When Chris Riddle moved back to Chicago after spending his sophomore year at Compass Prep in Arizona, the city he missed was a driving factor in his decision to return home.
And it played a big part in the Kenwood star’s college choice.
The state’s top uncommitted senior is staying home. Riddle committed to DePaul and coach Tony Stubblefield on Monday.
“I love playing in Chicago,” Riddle said. “It’s why I came back from Arizona. This is where I belong and where I can see my family’s faces and emotions when I’m playing. That was important to me and something I missed when I was in Arizona.”
Riddle has enjoyed having his family and friends at his games while playing at Kenwood, and he didn’t want to miss out on that in college once the opportunity presented itself.
“This is where my family and friends are and where they can see me play,” Riddle said. “That was a big part in my decision to play at DePaul.”
Riddle is a chiseled 6-5 wing with high-level athleticism and a growing overall game, including a much-improved perimeter jumper. He punishes defenders at the rim and has become a threat from the three-point line.
Kenwood coach Mike Irvin says Riddle, who is among the top five prospects in Illinois in the Class of 2024, is overlooked nationally.
“He’s just so physical and athletic, and it’s really hard to find that combination at the high school level,” Irvin said. “When you look at players at the next level, at the highest level of college basketball, that’s him. He’s one of the best talents in the country. His upside is just so huge.”
The DePaul staff has been involved with Riddle for over a year, offered him in June and then dug in deep in recruiting him over the past couple of months. During that time the staff made a definite impression.
“It took me a minute for a decision,” Riddle said. “I had a lot of really good options. But the connection I developed with the staff was key and important to me. The comfort level I have with them is very high.”
Riddle, who took his official visit to DePaul the weekend of Oct. 13-15, says the time the staff spent with him while on his visit surpassed the time spent with coaches on any of his other visits.
“They articulated everything so well in showing me how I would be used, what their plan was for me,” Riddle said. “They were detailed with everything.
“More than anything, they showed a confidence and a belief in me that really stood out.”
Riddle believes he’s set for what should be a big senior season. He headlines a team that will be among the best in the state. But he sees changes in himself and with his game that have made him a different player and person.
“My mentality is so much better — in life, with basketball, just in everything,” Riddle said. “I’ve changed so much. I pay attention to all the little details, and I’m locked in with putting in the work.”
With the college decision made, Riddle says he can focus on the season and getting better as a player. But he couldn’t hide his excitement in talking about his college choice and playing in the Big East Conference.
“This opportunity is what I’ve dreamed of since I was a little kid,” Riddle said of playing college basketball at the highest level. “To play at this level, in the Big East, in Chicago, for DePaul … It’s a dream come true.”