Preps Talk

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."

Boys Basketball Preseason All-Area Team

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NBC Sports Chicago

Boys Basketball Preseason All-Area Team

Since the IHSA boys basketball season tips today, it is time to take a look at this season's Preseason All-Area team. Similar to how college basketball has Preseason All-Americans, NBC Sports Chicago gives you the three teams with 15 players who have a chance to have huge seasons.

Limited to players from the Chicagoland coverage area of NBC Sports Chicago, this list won't include downstate players like Belleville West's E.J. Liddell. But it's a good representation of some of the names to keep an eye on for the local Player of the Year race that will occur this season.

Be sure to watch many of these players on High School Lites this season as we switch to basketball beginning on Friday, Nov. 30. And follow our Preps Twitter account @NBCSPreps for the latest news and notes on area teams and players.

FIRST TEAM

Markese Jacobs, Uplift -- Explosive and capable of constant highlight-reel plays, the 5-foot-11 Jacobs is a serious Player of the Year candidate. Formerly committed to Kansas, but now signed to play at DePaul, Jacobs is considered a consensus top-150 prospect in the senior class. As a junior, Jacobs helped Uplift to a Class 2A regional title as he put up 18.4 points, 3.1 assists and 2.4 steals per contest. 

DaJuan Gordon, Curie -- Breaking out on the scene as a junior, the 6-foot-4 Gordon parlayed that success into an eye-opening summer. Now considered a consensus top-150 prospect in the national senior class, Gordon signed with Kansas State. Last season for the Condors, Gordon averaged 16 points per game as he's one of the premier scorers in the state. 

Marquise Kennedy, Brother Rice -- Coming off of a big summer playing with the Illinois Wolves, the 6-foot-1 Kennedy had high-major scholarship offers before eventually deciding on Loyola. An athletic floor general who is tough to keep out of the paint, Kennedy averaged 17.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists as a junior. Kennedy has the potential to put up huge stats this season with Brother Rice not returning very much experience. 

D.J. Steward, Whitney Young -- After transferring from Fenwick to Whitney Young the 6-foot-4 junior will have even more of a spotlight on him after a tremendous sophomore season. A consensus top-75 prospect in his class, Steward averaged 18.4 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals per game for the Friars last season. Now that he's teaming with another high-major prospect in junior guard Tyler Beard, Steward and the Dolphins are hoping for another trip to Peoria. 

Perry Cowan, DePaul Prep -- A major varsity presence at DePaul Prep the past few seasons, the 6-foot-4 Cowan is a gifted three-level scorer. The shooting guard had some big games against strong competition last season as he averaged 18.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals per game as a junior. Committed to Brown, Cowan has the skill level to make plays in a number of unique ways.  

SECOND TEAM

Tom Welch, Naperville North -- After helping Naperville North's soccer team capture a third straight state title as one of the nation's top goalies, the 6-foot-7 Welch switches his focus to the hardwood. Committed to Loyola for basketball, Welch is one of the most skilled and competitive frontcourt players in the state. The only returning Naperville North starter, Welch averaged 13.4 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game as a junior.

RayJ Dennis, Oswego East -- Smooth with the ball in his hands, this point guard is headed to Boise State next season. A premier pull-up shooter, Dennis averaged 17.2 points, 4.9 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game as a junior. Oswego East has top-25 expectations this season as Dennis is surrounded by plenty of talent. 

Adam Miller, Morgan Park -- Only one of two juniors to make this list, the 6-foot-3 Miller is also nationally-ranked in his class. Capable of taking over a game with his scoring outbursts, Miller is one of the only players in the area capable of consistent monster scoring outings. A three-point threat, the lefty averaged 15 points per game during his first season in the area as a sophomore.

Tyler Cochran, Bolingbrook -- One of the state's most experienced senior guards, Cochran has already been to Peoria as a sophomore while stepping up in plenty of big games last season. The Northern Illinois pledge is part of an all-Division I backcourt with fellow senior Joseph Yesufu as they should be tough to stop this season. The 6-foot-2 Cochran averaged 15 points per game as a junior.

Bryant Brown, Waukegan -- Although Waukegan had a disappointing season in 2017-18, the 6-foot-5 Brown still put up eye-opening numbers. Uncommitted for college, this senior averaged 23.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.6 blocks per game last season. Brown can battle inside as a nightly double-double threat while also being skilled enough to step away and hit perimeter shots. 

THIRD TEAM

Lance Jones, Evanston -- One of the area's premier big-game players, the 6-foot-1 Jones always seems to step up with huge plays in critical games. The Southern Illinois commit was a huge part of the Wildkits finishing third in Class 4A last season as Evanston will have sizable expectations once again this season. Jones averaged 15.5 points per game as a junior as his bully-ball brand of perimeter play can be tough to stop at the high school level.

Jeremiah Hernandez, St. Viator -- Part of a dynamic backcourt duo with fellow senior guard Trey Calvin, the 6-foot-4 Hernandez can be very tough to stop once he gets rolling. Headed to Kent State after his high school career comes to a close, Hernandez is hoping to lead the Lions to a deep run in Class 3A after an unbeaten conference title in the ESCC last season. Hernandez put up 15 points, four rebounds and three assists per game last season.

Nate Ferguson, Lemont -- Perhaps the most underrated player on this list, the 6-foot-7 Ferguson is one of the state's most versatile offensive threats. The Drake commit is coming off of a strong summer in which he showcased the athleticism to play above the rim with the skill level to play behind the line. As a junior, Ferguson averaged 15.5 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists while shooting 40 percent from three-point range.

Max Christie, Rolling Meadows -- The only sophomore to make this list, the nationally-ranked Christie might be the best long-term basketball prospect to make this Preseason All-Area team. Pushing 6-foot-6, Christie acclimated quickly to the varsity level as a freshman last season as he averaged 18 points, eight rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. Christie is capable of playing nearly any spot on the floor at the high school level but he's a matchup nightmare thanks to his size at guard.

Fred Cleveland Jr., Leo -- Although the senior is undersized at 5-foot-8, Cleveland makes up for it by being one of the most complete point guards in the state. Committed to North Carolina A&T, Cleveland helped revitalize the Lions last season as he averaged 20.3 points, 7 assists, 3.5 steals and 2.7 rebounds per game. Leo has high hopes to make a major run in Class 2A this season as Cleveland could leave high school with more hardware. 

NBC Sports Chicago to carry live coverage of the 2018 IHSA Football Championships

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NBC Sports Chicago

NBC Sports Chicago to carry live coverage of the 2018 IHSA Football Championships

Chicago, IL (November 19, 2018) -- For the eighth-straight year, NBC Sports Chicago – THE Home of the #Authentic Fan – will be airing LIVE high-definition coverage of the 2018 Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Football State Championships on Friday, November 23 & Saturday, November 24 from the University of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium in Champaign, IL.  Illinois preps football fans can look forward to seeing every action-packed championship battle starting with the Class 1A contest on Friday morning at 10:00 AM CT, leading up to Saturday night’s highly-anticipated Class 8A match-up between state powerhouses Brother Rice vs. Loyola Academy at 7:00 PM CT.  The 2018 IHSA Football State Championships will be produced by the IHSA & PlayOn! Sports.

In addition -- EVERY IHSA Football State Championship telecast on NBC Sports Chicago, including surrounding pre/postgame coverage, will be streamed LIVE on NBCSportsChicago.com/IHSA.  Authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers can watch live IHSA Football State Championships action from anywhere in the United States.  The live streaming service is currently available to customers of Comcast/Xfinity, DIRECTV, DISH Network, AT&T U-verse, Mediacom, RCN, WOW!, Time Warner Cable and Charter among numerous other carriers.  In addition, NBC Sports Chicago is also available on numerous streaming services including DIRECTV NOW, Hulu, fuboTV, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, and YouTube TV.  For a full list of carriers and more information about NBC Sports Chicago’s live streaming service, viewers are urged to visit nbcsportschicago.com/live-faq

IMPORTANT NOTES: 
•    Friday’s Class 3A & 4A championships, along with Saturday’s 7A/8A championships, will all air live on NBC Sports Chicago+… NBC Sports Chicago+ is located on Comcast/Xfinity ch. 201 in the Chicago area and in South Bend, IN, and on ch. 285 in Comcast/Xfinity’s Peoria, Springfield, Rockford and Champaign markets…viewers are urged to visit NBCSportsChicago.com’s special “Channel Finder” section (http://www.nbcsports.com/chicago/channel-finder ) or IHSA.org for complete channel location details throughout the state.  
•    Fans are also strongly urged to interact via Twitter throughout the entire weekend by utilizing the hashtag #IHSA to share their comments and showcase their school spirit for their favorite teams.  

In addition, NBCSportsChicago.com’s IHSA Preps section (NBCSportsChicago.com/preps-talk) will feature highlight packages from all games throughout the weekend, along with week-long coverage & scouting reports from veteran Illinois preps sports writer “Edgy Tim” O’Halloran (@EDGYTIM).  Plus – NBC Sports Chicago viewers can look forward to a special “IHSA Football Championships” wrap-up edition of High School Lites on Saturday, Nov. 24 live at 11:00 PM (hosted by Leila Rahimi) for a complete rundown of every championship game, including expanded highlights and player/coaches interviews.  From an additional social media standpoint, fans are urged to follow @NBCSPreps on Twitter throughout the weekend for up-to-the-minute 2018 IHSA Football State Championship news & game updates.

IHSA TV veterans Dave Bernhard (Class 3A, 4A, 7A & 8A) and Lee Hall (Class 1A & 2A) return in 2018 to bring viewers every thrill-packed play-by-play call, which will also include the second-year pxp call from Peoria Chiefs/college/preps broadcaster Nathan Baliva (Class 5A & 6A). Color analysis will be provided by renowned Chicago Bears/NFL expert Hub Arkush (Class 7A & 8A), along with Northern Illinois University football radio color analyst Mark Lindo (Class 3A, 4A, 5A & 6A) and longtime IHSA TV contributor/Illinois High School Coaches Association Hall of Famer Jack McInerney (Class 1A & 2A).

Handling sideline reporting duties for every IHSA Football Championship game throughout the weekend will be provided by Marquette University Director of Digital Media & Internet Services/seasoned national-regional sports broadcaster Patrick Reed. “Edgy Tim” O’Halloran will also provide “between-game” analysis throughout the weekend recapping and previewing every championship match-up.

The following schedule details NBC Sports Chicago’s coverage (also streaming live to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers on NBCSportsChicago.com/IHSA) of the 2018 IHSA Football State Championships airing this Thanksgiving weekend (team records & play-by-play/color analyst teams are in parentheses):

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 23 

10:00 AM – Class 1A: FORRESTON [11-2] vs. CENTRAL (Camp Point) [12-1] (Lee Hall/Jack McInerney) 
1:00 PM – Class 2A: GIBSON CITY-MELVIN-SIBLEY (Gibson City) [13-0] vs. MAROA-FORSYTH (Maroa) [13-0] (Lee Hall/Jack McInerney) 
4:00 PM – Class 3A: BYRON [13-0] vs. MONTICELLO [13-0] (Dave Bernhard/Mark Lindo)
(NOTE: This game will air on NBC Sports Chicago+; channel locations here: NBCSportsChicago.com/channel-finder)
7:00 PM – Class 4A: IC CATHOLIC (Elmhurst) [13-0] vs. MCNAMARA (Kankakee) [12-1] (Dave Bernhard/Mark Lindo)
(NOTE: This game will air on NBC Sports Chicago+; channel locations here: NBCSportsChicago.com/channel-finder)

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 24 

10:00 AM – Class 5A: MONTINI (Lombard) [12-1] vs. JOLIET CATHOLIC (Joliet) [9-4] (Nathan Baliva/Mark Lindo)
1:00 PM – Class 6A: CARY-GROVE (Cary) [13-0] vs. CRETE-MONEE (Crete) [10-3] (Nathan Baliva/Mark Lindo)
4:00 PM – Class 7A: NAZARETH ACADEMY (LaGrange Park) [12-1] vs. ST. CHARLES NORTH (St. Charles) [10-3] (Dave Bernhard/Hub Arkush)
(NOTE: This game will air on NBC Sports Chicago+; channel locations here: NBCSportsChicago.com/channel-finder)
7:00 PM – Class 8A: BROTHER RICE (Chicago) [13-0] vs. LOYOLA ACADEMY (Wilmette) [10-3] (Dave Bernhard/Hub Arkush)
(NOTE: This game will air on NBC Sports Chicago+; channel locations here: NBCSportsChicago.com/channel-finder)

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