Today we are highlighting some of the bigs in the 2021 class with the most size. Click on the player names to view their profiles.
Luke Braman (6-9 C, Roanoke-Benson)
Braman had a huge junior season leading to All-State honors. The physical post does a lot of damage from inside of 10-feet, aggressively sealing in the paint and carving out space for offensive rebounds. He is decisive when he gets the ball down low, converting in the paint with powerful dunks, push shots, and hooks. A constant double-double threat, Braman’s best trait may be his constant energy. He put plenty of coaches on notice during a deep postseason run. More of that should follow.
Jaylen Bryson (6-10 PF, Champaign Central)
Bryson is a bundle of potential as a lanky, agile, 6-foot-10 (and seemingly still growing) big that finishes above the rim at a high rate. He has effortless speed from rim to rim and good timing as a shot-blocker. Bryson is raw offensively with his post game, but he is an asset in the punch spot as a lob threat or recipient of dump-off passes. So far, UMass has offered. Bryson will be receiving a lot of attention if and when AAU play begins this summer.
Julian Campbell (6-7 C, Palatine)
Campbell is a lineman on the football field and a load on the basketball court. If he gets a defender on his back, it’s over. He averaged 19.2 points and 9.2 rebounds a game as the focal point of Palatine’s offense. You would think teams would welcome him shooting from the outside, but Campbell shot an impressive 36 percent from three. Imagining Campbell after some time on a D1 strength and conditioning program will only help his recruiting prospects.
Brian Matthews (6-9 C, DePaul Prep)
Matthews does everything college coaches look for in a big. He does a lot of the dirty work, but has more ability than his usage suggests. With excellent length, he protects the paint and pulls down rebounds out of his area. On offense, he has a nice outside stroke and can step into shots out to the three-point line. Given his solid frame, Matthews should continue to add strength. He is a productive player that will star in whatever role is needed to win. Chicago State, UMass, and Youngstown State have given offers to Matthews so far.
Jake Wolf (6-11 C, Lake Forest Academy)
Wolf is one of the tallest players in the state with skills that are uncommon for a near 7-footer. He projects as a good pick-and-roll outlet with his comfort slipping screens or diving to the front of the rim. As an interior scorer, he is a below-the-rim finisher that relies on his length and footwork. His hook over his left shoulder is a consistent weapon that should be useful against more size and athleticism in college. Wolf moves fairly well with the ball and has solid passing instincts. Like many bigs, his foot speed to defend in space is still a work in progress. The size and potential are there for low-to-mid major looks.