Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 Hinkle Holiday Classic: At Jacob High School 12/22/2014

2014 Hinkle Holiday Classic
At Jacob High School – Dec. 22nd, 2014

An event that was considered by most observers to be down after 2 consecutive years of individual stand-outs on-display as well as quality team match-ups.  This time around the first few days were mostly blow-outs, poorly played games; potentially 5 division one players suited-up at the venue while 5 or 6 D2 likes took the floor; considering bad traffic in the area, all this equaled up to a down-year at Jacobs.

Elgin-Larkin 64 – Huntley 33

Not much to report in this one, top five 2017 forward Christian Negron suited-up, but played half of the game.  He looked like a stud, he wasn’t as engaged; he merely stayed out of the way and tried not to get hurt.  Small college forward Tanner Gardon was quiet, but junior college bound guard Juwan Stewart will be a player one day.

Jacobs 84 – Carmel 71

The host team just routed a selfishly played Carmel squad which featured junior guard C.J. Duff a western Illinois recruit.  I was impressed with Northern Michigan signee Jacob’s Kenton Mack a nice feel for the game and a good jump shooter.  Soph stud Cameron Krutwig is going to be a good one once he gets his body right; he’s big 6-8, 240 and physical.  Chris Orange a 6-2 guard is a D2 recruit.  He brings length to the floor. 

Barrington 62 – Johnsburg 39

“Not much to talk about here.”  The No. 1 junior in the state Rapolis Ivanauskas displayed why he will be coveted by much of the Big 10.  The six foot nine skilled forward is a treat to watch.  Purdue was on-hand for this 9:00 am tip.  Ivanauskas played half of the game while team-mate Chris Lester a six foot six wing can be a terrific D2 recruit, he should have tons happening with his recruiting.

Cary Grove 41 – South-Elgin 39

Junior, PG Matty Smith was the main attraction for this contest, he didn’t disappoint either, he made shots, played with team-mates didn’t try to do everything by himself, in addition he performed point-guard duties when needed, Smith’s value continues to be growing with MAC & Horizon league schools in pursuit.

Carmel 85 – Bartlett 79

Carmel’s junior guard C.J. Duff played well, he looks more like a scoring guard than actual point.  He has to become more of a leader for his club.  He wears a non-emotional mask most of the time.  Bartlett lefty Jordan Anderson at 6-2 was a surprise, he was explosive attacking the rim, threw down a couple of dunks and made several treys, the senior guard should draw the attention of some division 2’s before the end of January.  He’s an intriguing prospect.

Short Game Summary: 12/23/2014

Short Game Summary, Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Gary Decesare’s squad was in control of this contest throughout, it was a good test for his team, against a highly regarded Auburn team which has down-state aspirations come March.  St. Rita trailed 27-26 going into half-time.  But then Tennessee State signee Armani Chaney showed the folks at Proviso West why he is now considered one of the elite play-makers in our Chicagoland area.  Chaney, pretty much controlled the second half, gliding & sliding through and around defenders for baskets or assists, setting the table for Charles Matthews and Tulane recruit Kain Harris.  St. Rita seems to be peaking at the right time, you can see the chemistry developing each outing they take the floor.  Chaney is the catalyst and if future opponent’s intent on beating them, they better have a good night shooting on the perimeter.  In addition St. Rita is a good defensive rebounding team.  Matthew who finished with 10 points & 11 boards and 6 assists is playing at a nice pace, is floor game has been exceptional.  While Kain Harris popped for 11 markers, he has been a nice addition to St. Rita this season after spending 3 seasons at the Buzz factory – known as Morgan Park.  Kain has settled down playing a calming role which also allows him to showcase his accurate jump shooting abilities, Harris committed to Tulane after the upset victory over Simeon last Friday.  Chaney, clearly out-played Auburn’s guards Laytwan Porter and Antoine Pittman both headed to Northern Illinois and Wisconsin-Green-Bay respectively.  Porter competed and tried to make something happen offensively, but he was cold on the perimeter.  Pittman, however had a quiet 13 1st half points, but never was into the game from the start AWOL.  Chaney led all scorers with 25, now St. Joe’s awaits in the semi-final game Friday (Dec. 26th) a rematch from 2 weeks ago when St. Rita routed them 80-61 – St. Joe was without Glynn Watson and Joffery Brown in that ball game.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Off-The-Cuff: Top 10 2015 Players


We have a growing number of 2016 prospects off to a dismal start.  Not a good sign for a class billed already as subpar.  “I can’t even tell you who the top 10 are as of today.”  Hopefully the Xmas break will provide a sense of new hope.  Meanwhile, I know who the top 10 2015 players are.  Let me identify them.
  1. Jalen Brunson    6-1    PG    HM    Stevenson
“Nationally rated Villanova recruit has his team lifted to No. 1 status in the state; Proviso West awaits.”
  2. Marcus LoVett    6-1    PG    HM    Chicago Morgan Park
“A 4 star recruit has the likes of Georgetown, Illinois, Kansas & others in hot pursuit; Xmas tournament in Carbondale will draw plenty of admirers in the southern part of our state.”
  3. Ed Morrow    6-7    SF    HM    Chicago Simeon
“Nationally ranked, headed to Nebraska; a cat quick baseliner; will terrorize the Big 10 before his career ends.”
  4. Luwane Pipkins    5-10    PG    MM+     Chicago Bogan
“The U Mass recruit showed in a head to head tilt with LoVett that he is a stud; he went for 28.”
  5. Charles Matthews    6-5    WG    HM    St. Rita
“Nationally rated Kentucky-bound talent, has strung together 3-4 straight quality games enough to silence critics.  Sometimes expectations can be overwhelming.  He should be daunting at Proviso!”
  6. D.J. Williams    6-7    G/F    HM    Chicago Simeon
“Illinois recruit, nationally ranked, very versatile performer-better playing off-the-ball; needs consistency.”
  7. Aaron Jordan    6-4    WG    HM-MM+    Plainfield East
“Illinois-bound jump shooter, has proven over the last 4 months, he is a feared offensive threat; at Pekin.”
  8. Glynn Watson    6-1    PG    HM-MM+    St. Joseph
“Has what it takes to be a key contributor for Nebraska next season; hopefully he is ready to play again at Proviso.”
  9. Jordan Ash    6-2    G    HM-MM+    St, Joseph
“Northwestern bound, will shine in Chris Collins system, he brings some quality dimensions to the floor.”
  10. Joshua Stamps    6-5    WG    HM-MM+    Chicago Curie
a“Unsigned senior has some academic work to complete.  His motor continues to improve there is no question about his talents; Memphis, DePaul, UIC, Texas El Paso these schools could be his place of destination next season.”

Game Day Look: 12/20/2014: Northwestern 67 – Western Michigan 61

Game Day Look – Saturday, December 20th, 2014
Northwestern 67 – Western Michigan 61

Just being around Welsh-Ryan arena for decades, I can feel the make-over just in the atmosphere alone these days as the second season of the Chris Collins era uncoils it’s recipe for long-term success.  “I’m on-board” – After getting clipped by MAC conference foe Central Michigan on Wednesday night 80-67, on this day Steve Hawkins Western Mich squad would encountered some early foul trouble which may have diminished any hopes the Broncos would have pulling off-the-same feat as their conference rivals a few nights back and besides Central Michigan shot extremely well.  Junior guard Tre Demps led all scorers with 17 points and freshmen Gavin Skelly and Scott Lindsey provided a spark off the bench as well as sophomore Nathan Taphorn a 6-7 sophomore from Pekin finished with 10 points.  Rockford native David Brown tallied 11 points for the Broncos.

Game Summary: 12/19/2015 No. 5 St. Rita 51 – No. 2 Simeon 46

Game Summary Fri, Dec 19th, 2014 at Moraine Valley College
No. 5 St. Rita 51 – No. 2 Simeon 46

The Mustangs clipped Simeon in a game nationally televised on ESPN 2.  It took four late free-throws by guard Kain Harris with minute or so remaining to seal the victory for the Mustangs.  Simeon’s full-court press in the final six or seven minutes closed the gap to a 44-40 margin behind numerous miscues by the Mustangs, but Simeon could never capitalize enough to take the lead, plagued by missed foul shots and horrific outside shooting which doomed the Wolverines from the start.  St. Rita exposed Simeon outside shooting, daring them to shoot while collapsing inside on Simeon forward Ed Morrow.  St. Rita coach Gary Decasare had his troops prepared and ready to go from the tip, give him credit he was masterful, they executed a game plan at both ends of the floor.  Kentucky bound Charles Matthews was splendid though-out the contest silencing critics (including myself), his plan of attack was precise, he created plays for his mates and he rebounded and competed hard.  Matthews, Harris and Armani Chaney combined for 43 of St. Rita’s 51 points.  Morgan Park transfer Kain Harris kick-started the Mustangs with 2 opening three pointers to make it a 6-2 start, finished with 16 points.  Matthews finished with a double/double 17 points – 13 rebounds, four assists; Chaney was steady throughout tallying 10; Zack Norvell scored 12 markers while 10 came in the 4th.  Nebraska recruit Ed Morrow managed 11 points and 16 rebounds, he spent the night surrounded by defenders.  “A big win for St. Rita and the catholic league.”

Game Summary: 12/18/2014: No. 3 Morgan Park 77 - No. 4 Bogan 73

Game Summary Thur, Dec 18th, 2014
No. 3 Morgan Park 77 - No. 4 Bogan 73

Morgan Park prevailed in a highly anticipated battle that I’m sure the Bogan cast had circled on their calendars for months.  Marcus LoVett did not disappoint the capacity crowd, he registered 20 second half points including eight consecutive points to open the third quarter.  But Bogan guard Luwane Pipkins (28 pts) showed he’s no slouch, he came with his A game, Pipkins even stripped LoVett a few times surprising the California transfer with his quick hands.  Bogan’s Antonio Thomas had a stellar outing recording 22 points and ten boards, but highly touted junior James Jones couldn’t get himself on-track finishing with 10.  The unsung hero for Morgan Pk was junior guard Jarrin Randle a Bogan killer, he had another career performance against the Bengals draining four 3 pointers in the first quarter while finishing with twenty points.  The other half of Morgan Park back-court duel, junior Charlie Moore continues to show why he is by far the top play-maker in the 2016 class, chipped in with 19.  Even when he doesn’t shoot well from the field, he provides other ingredients to his team, the mark of a winner.  If Bogan hopes to be considered a contender for downstate contention in March, they will have to get consistent play from junior guards James Jones and Bryce Barnes while senior general Tom Johnson has to cut-back on costly turn-overs.  Barnes needs a confidence boost he’s been struggling of late.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Top Illinois 2014 Christmas Tournaments

Top Illinois 2014 Christmas Tournaments

Pekin Insurance Holiday Tourney - Dec. 29th – 31st
(1st Round Match-Ups)

9:00 am     Limestone     vs    Peoria Central
10:00 am    Plainfield    vs    United Township
12:45 am    Morton     vs    Evanston
2:15 pm    Rockford Boylan    vs    Mt. Carmel
3:45 pm    Hersey    vs    Normal West
6:30 pm    Pekin    vs    Freeport
8:00 pm    Peoria Richwoods    vs    Lake Zurich
9:30 pm    Springfield Lanphier    vs    Washington

McDipper Holiday Basketball Tournament - Dec. 26th – 31st
(1st Round Match-Ups)

9:00 am    Rich Central    vs    Chicago Leo
10:30 am    Bolingbrook    vs    University High
12:00 pm    Marquette Catholic    vs    Rich East
1:30 pm    Hales Franciscan    vs    Perspective Charter
4:00 pm    Marian Catholic    vs    Crete Monee
5:30 pm    Thornton    vs    Seton Academy
7:00 pm    Rich South    vs    Chicago King
8:30 pm    Tinley Park    vs    Joliet Central

31st Annual Schnuck Holiday Classic - Dec. 27th – 30th
Site:  Collinsville H.S. – Starts – December 27 - 30th

9:00 am    East St. Louis    vs    Oakville (MO)
10:30 am    McCluer North    vs    Springfield Southeast
1:00 pm    Lincoln    vs    Urbana
2:30 pm    Quincy    vs    Belleville East
4:00 pm    Decatur MacArthur    vs    Granite City
6:30 pm    Collinsville    vs    Hazelwood East
8:00 pm    Belleville Althoff    vs    River Gardens
9:30 pm    Ft. Zumwalt North    vs    Decatur Eisenhower

Pontiac Holiday Tournament Starts - Dec. 29th
(1st Round Match-Ups)

9:00 am    St. Charles North    vs    Warren Twp.
10:30 am    Plainfield North    vs    Bloomington
1:00 pm    Bloom    vs    Benet Academy
2:30 pm    Curie    vs    Danville
4:00 pm    Peoria Manual    vs    Oak-Park-River Forest
6:00 pm    West Aurora    vs    Lockport
7:30 pm    Simeon    vs    Pontiac
9:00 pm    Joliet West    vs    Niles Notre Dame

Proviso West Holiday Tournament – Dec. 22nd Start
(Bracket Order)

8:30 am    St. Rita    vs    Homewood Flossmoor
9:30 am    Rockford Auburn    vs    St. Viator
11:00 am    Chicago Uplift    vs    Maine South
12:30 pm    Fenwick    vs    Hillcrest
2:00 pm    Hinsdale Central    vs    Proviso East
4:00 pm    Kenwood    vs    Morton
5:30 pm    St. Joseph    vs    Proviso West/Phillips
7:00 pm    Stevenson    vs    New Trier/Providence St. Mel

51st Annual Carbondale Holiday Tournament - Dec. 26th - 28th
December 26th – 28th (1st Round Match-Ups)

9:30 am    Trico    vs    Cairo
11:00 am    St. Mary’s    vs    Madison
1:00 pm    Marion    vs    Madison Prep.
2:30 pm    Herrin    vs    New Madrid
4:00 pm    Murphys Boro    vs    Manassas
6:00 pm    Morgan Park    vs    Millington Central
7:30 pm    McCluer    vs    Carbondale
9:00 pm    Chicago Marshall    vs    Rockford East

41st Annual Jack Tosh Holiday Classic - Dec. 26th - 31th
At York H.S. – December 26th – 31st

9:00 am    Waubonsie Valley    vs    Wheaton North
10:30 am    Conant    vs    DePaul Prep. (Formally Gordon Tech.)
12:00 pm    Providence    vs    Wheaton South
1:30 pm    McHenry    vs    St. Patrick
3:30 pm    Rolling Meadows    vs    St. Ignatius
5:00 pm    Hinsdale South    vs    Schaumburg
6:30 pm    Riverside-Brookfield    vs    Lane Tech.
8:00 pm    York    vs    Minoka


8:30 am    Timothy C.    vs    Elk Grove
10:00 am    Sandburg    vs    Highland Pl.
11:30 am    Ridgewood    vs    Metea Valley
1:00 pm    Lake Forest     vs    Nazareth
3:00 pm    Lyon’s    vs    Stagg
4:30 pm    Oswego    vs    Batavia
6:00 pm    Glenbard East    vs    Naperville North
7:30 pm    Downer’s So.    Vs    Palatine

State Farm Holiday Classic – Dec. 26th – 30th
Site:  IWU Shirk Center (1st Round Mathc-Ups)

10:00 am    Champ. Centennial    vs    Chillicothe IVC
11:30 am    Chatham-Glenwood    vs    Thornwood
1:00 pm    Rock Island    vs    North Chicago
2:30 pm    Mahomet-Seymour    vs    Springfield
4:30 pm    Chgo North-Lawndale    vs    Peoria Notre Dame
6:00 pm    Edwardsville    vs    Normal U-High
7:30 pm    Normal Community    vs    Plainfield South
9:00 pm    Rockton Hononegah    vs    Graylake Central

72nd Annual Centralia Holiday Tournament - Dec. 29th - 31st
Dec. 29th – 31st (1st Round Match-Ups)

8:30 am    Cahokia    vs    St. Laurence
10:00 am    Alton    vs    Harlan
12:30 pm    O’Fallon    vs    Jacksonville
2:00 pm    Bogan    vs    Salem
3:30 pm    Arlington    vs    Belleville West
6:15 pm    Marist    vs    Champaign Central
7:45 pm    Centralia    vs    Raleigh Egypt
9:15 pm    Addison Trail    vs    University City

Hardwood Classic at Wheeling H.S. - Dec. 22nd, 23rd – 27th
Dec. 22nd, 23rd – 27th

9:00 am    Lake Park    vs    Maine West
10:30 am    Libertyville    vs    Vernon Hills
12:15 pm    Niles North    vs    Glenbrook South
2:00 pm    Fremd    vs    Dundee-Crown
3:45 pm    Notre Dame    vs    Buffalo Grove
5:30 pm    Prospect    vs    Streamwood
7:15 pm    Naperville Central    vs    Wheeling
8:45 pm    Deerfield     vs    Waukegan

Macomb/Western 2014 Holiday Classic - Dec. 26th - 29th
Dec. 26th – 29th – At Western, IL University

9:00 am    Illini Blues    vs    Canton
10:30 am    Illini West     vs    Abingdon-Avon
1:00 pm    Metamora    vs    Brown County
2:30 pm    Central    vs    Farmington
4:00 pm    Monmouth Roseville    vs    Eureka
6:30 pm    Macomb    vs    Illini Central
8:00 pm    Rockridge    vs    Pittsfield
9:30 pm    Lewistown    vs    West Hancock

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

State Colleges Review

The Spot-Liter’s State Colleges Review

  1. Illinois (7-3) – “Couldn’t close out Oregon Ducks in a 77-70 defeat at the United Center Sat.”
  2. Northwestern (6-3) – “Crushed Mississippi Valley State at home 101-49 Sun; Central Mich at home Wed nite.”
  3. Loyola Chicago (6-2) – “Shot 52.1 percent from the field defeating Jackson State 58-46 Sat.”
  4. DePaul (6-3) – “Had a tough week; lost to Geo Washington on the road 81-68 & Ill-State at home Sun 78-72.”
  5. Illinois State (5-3) – “Popped DePaul on-the-road 78-72 behind Proviso East product Paris Lee’s late game heroics.”
  6. Southern Illinois (6-4) – “Defeated Chgo St 65-50 Sun; lost to SE-Missouri 55-54 last week.”
  7. Northern Illinois (3-3) – “Dropped a tough game at Eastern 59-55; shot a mere 30 percent.”
  8. Eastern Illinois (4-6) – “Snoop Visor tallied 16 points as they edged NIU on Sat at home.”
  9. Western Illinois (4-5) – “Had a huge comeback win vs Idaho 78-75; beat Alabama St 78-68.”
  10. Bradley (3-6) – “Playing Eureka Thurs nite; play UC Irvin Sun in Vegas.”
  11. Ill-Chicago (3-8) – “Surprised 5-3 Central Florida 71-60 last Thurs; then lost in over-time Ut Martin 81-78.”
  12. SUI-Edwardsville (1-6) – “Lost to St. Louis Sat 67-61; playing Campbell tonight.”
  13. Chicago State (2-9) – “Lost to Southern Illinois 65-50 on Sun; no alarm button these guys will be fine.”

Top Chicagoland Teams

Illinois Spot-Lite’s Top Chicagoland Teams
“The Spot-Liter will provide weekly reviews”

  1. Stevenson (6-0) – “Was on chill mode watching the Simeon – Morgan Park clash Sun.”
  2. Simeon (3-0) – “Out-lasted Morgan Park, 71-66; has a Fri nite rumble with St. Rita at Moraine.”
  3. Bogan (7-0) – “Continues to show they are one of the state’s top teams; beat Vocational 71-47.”
  4. St. Joseph (7-1) – “Internal issues need to be sorted out; missing starters in a defeat at St. Rita Fri night, 80-61.”
  5. S. Rita (4-1) – “Took advantage of St. Joe’s absence of starters; true test awaits Fri night.”
  6. Morgan Park (3-2) – “LoVett is the real deal; Simeon’s length was too much in a 71-66 loss.”
  7. Hinsdale Central (5-1) – “Rafferty had gloating numbers 39 pts in a win vs Notre Dame, 74-70 Sat.”
  8. Curie (4-1) – “Stamps & Co will be tested at Pontiac next week; they have quality young talent.”
  9. Maine South (8-0) – “This program has one of the best coaches in the state.”
  10. Kenwood (6-1) – “The Bronco’s brushed out neighborhood rival Hyde Pk 61-40 on Sun.”
  11. Lake Forest (7-0) – “Boudreaux 31 pts – 15 rebounds guided the scouts over Lake Zurich 60-54.”
  12. Hales (7-1) – “Leo H.S. pushed them to the brink on Sat 55-47; Tues –they beat Fenwick at home 56-45.”
  13. Hillcrest (7-1) – “Crushed Argo 83-35 Fri nite; will be tested at Proviso.”
  14. Thornton (5-1) – “Defeated H.F. 64-53 in their shoot-out; Big Dipper Event will tell their story.”
  15. Neuqua Valley (7-0) – “Topped Glenbard East 68-45 Sat.”
  16. Lake Zurich (7-1) – “Lost a close game to Lake Forest on Thurs 60-54; Travolos had 19 pts.”
  17. Whitney Young (2-1) – “Showcased a collection of Young talent vs Orr Sunday.”
  18. Plainfield North (7-0) – “Off-to-a-great-start; crushed Plainfield South Fri night 61-42.”
  19. Niles Notre Dame (6-1) – “Joe Mooney went for 37 pts – junior forward Ammar tallied 19 pts in a 74-70 loss to Hinsdale Central.”
  20. Fenwick (7-1) – “Mike Smith & Co had a tough time at Hales Tues nite losing 56-45.”
Note:  Morgan Park had a little drama on their front on Tues LoVett did not show-up to the game against Carver, it was reported that Nick Irvin did not attend either.  Apparently, Nick was searching for his star player’s where-abouts.  It turns out LoVett was in night school finishing up his final week of courses.  This created some buzz across the city and some good laughter!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Game Summary – 12/12/2014 St. Rita 80 – St. Joseph 61

Game Summary – Friday, December 12th, 2014

St. Rita 80 – St. Joseph 61

This was supposed to be billed as a prime-time game, but stand-out St. Joes Guard Glynn Watson was out with an injury and back-court mate Joffery Brown did not suit-up either for reasons unknown, while St. Rita post-man Myles Carter was out with a wrist injury.  Meanwhile, I suffered a bad migraine just watching a couple of guys strut around the court as if they were big-timers, staring down referees as if they are feared assassins.  Some of us view St. Rita’s under-achieving Charles Matthews as a prima donna, time will only tell for a kid with enormous potential.  In fact he seems to carry a burden of pressure on his shoulders every outing, just a glimpse of his play you can see he’s often trying to make the spectacular play instead of a winning play.  Just charting him this night where he recorded 32 points & 10 rebounds, but it still wasn’t the kind of performances that’s going to silence critics.  Jordan Ash scored 25 and grabbed nine boards.  Ash will be contributing next season at Northwestern, he has a good feel for the game and displays the ability to perform in a system geared towards his abilities.  St. Joe’s heralded 2016 post-man Nick Rakocevic pretty much was a no show!  Armani Chaney added 19 for St. Rita while Kain Harris chipped in 17.  “Very ragged affair!

Chicago Public High-Schools Conference Showdown: Simeon 71 – Morgan Park 66 (6:00 Tip)

Chicago Public High-Schools
Conference Showdown

Simeon 71 – Morgan Park 66 (6:00 Tip)

“The buzz centered around the red-south match-up was enormous, a full house on a Sunday evening got a first-hand evaluation of California transfer Marcus LoVett.  He didn’t disappoint the sell-out crowd, he shot 12 for 25 from the field and finished with a cool 29 points.  But a cold shooting night and Simeon’s length hampered any hopes of defeating their division rivals.  This marquee game was the last of a 5 game card, lived-up to the hype in some instances.  Illinois signee D.J. Williams recorded 21 points and grabbed nine boards, but the man who controlled the game at both ends was Nebraska recruit Ed Morrow.  The 6-7 senior man-handled the Mustangs with 15 points, 16 rebounds and six blocks, he went after any shot attempt at in the point, Morrow was impressive, he’s cat quick on both ends.  Prize junior point-guard Charlie Moore scored 11 points on a frigid shooting night, but battled/competed to the end.  Mustang’s Jamal Burton put himself on the 2016 grid with junkyard dog tendencies, he registered an athletic nine points and 12 rebounds.  Iowa signee Isaiah Moss added double-digit scoring.  Look for LoVett to get 50 a few games this season, in fact he’s no gunner, he finds the open-man consistently, “he’s such an electric talent, but no Derrick Rose at the high-school level.”  Simeon has a clash with St. Rita Friday night at Moraine Valley College and St. Rita better be ready.

Chicago Public High-Schools Conference Showdown: Whitney Young 80 – Orr 66 (4:00 Tip)

Chicago Public High-Schools 
Conference Showdown

Whitney Young 80 – Orr 66 (4:00 Tip)

After a slow start, the Dolphins trounced the pesky Orr squad who opened the game as if they would route the Dolphins.  Guard Darryl Curry and freshmen dandies Raekwon Drake 6-4 and Kenyon Duling supplied enough arsenal early to make this red-west match-up interesting.  They performed at a pace you would have thought they were gearing up for some run at the local YMCA.  Never-the-less Young’s surplus of talented under-classmen was just too much for Orr.  Vanderbilt recruit Joseph Toye had a marvelous game, no one could match-up with him, junior stand-out Rodney Herenton came off the bench to tally in double digits; but the display viewing belonged to sophomore Willie Herenton, a silk-smooth PG, six foot four forward Lucas Williamson who does plenty of handy-man type duties, freshman shooter Justin Boyd at 6-2 looks like stardom awaits, while freshman play-maker Xavier Castenada provides some nice punch off the bench.  Orr’s Raekwon Drake will enter the conversation as one of the top 5 first year players in our state.  He’s a physically gifted athlete and a monster in the paint already.  “This was a fun game to view because of so many talented youngsters on the main stage.

Chicago Public High-Schools Conference Showdown: Bogan 71 – Vocational 47 (2:00 Tip)

Chicago Public High-Schools 
Conference Showdown

Bogan 71 – Vocational 47 (2:00 Tip)

The Bogan Bengals arguably the 2nd best team in the state ran away from Vocational after the first period.  Vocational opened the game with some inspired play behind the efforts of 6 foot 7 forward Jordan Bell and six foot five senior Keeshawn Palmer.  After the 1st quarter things came to a screeching halt for the Cavaliers, Bogan went on a run and pretty much exhausted any upset hopes by the Cavaliers.  The Bengals’ trio of guards Pipkins/Johnson/Barnes will give most opponents nightmares were illustrating their ball-hawking prowess.  6-4 junior James Jones has blossomed into a top 10 recruit in the 2016 group, he sprayed jumpers and teased the crowd with entertaining dunks.  Thursday Bogan has a date with Morgan Park, which should be billed as a big-time game!  Bell, Vocational’s promising prospect still raw offensively but plays hard, rebounds well in traffic and he’s a superb passer, more importantly he doesn’t make mistakes.  OVC, Horizon, Summit Conferences need to pursuit, he could be a gem down-the-road!

Chicago Public High-Schools Conference Showdown: Kenwood 61 – Hyde Park 40

Chicago Public High-Schools 
Conference Showdown:

Kenwood 61 – Hyde Park 40

This ball-game was billed as a neighborhood scrap for bragging rights, but it became evident immediately that Kenwood had the game under-control from the start.  The Bronco’s rallied behind thirteen first half points from senior guard Jelani Sankey who drained three trey’s at a pivotal point during the opening half.  Hyde Park 6 foot 2 Martin Oliver (17 pts) tried to inject some life into his team by making some shots, even though he went 4-12 from the field, he played hard.  Bronco’s forward Manny Patterson (12 pts) continues to show why he’s considered to be a top 10 prospect in 2017 class.  Heralded junior Zion Morgan we charted for 7 pts while stand-out junior forward Nick Robertson played okay but only registered 3 pts; point guard Steve Williams added 10 pts.  “Kenwood is certainly a program on the rise, they have a combination of good academics and now quality hoop.”

Chicago Public High-Schools Conference Showdown: Uplift 67 (Overtime) Lincoln Park 66 (10:00am)

Chicago Public High-Schools
Conference Showdown

Uplift 67 (Overtime) Lincoln Park 66 (10:00am)

Senior guard Jeremy Roscoe’s three pointer in overtime at the buzzer helped Uplift survive a late rally from the Lion’s. A sloppy played red-north affair, where both teams shot poorly throughout the contest. Uplift had a double digit lead going into the fourth period, but couldn’t sustain the margin, they allowed a token press by the Lion’s to dismantle their rhythm.  Uplift was once projected to be one of the area’s top teams this season, but seemed to lack the cohesiveness they often displayed the previous two seasons.  Lincoln Park a sagging program, once the golden-child of the public league just under 10 years ago, good academics and competitive hoop was their trademark.  Now they linger in obscurity playing a schedule that co-exists with the likes of blue/white division caliber teams.  The program is truly lacking quality leadership from the top-bottom, self-inflicted with an egotistic micro-managing coach who masquerades around as if he’s Rob Smith (Simeon) or Ty Slaughter (Young).  The alarming twist to this is they’ve proven the kids they coach will never be a priority, “I know this first hand!”  Daniel Soetan of Uplift looks like a gem after a year or two of junior college.  Roscoe finished with 10 points while transfer Spencer Foley tossed in sixteen.  Lincoln Park was led by new comer James Morris who tallied 21 and junior Miles Curry finished with 20 points while 6-5 forward Ibrahim Dosunmu registered 20 rebounds!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Inside the Bleachers

Inside the Bleachers

At Whitney Young, Sunday December 14th, 2014 Public League Conference Match-Ups

10:00 am   Uplift vs. Lincoln Park    12:00 pm   Kenwood vs. Hyde Park
2:00 pm     Bogan vs. Vocational    4:00 pm     Orr vs. Whitney Young
6:00 pm     Morgan Park vs. Simeon

St. Rita’s performance on last Saturday versus New York’s Christ the King left some local observers scratching their heads.  Their lackluster play and one on one scheme illustrated why they were routed 87-56 at the UIC Pavilion.  “Their defense was on life support, Kentucky signee Charles Matthews, transfer senior Kain Harris and Tennessee State signee Armani Chaney will have to embrace the fact that expectations await them almost nightly.  Collectively they are going to have to play at a high level consistently.  The trio have to find ways of integrating six foot eight big man Miles Carter during the course of a game making him accountable, he could be the key to their season’s fortunes.

Sergio McClain recorded his first win as a high-school coach when his Champaign Central squad defeated Normal West in 3 over-times 52-49 on a forty-foot shot at the buzzer by senior center Luke Beesley.  “We are super happy for Serg & his team . . . “

The rumors are swirling that 6-2 sophomore sharp shooter A.J. Youngman leaving Morton High-School in Central Illinois, isn’t true.  Despite of the family house being up for sale.  Jim Youngman, A.J.’s dad negated these reports.

The Top 2016 Point Guards

The Top 2016 Point Guards

Recapping the top play-makers in the 2016 class, I think is a dynamite core of mid-major level players.  “You win with guards!”  These prospects are considered for now the top guys at the position.

Rodney Herenton    6-1    MM+-MM    Chicago Young
“System type; plays under-control; very smart offensive game; a rising Stanford recruit.”

Charlie Moore    5-10    MM    Chicago Morgan Park
“Loyola-Chicago is courting him; already has 2 state titles under his belt; proven winner.”

Mike Smith    5-10    MM    Fenwick
“Has his team off to a 5-0 start; knows how to run a team & manage a game.”

Matty Smith    5-10    MM    South-Elgin
“Has major offensive tools; can play in big game setting; will be viewed closely at Jacobs.”

DeAngelo Hughes    5-10    MM    Springfield Southeast
“Blazing speed & quickness while under control; big-time midrange jump shooter & he’s clutch.”

Bryce Barnes    5-10    MM    Chicago Bogan
“Plays in the shadows of others; silk-smooth & capable scorer; can lead a team; St. Luis U. covets.”

Xavier Bishop    5-8    MM    Springfield Lanphier
“Lefty can maneuver his way around, stroke it, but needs to distribute & run his team more; has a recent offer from UMKC.”

Micah Bradford    6-1    MM    Bradley Bourbonnais
“Obtaining a lot of love, but hasn’t been tested on a real stage yet; talented.”

Darius Branch    5-7    MM    Chicago Leo
“Plays at a good pace; clever & shrewd; knows how to set the tone for others & can score.”

Jason Jones    5-10    LM+-LM    Rock Island
“He has to prove me wrong in terms of level I see him at; averages 11.0 per outing; Summit League looks like a good fit.”

D’Aaron Owens    5-10    LM+-LM    Centralia
“Terrific ball-handler; makes good decisions; his value could soar after x-mas.”

On the Mark - Illinois Spot-Lite’s Top Chicagoland Teams (Dec. 2014)

On the Mark

Illinois Spot-Lite’s Top Chicagoland Teams

“The Spot-Liter will provide weekly reviews”

  1. Stevenson – (5-0) “They are rolling along for now; down-the-road success is unlimited for Justin Smith.”
  2. Simeon – (2-0) “Popped Lancaster, TX at the Chicago Elite Classic 87-72 on Sat.”
  3. St. Joseph – (6-0) “Beat Hales last night in over-time 57-53 in a physical game.”
  4. Bogan – (6-0) “Squeaked by Lone Peak (Utah) 60-59 in OT Sat; won in Detroit Mon against Romulus 63-46; beat Carver on Tues.”
  5. Morgan Park – (2-0) “Lovett went for 30 in the Mac Irvin Diabetes Classic – their opener; they will play Simeon Sun at Young 5 pm.”
  6. Lake Forest – (5-0) “Zion-Benton was not a real test for them Fri night 12/5.”
  7. Fenwick – (5-0) “Well coached out-fit; Mike Smith & soph Jamal Nixon lead the system.”
  8. Curie – (1-1) “They’ve had a quiet week; now play starts in white central division.”
  9. Maine South – (6-0) “Well coached; personal vastly under-rated; can get by city foes.”
  10. Kenwood – (5-1) “Almost got snuffed at King H.S. on Mon in a neighboring rivalry won 51-48.”
  11. Hales – (4-1) “A thirsty cast with a chip on their shoulders including coaches; lost to St. Joes Tues night.”
  12. St. Rita – (1-1) “Got routed in the Chicago Elite Classic vs Christ the King, NY 87-56, didn’t represent Chicago well in the match-up.”
  13. Geneva – (5-0) “They play winning formula basketball; Navigato is a treat to watch.”
  14. Hinsdale Central – (4-1) “Lone loss was to no. 1 Stevenson; guard play will determine fate.”
  15. Niles Notre Dame – (5-0) “Penchant for winning year to year; Mooney is a coach on the floor.”
  16. Neuqua Valley – (6-0) “Connor Raridon might suit-up in the Valley, maybe not North Central College.”
  17. Hillcrest – (5-1) “Beat a talented Plainfield East group 63-58 on Sat.”
  18. Thronton – (3-1) “Man-handled Thornwood Fri night; a tough test awaits at Dipper.”
  19. Lake Zurich – (7-0) “Mike Travlos and his band of marksmen off-to-a-great start.”
  20. St. Patrick - (6-0) “Combo guard Nick Coleman is vastly under-rated; knows how to play.”

The Spot-Liter’s State Colleges Review (Dec. 2014)

The Spot-Liter’s State Colleges Review
“Weekly capsule on our instate Division One’s.”

  1. Illinois (7-2) – “A cold shooting night hampered their hopes for a 7-0 start in a 70-61 loss at Miami, FL.; beat America University on Sat. 70-55; lost to Villanova Tues night in New York.”
  2. DePaul (6-1) – “Tues. forced 21 turn-overs in defeating NIU 78-67; beat Chicago State on Thurs 84-60; beat Milwaukee-Wisconsin at home Sun. 83-61.”
  3. Loyola-Chicago (5-2) – “Tough time getting buckets in an 83-70 at home defeat to Tulane Wed.; returned to the win column with a victory over UIC 77-67 lead by Milton Doyle’s play.”
  4. Northwestern (5-3) – “Lost to Georgia Wed., then lost a tough road game to No. 23; Butler 65-56 Saturday.”
  5. Southern Illinois (5-3) – “Beat SUI-E in Edwardsville 79-67; crushed Austin Peay 71-49 in C’Dale Sat.; Sun. grabbed a close one.”
  6. Northern Illinois (3-2) – “Got lured into trying to play at DePaul’s pace in a 78-67 loss; at Eastern Sat.” 
  7. Illinois State (4-3) – “Dropped a close one at home to VCU 66-62 Tues.; beat UAB 78-74 on the road.”
  8. Eastern Illinois (3-6) – “Had a quality home win over Ball-St 61-54 Dec. 3rd; lost to UC Davis Tues night 80-70.”
  9. Bradley (3-6) – “Got a nice win at home vs. Central-Michigan. 84-76; they went to Memphis & got tattooed 73-45; dropped a three point game to Kansas State Tues night.”
  10. Western Illinois (2-5) – “Last Thurs. lost at Akron 73-49; went up the interstate lost to Clev.-St. 
Sunday 76-54.”
  11. UIC (2-6) – “Lost to Grand Canyon at home 66-61 Tues; continued their slide losing to Loyola-Chgo. 77-67 Sat.”
  12. SIU-Edwardsville (1-5) – “Got drilled at home last Wed 79-67 by SIU; then lost to Cent.-Mich. 94-61 Sat.”
  13. Chicago State (2-8) – “Got a shellacking from big brother DePaul on Thurs. 84-60; then had a tough go at Toledo in an 87-59 loss; they seem to be looking for a productive rotation before the WAC conference starts.”

Reporting: 12/8/2014 Kenwood 51 – King 48

Reporting Monday, December 8th, 2014
Kenwood 51 – King 48

This was a neighborhood clash a capacity crowd filled King High ready to take in a red-central tussle, throw records and hype out of the window in this one!  6-1 junior Zion Morgan sealed the victory for Kenwood making one out of two foul shots for a 51-48 conference win, ending King’s bid for an upset.  Morgan finished with 7 points in a highly contested rivalry game.  King H.S. was where he played his freshman season and parts of last season before transferring in the 2nd semester to Kenwood.  “The best player on the court in this game was King H.S. senior forward Jesse Young a six foot three athletic stud.”  He played like all chips were-on-the-line-going for 28 markers and a dozen or more rebounds.  He was a terror on the base-line registering 4 dunks in a traffic.  The atmosphere was in mid-season form unusual for an early season tune-up, both teams competed like it was a play-off setting.  Kenwood’s 6-8 sophomore Manny Patterson (12 pts) illustrated a couple of exhilarating dunks, marking why he is highly considered to be a top prospect in the 2017 class.  He’s still somewhat raw offensively, his portfolio on the offensive end consists of dunks/put-backs he needs to add an assortment of face-up jumpers to go with the jump hook.   He’s already a chiseled youngster physically.  Kenwood’s other blue chipper Nick Robinson a 6-6 junior being courted by the likes of Georgetown and some other high-majors often showed blemishes of why he could resemble a Paul White clone (Young 2014 alum) when he matures and understands situations better doing stretches of a game.  Robinson dropped in 14 pts - 12 boards during the contest.  King just couldn’t muster-up enough ammunition to pull-off an upset, they were plagued late by missed free-throws, ill-advised long-distance 3 pt attempts and sprinkled in with some missed lay-ups.  “But Jesse Young is a player to watch.”

Game Day: 12/10/2014 Leo 64 – De LaSalle 58

Game Day Saturday, December 10th, 2014
Leo 64 – De LaSalle 58

In a catholic league crossover game Leo prevailed in an emotional played contest.  The game was played in the Lions pint-sized 3rd floor gymnasium where sometimes crowds can be quite hostile.  “This night no different.”  Leo jumped out early to a 23-12 first quarter edge, behind a swarming defense and a 16 pt quarter by junior forward Darias Oliver, who would finish the half with 20 points.  Meanwhile De LaSalle made a run closing the deficit to a 47-42 with just under the 3 minute mark to go in the 3rd, sparking the De LaSalle surge was the emotional play of Iowa signee Brandon Hutton (who fouled-out with 16) and LaSalle recruit Karl Harris who finished with 14 pts.  But the night belonged to Oliver an under-the-radar scorer whom bagged a career high of 36 markers and he went for 12 of those points in the critical 4th quarter dashing away any hopes of a De LaSalle comeback.  Oliver, had his offensive arsenal on full display; he’s a very good athlete who filters the lanes well in the break, has a deadly pull-up jump-shot, he also shoots the long ball well, more importantly he’s a smart and crafty scorer.  “Yes, he will flush it on you as well.”  A10, Conf-USA, Valley, Horizon and MAC conferences should be in the high pursuit.  Leo junior point guard Darius Branch was shrewd & clever, he easily falls on the board as one of the top play-makers in the 2016 class, he chipped in with 13 points & 8 assists.  De LaSalle’s talented junior guard George Willborn tallied only 5 points on a night he could never get on track.

Game Day: 12/6/2014 Illinois 70 – American 55

Game Day Saturday, December 6th, 2014
Illinois 70 – American 55

I vaulted towards Champaign for this game, knowing for the first time since the mid 90’s I would not see my good friend the late Wayne McClain.  This game was played in the first half at a yearning pace, American University plays at one of the slowest tempo of anyone in the country even while running their noted Princeton offense, they would have had to operate with perfection to defeat the Illini whose depth basically wore down their under-manned squad from the Patriot League.  The Illini bench scored 28 points while Malcolm Hill led the assault with 13 points and Pee Gardner led America with 16.

Game Day: 12/6/2014 Indiana 95 – Savannah State 49

Game Day Saturday, December 6th, 2014
7:30 Tip-off
Indiana 95 – Savannah State 49

“Due to a prior commitment, I followed-through on my word ditching the Chicagoland Classic and the Mac Irvin Diabetes Event to take in two college games that were expected blow-outs.  So I headed east on I-74 to see Indiana massacre Savannah, just didn’t know how much the Hoosiers would smoke them by.  I hadn’t been to the Assembly Hall since the Kelvin Sampson days (2007).  The 70,000 or so Savannah received to get drilled in a ball-game where Tommy Crean kept his foot on the accelerator, I hope was enough to help finance some other sports in their athletic program.  I’m sure Horace Broadnax wasn’t very fond of the hospitality in Hoosier land.  Indiana certainly has some nice young talent and could make a run for the upper half spot in the Big-10 Conference.

Game Summary: 12/3/2014 Tulane 83 – Loyola Chicago 70

Game Summary – Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014
Tulane 83 – Loyola Chicago 70

This was a night I was slated to be in South-Bend witnessing the Notre Dame – Michigan State over-time thriller, but couldn’t get things to fall in place prior to departure.  So the up-north track to the Gentile Arena seemed wiser.  “Anyway the Ramblers opened the game with 3 turn-overs in the first few minutes, they finally settled down and scored with 16:27 into the game making it a 6-2 start.  That was about as close as they got against a young talented Tulane ball club who shot at a pretty good clip in the 2nd half, Loyola had no answer for the Tulane six foot six senior forward Trey Drye who finished with 18.  Loyola freshman Donte Ingram was a bright spot for the Ramblers bagging 14 pts

Game Summary: 12/2/2014 Morton 71 – Hinsdale South 55

Game Summary Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014
Morton 71 – Hinsdale South 55

West Suburban Gold Conference opener for both teams.  Harvard signee Weisner Perez was a man playing with teenagers, he owned the base-line netting 29 points, probably missed three shots the entire night.  South had no answer for him.  Promising junior prospect 6-8 Barret Benson from Hinsdale South seems to be a terrific kid, finished with 16 points – 6 boards & 2 blocks was sort of smitten by the athleticism and quickness of the Morton squad.  We will continue to watch his progress throughout the season, he did display a nice shooting touch 12-15 feet!  Morton’s six foot two point guard Dexter Dale bagged 16 points – 11 assists -7 rebounds -4 steals, he was impressive.  Morton 4-2 lost to East St. Louis on Sunday in the Team Rose Classic.  They were no match for 6-11 sophomore Jeremiah Tilmon, the no. 1 player in our state’s 2017 class.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Spot-Liter’s State Colleges Review

The Spot-Liter’s State Colleges Review

“Once a week we will do a short capsule on the DIV I programs within our state.”

  1. Illinois (7-2) – “A cold shooting night hampered their hopes for a 7-0 start in a 70-61 loss at Miami, FL.; beat America University on Sat. 70-55; lost to Villanova Tues night in New York.”
  2. DePaul (6-1) – “Tues. forced 21 turn-overs in defeating NIU 78-67; beat Chicago State on Thurs 84-60; beat Milwaukee-Wisconsin at home Sun. 83-61.”
  3. Loyola-Chicago (5-2) – “Tough time getting buckets in an 83-70 at home defeat to Tulane Wed.; returned to the win column with a victory over UIC 77-67 lead by Milton Doyle’s play.”
  4. Northwestern (5-3) – “Lost to Georgia Tech Wed., then lost a tough road game to No. 23; Butler 65-56 Saturday.”
  5. Southern Illinois (5-4) – “Beat SUI-E in Edwardsville 79-67; crushed Austin Peay 71-49 in C’Dale Sat.; Lost a close one to Semo 55-54 Wed night.”
  6. Northern Illinois (3-2) – “Got lured into trying to play at DePaul’s pace in a 78-67 loss; at Eastern Sat 12/13.” 
  7. Illinois State (4-3) – “Dropped a close one at home to VCU 66-62 Tues.; beat UAB 78-74 on the road.”
  8. Eastern Illinois (3-6) – “Had a quality home win over Ball-St 61-54 Dec. 3rd; lost to UC Davis Tues night 80-70.”
  9. Bradley (3-6) – “Got a nice win at home vs. Central-Michigan. 84-76; they went to Memphis & got tattooed 73-45; dropped a three point game to Kansas State Tues night.”
  10. Western Illinois (2-5) –“Last Thurs. lost at Akron 73-49; went up the interstate lost to Clev.-St. 
Sunday 76-54.”
  11. UIC (2-6) – “Lost to Grand Canyon at home 66-61 Tues; continued their slide losing to Loyola-Chgo. 77-67 Sat; caught 5-3 Central Florida by surprise Thurs nite in a 71-60 victory.”
  12. SIU-Edwardsville (1-5) – “Got drilled at home last Wed 79-67 by SIU; then lost to Cent.-Mich. 94-61 Sat.”
  13. Chicago State (2-8) – “Got a shellacking from big brother DePaul on Thurs. 84-60; then had a tough go at Toledo in an 87-59 loss; they seem to be looking for a productive rotation before the WAC conference starts.”

On the Mark: Illinois Spot-Lite’s Top Chicagoland Teams

On the Mark

Illinois Spot-Lite’s Top Chicagoland Teams
“The Spot-Liter will provide weekly reviews”

  1. Stevenson – (4-0) “They were on cruise control at the Hinsdale Central/Lyons Event.”
  2. Simeon – (0-0) “The public league flagship program opens Sat vs Lancaster, TX.”
  3. Bogan – (4-0) “Survived crappy officiating at Rock-Island’s Turkey Tournament.”
  4. Morgan Park – (0-0) “Debut at the Elgin-Larkin shoot-out Sat.”
  5. St. Joseph – (4-0) “Played well bouncing Plainfield East in overtime Sat nite 42-40 at St. Charles.”
  6. Whitney Young – (0-0) “Open Fri vs Memphis Southwind.”
  7. Lake Forest – (4-0) “Won the title at Loyola/New Trier Holiday Classic.”
  8. St. Rita – (1-0) “Armani Chaney bailed them out vs Curie Sun at the Team Rose Event.”
  9. Uplift – (5-0) “Transfer Spencer Foley got himself acclimated quickly; a dangerous group.”
  10. Curie – (1-1) “Dropped a close one to St. Rita 53-51 Sunday.”
  11. Kenwood – (3-1) “Played fairly well at the Tournament of Champs; lost to Carver, ALA.”
  12. Fenwick – (4-0) “Beat Morton in the final 60-43 Sat; a tough test awaits soon.”
  13. Maine South – (4-0) “Veteran type group rolled over opponents at the Maine West Classic.”
  14. Geneva – (4-0) “Their system could be lethal for teams unprepared; cruised a Crystal Lake.”
  15. Neuqua Valley – (4-0) “Had an impressive victory over DeLaSalle; Raridon out-played their stars.”
  16. Hales – (4-0) “Built some steam as a team on their way to the title at the Chicago Heights Classic.”
  17. Hinsdale Central – (3-1) “Lost to Stevenson in the title game; a dark-horse squad.”
  18. Bolingbrook – (2-1) “Lost to Decatur MacArthur in the Championship game.”
  19. Niles Notre Dame – (4-0) “Hot shooting team lead by Joe Mooney; won holiday event.”
  20. Zion-Benton – (4-0) “Cruised at the Johnsburg/Richmond-Burton Classic.”

Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Player to Watch

A Player to Watch

Metamora sharp shooter Nate Kennell had a terrific tournament at Ottawa, going for 30 – 38 – 16 – 30 in the championship game versus Marengo.  The six foot five shooter can stroke-it, he’s already obtained 3 or 4 offers.  Kennell will audition his skills at the Macomb Xmas classic.

Reporting: 11/28/2014 DePaul 87 – Stanford 72

Weekend Big Game
Reporting Sunday, November 28, 2014

DePaul 87 – Stanford 72, 1:30 pm start

DePaul brought their intensity as well as an A game to top Stanford today.  The victory was a sharp signal that the Blue Demon’s will compete for the top of the league status during the Big East play.  Also, the win was DePaul coach Oliver Purnell’s most significant win at home during his tenure at DePaul.  Last year’s victory over Georgetown during the first round of the conference tournament was billed as the signature win for the program.  DePaul’s frenzy pace at the onset of bothered Stanford, which plays a more controlled style, but to no prevail the Blue Demons landed in early foul trouble playing at such a high-speed.  The Blue Demons held on to a half-time lead of 41-30, behind by the sparkling play of junior transfer Myke Henry, who finished with a career high 29 points.  The Blue Demons controlled the 2nd half, but Stanford did cut the lead down to five (60-55) with consecutive baskets from senior Anthony Brown; but DePaul went on a run to finish-off the Cardinals for the biggest home win in recent years.  James Crockett tallied 19, Thomas Hamilton 14 and Billy Garrett & Aaron Simpson finished with 9 points apiece.  Chasson Randle from Rock-Island, IL garnered 16 points tying team high honors with Stefan Nastic while Anthony Brown went for 15 points, 10-12 NBA scouts took-in this afternoon contest.  DePaul’s Rashaun Stimage should return in a month, the six foot eight junior forward will provide an instant spark on the front-line when he returns giving the Blue Demons some depth.

Reporting: 11/25/2014 Hoops for Healing at Oswego

Reporting Wednesday, November 25th, 2014
Hoops for Healing at Oswego

Naperville North 44 – Oswego East 32, 6:00 pm

This was a match-up hard to view the evening before Thanksgiving.  It was like watching towels dry.  I kept waiting for sophomore guard Trevor Ross to show me something, “but nothing ever flourished with him as he strutted around the court like he was the man.”  Highly touted Oswego East forward Stephen Harris didn’t suit-up.  Remember he’s the 6-4 sophomore transfer from North-Lawndale.  Naperville executed their offense, didn’t make many mistakes, they were well coached.

Naperville Central 49 – Oswego 45, 7:30 pm Tip

Another dried-up ball game; but give Central credit, they made plays, converted their attempts at the rim – spent time at the foul line.  Junior guard Matt Meier played well, showed a lot of grit & grind which lead to 25 points.  Red-Hawks senior Nate Dahl attacked the rim well, finishing with double digits in points.  Also, junior point-guard Immanual Rugamba was strong with the ball and didn’t turn-it-over.  Oswego just didn’t play well as a team, Zach West popped for 21, but at times he performed selfish hoisting-up thirty footers while his team-mates were wide-open.  He has to become a leader and more of a team player.  Oswego had more talent than the Naperville squad.

Reporting: 11/28/2014 Rock Island Turkey Tourney

Rock Island Turkey TourneyFriday, November 28yh, 2014 – 6:00 pm start

Chicago Bogan 77 – Peoria Richwoods 66

“Now this track to Rock-Island left me scratching my head as to why I decided to take the drive.  The game certainly wasn’t good and the talent level outside of the Bogan squad was less than par.  Tyler Hall (Rock-Island), Roland Griffin (West Aurora) and possibly Richwood’s junior point-guard Damion Gillespie are division one types.  My trip was a bust from the start, fatigue driving in to a town that’s divided and totally unfriendly.  (It’s a reason I never ventured in that area of the state.)  “Blah, blah, blah”, Bogan pretty much toyed with Richwoods most of the game leading by as much as 20 most of the first half.  Then the ref’s kicked in during the third period while making sure the game stayed interesting, Richwoods cut the lead to three 53-50 by the end of the third, they even tied early in 4th which gave the fans false hope for an upset.  Nevertheless Bogan cruised in the final six minutes of the game.  U-Mass Signee Luwane Pipkins finished with 26, Tom Johnson added 15 points & a dozen assists, Bryce Barnes and James Jones chipped in with 11 apiece.
Rock-Island 64 – West Aurora 52, 7:45 pm start

Montana State recruit Tyler Hall got the locals off to a fast start nailing 3 treys in the opening period giving the Rockies 15-12 lead.  Rock-Island pretty much lead the entire game so my night was spent sizing up the two division one players Hall/Roland Griffin –West Aurora’s gifted athlete heading to Illinois State.  Griffin has Brandon Bass type athleticism that he shows sprinkles of periodically during the course of a game, and he’s a much improved outside shooter now, contributed to his hard work during the summer.  He ended the game with 20 points and a ton of rebounds.  Hall, one of the state’s top jump shooters went 7-14 from the nailed 4 three pointers.  Jason Jones the Rock’s junior point-guard added 16 points, he looks like a low DI bordering on D2 with the likes of a North Dakota State, South Dakota, U North Dakota geared-up to recruit him since those programs recruit players in this proximity quite often.  C.J. Neville popped for 10 for the Rocks.  “I couldn’t scurry out of town towards I-80 east any quicker!”

Reporting: 11/25/2014 Team Soy Capital – 45th Annual Decatur Turkey Tourney

Reporting Tuesday, November 25th, 2014
Team Soy Capital – 45th Annual Decatur Turkey Tourney

Thornton 61 – East St. Louis 58 (overtime)

Two storied hoop programs facing off in the tourney opener, in addition both programs also have a rich tradition in football; both teams had players just coming off the grid-iron, so this match-up was scripted to be a daunting task to officiate.  East-side six foot eleven sophomore Jeremiah Tilman, the no. 1 prospect in the 2017 class continues to show progression on the offensive end and clearly one day may be a dominating force at both ends.  But this night belonged to the Thornton Wildcats who filled junior oriented line-up, took its first lead of the game at the end of the 3rd quarter on a three pointer by six foot four junior Robert McCaulley who tallied 11 points.  The Wildcats 6-6 junior Brian Davis (15 pts.) came into the game as unknown prospect, but things are sure to pick-up for him, he’s a smooth wing who’s capable of operating on the perimeter and an awful good athlete.  Davis looks like a mid-major recruit.  East St. Louis poor outside shooting hindered their 2nd half hopes of pulling this one off.  (They had their chances.)  The Flyer’s junior guard Antonio Johnson, at six foot four will be a player to watch this season finished with 10 points.  “A big-time athlete who made good decisions during the 2nd half of the game, he did a nice job handling the point-guard spot.”

Decatur MacArthur 71 – Springfield Southeast 65

Second game of the night featured a ton of quality underclassmen in both programs, this was worthy of a track-down to Decatur.  Southeast got-off to a sluggish start, but rallied behind the play of junior point guard D’Angelo Hughes and went into the locker-room at half up 31-29, MacArthur’s six foot three guard Keymonte Johnson seemed to have a hard time getting on-track, he finished with 8 points, but he’s a 2-way player who can defend & score in addition he blocks a lot of shots.  This night he seemed to defer to team-mate Kamari Jones a 6-1 senior who scored a career best 29 points, several buckets coming on acrobatic finishes at the rim.  Southeast sophomore guard Mark Johnson displayed inside/outside scoring ability winding up with 17 pts.  (He’s going to be good.)  S.E.’s Hughes, a vastly under-rated guard who is considered by many of us to be a top 5 in the state at his position collected 20 pts.  He has excellent speed & quickness while possessing a smooth accurate jumper.  Both of these teams will be fun to watch as they grow through an early stretch of play.

Reporting: 11/24/2014 Iowa 72 – Pepperdine 61

Game Day Monday, November 24, 2014
Iowa 72 – Pepperdine 61

The Hawkeyes won a hard fought contest against a scrappy Pepperdine team, who came into the game with a 3-0 mark and a solid game plan designed for an upset.  I was thoroughly impressed with Pepperdine coach Marty Wilson, he had his troops ready to play from the opening tip.  They had a good defensive scheme & played hard in a good first half for both teams, Pepperdine went into the locker-room down 35-30 at the half.  Six early turn-overs and spotty free-throw shooting in the 2nd half sort of doomed the Waves, but they were still only down 41-36, with 15 minutes left in the 2nd half.  The Waves were led by talented 6-3 freshman Shawn Olden from Tulsa Oklahoma (Union).  He finished with 17 points while junior forward Stacy Davis poses match-up problems for most opponents tallied 13.  Athletic front-courter Jeff Raines is an exciting dunker wrapped-up the contest with 8 points and an electric high-light reel dunk late in the second half.  This is a promising program on the brink of something special in conference play.  The Hawkeyes were led by Aaron White 17 & point guard Mike Gesell 15 while forward Jarrod Uthoff finished with 15 pts also.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving Tournaments Slated Across Illinois

Thanksgiving Tournaments Slated Across Illinois
Monday, November 24th – Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Hoops For Healing at Oswego H.S./Naperville North H.S.
Starts Monday, November 24th, 2014
11/24    5:30 pm – De LaSalle vs. Naperville Central    Site:  Oswego H.S.
    7:00 pm – Oswego vs. Foreman    Site:  Oswego H.S.
    5:30 pm – Neuqua Valley vs. Oswego East    Site:  Naperville N.
    7:00 pm – Naperville North vs. Benet Academy    Site:  Naperville N.

11/25    5:30 pm – Oswego vs. De LaSalle    Site:  Oswego H.S.
    7:00 pm – Naperville Central vs. Foreman    Site:  Oswego H.S.
    5:30 pm – Neuqua Valley vs. Naperville North    Site:  Naperville N.
    7:00 pm – Oswego East vs. Benet Academy    Site:  Naperville N.

Wednesday, 11/26, All Games at Oswego High School
    2:30 pm – Foreman vs. De LaSalle
    4:00 pm – Benet Academy vs. Neuqua Valley
    5:30 pm – Oswego East vs. Naperville North
    7:00 pm – Naperville Central vs. Oswego East

Friday, 11/28 – Play-Off Round at Oswego

Rock-Island Thanksgiving Tournament 

Starts Wednesday, November 26th, 2014
    TBA – Chicago Bogan vs. Chicago South-Shore
    7:00 pm – Rock-Island vs. Peoria Richwoods

Friday 11/28    12:00 pm – West Aurora vs. Peoria Richwoods
    1:30 pm – Rock-Island vs. Chicago South-Shore
    6:00 pm – Chicago Bogan vs. Peoria Richwoods
    7:30 pm – West Aurora vs. Rock-Island

11/29    12:00 pm – 12:00 Peoria Richwoods vs. Chicago South-Shore
    1:30 pm – Chicago Bogan vs. West Aurora
    6:00 pm – Chicago South-Shore vs. West Aurora
    7:30 pm – Rock-Island vs. Chicago Bogan

Team Soy Capital Turkey

Starts Tuesday, November 25th, 2014
    6:00 pm – East St. Louis vs. Thornton
    7:30 pm – Springfield Southeast vs. Decatur MacArthur

11/26    6:00 pm – Springfield Lanphier vs. Decatur Eisenhower
    7:30 pm – Bolingbrook vs. Peoria Central

Friday, November 28th – Winner/Looser Bracket Games
Saturday, November 29th – Consolation/3rd Pl/Championship Game – 7:30 pm

Chicago Heights Classic at Marion Catholic & Bloom

Starts Monday, November 24th
Participating Teams:  Chicago Brooks, Marian Catholic, Bloom, Hillcrest, T.F. South, Hales Franciscan, Homewood-Flossmoor & Thornwood

Ron Johnson Thanksgiving Tournament

Starts Wednesday, November 26th
Participating Teams:  Plainfield East, East Aurora, Metea Valley, Schuamburg, St. Charles East, St. Josephs, St. Charles North, & Downers Grove South

205 Tip-Off Classic, Hosted by Rockford Auburn & Rockford East
Starts Monday, November 29th, 2014:  7:30 pm at East – Elgin Lake vs. Rockford East

6:30 pm – Nov. 25th at Auburn:  Milwaukee Vincent vs. Belvidere
8:00 pm – Nov. 25th at Auburn:  Proviso West vs. Auburn
7:30 pm – Nov. 26th at East:  Rockford East vs. Proviso West
1:00 pm – Nov. 28th at East:  Chicago Julian vs. Rockford East
2:30 pm - Nov. 28th at East:  Belvidere vs. Elgin-Larkin
4:00 pm - Nov. 28th at East:  Milwaukee Vincent vs. Proviso West
5:45 pm - Nov. 28th at East:  Indianapolis Pike vs. Rockford East
7:30 pm – Nov. 28th at Auburn:  Chicago Julian vs. Auburn
11:00 am – Nov. 29th at Auburn:  Proviso West vs. Belvidere
12:30 pm - Nov. 29th at Auburn:  Chicago Julian vs. Elgin-Lake
2:00 pm - Nov. 29th at Auburn:  Auburn vs. Indianapolis Pike
5:30 pm - Nov. 29th at Auburn:  Belvidere vs. Chicago Julian
7:00 pm - Nov. 29th at Auburn:  Elgin-Larkin vs. Auburn

Hoop Index

Spot-Liter’s State Colleges Review
“Once a week we will do a short capsule on the DIV I programs within our state.”

  1. Northwestern (4-0) – “Freshman Bryant McIntosh looks like the real deal, Tre Demps can score.”
  2. Illinois (3-0) – “Groce has the high-octane offense in high gear – Starks has added some offensive punch.”
  3. DePaul (3-0) – Billy Garrett Jr. is the leader of the outfit; the team seems to be jelling.”
  4. Northern Illinois (3-0) – “Big win at home against Idaho – Monte can now see the fruits from his hard-work – The Armstead’s are the catalyst.” 
  5. Loyola-Chicago (2-1) – “They will regroup after the assault at Mich. St. 87-52 – Jeff White still out.”
  6. Illinois State (2-1) – “Lofty pre-season status has the radar on them; In the Virgin Islands today vs. Old Dominion.”
  7. Chicago State (2-2) – “WAC Conference has the program on an upswing & you can see it with their play.”
  8. SIU-Edwardsville (2-2) – “Lost at Portland 75-53 (Sat.); at Portland State Mon. 11/24.”
  9. Eastern Illinois (1-2) – “Lost to UC Davis on Thurs. – Today they play Cincinnati; Cornel Johnston, a freshman guard has been a bright spot.”
  10. Western Illinois (1-2) – “First year Coach Billy Wright received his 1st win (Sat.) vs. S.E. Louisiana.”
  11. Southern Illinois (1-3) – “Big in-state game vs. UIC today (Sun.); still developing identity.  Youth.”
  12. UIC (1-3) – “The Flames have the Saluki’s today (Sun.); both programs trying to get on track.”
  13. Bradley (0-3) – “Dropped one at home to Rob Morris, PA 68-61; youth & transfers will give the Braves some early woes.”

Spot-Lite Player to Watch this Season

Spot-Lite Player to Watch this Season

One of the most under-rated players in the area goes to Chicagoland Jewish, 6 foot guard Josh Newlander.  The high-scoring senior was recently named MVP at a Jewish League event held in Memphis.  In four games he averaged a cool 29.5 markers.  Newlander was named 2013-14 player of the year by Jewish Hoops America.  The season before he was named the organization’s top underclassmen.  This kid is a good athlete with a solid skills, he can shoot from the perimeter with consistency.  He also attacks the rim well.  Anticipate him having a sensational season averaging well over 30 points per game.  Josh is looking to walk-on at Indiana or Iowa.

Illinois Spot-Lite’s Top Chicagoland Teams

Illinois Spot-Lite’s Top Chicagoland Teams
“The Spot-Liter will provide weekly reviews”

  1. Stevenson – “Brunson and Connor will lead the assault, while soph. Justin Smith will be the player to watch.”

  2. Simeon – “Returns a talented-laden core of Ed Morrow, Isaiah Moss & D.J. Williams.”
  3. Bogan – “Won practically every spring/summer/fall event; the trio of guards Pipkins/Johnson/Barnes create difficulties for opponents; junior James Jones is a star on the rise.”
  4. St. Joseph – “Coach Gene Pingatore is amazing; Glynn Watson, Jordan Ash Joffery Brown & Nick Rakocdvic will lead.”
  5. Morgan Park – “Junior guard Charlie Moore is a winner, but Marcus Lovett will have opponents attention.”
  6. St. Rita – “Lofty team expectations await the trio of Charles Matthews, Armani Chaney & Kain Harris as well as Myles Carter.”
  7. Whitney Young – “No Jahlil, but they have talent; they need quality play from Toye and R. Herenton.”
  8. Curie – “Senior guard Joshua Stamps is one of the best players in the state.”
  9. Bolingbrook – “Probably has a more talented roster than anyone in the state; now Prentiss Nixon must lead.”
  10. Uplift – “Jeremy Roscoe is healthy again, watch out for Daniel Soetan & Jamaya Wyatt.”
  11. Lake Forest – “Evan Boudreaux and Noah Karras will put-up big numbers.”
  12. Kenwood – “New coach Marlo Finner will change the culture, but inherit a few bumps along the way.”
  13. Plainfield East – “A team with a bus-load of talent, Aaron Jordan is the leader; 6-9 James Claar is a player to watch; also watch for junior Jalen Adams 6-5 he could be a sleeper.”
  14. De LaSalle – “Brandon Hutton, Karl Harris and junior George Willborn have something to prove.”
  15. Hinsdale Central – “Senior Matt Rafferty is primed for a big year, Navy recruit George Kiernan is a player to watch.”

    Teams Who Will Emerge:  Thornwood, Morton, Proviso East, Zion-Benton, Leo, Hillcrest, Hyde Park, Evanston, Fenwick & Geneva

Report: 11/20/2014 Northern Illinois vs. Idaho at Dekalb, IL

Reporting on Thursday, November 20th, 2014
Northern Illinois vs. Idaho at Dekalb, IL

Northern’s 4th year Coach Mark Montgomery finally has his program tilted-on an upward swing.  A year ago it would have been difficult for NIU to win a hard fought contest versus a quality team like Idaho.  In the past the team was marred by turn-overs, terrible decision-making & horrendous outside shooting; now it’s all starting to click.  They beat the Vandals 78-67; the two teams closely mirrored each other.  The win was spear-headed by the play of the Armstead brothers Aaron (SR) and Aaric (SO).  They seem settled in now, just need to get the fan-base onboard. 

Report: 11/18/2014 State Farm – Champion Classic

Reporting Tuesday Night, November 18th, 2014
State Farm – Champion Classic

Indianapolis, IN – Michigan State vs. Duke  &  Kansas vs. Kentucky
Pegged as prime night in college hoops, the Duke – Michigan State tilt was a good game won by Duke 81-71.  It was refreshing to see a talent like freshman Jahlil Okafor manhandle some poised front-court players from Michigan State.  He’s a modern day Tim Duncan, a throwback post-player a dude that is difficult to defend in the paint.  Okafor, a Whitney Young alum likely could be the no. 1 pick in the next year’s NBA draft.  “Represented Chicago well.”
The Kentucky – Kansas match-up created such a buzz during warm-ups, I was pondering of the “Phi-Slammin-Jammin” Houston squad going up against Louisville in a prime-time affair in the early 80’s.  Kentucky’s collection of talent dusted off Kansas 72-40.  The Wildcats will entertain sold-out arenas this season featuring about 8 potential NBA prospects.  The Jayhawks just weren’t a match for their interior size, this was a tilt made for mid-season tune-up before the NCAA Tournament.  “The best part of the game was towards the end (3 minutes or so) when the walk-ons & little used players took the stage, it was like a book-store intramural league run.  “It was exhilarating laughter!”  It was hard for me to watch my dear friends in Jayhawk land get smacked around, which doesn’t exist too often, they will regroup quickly.

Report 11/17/2014 Iowa 87 – North-Dakota St. 56

Reporting Monday, November 17th, 2014
Iowa 87 – North-Dakota St. 56

While driving in, there was some hope that North-Dakota State would come into Iowa City ready to play and give the Hawkeyes a quality test before they headed off to New York to take on Texas Thursday night.  “No dice” – the Bison’s didn’t have enough ammunition to even think of popping the Hawkeyes this night.  They were routed in a contest that looked as if the Hawkeyes were bored most of the time.  North Dakota State has a program that borders along the lines with Division Two types.  Senior guard Lawrence Alexander (Peoria Manuel) led all-scorers with 21 points on 7-17 shooting; Elgin alum Kory Brown a six foot four junior forward struggled most of the night, he just couldn’t get on-track finishing 2-10 from the field, while going a chilled 2-6 from the stripe.  “These underdog teams true identity quickly reveals itself in these type of environments!”  Iowa’s 6-9 scoring forward Aaron White tallied 10 points & half a dozen rebounds in a short stint of play.  He seems destined for all Big 10 Conference Honors this season.  Coach Fran McCaffrey has done a marvelous job of re-establishing a winning culture to a once proud program, where they have a loyal fan base.  Things are looking upward in Iowa City.

Monday, November 17, 2014

2015 Senior Early Signings 11/17/2014

2015 Senior Early Signings 

This will be one of our wackiest classes in recent years, just predicated on some of the decisions we’ve seen thus far.

D. J. Williams
Chicago Simeon/Mean Streets
University Illinois
Jordan Ash
St. Joseph/Illinois Wolves
Northwestern University
Aaron Jordan
Plainfield East/Illinois Stars
University Illinois
Brandon Hutton
De LaSalle/Illinois Stars
University Iowa
Charles Matthews
St. Rita/Mean Streets
University Kentucky
Luwane Pipkins
Chicago Bogan/Mac Irvin Fire
U. Mass
Joseph Toye
Chicago Young/Mean Streets
Vanderbilt University
Taylor Adway
Hillcrest/Mean Streets?
University Toledo
Prentiss Nixon
Bolingbrook/Illinois Wolves
Colorado State University
Roland Griffin
West Aurora/Wis. Playground
Illinois State University
Alex O’Neal
Peoria Christian/Illinois Irish
Bryan Heath
Rockridge/Illinois Irish
Michigan Tech.
Glynn Watson
St. Joseph/Illinois Wolves
University Nebraska
Admiral Schofield
Zion Benton/NLP
University Tennessee
Christian Romine
Mahomet-Seymour/Illinois Stars
Texas El Paso
Julian Torres
Bolingbrook/Mac Irvin Fire
Wisconsin-Green Bay
Antoine Pitman
Rockford Auburn/Pryme Tyme
Wisconsin-Green Bay
Jalen Brunson
Stevenson/Mac Irvin Fire
Laytan Porter
RockfordAuburn/Pryme Tyme
Northern Illinois
Tyler Hall
Rock Island/Quad City Elite
Montana State
Obediah Church
Springfield High/Illinois Irish
Missouri State
Emondre Rickman
Collinsville/S. W. Jets
Indiana State
Carlos Anderson
Alton/S. W. Jets
Southern Illinois Edwardsville
Dylan Miller
Hillsboro/Illinois Irish
North Dakota State
Ed Morrow
Chicago Simeon/Mac Irvin Fire
University Nebraska
Roosevelt Smart
Sunrise Prep/Illinois Wolves
Trevor Stumpe
Plainfield North/Illinois Wolves
Wofford College
Weisner Perez
Morton/Mac Irvin Fire
Harvard University
Nate Navagato
Geneva H.S./Mercury Elite
University Buffalo
Connor Cashaw
Stevenson/Mac Irvin Fire
Rice University
Armani Chaney
St. Rita/Team Rose
Tennessee State University
Tyler Seibring
Normal Community/Net Gain
Elon University
Antonio Thomas
Chicago Bogan/Team Rose
Ferris State University
Jake Reinhart
Bloomington Central/Net Gain
Lewis University
Jack Brody
Providence Catholic/Windy City Magic
University Indianapolis
Kyle Flannigan
Oak Forest/Windy City Magic
Mike Travlos
Lake Zurich/Rising Stars
Hillsdale College
Austin Pauga
IMG Prep/Mercury Elite
Northern Illinois
Karl Harris
De LaSalle/Illinois Stars
LaSalle University
Gavin Block
Lincoln (IL)/Net Gain
Ohio University
Evan Boudreaux
Lake Forest/NLP
Kalin Fisher
Proviso East/NLP
Southern Illinois-Edwardsville
Diago Quinn
Lake Forest Academy/Fundamental U.
Monmouth College
Isaiah Moss
Chicago Simeon/Mac Irvin Fire
University of Iowa
Cole Harper
Chatham-Glenwood/IL Irish
Minnesota State