Preps Talk

Edgy Tim: Recruiting news and notes

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NBC Sports Chicago

Edgy Tim: Recruiting news and notes

One of the top Illinois high school quarterbacks in the Class of 2020 has responded to the coyote call.

Normal West junior Carson Camp (6-foot-3, 205 pounds) gave his verbal commitment to the University of South Dakota. Camp had early scholarship offers from both in-town Illinois State and Indiana State. He also boasted strong recruiting attention from several Mid-American Conference schools. Camp felt that the timing was right to give the Coyotes his commitment. So why commit this early? 

"That's a hard question to answer quickly because it involves a lot of different issues," Camp said. "I originally planned to wait until the end of the spring evaluation period (which begins Monday). I was waiting on one specific FBS school in particular but I already had three strong FCS offers and everything to me just felt right with South Dakota. I also didn't want to miss out on an opportunity by waiting. The timing was just right for me now to commit and in all honesty I was ready to make my decision."

The Class of 2021 is already shaping up to become one of this state's better recruiting classes in years, and the overall depth at the quarterback position leads the charge. Both Antioch QB Athan Kaliakmanis along with Naperville Central QB/ATH Sam Jackson (who can also play wide receiver). are already committed to Minnesota. Nazareth Academy QB J.J. McCarthy (6-foot-2, 180 pounds) has 27 scholarship offers-- a list that includes several from Power Five schools across the country. East St. Louis' Tyler Macon (6-foot-0, 180 pounds) also has a handful of early FBS offers. Another half dozen or so names have emerged also have FBS/FCS potential. 

If you needed any further proof that the recruiting process is starting earlier and earlier for elite-level names, just take a look at Tyler Morris.  The 5-foot-10, 160 pound Morris, a Class of 2022 athlete recruit who was a starter on the 2018 Roadrunners 7A state title team, has added offers this spring from Northwestern, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. His latest offer came earlier this week came from Michigan. Morris is also expected to draw several high Power Five visitors starting Monday with the beginning of the spring evaluation period-- when colleges are allowed to make in-person visits to a recruit's high school. 

Keep an eye on Maine South junior safety Ryan Kilburg (6-foot-1, 181 pounds). He has emerged as a top name in the Class of 2020.

"I have scholarship offers from Western Michigan, Bowling Green, Ohio, South Dakota and Navy," according to Kilburg. "I've also been in contact with the coaches from Kansas State, Michigan State, Minnesota, Harvard, Brown and Holy Cross. I've been able to get out and visit Holy Cross, Harvard, Miami of Ohio and Western Michigan. All of the schools that I've been in contact with all have invited me out to visit them this spring. Those same coaches also are telling me that they will be back in school to see me in a few weeks."

Max Christie selects Michigan State over Duke, several Big Ten schools

Max Christie selects Michigan State over Duke, several Big Ten schools

Sparty Nation got another reason to flex. And it may have Coach K seeing green.

Max Christie, a five-star shooting guard (Rivals) and the top Illinois player in the Class of 2021, is headed to play for Michigan State and legendary head coach Tom Izzo. The Rolling Meadows High School product made his decision Tuesday in an interview with Fox’s Andy Katz.

“It just felt like it was a place that I was needed and a place I wanted to go to,” Christie said. “I think Coach Izzo and his staff and all my teammates there can push me to be the person I want to be, not just on, but off the court.”

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Christie selected Michigan State —his only official visit— over, namely, Coach Mike Krzyzewski and Duke. Also on his list of potential choices were Villanova, Virginia, Purdue, Ohio State, Northwestern, Illinois and several others. While Christie is excited for Izzo to help improve his game, he also prides himself on his versatility and making an immediate impact.

“I think I can be a great facilitator and a great scorer,” Christie said. “I feel like I can do anything that Coach Izzo or the players need be to do if that means rebounding, pushing the ball, setting up an offense or coming off screens, I feel like I am versatile enough of anything that is asked of me.”

The 6-foot-6 Christie may get another boost on the court a few years down the line, as Class of 2022 phenom Emoni Bates, the top player in the current junior class, committed to play for MSU on June 30. All of this assumes Bates keeps his commitment to East Lansing and doesn’t hop the NBA. Christie remains steadfast in his committed to Michigan State and is not exploring any G-League options at the moment.

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Christie has grabbed headlines in Chicagoland since his freshman year. He has tallied a 50-point game and a triple double and had several clutch moments during his junior season. He is coming off the first 20-win campaign at ‘Meadows in nearly 30 years.

And there’s more Christie magic in the pipeline. Cameron, his younger brother, is one of the quickly-rising sophomores in the area.

Illinois high school boys basketball state finals return to Champaign

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USA Today

Illinois high school boys basketball state finals return to Champaign

It’s time to party like it’s 1995 —especially if you’re a high school basketball fan who likes watching the game in the Champaign-Urbana area.

The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) board of directors voted Monday to move the host venue for the boys state basketball finals from Peoria to Champaign’s renovated State Farm Center for the next three seasons.

“We see this as the passing of the torch from Peoria to Champaign-Urbana,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said in a statement. “It is bittersweet because there is incredible passion from high school basketball within these two communities, and both have done so much to elevate the state final experience as hosts. The State Farm Center is one of the best arenas in the country, and we are excited to crown state champions there once again. The timing simply felt right to make a change as the tournament format shifts in 2021."

The boys tournament will run on March 11-13, 2021, March 10-12, 2022 and March 9-11, 2023.

“We are thrilled with today’s news that the Illinois high school boys basketball state finals will return home to the campus of the University of Illinois, Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman said in a statement. “We are grateful to the IHSA and its leadership for choosing State Farm Center and Champaign-Urbana to host the state finals.

The boys tournament, which had been located in Champaign for 77 years, moved to Peoria’s Civic Center (Carver Arena) starting in 1996. The girls tournament was also in Champaign until 1992 before moving to Redbird Arena. The girls tournament will remain in Normal.

The Champaign area was steeped in prep basketball glory for generations. The first televised championship came in 1952 when Hebron, a school of 98 students defeated a Quincy school boasting an enrollment over 1,000. Six years later, the first Chicago school —Marshall— won state. In 1972, the tournament was split into Class A (small schools) and AA (large schools). The late Ben Wilson helped Simeon win in a title in Champaign in 1984 while future NBA stars (Kevin Garnett, Melvin Ely) and NFL receivers (Antwaan Randle El and Tai Streets) graced the floor at Assembly Hall during the 1995 tournament.

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The next year was a perfect one for the city of Peoria to grab the reins for the boys tournament. Hometown Manual High School won their third and fourth consecutive state titles in 1996 and 1997. Later, Derrick Rose guided Simeon to back-to-back state titles in 2006 and 2007. A four-class system was instituted for the 2007-08 season. Simeon dominated again from 2010-13 with Jabari Parker in the spotlight.

This year’s basketball tournaments were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.