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."

High School Lites Football Roundup Week 5

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NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

High School Lites Football Roundup Week 5

High School Lites is back with an action-packed Week 5 full of thrilling matchups. NBC Sports Chicago has the highlights of some of the top matchups from Friday's games.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @NBCSPREPS for all of the latest IHSA football scores and highlights. 

DRIVE: Batavia (episode 5)

TEAM OF THE WEEK: South Elgin football

VIEWER'S CHOICE GAMES OF THE WEEK: Oswego East beats Plainfield South 29-0

WINTRUST ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Vinnie Panico

FRIDAY'S TOP 25 SCORES:

(1) Lincoln-Way East 38, Lincoln-Way Central 0

(2) Nazareth Academy 45, Benet Academy 7

(3) Batavia 41, Wheaton South 20

(4) Homewood-Flossmoor 28 Lincoln-Way West, 14

(5) Brother Rice 20 Providence Catholic, 0

Lake Zurich 23, (6) Stevenson 20

(7) Mount Carmel 28, Marmion Academy 7

(9) Simeon 48, Perspectives 13

(10) Marist 42, Joliet Catholic 6

(11) Loyola-Academy 21, St. Ignatius 14 (OT)

(12) Maine South 21, (16) Evanston 13

(13) Oswego 49. Plainfield East 0

(15) Richards 50, Shepard 14

(17) Phillips 49, Morgan Park 0

Conant 21, (18) Barrington 12

(19) Willowbrook 20, Hinsdale South 10

(20) Naperville Central 56, Metea Valley 13

(21) Bolingbrook 35, Bradley-Bourbonnais 13

(22) Montini 29, St. Rita 13

(24) New Trier 59, Niles West 0

(25) Hillcrest 27, Lemont 7

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

Kenwood 46, Back of the Yards 6

Notre Dame 45, Marian Central Catholic 6

Warren 24, Lake Forest 10

Curie 13, Hubbard 6

SATURDAY'S TOP 25 GAMES

Dundee-Crown at (8) Cary-Grove

Downers Grove North at (14) Glenbard West 

York at (23) Hinsdale Central 

High School Lites Preview: Week Five

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NBC Sports Chicago

High School Lites Preview: Week Five

NBC Sports Chicago will have cameras across Chicagoland covering the biggest high school football on the Week Five edition of High School Lites, Friday at 11:00 p.m. Can Notre Dame keep rolling and beat Marian Central Catholic in ESCC play? Can Benet Academy slow Nazareth's high flying offense? Can Wheaton South detour Batavia's drive to the DuKane Conference title? Will Maine South remain the kings of the Central Suburban South or will Evanston have other ideas? And which side of the bitter rivalry are you on...the (Lincoln-Way) East side or the (Lincoln-Way) Central side?

All games are Friday unless otherwise noted. Numbers in parantheses reflect the latest @NBCSPreps Power Rankings.

Thursday: Curie vs Hubbard at Gately Stadium, 7:15 p.m.

EDGY's Take: First-year head coach Arthur Ray Jr. was able to get his Condors (1-3) in the win column with a victory over Taft last week. Curie has played a very difficult non-conference slate. They will feature senior big back AJ Sanya and QB Damarius Johns. As for Hubbard and veteran head coach Elton Harris, they boast a standout, two-way lineman in senior D-1 recruit Kenny Givens. Keep an eye on senior WR/DB Montrell Edmonds as well. Can the Hubbard defense slow down AJ Sanya and the Condors? Can Curie prevent Hubbard from breaking open big plays? 

EDGY's Pick: Curie 22 Hubbard 20

Kenwood at Back of the Yards, 4:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Both Kenwood (4-0, 1-0) and Back of the Yards (4-0, 1-0) are looking to get a leg up in the CPL Illini Prairie State conference race with a win this week. Coach Sinque Turner of Kenwood will rely on several key names including senior WR/DB Mark Aitken (NIU). As for Back of the Yards, head coach Sheamus Murphy features a loaded roster. Keep an eye out on OL/DL Kevin Pacheco. Can Back of the Yards slow down Kenwood's speed and big play potential?

EDGY's Pick: Kenwood 27 Back of the Yards 12

Lincoln-Way Central at (1) Lincoln-Way East, 7:00 p.m.


EDGY's Take: Lincoln-Way East (4-0, 2-0) has been piling up the points (178) so far this season. Coach Rob Zvonar has the Griffins offense clicking; they're led by Illinois State commit QB Jack Baltz. The first team offense hasn't played a full four quarters yet in 2018. East's defense is also a strength. Don't be surprised if LB Gus Christensen and junior DE Adrian Wilson make some plays. Lincoln-Way Central (3-1, 3-0), under head coach Jeremy Cordell, will look to establish the running game. They'll get the football into the hands of RB Conner McWilliams and RB Justin Ellis as much as possible. Can Central's offense run the football against the East's defense?

EDGY's Pick: Lincoln-Way East 37 Lincoln-Way Central 21

Marian Central Catholic at Notre Dame, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Marian Central Catholic (3-1, 1-1), coached by Mike Maloney, has been getting a big season so far from QB Patsy Ricciardi and RB Luke Rogers. The Hurricanes defense will be tested this week. Notre Dame (3-1, 1-1), under veteran coach in Mike Hennessey, has some weapons on offense led by senior RB Ty Gavin and sophomore QB Anthony Sales. Whose defense comes ready to play for four quarters this Friday? 

EDGY's Pick: Notre Dame 28 Marian Central Catholic 21

Benet at (2) Nazareth, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Benet Academy (3-1, 1-1) is coming off a loss last week to Notre Dame. The Redwings will go back to work on Friday with a major task: trying to slow down one of the state's most explosive offenses in Nazareth Academy (4-0, 2-0). Benet's offense is anchored by junior QB Colin Gillespie and a strong running game with RB Ben Hickey. Their defense is also a strength. Watch for senior DL Jack Benish to make some plays. As for the Roadrunners, head coach Tim Racki has gotten a big year so far from sophomore QB JJ McCarthy. Nazareth also hase a couple of big time playmakers in the likes of senior WR Michael Love and senior WR/DB Diamond Evans. The defense has experience. Keep an eye on senior linemen Cameron Leach and Nathan Lugo. Can the Benet defense limit Nazareth's big play ability?

EDGY's Pick: Nazareth 31 Benet 21

Wheaton Warrenville South at (3) Batavia, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Veteran head coach Ron Muhitch has his Wheaton Warrenville South Tigers (4-0, 2-0) playing well and clicking in all three phases. They will look to establish the run with junior RB Jake Arthurs and QB Noah Henkel. WR Jack Olson is also a top-notch kicker/punter. On defense, the Tigers have allowed just 17 points this season. Batavia (4-0, 2-0) also wants to run the football. Keep an eye out for RB Art Taylor and the play-action passing game. That area of their offense has improved each week under QB Jack Meyers. Batavia's defense features two D-1 names in senior LB Luke Weerts (North Dakota State) and OLB Michael Jansey Jr. (Northwestern). Can the Tigers run the football against the Batavia defense? Can the Batavia offense keep the Wheaton South defense on their heels?

EDGY's Pick: Batavia 27 Wheaton South 17

Warren at Lake Forest, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Lake Forest (2-2, 2-0) struggled a bit early out of the gates but has now won two straight North Suburban conference games, including a big win last week over Lake Zurich. The Scouts have a potent offense led by QB James Swartout and senior WR Ryan Cekay (Colgate). Junior DL Rylie Mills is already a nationally sought-after recruit in the Class of 2020. Warren Township (3-1, 2-0) lost their season opener to Barrington but has since put together three straight wins. On offense, the Blue Devils will get the football into the hands of RB Martin Walker Jr.  Warren's defensive line is a strength behind senior Zach Pelland and junior DT Willis Singleton, Jr. Can the Lake Forest offense move the football against the Blue Devils defense? 

EDGY's Pick: Warren Township 28 Lake Forest 27

(12) Maine South at (16) Evanston, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Maine South (3-1) and head coach Dave Inserra opens Central Suburban South conference play after a strong non-conference showing, including last week's win over Conant. Senior QB Cole Dow has been making more and more progress after filling in for injured starting QB Bobby Inserra. Also, take note of senior RB/LB Jimmy Bartell and junior D-1 recruit OL/DL Peter Skoronski. Evanston (4-0) has been on a roll. They raised a lot of eyebrows in last week's surprise 32-12 win over Barrington. Wildkits head coach Mike Burzawa has weapons on offense including senior QB Ben Tarpey and junior RB Quadre Nicholson. The defense has played well, allowing just 58 points in four weeks. Can Evanston's defense keep Maine South's offense in check? Will Hawks starting QB Bobby Inserra come back this week? Can the Maine South defense slow down the Kits' explosive offense?

EDGY's Pick: Maine South 35 Evanston 28

(5) Brother Rice at Providence, 7:30 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Brother Rice (4-0, 1-0) is coming off a big 35-3 win over Loyola. The Crusaders have already doubled their win total from a season ago. They've received a big start to the season from senior QB John Bean. He's truly a dual threat in the Rice offense; their line play is also a strength. Providence Catholic (4-0, 1-0), under head coach Mark Coglianese, is off to a strong start as well this fall. The offense has been able to run the football behind a big and physical line, led by junior Jake Renfro. The Celtics have two quality running backs in senior Brenden Martus and freshman Aaron Vaughn. Can the Providence offense run the ball against the Crusader 'D? 

EDGY's Pick: Brother Rice 28 Providence Catholic 14

Viewers' Choice Game 

Oswego East at Plainfield South, 7:00 p.m.

EDGY's Take: Plainfield South (4-0, 4-0) is off to a terrific start this season. Head coach Bill Bicker and the Cougars will rely on a punishing ground game, led by senior RB/QB Cody Dieball. They boast a very fast/athletic defense which has allowed just 20 points so far this season. Oswego East (4-0, 4-0) has been rolling along. The Wolves, coached by Tyson LeBlanc, have talent this fall including senior WR/DB Justin Clark and a defense that's allowed just six points so far this season. But the schedule ramps up big time starting on Friday with Plainfield South. Can the Cougars run the football, move the chains and match speed against speed with Oswego East? Can the Wolves take away the Plainfield South option game and break some big plays against the Cougars defense?  

EDGY's Pick: Oswego East 14 Plainfield South 13