The season is quickly approaching and a number of seniors have already made their college decisions. But there are still plenty of uncommitted 2023 players who should have big senior seasons and project well to the next level. This is far from an all-encompassing list of seniors who will play at the next level but it will highlight some of the top available seniors throughout the state at a few positions. Today, the focus is on point guards. In the coming days, some of the top available combo guards/shooting guards, wings, combo forwards, and bigs will be looked at as well.
Alex Engro (6’2 PG, Loyola Academy)
Engro is a lanky shot creator that knows how to work in pick-and-rolls, make shots off the bounce, or finish creatively in the paint. He has the handle to get where he wants on the floor, but has developed immensely over the last two years as a playmaker and floor general for Loyola. He should have anywhere from some of the top D3 programs to low-major D1 programs in pursuit.
Brayden Fagbemi (6’0 PG, Benet)
Primed for a breakout year after an impressive AAU season with the Illinois Attack, Fagbemi has grown and continues to show that he is an efficient, dynamic decision maker. Rarely getting sped up, he is a high-IQ lead guard that has a good speed and great balance and body control. Fagbemi is receiving a ton of interest from high-academic D3 programs and projects as an early-impact player at that level. But I wouldn’t be surprised if some coaches at other levels are tracking his progress.
Bryce Tillery (5’9 PG, Hillcrest)
Tillery is a lockdown defender with a strong base, good lateral quickness, and a relentless mentality on that end. His height doesn’t diminish his impact, playing the role of a pass-first point guard who shows up in big moments as a scorer. Tillery is just a tough kid that is going to find a way to make a team better.
Collin Wainscott (6’2 PG, Marmion)
A sniper from three with range out to the NBA line, Wainscott shoots it well off of pindowns and on pull-up threes behind ball screens and in transition. While he lacks some explosiveness, he is effective with his change of pace and has high-level passing feel on the move. Division 3 programs will continue to show interest.
Dalen Davis (6’0 PG, Whitney Young)
Davis is one of the most composed and reliable point guards in the state. He’s been a mainstay at Whitney Young where his assertiveness has continued to grow, especially as a scorer. After a standout showing at the EYBL with his ability to finish through contact, make timely jumpers, and make others around him better, Davis pulled in a number of offers. He has high-major talent and IQ. Davis is down to two programs, Princeton and Tulane.
EJ Marshall (6’0 PG, Proviso East)
While at Montini, Marshall had moments where he looked unguardable. As a downhill driver, he has a level of physicality, athleticism, and touch that is hard to find. Marshall is more of scoring guard than a pure point, but he does a nice job of making tough pull-ups over length and has enough of a killer instinct to make up for a lack of height. Marshall doesn’t have a ton of hype, but he is a scholarship-level guard.
Eli Aldana (6’0 PG, St. Viator)
Aldana does a great job of utilizing deception to get defenders off balance. He’s been a four-year player for St. Viator and has a mature game when operating in the half court with his stop-and-pop game and court vision. To this point, Aldana has received a number of D3 offers and is a top-end student who will have no problem fitting into high-academic programs.
Jackson Niego (6’0 PG, Lyons)
Niego is a complete point guard who knows how to run a team. He constantly gets paint touches off of dribble penetration with his strength, first step, and ball control to either kick to teammates or finish himself. Niego is also a stout on-ball defender who has a repeatable three-point shot and the lift to score in the mid-range comfortably. He continues to look like a potential D2 prospect, but D3 and NAIA programs should also be involved.
Jalen Griffith (5’9 PG, Simeon)
Few players have the ball on a string like Griffith. His footwork, handle, and explosive quickness with the ball make him a tough cover for any opposing point guard. But beyond the high skill level, Griffith has good feel for the game and understands how to read defenses off of penetration or ball screen actions. To excel at his height, you need to be an elite defender, take care of the ball, and be able to make open shots. Griffith does all three. He has multiple Division 1 offers.
Jimmy Rasmussen (6’1 PG, Geneva)
Rasmussen is flat out strong. He plays through contact on his drives and creates finishing angles with his body well. A very high motor guard, Rasmussen gets up and pressures the ball defensively. As he moves to the college three-point line, his high-arching shot has plenty of range on it to translate. Rasmussen has become a target for a number of D3 programs, but has the strength and versatility that could appeal to some Division 2 and NAIA programs as well.
Payton Pitts (6’2 PG, Francis W. Parker)
Pitts has a good frame and can really shoot it with his feet set. When he gets downhill, he has the upper body strength to score in crowds but also can throw bullets out to shooters on target. He had a good summer with Mac Irvin and has the academics, size, and playmaking instincts that should draw interest from Ivys and some of the top-end high-academic D3 programs in the area. He currently holds an offer from Western Illinois.
Tyler Smith (6’0 PG, Kenwood)
Now at Kenwood, Smith should be able to make an impact on both ends. A plus defender that stays in constant pursuit, Smith is the type of player who makes life difficult on ball-handlers. He changes gears and has a little bit of shake with the ball, able to knife through the lane or hit pull-ups in the soft spot of defenses. Still a bit under the radar and filling out physically, but Smith has winning habits, good grades, and should be able getting looked at by high-academic D3, D2, and NAIA programs.