able to break down opposing defenses by taking bigger players off the dribble and extending the floor with shooting range that he developed over time at Iowa State.

"I feel like they can use me the same way Deonte Burton was used. Actually, I feel like I can do more," Horton-Tucker said. "That's one of the great things that Coach Prohm is good at. I can't wait to see what he'll use me as."

Horton-Tucker also felt comfortable knowing that other Chicago players were coming with him and that Chicago-area players had succeeded playing for Prohm in the past. Taking his official visit to Ames on the same weekend as Conditt and Griffin earlier this fall, the already-committed duo spent the weekend working Horton-Tucker to get him to join them at Iowa State. The trio even decided to partake in a Fab Five-style photo shoot with Prohm during the visit. Horton-Tucker left the Iowa State official visit comfortable knowing that he'd fit in if he decided to go there. 

"I was comfortable with every school on my list," Horton-Tucker said. "I cut it to three for a reason. Those were the schools I felt most comfortable with."

The recent success of former Niles North and Iowa State star Abdel Nader with another clear selling point. Growing up on Chicago's North Side in the Uptown neighborhood, Horton-Tucker has formed a relationship with Nader and spoke to him during the recruiting process. With Nader now on the Boston Celtics after a successful run at Iowa State, Horton-Tucker had an easier time visualizing his own success there.

"I talked to him myself, I'm actually cool with him. Being with him a lot, it was nice. Being around him, learning," Horton-Tucker said of Nader. "He's in the NBA now so it helps me prepare myself to try and reach that goal to get to the NBA."

Iowa State made the major splash by landing Horton-Tucker's verbal commitment on Thursday, but much of the buzz in the auditorium leading up to the announcement centered on the in-state school that missed out.

Illinois made a late push with an official visit from Horton-Tucker last weekend and the Illini were a perceived favorite for his commitment as recently as earlier this week. Things dramatically changed in the final days leading up to Thursday's commitmen as multiple sources confirmed to NBC Sports Chicago that a rift emerged between the camps of Horton-Tucker and Morgan Park senior guard Ayo Dosunmu, who pledged to the Illini last week. 

Much of the rift centers on Dosunmu and Horton-Tucker playing together for the Mac Irvin Fire in the Nike EYBL this spring. After playing together for three sessions and starting with a promising 3-2 record, the Fire lost seven consecutive games and Horton-Tucker left the Fire before the EYBL's final spring session over Memorial Day weekend in Los Angeles. 

Horton-Tucker then spent his July live evaluation period playing with Meanstreets and Team Rose as the move away from the Fire rubbed some the wrong way. Nick Irvin, the head coach of Morgan Park, is apart of the Mac Irvin Fire program that is run by his brother Mike. Once it became apparent that Dosunmu and Horton-Tucker might play together in college at Illinois, the former issues became a talking point that bubbled onto Twitter.

Dosunmu and Horton-Tucker spoke to one another on Wednesday as Horton-Tucker was finalizing his college decision. When asked about an alleged rift with Dosunmu, Horton-Tucker downplayed any kind of perceived beef that lies between the two Public League stars as the drama may be more between the adults involved.

"I’ve played with [Ayo] since I was 13, I didn’t have a problem with it,” Horton-Tucker said when asked about the situation. “We could have done something at Illinois, I just chose a different spot.”

Regardless of what actually happened with Horton-Tucker and Illinois, he plans on signing with Iowa State during the early signing period as the Cyclones should be thrilled to get another versatile piece.

Helping Simeon to a city title and second-place finish in Class 4A last season, Horton-Tucker is one of the area’s most unique players. An impact defender with a long wingspan who can guard multiple positions, Horton-Tucker is also skilled with the ball in his hands. Horton-Tucker spent the summer working to improve his perimeter jumper as he's hoping it will be a more reliable weapon during his senior season.

Getting emotional after making his public decision on Thursday, Horton-Tucker took a moment to bury his head in his hands as he quickly composed himself to finish his special moment. Now that recruiting is out of the way, Horton-Tucker is hoping to end his final season with a state championship.

"I figured like, 'I did it, man.' I kind of feel like I made my family proud. In my family we don't have the basketball pedigree that everybody has; a father that played," Horton-Tucker said. "My father, he passed away. I just feel like I did it for everybody here that didn't make it or whoever was in my life at that point in time."

Morgan Park's Ayo Dosunmu makes All-American statement at NBPA Top 100 Camp

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Scout.com

Morgan Park's Ayo Dosunmu makes All-American statement at NBPA Top 100 Camp

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The goal for Ayo Dosunmu entering the NBPA Top 100 Camp was simple. 

Already regarded as the top high school basketball player in the Illinois rising senior class, the Morgan Park guard made it his personal mission to dominate the other point guards in his class at the camp while elevating his stock for next year's McDonald's All-American Game.

The Land of Lincoln hasn't had a representative in high school basketball's marquee all-star game the last two years. Dosunmu is determined to change that. 

Based on his stellar play at national camps during the month of June, Dosunmu has now put himself in serious position to be a Burger Boy if he continues to trend in this type of direction.

"That's my goal," Dosunmu told CSN Chicago about the McDonald's Game.

"I like to play fearless and just come out and compete. At the end of the day, these top 100 players across the country, it's a measuring stick. So I just try to come out here and compete hard."

One of the camp's elite scorers over the course of four days at the University of Virginia, Dosunmu went head-to-head against a who's who of elite national point guards. It seemed like every matchup Dosunmu played in, he had to compete against another top-50 national prospect also gunning for higher national status. 

As one of the camp's leading scorers at 13.3 points per game, Dosunmu certainly made his impact felt. Shooting 61 percent from the floor, Dosunmu was nearly impossible to contain off-the-dribble as he did pretty much whatever he wanted going to the rim. Also knocking down six of his first seven three-pointers at the event, Dosunmu also showed an improved perimeter jumper that he's been working on thanks to around 500 shots a day that he's been taking.

In one particularly memorable battle against five-star point guard Immanuel Quickley -- the highest-rated point guard in the camp -- Dosunmu more than held his own as he played the Baltimore native to a relative draw. Things also got chippy between the two. That usually doesn't happen in national camp settings. 

But Dosunmu and Quickley had to be warned by officials for physical play just over a minute into the game. After numerous possessions that involved bumps, subtle jabs, borderline arm-bars and icey staredowns, Dosunmu and Quickley were both whistled for a double technical foul during the second half. Of the 12 games watched by CSN at the camp, they were the only techs whistled the entire time.

Quickley tried to punk Dosunmu a bit by seeing if physical play would bother him, but Dosunmu responded with 10 points on 4-for-8 shooting. Dosunmu opened a lot of eyes nationally with the way he played against Quickley. 

"I want to come out and compete and just go at everybody who is ahead of me," Dosunmu said. "Show that there's no friends on the court. And to let people know I'm coming for them."

"The play of Ayo Dosunmu at the camp should not have come as a surprise as he has continued his ascent up the charts as an elite, top-25 recruit," Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Corey Evans told CSN. "Leaving Virginia, Dosunmu has solidified his standing as a top point guard prospect in 2018. And thanks to his competitive grit, he has the chance to continue to rise within the rankings."

While Dosunmu has been busy traveling all over the country during a busy June national camp season -- he also played in the prestigious Pangos All-American Camp outside of Los Angeles earlier in the month -- he's also trying to navigate an increasingly hectic recruiting schedule.

Kansas recently stepped up with a scholarship offer for Dosunmu while schools like Creighton, Illinois, N.C. State, Northwestern, Wake Forest and Xavier remain heavily in the picture. Dosunmu is also open to other schools entering the mix as he hasn't formed any kind of cut list.

The next few months, Dosunmu is hoping to take unofficial visits to see most of the schools currently involved for him as he starts with a scheduled unofficial visit to Illinois and new head coach Brad Underwood on Tuesday.

Dosunmu has been to the Illinois campus once before, and Illini assistant coach Ronald "Chin" Coleman has recruited him for a few years while he was an assistant at UIC, but Dosunmu is hoping to get a better feel for what Underwood is about during the visit.

"Coach Underwood and Coach Coleman, they've been wanting me to get up there a long time, take a visit there," Dosunmu said of Illinois. 

"I just want to be able to sit down and talk with Coach Underwood about the future. What he would have planned for me if I come there. I knew Coach Coleman for a long time; he offered me at UIC. But, yeah, Coach Underwood, I have to sit down and talk to and build a better relationship with him. And overall, just feel the vibe that we have. And if the vibe connects, then at the end of the day, that could be very possible that I go there."

Things are moving very quickly for Dosunmu right now, both on and off the court, but this is also the start of an important summer that will test him with unique challenges nearly every week.

After June comes the all-important July live evaluation period as Dosunmu will have a chance to play in front of college coaches and national scouts at more national events. 

Knowing that there's an even bigger target on his back doesn't seem to bother Dosunmu one bit. He's thriving under the pressure and enjoying everything that's happening during his coast-to-coast mission to earn national respect.

"I feel like there's a bullseye on my back. But the way I motivate myself is to always put a bullseye on somebody else's back," Dosunmu said. "I always take motivation from somebody else. So if somebody is chasing me, I'm chasing someone else. It's always a race."

Check out the complete list of this fall's Big Ten-ACC Challenge matchups

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AP

Check out the complete list of this fall's Big Ten-ACC Challenge matchups

The Big Ten-ACC Challenge is annually one of the most anticipated parts of non-conference play.

The matchups for this fall's edition of the event were announced Thursday morning, and like always, they do not disappoint.

Historically powerful programs will clash in meetings between Indiana and Duke, Michigan and North Carolina, Purdue and Louisville, Maryland and Syracuse and Wisconsin and Virginia.

One of the best get togethers of the event will be Michigan State, which should be the preseason conference favorite, playing host to Notre Dame, which has reached the Elite Eight in the NCAA tournament in two of the past three seasons.

Local teams Illinois and Northwestern will both travel for their Big Ten-ACC Challenge games, with the Illini visiting Wake Forest and the Wildcats going on the road against Georgia Tech.

Here's a complete list of this year's Big Ten-ACC Challenge matchups. Dates and times will be announced later.

Northwestern at Georgia Tech
Duke at Indiana
Notre Dame at Michigan State
Miami at Minnesota
Penn State at NC State
Boston College at Nebraska
Michigan at North Carolina
Clemson at Ohio State
Louisville at Purdue
Florida State at Rutgers
Maryland at Syracuse
Wisconsin at Virginia
Iowa at Virginia Tech
Illinois at Wake Forest