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Illinois Teams And Players Garnering Respect On A National Level

Thompson Clark
February 11, 2004

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The state of Illinois consistently produces some of the finest basketball talent in the country. One needs to look no farther than the national basketball rankings of USA Today’s Super 25 Poll.

In the poll you will find that three of the Top 25 teams in the country hail from the Land of Lincoln (Peoria Central #5, West Aurora #10, and Homewood Flossmoor #25). A further testament to the quality of Illinois prep basketball is the fact that two of the Top 10 teams are from Illinois, compared to a combined one for the much larger states of California and New York.

The Insiders.com web site has Peoria Central at a respectable #8, and West Aurora at an underappreciated #18. The website may underrate Illinois’ team talent, but it has a much higher appreciation for Illinois’ individual talent as it rates Shaun Livingston as the #1 point guard in the country. Justin Cerasoli and Shaun Pruitt are rated #14 and #22 at their respective positions. Julian Wright of Homewood Flossmoor checks in as the #2-rated small forward in the country from the 2005 Class.

These talented ball players will be displaying their skills for all to see as March Madness begins in earnest. I expect these players to carry their teams deep into the playoffs. In addition I expect players from Southern Illinois to stage some memorable performances as players such as Tommie Liddell, Justin Dentmon, and Xavier Price will get a chance to open some Northern Illinois sportswriters eyes with their dazzling array of talents.