Big Ten Basketball Stars Who Played Prep Ball Together

Ryan Curi@rcuri1Featured ColumnistDecember 7, 2013

Big Ten Basketball Stars Who Played Prep Ball Together

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    Illinois' Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate played their high school basketball together as teammates at Simeon in Chicago, though the two played second fiddle to Jabari Parker (Duke) and Steve Taylor Jr. (Marquette) there, winning multiple Illinois State High School Association championships.

    Similar to Simeon, many top prep teams have multiple Division-I recruits on their teams. For the purpose of this article rather, I have listed pairs (and one trio) of high school teammates who are now members of Big Ten squads, ranked in the order of their success as college basketball players.

Germantown High School

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    In 2012-13, Zak Showalter averaged 1.7 points, 1.0 rebound and 0.5 assists in 6.7 minutes of action for Wisconsin. With Josh Gasser returning from a torn ACL that kept him out of last season, and the addition of freshman guard Bronson Koenig, Showalter decided to redshirt and sit out the 2013-14 season.

    Luke Fischer, a true freshman center, is averaging 1.6 points and 1.9 rebounds for Tom Crean's Indiana Hoosiers. Fischer, who is one year younger than Showalter, did not lose a high school game during his junior and senior seasons in Wisconsin.

Simeon Career Academy

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    Kendrick Nunn is averaging 2.9 points, 1.3 rebounds and 0.6 assists as a true freshman off coach John Groce's bench. Nunn, who originally committed to Texas A&M, is an aggressive left-handed player with a decent stroke from long range.

    Jaylon Tate, who played two seasons with Nunn at Simeon after transferring from De La Salle, has earned the role of sixth man at Illinois. Tate plays 18.1 minutes per game compared to Nunn's 8.8 minutes, despite being the lower-rated recruit. Tate's early season averages are 2.8 points, 1.0 rebound and a team-high 3.9 assists. 

J.W. Sexton High School

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    Denzel Valentine, a versatile sophomore guard, plays just under 24 minutes per night for Tom Izzo at Michigan State. Valentine averages 7.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists and is constantly heralded for his high basketball IQ and decision making.

    Anthony Clemmons, a fellow sophomore, is the backup point guard for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Clemmons averages 5.3 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists, while playing exactly half of the available minutes. Clemmons is part of a deep bench, which regularly sees 10 players take the court each night.

Whitney M. Young Magnet High School

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    Sam Thompson's numbers are up from last season, despite now coming off Thad Matta's bench. Thompson averages 9.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 0.9 assists, while claiming the title of the league's best dunker. Thompson also led Ohio State in three-point shooting last season, at a 40 percent mark.

    Ahmad Starks, who came to Illinois from Oregon State, must sit out the 2013-14 season after not being granted his waiver to play immediately. Starks should be a backup point guard next winter, behind Tracy Abrams. Starks averaged 12.1 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a sophomore at Oregon State.

Benet Academy

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    Dave Sobolewski, the starting point guard at Northwestern, is averaging 9.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists early on in his junior campaign. After playing 35.0 minutes per game during his underclassmen years, Sobo's playing time has gone down to 29.2 under new head coach Chris Collins.

    Frank Kaminsky, the center for Bo Ryan's Wisconsin Badgers, has season averages of 15.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and one assist. Kaminsky's 43-point scoring effort against North Dakota on November 19 set the Badger single-game scoring record. Sobolewski and Kaminsky were also teammates in grade school, playing at St. Joan of Arc in Lisle, Ill.

North Central High School

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    Ronnie Johnson, the younger of the Johnson brothers, is averaging 13.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 4.1 assists to start his sophomore season at Purdue. Johnson appears to have grown since his freshman season, where he averaged 2.6 turnovers as the team's point guard. Johnson has also improved his shooting numbers.

    Terone Johnson, who is a senior on Matt Painter's squad, averages 13.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 27.1 minutes. While the Johnson duo struggles from the free-throw line and makes head-scratching plays at times, they are the Boilermakers' leading scorers nine games into the season.

La Lumiere School

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    Hanner Mosquera-Perea has nearly doubled his point total from last season, only eight games into the 2013-14 campaign. Still, Perea averages 3.9 points and 2.5 rebounds in 9.1 minutes off Tom Crean's thin bench. Perea is only scratching the surface of his potential and is regarded as an outstanding dunker.

    Raphael Davis now comes off Matt Painter's bench again, after starting the second half of his freshman season. Davis' numbers are nearly identical from a year ago though, as he contributes 5.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 17.0 minutes as a guard/forward.

    Jay Simpson, Davis' prep and college teammate at Purdue, is averaging 7.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 0.7 assists. This redshirt freshman can play either power forward or center, but is limited due to his asthma condition, leaving him to only play 15.0 minutes per night.