These 13 prep basketball stars provided lasting memories
By Joe Henricksen For Sun-Times Media May 18, 2014 8:57PM
McDonald's West All-American Jahlil Okafor, left, fouls McDonald's East All-American Cliff Alexander during the second half of the McDonald's All-American boy's basketball game Wednesday, April 2, 2014, in Chicago . The West won 105-102. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) ORG XMIT: CXS125
It’s time for the Class of 2014 to take a bow as it exits stage left. Highlighted by the top-ranked player in the country — Young’s Jahlil Okafor — this senior group gave fans four years of high-level hoops.
Here is one last look at the top prospects as they head to college.
1. Jahlil Okafor, 6-10, C, Young (Duke).
As a legit, back-to-the-basket big man, Okafor is a once-in-a-generation talent. Leaves as one of the most decorated players in state history.
2. Cliff Alexander, 6-9, PF, Curie (Kansas).
Alexander is physically off the charts and he made a leap in every phase of his game. His combination of power, agility and explosiveness is striking.
3. Tyler Ulis, 5-8, PG, Marian Catholic (Kentucky).
Ulis is a dynamic talent, an ideal table-setter and the purest of point guards.
4. Keita Bates-Diop, 6-7½, WF/PF, Normal U-High (Ohio State).
Versatile, athletic combo forward impacts games with his length and bounce, while continuing to make strides with his skill set.
5. Paul White, 6-8½, WF/PF, Young (Georgetown).
White put together a terrific year and quieted some critics in helping lead Young to a state championship. Handles it, passes it and shoots it well for a player of his size.
6. Malek Harris, 6-7, WF/PF, Sandburg (Kansas State).
A blue-collar workhorse and a stat-sheet stuffer with many positive attributes. Plays hard, competes, can put it on the floor and gets on the glass.
7. Ethan Happ, 6-7½, WF/PF, Rockridge (Wisconsin).
Blessed with plenty of tools to work with including sneaky athleticism, Happ is a very capable face-up forward who puts it on the floor well and gets to the rim well.
8. Michael Finke, 6-9½, PF, Champaign Centennial (Illinois).
Brings legit size and skill along with his passing ability and face-up shooting touch from 12-20 feet. Finke is blessed with real offensive potential as he continues to develop physically.
9. Josh Cunningham, 6-7, Morgan Park (Bradley).
Arguably the biggest recruiting steal, Cunningham plays with a high motor, rebounds and finishes at the rim.
10. Larry Austin, 6-1½, PG, Springfield Lanphier (Xavier).
One of the rare players who makes things happen and impacts games on the defensive end as an in-your-face/get-in-the-passing-lanes defender.
11. Vic Law, 6-7, WF/PF, St. Rita (Northwestern).
An active and athletic forward who is solid on the glass and plays up at the rim. Should become an effective defender with his length and athleticism.
12. Sean O’Mara, 6-9, C, Benet (Xavier).
Put together an outstanding, highly-productive season while leading his team to second place in Class 4A. O’Mara recorded 28 double-doubles in 35 games and finished as the top scorer in Benet history.
13. Milik Yarbrough, 6-5, WF, Zion-Benton (Saint Louis).
One of the top 20 scorers in Illinois history, Yarbrough is a big-bodied wing who has always had a knack for putting the ball in the basket in a variety of ways.