High School Sports

Belleville West’s EJ Liddell narrows list of college suitors to top 5

Mizzou target E.J. Liddell talks about his recruitment

The no. 1 priority for Missouri basketball, E.J. Liddell talked about his AAU season and the latest with his recruitment.
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The no. 1 priority for Missouri basketball, E.J. Liddell talked about his AAU season and the latest with his recruitment.

Belleville West senior basketball star EJ Liddell narrowed a considerable list of college suitors to his top five.

Liddell teased the list on Twitter early Sunday, promising to make it public promptly at 8 p.m., then pushed the announcement back to 1 p.m. Monday.

Making the cut are Illinois, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Missouri and Kansas State. Liddell has said he plans to make official visits to each school before making his final choice.

The reigning Mr. Basketball in Illinois and Gatorade Illinois Player of the Year last season, the 6-foot-7, 220-pound Liddell has been in Thousand Oaks, California since Wednesday, participating in the Nike Skills Academy that featured 30 of the top high school players as well as 25 of the top college players in the nation.

Ranked as the No. 35 recruit in the nation by ESPN and No. 39 by Rivals.com, Liddell drew scholarship offers from most of the top NCAA Division I programs, including DePaul, Florida, Georgetown, Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, Louisville, Marquette, Missouri, Ohio State, Purdue, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Saint Louis University, Texas A&M, Connecticut and Wisconsin.

As a junior, Liddell led Belleville West on its historic first run at an IHSA state championship last spring.

He scored 708 points in 34 games, good for a 20.8 average and the school’s single-season record. Liddell also carried his career scoring total to 1,759 points, also a record at Belleville West. In addition, he pulled down 8.2 rebounds per game and was second on the team with 96 assists.

Before a busy summer of AAU basketball and several skills camps on both coasts, Liddell was the showcase talent at several high school tournaments, including the Washington, Illinois, Tournament of Champions, the Centralia Holiday Tournament and every stop along the Maroons deep post-season run. Each drew college coaches and recruiters from throughout the country.

Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski and his assistants have been among them.

Liddell later showcased his character, donating his $1,000 prize for being named Gatorade Illinois Player of the Year to Special Olympics.