The United States is starting to take notice of the talent that can be found within in the Illinois’ borders. Over the last ten years, Derrick Rose, Anthony Davis, and Jabari Parker have showed off their talent on one of the highest levels of basketball. They have helped pave the way for more athletes to get their shot and hopefully make it big or even just get a scholarship with the added exposure. Illinois high school basketball has become it’s own big deal in Illinois as it should with the talent. The added exposure has allowed them to snag a scholarship and put their talent on full display to the whole country. Here are a few Illinois athlete making a name in college basketball so far this season.
Jalen Brunson, Villanova (Stevenson)- Brunson continues to be one of the countries best guards on the #1 team in the country. This season, he leads Nova with 18.5 points while adding 3.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. His shooting percentage has gone up from both inside and outside the arc. He even is turning over the ball less this season.
Jevon Carter, West Virginia (Proviso East)- Carter has led the charge for #10 WVU 9-1 start. He leads the team in points and assists with 19.4 and 6 per game. He also averages 5.4 rebounds and a country-leading 3.8 steals per game. Had 23 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals vs. #15 Virginia on December 5th. One of the best two way guards in the country.
Josh Cunningham, Dayton (Morgan Park)- The walking double-double is second on the team in scoring at 16.8 points and first in rebounds at 10.6 per game. He has three games this season of 15+ points and 15+ rebounds. Shooting 73.3 percent this season. Scored 29 points and added 19 rebounds on Saturday against Georgia State.
Vic Law, Northwestern (St. Rita)- After helping Northwestern get to their first NCAA tournament and advancing to the Round of 32 last season, Vic Law has taken another leap with his game and using that to become a team leader. He’s averaging 13.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game this season for the Wildcats. His splits of .496/.473/.813 are improvement from his previous seasons. Despite his team’s slow start, he is determined to make the tournament two years straight.
Zach Norvell Jr., Gonzaga (Simeon)- Norvell has become the guy as of late for the Gonzaga Bulldogs. After coming off the bench at the start of the season, he has become a major asset to the #12 ranked team. His 12.9 points per game are third on the team. Not too bad for a red-shirt freshman. Led Gonzaga with 22 points against the #1 Villanova Wildcats during the Jimmy V Classic loss.
Transfers Making a Difference
After starting out at other colleges these athletes are making a difference elsewhere this season.
Charles Matthews, Michigan (St. Rita)- The former John Calipari recruit, has gone from minimal minutes at Kentucky to the star guard on this year’s Michigan after his transfer. He is shooting 53.5 percent but could use some work at the line, only shoots at a 50 percent clip. His 14.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game are good for second on the team. Tied for third in assists with 3.2 per game. Was nearly perfect while securing a double-double in a 102-64 win over Chaminade on November 21st. Scored 22 points (8/8 FG, 4/5 FT) and grabbed 10 rebounds. Also had 4 assists, 3 blocks, and steals to go with that.
Miles Reynolds, Pacific (Whitney Young)- Reynold’s is arguably having his best season with the tutelage from head coach Damon Stoudamire. The craziest part is that it’s all of the bench. He has yet to make a start this season. Despite this, he is second in scoring with 11.8 points per game. Has three 20+ point games this season.
Max Strus, DePaul (Stagg)- Max Strus made the jump from a D2 Lewis to the D1 DePaul Blue Demon and after a year of sitting per NCAA rules, he was excited to get back on the court. A slow start and having to battle teams like Notre Dame and Michigan State have become things of the past for Strus. Max has taken the steps to rebound and build from those games. He is hoping to help this DePaul team have their first winning season in over 10 years. He leads the team with 16.9 points and 1.5 steals per game. Also adds 4.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. Strus had a D1 career-high with 33 points (11/19 FG, 6/12 3PT) in a 62-60 loss to Northwestern last Saturday.
Paul White, Oregon (Whitney Young)- The former Bulldog, has fit in well with first place Pac-12 Ducks. He among Oregon’s top scorers with his 11.1 points per game. He’s shooting nearly 40 percent from behind the arc. His best game came in a 90-80 loss vs. Oklahoma. He scored 17 points on 60% shooting and added 5 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks.
Yes, this list is missing a lot of notable names. Cannot please everyone. Drop a comment of an Illinois athlete doing his thing on the college basketball stage.