Preseason Preview: The Illinois Ms. Basketball Watchlist
The anticipation is building as the season starts, and with it comes the highly coveted end-of-season individual awards. While last year’s nominees and runners-up are strong contenders, new roles bring new goals for these players. Here are my top picks…
The anticipation is building as the season starts, and with it comes the highly coveted end-of-season individual awards. While last year’s nominees and runners-up are strong contenders, new roles bring new goals for these players. Here are my top picks for Illinois Ms. Basketball!
The keys to the program this year are now placed in Guytons hand, and she has the confidence and ability to get her team back downstate for another run at the title. With recently committing to one of the top programs in the country, the stress of next year is off her mind and she should be prepared for this upcoming season. The scoring mentality will shift, and her ability to facilitate and create for others will be on full display. Guyton brings intensity and passion on the court in every game, and this year that mentality could award her the prestigious award.
A strong and compelling argument could have been made on Froebe winning the award this past year. However the runner up on most individual awards usually have the upper hand on securing it the following year, and Kloe definitely has the upper hand. A stellar performance in last year’s Game 2, Kloe put up 45pts and tore down 15 boards, which was one of the highlights of the tournament. With the whole team returning this year, Kloe’s captain role wont change, and she should find herself back in the running for a state title as well as Illinois Ms. Basketball.
Walton has been one of the top guards in the state for quite some time. With an enormous amount of accolades and the 1st Illinois high school athlete to seal a NIL deal, Walton could add an Illinois Ms. Basketball award to her resumé before she heads to Northwestern next summer. With her ability to score behind the arc in bunches, get to the rim at ease and defend at a high level, her Lady Lynx could find themselves back at Redbird Arena, but this time in the 3A class tournament. A for sure nominee.
Changing the focus and bringing attention to a high school basketball program is one thing, but to put a town on notice is a different type of accomplishment. Hargrove is one of the most talented basketball players in the state regardless of class. Putting up 25pts and 9reb last year, she helped lead her program to the 1A state final game. This year with having the weight of a decision off her shoulder (Nebraska commit) and stepping into a new role as a senior captain, Hargrove should have more confidence to show her dominance. Christopher could be the new home of the Illinois Ms Basketball award winner.
Bolingbrook is home to 3 Illinois Ms Basketball awards, with one of them being won twice by Morgan Tuck, and the other by Ariel Massengale, and now it could be Jones’ turn to bring it back. Trinity’s skillset is untapped and raw, but still has already compiled numerous offers from the top D1 programs. She’s been invited to the famed CP3 camp and took home a USA Gold Medal this past summer. Trinity’s athleticism is unmatched, her aggression is felt on both offense and defense, and her scoring ability from various positions is truly impressive. Now she’ll be playing alongside other top-tier players, and can help lead the panthers back down state for another trophy.
Jackson has the been the kid to know in State since before she entered high school, and she’s lived up to every bit of the hype. Now, as a junior with multiple D1 offers, she’s earned the title as the leader of her team. The amount of talent she possess is amazing, but with having even more of it being untapped is the scary part. After a successful summer on the UA Circuit with Example, Destiny put an emphasis on being the number one player in the 2025 class. The ability to play in multiple systems, on and off the ball, and defend have been shown. Whitney Young could have the first Illinois Ms. Basketball winner in history.
Todd has quietly been one of Illinois’s top players for the past couple of years, but this season, the spotlight should shine brighter on the junior guard. Ella will begin this season as the key player for the Fremd program, and with her commitment to Utah announced, the stress of that decision is off her shoulders. Her work ethic is undeniable, her skills have grown, and there seems to be an extra level of confidence in her step too. The talent to help lead this team back downstate is present, and with a deep roster.. the stretch for both a state championship and Illinois Ms Basketball is not far fetched.