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