Today’s spotlight is on some 2022 guards that are going to turn some heads whenever play resumes.
Darius Duff (6-3 SG, Lake Forest Academy)
Duff is a physical guard that can really shoot the ball from three. He is ready to shoot off rotations and takes advantage of sagging defenders. That shooting ability is key because he has the type of aggressiveness off the dribble that will translate as he gets stronger. Duff completes plays with force once he gets into the paint, with layups that will soon be dunks. His profile as a pick-and-roll weapon is also intriguing with his ability to use his size to shield off defenders. Coaches are likely already keeping tabs on Duff’s progression.
Jalen Quinn (6-3 PG, Tuscola)
There is little question that Quinn is one of the most talented guards in his class. The patience and pace he plays with is remarkable for someone of his age. He understands how to change speeds and allow plays to develop. As an ambidextrous finisher with soft touch, Quinn can use floaters from a number of different angles once he gets in the paint. His set shot produces results from three, though his off arm can be too involved at times. Quinn has a good feel for when to pull up or get to the rim and has even better vision than his assist numbers suggest. He will be able to play point guard at a high level in college even as his 6-foot-3 frame fills out. Illinois and Iowa have reached out to the lefty playmaker.
AJ Redd (6-2 SG, Saint Ignatius)
You can tell by Redd’s physical makeup that he isn’t done growing. He is a rangy defender that can guard all three perimeter spots effectively. Redd is a true difference maker on the defensive end with his anticipation and length. When he gets out in transition, he flashes his athleticism. He covers a lot of ground with his first step and continues to become more creative off the dribble. Redd is a solid distributor as well, capable of initiating the offense as a point guard. Shooting is still an area for improvement, but Redd is a player that will be take a huge step as a junior.
Damari Wheeler-Thomas (5-11 PG, Larkin)
Playing on a young, up-and-coming Larkin team, Wheeler-Thomas showed why he received an offer from Chicago State after his freshman year. With top-flight speed and a shifty handle, Wheeler-Thomas can carve up defenses with regularity. He complements his ability to blow by defenders with a consistent pull-up jump shot and a hesitation that freezes opposing guards. On the defensive end, he uses that quickness to be a pest on the ball. He fits the mold of modern scoring guards that can shoot with range off the dribble.
Zeke Williams (6-3 PG, Naperville North)
Williams is an excellent perimeter defender, giving constant effort to match with ideal physical gifts for a guard. Few point guards can average a block a game, but Williams was able to do so without sacrificing his defensive position. A two-year varsity player, he knows how to run an offense and make plays for his teammates even at high speeds. His defensive traits and playmaking ability are already at a high level, but it’s his efficient outside shooting (48% from three) that could be the difference in how much his recruitment explodes. Williams is destined to open a lot of eyes this summer/fall.