Preps Talk

Preps recruiting news and notes: Noah Shannon backs out of commitment

Preps recruiting news and notes: Noah Shannon backs out of commitment

Oswego three-star ranked defensive tackle Noah Shannon (6-foot-2, 290 pounds) this past weekend announced that he was backing off his earlier verbal commitment to Minnesota and has reopened his recruiting process. 

"I wanted to go on a few more college visits to make sure I did make the right decision," Shannon said. "I didn't want to have any regrets about rushing into a decision. I also want to see more schools in person and learn more about them."

Shannon is still very interested in Minnesota and according will "stay in touch with the Minnesota coaches and head coach PJ Fleck almost daily." Shannon also plans to visit Iowa this week and has plans to visit Indiana, Missouri and Arkansas sometime this summer.

Lyons Township three-star ranked quarterback Ben Bryant's (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) recruiting process has gone well after having Wisconsin pull his scholarship offer a few weeks ago.

"I've been able to add offers from Temple, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Western Michigan, West Virginia, Ole Miss, Georgia and also Colorado State," Bryant said. "Both North Carolina and Indiana have been showing a lot of interest lately."

Bryant will camp at North Carolina in June and also plans to visit Cincinnati, Western Michigan and West Virginia this summer.

Immaculate Conception junior to be outside linebacker Khali Saunders (6-foot-3, 195 pounds) added his first scholarship offer recently from the Iowa State Cyclones.

"I was very surprised (at adding his first offer from Iowa State)," Saunders said. "This is truly a blessing. I don't know much about Iowa State to be honest but I'll learn more about them soon."

Saunders also has been in contact with Iowa, Illinois State, Western Michigan and Northern Illinois this spring and plans to camp at Northwestern, Western Michigan and also the Lake Forest College satellite camp.

Oswego senior-to-be defensive back Josh Shodipo (6-foot-0, 185 pounds) has seen his recruiting stock take of towards the tail end of the just completed NCAA football spring evaluation period.

"My recruiting has been going well," according to Shodipo. "I have offers now from South Dakota State, Western Illinois and Indiana State and several other schools have been staying in touch like Iowa State, Western Michigan, Toledo, NIU, Miami of Ohio, Illinois State, Southern Illinois, and Wyoming. A lot of those schools want me to camp with them this summer."

Shodipo plans to camp this moth at the North Central College satellite camps (June 5th and June 7th) along with camping at NIU on June 14th.

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.


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

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.