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Topic subjectEJ Liddell keeps Illinois' Mr. Basketball award in metro-east...(swipe)
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2647773, EJ Liddell keeps Illinois' Mr. Basketball award in metro-east...(swipe)
Posted by ThaTruth, Thu Mar-22-18 01:58 PM
great kid, I know his family well, if he keeps working hard it will be interesting to see what he can do at the next level...


Belleville West's Liddell keeps Illinois' Mr. Basketball award in metro-east



March 22, 2018 11:03 AM

Updated 13 minutes ago

EJ Liddell, who powered Belleville West to the Class 4A state championship, on Thursday was named Mr. Basketball in Illinois.

It's the top individual award handed out to a player. Last year, Edwardsville's Mark Smith earned the honor. Liddell is just the second junior in 38 years to win the honor, following Jabari Parker in 2012 and 2013.

Liddell, who amassed 432 points in the voting, finished ahead of Simeon's Talen Horton-Tucker (335), Morgan Park's Ayo Dosunmu (290), Hinsdale South's Zion Griffin (26) and Whitney Young's Javon Freeman (25).

Liddell, a 6-foot-7 junior, averaged 20.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 5.9 blocks and 2.8 assists for the Maroons (32-2). He made 27 3-pointers and shot 79 percent from the free-throw line (227 of 288). West defeated Elgin Larkin 64-53 in the semifinals Friday and defending champion Whitney Young 60-56 in overtime in the title game Saturday at Carver Arena.

Liddell had 41 points, 13 rebounds and 14 blocked shots in the state tournament. He set a Class 4A single-game tournament record when he had seven blocks against Elgin Larkin. He came back with seven more blocks against Whitney Young. The former record for most blocks in a Class 4A state-tournament game was four, accomplished many times.

Only three players have recorded more blocks in a game than Liddell in a state-tournament game: Providence Catholic's Walter Downing in 1978 (12), Effingham's Uwe Blab in 1980 (10) and East St. Louis Lincoln's LaPhonso Ellis in 1988 (nine).

The Mr. Basketball award was presented by the Chicago Tribune in conjunction with the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association. Rock Island's Brea Beal (255 points) was voted Ms. Basketball, repeating her award from last year. Edwardsville senior Kate Martin, who will play basketball at Iowa, was fifth in the voting with 98 points.

The players will be honored May 5 at the annual IBCA Banquet at Redbird Arena in Normal.

Mr. and Ms. Basketball are voted upon by coaches and media members in Illinois. All voters named their top-three choices, with five points awarded for a first-place vote, three for a second-place vote and one for a third-place vote.

Earlier in March, Liddell was named the Gatorade Player of the Year in Illinois.

Liddell scored in double figures in 33 games, with a high of 35 points against College Park, Texas. He had at least 10 rebounds in 14 games, recording a high of 14 in three games — two against Edwardsville and one against Montgomery (Ala.) Carver. He had five games with at least 10 blocks, with a high of 13 against Belleville East.

Liddell became the career scoring leader at West with 1,759 points and set a single-season school scoring record with 708 points.

Liddell has 13 scholarship offers from Division I schools: Illinois, Missouri, Saint Louis University, Ohio State, Florida, Iowa, Iowa State, Marquette, DePaul, Kansas State, Illinois State, Northwestern and Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Recruiting is expected to become more heated this summer as other prestigious programs make offers to Liddell.

Liddell was the centerpiece of a team that also featured seniors Malachi Smith and Curtis Williams and juniors Keith Randolph Jr. and Lawrence Brazil III. The Maroons were 14-0 in the SWC and didn't lose to a team from Illinois.

Its only losses were to Houston Math and Science and St. Louis power Chaminade in overtime.

In order of their finish, below are profiles of the remaining top-five vote-getters for Illinois' Mr. Basketball


School: Chicago Simeon

Class: Senior

Position: Forward

Height: 6-4

College: Iowa State

Numbers: 23 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 2.1 blocks, 1 steal, 44 3-pointers, 46 percent FG, 33 percent 3FG, 84 percent FT.

Team results: 28-3 (9-0 Public Red South-Central), advanced to Class 4A super-sectional, nationally ranked.

Accomplishments: Sun-Times player of the year, All-Area, first-team All-City. Prep Hoops Illinois player of the year. MVP of Pontiac Holiday tournament, Penny Hardaway Classic. According to Simeon, in games against four top-five national teams, he averaged 21 points. McDonald’s All-American nominee. 852 total points.


School: Chicago Morgan Park

Class: Senior

Position: Guard

Height: 6-4

College: Illinois

Numbers: 25.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 3.04 steals, 1.5 blocks, 55 3-pointers, 61.8% percent FG, 49.75 percent 3FG, 82.3 percent FT.

Team results: 23-9 (7-2 Public Red South-Central), advanced to Class 3A state tournament.

Accomplishments: Sun-Times All-Area, first-team All-City. Will play in Jordan Brand Classic in New York. Games of 60, 52 and 42 points this season. All-Tournament at Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas. 2017 Daily Southtown Player of the Year.


School: Hinsdale South

Class: Senior

Position: Forward

Height: 6-6

College: Iowa State

Numbers: 21.0 points, 9 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.2 blocks, 41 3-pointers, 55 percent FG, 33 percent 3FG, 61 percent FT.

Team results: 21-7 (10-2 Western Suburban Gold champion), advanced to Class 4A regional final.

Accomplishments: Sun-Times All-Area, Daily Herald DuPage County Player of the Year. McDonald’s All-American nominee. 1,116 total points. All-Tournament at York, Lyons.


School: Chicago Young

Class: Senior

Position: Guard

Height: 6-3

College: Valparaiso

Numbers: 19.6 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.6 steals, 63 percent FG, 24 percent 3FG, 54 percent FT.

Team results: 27-7 (7-2 Red North-West), advanced to Class 4A state tournament with win against nationally ranked Simeon.

Accomplishments: Sun-Times All-Area, first-team All-City. Gatorade player of the year finalist. Scored 665 points this season. MVP of Rockford Tip-Off Classic; All-Tournament at Proviso
2647775, Iowa State raiding the cupboards i see
Posted by cgonz00cc, Thu Mar-22-18 02:03 PM
2674683, man I gotta root for the Buckeyes now...
Posted by ThaTruth, Thu Oct-04-18 03:39 PM
Posted by guru0509, Thu Oct-04-18 03:48 PM
2674708, ESPN INSIDER breakdown
Posted by guru0509, Thu Oct-04-18 09:27 PM

Four-star prospect E.J. Liddell, No. 44 overall in the ESPN 100, has committed to Ohio State. He picked the Buckeyes over Illinois and Missouri. Liddell, a 6-foot-7 forward from Belleville West High School in Belleville, Illinois, was named Mr. Basketball in the state last year as a junior.

The only other player to receive that award as a junior was Jabari Parker of the Chicago Bulls, who played his high school basketball at Simeon. Liddell also led his high school team to a state championship, and it was the first non-Chicago team to win in the 4A classification since 2003.

Why he committed: Ohio State is off to a quick start, with an early fantastic class. The momentum of the class and playing with other good players were important to Liddell. He was a priority for the Buckeyes, and they never wavered in their approach.

"I love the coaching staff and the incoming players. Coach Holtmann has built a team that could compete for a national title, and I know I can help contribute to that," Liddell told ESPN.

What he brings: Liddell has a prototypical power forward's body but has the versatility of today's player. He's a load on the blocks as he creates fouls in the post. He can drop step and power his way to points or beat you with the turnaround jump shot over either shoulder. He is also skilled and savvy enough to make a reverse pivot in the mid-post to face up a bigger and slower defender.

His game is not limited to the paint, as he has shown the ability to make an open 3-point shot. He is really effective from 15 to 17 feet. Defensively, Liddell is an excellent shot-blocker for his size. As a junior in high school last year, he averaged six blocks per game.

"He's a tremendous shot-blocker at 6--7. His timing to the ball is unreal," Bradley Beal Elite coach Corey Frazier said.

He will start defending the opposing team's power forward, but in a pinch, he can switch up or down one spot and be very valuable. Offensively, he is a real mismatch as a power forward inside or a stretch forward outside. Liddell brings answers to the Buckeyes by way of scoring, rebounding and shot-blocking.

How does he fit: When you look at Chris Holtmann's teams at Butler, they always played with two versatile forwards. He has taken that blueprint to the Buckeyes, and he has landed one of the best in the Class of 2019. Liddell fits the system so well. Ohio State runs a ball screen motion offense, and Liddell would be utilized as a screener and be able to slip, roll or pop out for a jumper and be very effective. He and (No. 29) Alonzo Gaffney become bookends for the future in the front court, as they bring some more talent but different games that can complement each other. Jaedon LeDee will be a sophomore, and the Buckeyes will have the beef and skill they need to match other Big Ten front courts. C.J. Jackson and Keyshawn Woods give Ohio State perimeter experience as seniors. Liddell fits well into the scheme, and there is big need, so the timing is perfect.

Whom he reminds us of: Paul Millsap (Denver Nuggets). They both have similar frames and are high-percentage offensive players who can go inside and out. They are prototypical versatile forwards who started their careers on the inside and will slowly move to the outside without sacrificing their paint game.

How the class is shaping up: The Buckeyes have landed three top-100 players (also D.J. Carton and Alonzo Gaffney) and could be finished for the 2019 season. This would put Holtmann and his staff in the envious position of moving ahead to 2020. Don't forget Holtmann got the job in June 2017 and put together an exceptionally strong first recruiting class (No. 21) before coaching a game. This group should be ranked even higher.