Sunday, January 25, 2015

Illinois Spot-Lite’s Top Chicagoland Teams

Illinois Spot-Lite’s Top Chicagoland Teams
“How They Fared”

  1. Stevenson (17-2) – Both losses are to out of state teams; beat Libertyville Fri nite 77-50.
  2. Simeon (18-2) – Smashed Berkley Prep (FL) 76-32 Sat; took care of Bogan 55-48 Thurs.
  3. St. Rita (15-2) – Dismantled Bishop Mac 78-44 Fri nite; Charles Matthews making a statement of late.
  4. St. Joseph (15-4) – Got tripped-up in a loss to Hinsdale Central 72-69 Saturday.
  5. Hales (17-2) – Out-lasted DeLaSalle Fri nite 47-37; “they’ve showed the ability to play a variety of styles”.
  6. Morgan Park (13-5) – Knocked-off Bogan again Tues & Harlan 91-68 Thurs; LoVett & Moore best back-court in the state.
  7. Lake Forest (18-1) – Boudreaux & Co. rolling along for now, beat Lake Zurich Fri 52-49.
  8. Hinsdale Central (17-2) – Kiernan’s 30 points guided them in a win over St. Joes Sat. 72-69.
  9. Maine South (17-2) – Defeated Waukegan 69-42 Fri nite; “well coached, my dark-horse team”.
  10. Bogan (14-6) – “Lost to Morgan Pk Tues – 78-73 & then went to Simeon and dropped a 55-48 contest; a team faultering in the wrong direction right now; lacks true leadership.”
  11. Riverside-Brookfield (17-2) – Got picked-off by Evanston 66-63 in a close affair on Sat night.
  12. Neuqua Valley (17-2) – Struggled against Rockford Auburn; smashed South-Elgin Thurs (1/22/15) 78-54; have a meeting vs East Aurora Tues nite.
  13. St. Charles East (16-2) – Couldn’t get by St. Charles North last week; crushed West Chicago Sat 70-36.
  14. Geneva (17-2) – Beat rival Batavia 57-47 Fri nite; starting to develop some steam.
  15. Kenwood (14-5) – Wrapped-up the conference with wins over King & Team Englewood; waiting for another challenge as they prepare some steam for a run in the play-offs.
  16. DePaul Prep (17-4) – Toyed with Nazareth in a 55-24 win; dusted-up Mount-Carmel Fri 46-35.
  17. Niles Notre Dame (17-4) - Defeated Carmel 74-51 Fri nite; a team that puts-up points.
  18. Thornwood (13-5) – Knocked-off a Lincoln-Way North team 52-43 Fri; this team has to prove itself soon!
  19. Curie (13-4) – Laboring in a soft white central conference, but they are talented enough to make a strong push in the play-offs.
  20. Thornton (13-2) – Beat-up on Lincoln-Way Central 53-34; their style of play could have them eliminated early if they don’t clean-up miscues and bad shots.

Top 10 Sophomores (2017) in our State

Top 10 Sophomores (2017) in our State

“Heavy weight colleges will make their way into Illinois for this collection of talent.”

  1. Jeremiah Tilmon    6-11    C    HM    East St. Louis – “Clearly starting to dominate play.”
  2. Alonzo Verge Jr.    6-3    PG    HM    Willowbrook – “A cold-blooded assassin; a tough cover.”
  3. Jordon Goodwin    6-3    G    HM    Belleville Althoff – “Physically punishes defenders.”
  4. Nojel Eastern    6-4    PG    HM    Evanston – “Ambidextrous talent; coming into his own.”
  5. Justin Smith    6-6    WF    HM    Stevenson – “Equipped with the total package to be a star.”
  6. Christian Negron    6-6    SF    HM    Elgin-Larkin – “Excellent length; promising offensive threat.”
  7. Da’Monte Williams    6-2    G    HM-MM+    Manuel – “So talented; needs to pick-up his intensity every nite.”
  8. Manny Patterson    6-8    F/C    MM+    Kenwood – “Prior to being out with a shoulder injury, he was becoming a force at both ends.”
  9. Cameron Krutwig    6-8    F/C    MM+    Jacobs – “Lefty unstoppable in the paint; brute rebounder.”
  10. Craig Beaudion    6-3    G    MM+    Foreman – “Combo averaging close to 25 per outing.”



Junior post-man Barret Benson considered now to be the third best prospect in the 2016 class has continued a torrid stretch where he eclipsed the thirty point marker.  Barret scorched Addison Trail Friday 1/23/15 for 36 points, 20 rebounds and 5 blocks.  That feathery shooting touch of his has become lethal. 

Evanston’s hot-shot sophomore guard Nojel Eastern sparked his squad to upset victory over Riverside-Brookfield Saturday night.  He registered a career high 32 points and went 11 for 19 from the field along with six rebounds and five assists.  Eastern an ambitious talent has started to hit a grove with his play, he’s widely regarded as a top 3 0r 4 player in the talented laden 2017 class. 

“6-3 sophomore point-guard Alonzo Verge Jr. is one bad dude.”  An electric player with a wealth of confidence and offensive repertoire that would have most audiences at the edge of their seats.  Verge dropped 35 on Proviso East Saturday night.  Not only did he have defenders on skates most of the evening, they were draped all over him.  His contested three pointer from 25 feet with 7 seconds left silenced the Proviso faithful’s.  This kid is breath-taking on the offensive end and literally unstoppable in transition.  The Willowbrook star missed 9 foul shots during the contest, and would of had well over forty points.  Verge is legit big-time prospect!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Top Junior College Prospects

Top Junior College Prospects

Alex Peacock    6-7    SF    LM    Normal Community – “This lefty may need a year or two to polish his game; great body but doesn’t finish well around the rim; at times seems to lack passion; if he was academically solid right now, he’d be a projected D2 recruit.”

Michael Calhoun    6-1    G    LM+-LM    Chicago Clemente – “Wiry explosive athlete; limited ball-handler now; plays under-control while finding his mates; has a good lookin jumper with 3 all range; needs some strength.”

Darius Edwards    6-0    G    LM+-LM    Alton – “Silver-quick combo who can get to the rim and score; makes shots from the perimeter as well; catalyst for his squad.”

DeAngelo Isby    6-5    G/F    LM+-LM    Hillcrest – “Plagued by inconsistency; he’s a long-armed versatile performer that has some skills to be a productive player at both ends; needs some strength.” 

Kamari Jones    6-1    G    LM    Decatur MacArthur – “Combo type; he has some high-scoring out-puts this season; very good athlete; Kamari could be a fantastic prospect after juco.”

Daniel Soetan    6-3    PG    LM+    Chicago Uplift – “This wiry athlete may now be considered the best prospect on his team; Soetan needs to eliminate the miscues and value possessions better; he has a world of talent; needs polish and improvement his perimeter shooting.”

Darius Ousley    6-8    C    -------    Springfield Southeast – “He needs reps; long/lanky, but raw skill wise; one constant he has been able to do is protect the rim; a project who needs someone to work with him.”

Logan Ivy    6-7    F/C    LM    Plainfield Central
– “Big strong athlete; capable of being physical on the back-line; good rebounder; offensive game coming.”

Dexter Dale    6-3    PG    LM+    Morton – “I think he could be developed into a real good player; versatile; he’s a stat sheet stuffer; handles the ball well & good rebounder form the guard position.”

Adrian Smith    6-3    G    LM+    East Aurora – “Smooth floor general; has some flair to his game; lacks strength now but we look for him to surface as a solid mid-major recruit in a few years.”

Joe Williams    6-3    WG    LM    Galesburg – “Smooth jump shooter; okay ball-handler.”
Lavonte Sutton    5-9    PG    LM+    Chicago Orr – “Just became eligible; he’s now settling into a leadership role; has the ability to score as well as distribute; a once heralded prospect.”

Jeremy Roscoe    6-2    G    LM    Chicago Uplift – “His stock has dipped drastically since last year this time; a lot of that can be contributed to injuries and subpar performances; he has the package to be a very good player; the expectations may have worn on him.”

Juwan Stewart    6-2    WG    LM    Elgin Larkin – “Slender built prospect who I feel can be a very good player after a year or two of polishing; he possess a solid floor game; shot needs some reps.”

Antione Pike    6-4    F    LM    Chicago Hyde Park – “Hasn’t put together a string of quality outings in quite some time; expectations was high for him entering the season; very good athlete; needs a good situation.”

Others to Watch

Others to Watch

Cameron Donatian    6-0    G/F    West Aurora – “Plays a supporting role on an over-achieving squad; he’s continued to improve in all areas of his game.”

Cardell McGee    6-3    F    Springfield Lanphier – “A talented player, currently playing inside, but natural position may be on the perimeter in the near future; superb athlete.”

Tim Finke    6-5    F    Champaign Centennial – “He has shown flashes thus far of what his future may hold, but hasn’t quite lived-up to the early season hype.”

Anthony Lynch    6-1    PG    South-Elgin – “Plays at a good pace; smooth floor general; okay shooter.”

Amir Brummet    5-11    G    Decatur MacArthur – “More of a combo now; a dangerous perimeter threat.”

Kani Acree    6-4    F    Carbondale – “Very athletic; quick jumper; hasn’t seen significant minutes, yet.”

Isaiah Bowers    6-1    G    Lincoln (IL) – “Good quickness; knows how to play; floor game already impressive.”

Top 2018 Prospects to Watch

Top 2018 Prospects to Watch

A sparkling cast of freshmen has emerged in the last month of so across our state, we won’t be assessing any of them off of preseason hype, all will be evaluated based on what they’ve done through their respective seasons thus far.
  1. Raekwon Drake    6-5    F    Chicago Orr
    A chiseled-cut-specimen; already impacts games at both ends of the floor; big-time athlete; while his offensive game is still in the molding stages; he averages around 13 points, 11 boards and five blocks per game coincided with several electric dunks a night; a notable swatter, he’s my choice for No. 1; his future could be bright.
  2. Marquis “Kezo” Brown    6-1    G    Chicago Simeon
    Productive contributor for a line-up loaded with division one personnel; plays with a ton of confidence; offensive package will come; Kezo has the qualities of being a lock-down defender.
  3. Darius Beane    6-3    WG    Carbondale
    Stardom might be ahead for the slenderly built scorer; very skilled; understands the game once he gains some strength & experience we are looking at a marvelous talent.  Big 10 schools are already positioning themselves for a shot at him!
  4. Ayo Dosunmu    5-7    PG    Chicago Westinghouse
    Statistically no one in the class may have better numbers than Ayo; terrific ball-handler and floor general’ anticipates situations remarkably well; while he has the ability to score, as well finding his team-mates and he has leadership qualities and a knack for winning.  Ayo is a young Charlie Moore!
  5. Marquan Williams    5-8    PG    Chicago Perspectives-MSA
    Already a dynamite talent; offensively he has the capabilities of devastating defenders when he’s in attack mode; a tough scorer with leadership cabilities.
  6. Treavon Martin    6-6    F    Chicago Curie
    Promising prospect; he’s still in the process of learning the game, but has a wealth of tools to accelerate his growth as a player; he’s an awfully skilled performer; has a twin brother Tyree who’s also six foot six.
  7. Brandon Hurt    5-11    G    Marian Catholic
    “Combo now, has a strong body and the ability to score in a variety of ways; now cutting back on turn-overs & valuing possessions a tad better should be his focus.
  8. Xavier Castenada    5-10    PG    Chicago Young
    Athletic with a promising future; starts on the varsity lately; he’s being a catalyst for an offense that has struggled in half-court play; we envision him being a sure-handed glue for a mid-major situation one day.
  9. Chase Adams    5-3    PG    Marian Catholic
    A pint-size play-maker has stepped into a role filled effectively for 4 years by Tyler Ullis; Chase came into high-school with lofty expectations; he doesn’t possess blazing speed, but does display some savvy court awareness; the physicality of the game bothers him right now.
  10. Justin Boyd    6-2    G    Chicago Young
    Has nice length to go with long range shooting ability; a poised young player with a bright future; he’s taking some lumps because of a challenging schedule Whitney Young plays.  Justin has been productive on most occasions.

Report 1/20/2015: Naperville Central 47 – Plainfield East 43

Naperville Central 47 – Plainfield East 43

It’s amazing to me just watching a talented east team that features 4 or 5 division one prospects, including Illini bound guard Aaron Jordan, to not have the ability to pull-out close games scripted for them to win.  Jordan was unable to capture any late game heroics, he missed 2 crucial foul shots late, then was off-the-mark with a 3 pointer in the waning seconds.  He managed 11 points in a ball game that he clearly was the best player on the floor, taken nothing away from his talents, Jordan lacks that ingredient in which most elite players have fueled in their tank, “finding a way to help his team win.”  Illinois will need patience with him!  East big-man James Claar has to work on his body and six foot six junior Elyjah Goss has to put more emphasis on improving his skill set, both mid-major prospects could be major contributors one day.  Central junior guard Immanuel Rugamba continues to intrigue me with his size & quickness and his ability to take care of the ball.  He could be a rising prospect in the next 6 months!

Freshman guard Ayo Dosunmu of Westinghouse dropped 40 points on Crane Tues evening, he also registered 7 assists.  Considered by many a top 5 talent in the 2018 class, he has consistently recorded some splendid outings where he has guided his squad to victory.  Heady & shrewd.

Mather’s six foot one wing Travon Bell sprayed North-Side Prep for 43 markers on Tues (01-20-2015), giving every indication he has been over-looked in the junior class rankings.  Is a streaky shooter; once he gets going from the perimeter, it would take a cooling system to stop him.

Report 01/20/2015: Morgan Park 70 – Bogan 73

Morgan Park 70 – Bogan 73
At Bogan – Tues, Jan 20th, 2015

Marcus LoVett’s late game heroic’s stunned conference rival Bogan for the second time this season.  LoVett stole the ensuing inbound pass with 6 seconds left and drained a fade away jumper right before the buzzer.  Junior guard Charlie Moore nailed a long range three pointer to tie the game at 73-73 with under 10 seconds remaining, he finished with 29 points and 5 assists.  While LoVett scored 25 points, he had a host of college’s on-hand to see him Florida State, Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh to name a few.  Bogan once again allowed the contest to slip away, late game miscues continue to be costly for them, U. Mass recruit Luwane Pipkins tallied 21 points and James Jones added 18, Bryce Barnes chipped in with 12.  Bogan will play at Simeon Thurs 01/22/2015.

Monday, January 19, 2015

O’Fallon Shoot-Out, Saturday, February 7th, 2015

O’Fallon Shoot-Out, Saturday, February 7th, 2015

A place to be, a good location with quality match-ups, which allows opportunity to evaluate some players accordingly. 

3:15 pm    Collinsville     vs    Normal Community
5:15 pm    Belleville Althoff    vs    St. Joseph
6:45 pm    Bolingbrook    vs    O’Fallon
8:45 pm    East St. Louis     vs    Chaminade

6-5 junior Jerry Myles considered by many to be one of the top players in the 2016 class has suited-up for East Moline’s last few games after sitting out practically the first twelve games of the season due to a death in his family and a personal situation related to his loss.  Myles was in double figures in points and rebounds his last outing, so look for him to work the rust-off quickly.  One thing the lefty does which seems to be a lost art with a majority of young players today is his ability to score in a variety of ways as well as perimeter shooting!

North-Lawndale six foot nine pencil thin lefty, Kenneth Perkins Jr. continues to intrigue colleges/scouts, especially with his ability to play on the perimeter and demonstrating ball skills.  The fact to the matter, he just may be 2 years away from playing in a Div I mid-major setting.  Perkins can benefit from a year of prep or juco to polish & learn the game as well as add strength to his slender frame.

Bolingbrook’s six foot three senior guard Brodric Thomas lit-up Hillcrest for 30 points in a contest where his team defeated a ranked Hillcrest squad over the weekend, 1/17.  Thomas stock is starting to soar, his date against downstate O’Fallon on February 7th should be a venue where observers in the middle of the state get a chance to view this underrated gem.  O’Fallon’s 6-4 senior guard Donovan Franklin one of the state’s top unsigned seniors will also be a feature player to watch.

In Fact

In Fact

Hinsdale South upset Proviso East Tues nite (1-13-15) behind a monster performance from six foot nine junior post-man Barret Benson.  He recorded 36 points, 16 rebounds and 7 blocks completely dominating the paint.  This could be the kind of outing Barret can build some momentum on.  Georgetown, Stanford and a host of Big 10 schools continue to pursue.

The best kept secret in Illinois might be six foot four long-armed, southpaw Keymonte Johnson a junior from Decatur Macarthur.  Keymonte is an all-around performer, his stat sheet validates his production during the course of a game, he averages 18 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks per game.  This kid will be a versatile asset on the next level.  Valley, A10, Conference USA, Horizon and MAC Conference should view him soon.  “One of my favorites in the 2016 class.  He quietly goes about his business.  He was all-tournament at Collinsville Xmas tournament.”

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Illinois Spot-Lite’s Top Chicagoland Teams – How they Fared

Illinois Spot-Lite’s Top Chicagoland Teams – How they Fared

Lake Forest Academy won a Classic at Ridley in Canada over the weekend knocking-off Senator O’Connor (ONT) and Saturday beating Ridley (ONT) in the title 54-40.
  1. Stevenson (13-1) – Had a cake-walk on Fri night in a 81-56 romp of Zion-Benton; stayed local this weekend
  2. Simeon (13-1) – Early in the week they tattooed Bogan 73-53 on the road; then dumped Haywood County (TN) 66-41 at the Penny Hardaway’s Hoopfest; the Wolverines defeated Arlington (TN)
  3. St. Joseph (13-3) – Lost to DePaul Prep on Tues 48-43; crushed Leo 78-62 Fri night; had their way Sat in the Bob Hambric Classic vs Kenwood 67-54; despite internal issues they are thriving
  4. St. Rita (11-2) – Came away unscathed on the road in Massac County (KY) beating Arsenal Tech (IN) on Fri 77-51; got by Chaminade (MO) 77-75 in overtime on Sat in Highland; Matthews had 31 and Harris 19; Chaminade had just beat top ranked Stevenson last week
  5. Lake Forest (16-0) – Bourdreaux had another monster outing registering 38 points and 14 rebounds; has a date with Stevenson on Thurs
  6. Morgan Park (10-4) – At Target Center in Minneapolis; lost to DeLaSAlle (MN) 74-66; LoVett finished with 39 points; they play at Simeon this week
  7. Hales (15-2) – Beat Jennings (MO) Fri night 57-42; dropped one on Sat in St. Louis to St. Francis Borgia (MO) snapping their 11 game winning streak 55-54
  8. Maine South (12-2) – This is a dangerous well coached team; they crushed Taft 62-40 Sat night
  9. Bogan (12-4) – Lost by 20 to Simeon 73-53 on Tues; the Bengals were surprised by Wasatch Academy from Utah on Sat night in the Bob Hambric Classic; they are struggling with leadership right now
  10. Riverside-Brookfield (15-1) – Sam Johnson is the leader; beat Glenbard South 65-53 Fri night
  11. Hinsdale Central (12-2) – Before a packed house at home Fri night; knocked off Lyons 66-57 in conference tilt
  12. Lake Zurich (13-3) – Stevenson routed them Tues nite 71-41; won a low scoring contest vs Warren 36-28 Fri night
  13. Kenwood (10-4) – Couldn’t generate enough offense in a 67-54 defeat to St. Joes at the Bob HAmbric Classic at T.F. North Sat night
  14. Curie (9-4) – Got tripped-up in Kentucky Fri, losing 79-71 to Callaway (Miss); Gage is legit
  15. St. Charles East (13-1) – Beat Elgin on Sat 85-47; Cole Gentry & Co starting to build some steam
  16. Niles Notre Dame (11-3) – Dropped another close game to undefeated Lake Forest 82-78 in OVT Fri night
  17. Neuqua Valley (14-1) – Outlasted Bolingbrook in the 76-69; they have a big week coming-up
  18. Genava (11-2) -  Had an affair with Elgin-Larkin on Sat night; came away with a 57-45 victory; Navigato will have his team ready for a strong push come March
  19. Lake Park (15-3) – Squeaked-out a win at Sandburg on Tues 47-46; then lost to Covant 61-50 Saturday
  20. Bradley (12-1) – Thornridge gave them all they could handle on the road in a 2 point victory sat nite; Bradford was limited to sixteen points

The Top Available 2015 Prospects

The Top Available 2015 Prospects
Week to Week Performances, Updates and Antidotes

  1. Marcus LoVett    6-2    PG    HM    Morgan Park – “Dropped 39 in a loss to DeLaSalle (MN) on Sat; Iowa in to see him today, Mon 01/12/2015.”
  2. Josh Stamps    6-5    WG    MM+-MM    Curie – “His squad lost to Callaway (MS) over the weekend in Kentucky; his performance was solid; grades loom.”
  3. Matt Rafferty    6-6    SF    MM    Hinsdale Central – “Put up 27 pts in a big-time environment Fri night in a sold-out home victory over Lyons, a neighboring rival; James Madison Univ. in soon!”
  4. Brodic Thomas    6-3    G    MM    Bolingbrook – “Played well against Neuqua Valley; stellar all-around floor game; Loyola-Chgo, Texas El Paso, Sam Houston St. West. Michigan continue to show interest.”
  5. Kalin Fisher    6-1    G    MM    Proviso East – “Had an impressive outing at the Bob Hambric Shoot-Out Sat vs East Chicago; the high-scoring combo recently de-committed from SIU-E; now Loyola-Chgo may be interested.”
  6. Harrison Niegro    6-1    PG    MM-LM+    Lyons – “Hasn’t wooed anyone, but he continues to show he can quarterback a team; needs the right level & fit; lost to Hinsdale Central on Fri night.”
  7. James Claar    6-9    F/C    MM    Plainfield East – “Potential stretch 4 capable of consistently knocking down 15-20 ft. jumpers; interested in engineering; Old Dominion & Texas El Paso & Sam Houston State are looking.”
  8. Johnny Fox    6-6    SF    MM    Hales Franciscan – “A Stud; played well in St. Louis where they’re 11 game winning streak was snapped. He’s got people taking notice!”
  9. Donovan Franklin    6-4    G    MM-LM+    O’Fallon – “Has continued his sparkling play with stellar outings last week.  O’Fallon Shoot-Out will be a place to be Feb 7th.
  10. Myles Carter    6-8    C    LM+    St. Rita – “His strength thus far has been shot-blocking, rebounding while protecting the basket; hands need to improve, but he does manage to get offensive tip-dunks regularly.”
  11. Allen Billinger    6-0    PG    MM-LM+    Carbondale – “Steady leader; can make shots; understands possessions; a cool hand.”

Game Watch: 1/12/2015 Wichita State 67 – Loyola-Chicago 53

Game Watch – Wichita State 67 – Loyola-Chicago 53
At Loyola – Sunday, January 12th, 2015

The Gentile Center was rocking, the Ramblers had a nice over-flow crowd on-hand to see them battle the Shockers (14-2, 4-0).  The perfect setting for an upset, but the Ramblers ran out of gas after going into intermission ahead 28-23.  To beat this team in league play you need a good night of balance scoring form several individuals.  The Shockers are such a good defensive team.  “Great environment at the arena on Sunday, it was exactly what we’ve envisioned for all of our local schools (colleges) the last several years.  NIU, UIC we see from time to time this setting at Northwestern and DePaul, depending on who’s visiting.  An igniting experience to see the support from area coaches and some of the area’s top players as well as prospects from around the state.  Loyola falls to 12-4, 2-2 in league play.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Top 2016 Prospects (By Position)

Top 2016 Prospects
(By Position)

A class that seems to dwindle significantly by the week, unfortunately there aren’t very many sure-fire high-major recruits.  It appears that some front-court players will emerge within the next few months.  In fact several of them could develop into key contributors by their sophomore year.  Sometimes these young players today need a place/fit where they can mature and learn, while developing aspects of their game, patience is required especially with the progression of the big guys.  Look at Rob Covington for an example he wasn’t some budding star at Proviso West nor at Tennessee State but now he starts for the Philadelphia 76er’s as a result he went to a setting  which allowed him to develop and polish his game.  Eastern Illinois forward Chris Oliver is another example, he could be in the hunt for player of the year in the Ohio Valley Conference, viewers in our area would never have projected that for him.  3 or 4 players in the class have been embattled by inconsistency and East Moline swingman Jerry Miles has yet to suit-up this season due to disciplinary reasons, while he was once considered to be a top 5 player in the class.  There are quality prospects on the board, I think we need to keep early expectations under-wraps.  I’m going to attempt to identify our Top 10 Players:

  1. Rapolis Ivanukas 6-9, F, Barrington   
  2. Nick Rakocevic 6-9, SF, St. Joes   
  3. Barret Benson 6-9, C, Hinsdale Central
  4. Isaiah Roby 6-8, F, Dixon   
  5. Devon Gage 6-3, G, Curie   
  6. Micah Bradford 6-2, PG, Bradley
  7. Darias Oliver 6-5, WF, Leo    8.
  8. Charlie Moore 5-10, PG, Morgan Park
  9. Zach Norvell 6-4, WF, Simeon
  10. Brandon Johnson 6-7, SF, T.F. North

Point Guards

  1. Micah Bradford    6-1    MM+-MM    Bradley Bourbonnais – “Averaged 29.5 points and 5 assists per game in leading his team to the Kankakee Championship; he’s a legit prospect.”
  2. Charlie Moore    5-11    MM    Chicago Morgan Park – “A winner, reliable gamer, knows how to perform on the big-stage; besides he already has 2 state championships under his belt.”
  3. Rodney Herenton    6-1    MM    Chicago Young – “Solid performer, knows how to play, not going to woo you with spectacular plays; he’s a system type; dynamite student.”
  4. Matty Smith    5-9    MM    South-Elgin – “Yes he can quarterback a team, but he’s capable of having huge scoring nights.  MAC & Horizon has turned-up the interest.”
  5. Mike Smith    5-9    MM    Fenwick – “Value has slipped a tad, he did enjoy a solid showing at Proviso Xmas Tourney.  He’s proven & knows how to run a team; 3 year starter.”
  6. Bryce Barnes    5-10    MM    Chicago Bogan – “Surprising he has sputtered in some big games recently.  Bryce has not been as sure-handed as we once anticipated; he’s going to have to prove himself again.”
  7. Xavier Bishop    5-8    MM    Springfield Lanphier – “It hasn’t resonated with the little lefty that creating opportunities for his mates should be a priority; Bishop has to show he can play PG.”
  8. D’Angelo Hughes    5-10    MM    Springfield Southeast – “Didn’t take advantage of the stage at Collinsville; has talent, but seems to lack the maturity of putting it together.”
  9. Jarrin Randle    5-10    MM-LM+    Chicago Morgan Park – “Bogan killer; plays his best when matched against their core of guards; makes big shots; excels in big game settings.”
  10. Jason Jones    5-10    LM+    Rock-Island – “Averaging in double figures; had a quality showing at State Farm; Summit League could be a good fit for him to suit-up in.
Players to Watch in the Position – Some Need More Viewing
Immanual Rugamba    6-1    LM    Naperville Central – “Strong ball-handler; doesn’t turn-it-over.”
D’Aaron Owens    5-10    LM    Centralia – “He’s steadily improving; he might be under-valued.”
Breshawn Wilkerson    6-0    LM Oak-Park – “More of a scoring lead; has to prove himself nightly.”
Daniko Jackson    5-9    LM-D2    Riverside-Brookfield – “Playing a supporting role for a good team.”
Tommy Lucca    5-9    LM    Genoa Kingston – “Off to exceptional start scoring a lot, but I’d like to see if he can create for his mates.”
Darius Branch    5-5    LM-D2    Chicago Leo – “Has to show more point guard skills nightly.”
Shooting Guards

  1. Devon Gage    6-2    MM+-MM    Chicago Curie – “Combo now, still learning the game; has talent; as he displayed at Pontiac; he just has to become consistent; DePaul loves him.”
  2. James Jones    6-3    MM    Chicago Bogan – “To say the least, his early performances hasn’t lived-up to the expectations we had billed-up for him; confidence has seemed to waver lately.”
  3. Zion Morgan    6-1    MM    Chicago Kenwood – “Solid prospect; good defender; has limited offensive ability now; could be a really good system type in the right league; MAC, Horizon, OVC, A10 and Valley.”
  4. Nate Kennell    6-5    MM    Metamora – “He can stretch the floor well for his mates; under-the-radar type; does have a few mid-major offers.  Has his squad off to a good start; knock-down shooter.”
  5. Christopher Harris    6-3    MM    Lake Forest Academy – “Since transferring out of Loyola Academy, Chris has kind of hooped in obscurity.  A big body athlete who has the capabilities of being explosive at times; potential 2 way player.  He’s playing in Canada this weekend.”
  6. George Wilbourn    6-3    MM    DeLaSalle – “Silk smooth scorer, can make big shots, has a tendency to drift at times.  We envision him playing on both sides of the ball at the next level.  MAC, OVC, Horizon should pursue.”
  7. C.J. Duff    6-1    MM    Carmel – “More of a scorer than actual true point-guard.  Duff broke the tournament scoring record held by Mundelein’s Ben Brust, he averaged a 27.8 clip in 5 games at Jacobs Holiday Event.  Non-emotional leader on his squad; has to do more than just be a scorer.”
  8. Kevin Kreiger    6-5    MM    Plainfield North – “Has shined as Trevor Stumpe’s side-kick, proven outside shooter, good passer & has the ability to score.”
  9. Ethan Meeker    6-2    MM-LM+    Galesburg – “He’s consistently shown the ability to knock-down shots; he and teammates Grant Gibson and Joe Williams has the Silver-Streaks off to a 15-0 start.
  10. Evan Hines    6-4    MM-LM+    Niles West – “Intriguing jump shooter, has range, needs to work on some emotional issues, spends too much time sulking, absorbing everyone’s attention.”
Other WG’s to Follow

Daniel Hoekstra    6-4    LM+    Bishop McNamara – “Good athlete; vastly under-rated player.”
Antonio Johnson    6-4    LM+-LM    East St. Louis – “Athletic; has to cut-back on turn-overs & improve decision making.”
Antonio Williams    6-1    LM+    Proviso East – “Talented; plays in the shadows of others.”
Travon Bell    6-1    LM+-LM    Chicago Mather – “Once heralded shooter, we need to see him soon.”
Tyler Houston    6-3    LM+    Knoxville – “Good motor; makes shots; I like his future.”
Jake Rhode    5-11    ------    Mount Carmel – “Making shots; enjoying a good season; will see soon.”
Isaac Nelson    6-1    LM    Springfield High – “Lefty; can score; he’s improving.”
Leron Williams    6-3    LM+-LM    Tinley Park – “Talented; needs to improve motor; with work future could be bright; unfortunately it can’t happen within that program.”
Mike Pollack    6-4    LM    DeKalb – “Respected perimeter shooter; we will watch his progress.”

Wing Forwards

  1. Rapolis Ivanaukas    6-9    HM    Barrington – “Exceptional talent will only improve as he gains strength; arguably the no. 1 player in the class; had high-scoring games in the semi’s & championship at Jacob’s Tourney.  We will see what position his future holds.”
  2. Darias Oliver    6-6    MM+-MM    Chicago Leo – “His numbers don’t lie, averages close to 25.3 without hoisting-up a ton of shots; good athlete & shooter; maybe the best scorer in the class outside of Rapolis.”
  3. Brendon Gooch    6-6    MM    Belleville Althoff – “Teases you with his length and ability to drain jumpers on the perimeter; he has to keep his motor energized and prove to colleges his game is for real.”
  4. Zach Norvell    6-4    MM    Chicago Simeon – “A very productive player; doesn’t always shoot-it-well on the perimeter, but compensates by playing hard & making plays.  I envision him playing some four-man in some situations.  He’s a threat in the post.  OVC, Valley, A10, Conference USA, MAC.”
  5. Nick Robinson    6-5    MM    Chicago Kenwood – “Still hasn’t put all the parts to his game together; it seems all mental with him; has the necessary tools to be a solid player.”
  6. Keymonta Johnson    6-4    MM    Decatur MacArthur – “One of my favorites; brings winning intangibles to the floor; right now he sacrifices his offense for others; he still manages a double-double most nights; a long-armed lefty; stat stuffer; all tourney at Collinsville; future bright; needs to add strength to his frame.”
  7. Ben Coupet    6-7    MM    Chicago Simeon – “We saw first-hand at Pontiac how frustrated he’s becoming with the Platoon system.  He’s got talent, just caught in the numbers game.”
  8. A.J. Beckett    6-8    MM+    Champaign Central – “Probably one of the more talented players in the class; sitting out this season after transferring over from Centennial.”
  9. Jack Clausen    6-5    MM-LM+    Newark – “Out to prove he’s legit; shelved in July with an injury, but has continued to work the rust-off; Clausen is a proven scorer.”
  10. Karon Randolph    6-4    LM+    East St. Louis – “Hampered by poor decision-making; good athlete; has some scoring ability; needs polish.  Might be a football prospect!”
Wing Forwards to Watch

Marcus Cole    6-4    LM+-LM    Chicago Bogan – “Starting to play significant minutes; needs to be more productive when called upon; promising prospect.”
Donovan Oliver    6-3    LM+-LM    Kewancee – “Had 40 in a game over break; looks like a summit league recruit; plays with a good motor.”
Jalen Adams    6-5    LM+-LM    Plainfield East – “Promising prospect; patience may be his best virtue.”
Miles Curry    6-4    LM    Chicago Lincoln Park – “High volume shooter; needs polish in other areas.”
Josh Thomas    6-4    LM    Chicago Simeon – “His game evolves around slashing to the rim and playing with a high energy; limited shooter & scorer; could specialize as a defender.”
Sidney Mason    6-5    LM    Chicago Vocational – “Great body; plays hard but doesn’t always get the production he needs to post; decision-making must improve.”

Strong Forwards

At this position, patience will be required, we envision 4 or 5 could one day become all league players in the right environment.  I’m high on the potential of Jordan Bell, Myles Howard and Ansar Muhammed.
  1. Nick Rakocevic    6-9    HM    St. Joseph – “Had a stellar showing at Proviso; I finally saw why certain colleges covet his services.  Rakocevic has to eliminate some of the immature & emotional rants.  He knows how to score around the rim!”
  2. Isaiah Roby    6-8    HM-MM+    Dixon – “Guided his team to a holiday title at Plano; verbal to Nebraska in October which allows him to focus on his game.”
  3. Brandon Johnson    6-7    MM+    T.F. South – “After a break-out spring/summer he’s gotten out of the gate slowly at least statistically; good athlete; skills need polishing; will see him soon.”
  4. Terrell Phipps    6-7    MM+-MM    Chicago Al Raby – “Good athlete with a huge upside; has started to add some offensive ingredients to his ever improving play; good shot blocker.”
  5. Jordan Bell    6-7    MM    Chicago Vocational – “Plays within limitations; a rising prospect with a good motor; passes well out of the post; offensive game isn’t a threat yet, but his future seems bright.  MAC, OVC, Sun-Belt, Horizon and Valley should pursue.”
  6. Ansar Muhammed    6-6    MM    Hales Franciscan – “Explosive around the rim; game starting to take some shape; terrific rebounder in traffic superb shots-blocker; rising prospect.”
  7. Myles Howard    6-7    MM    Marian Catholic – “All tournament selection at the McDipper; excellent frame; competes at both ends.  He’s still a work in progress, but his future could be very bright.  Howard plays with intelligence.”
  8. Liam Shannon    6-7    LM    Oak-Park – “Intriguing prospect; played well in Pontiac; we will continue to watch his development.  I like the way he competes & he has a good frame.”
  9. Zach Grady    6-6    LM    Bolingbrook – “Big-body athlete; maneuvers around well in the paint; he might be more suited for high-level D2 program.”
Other 4 men to Watch

Ammar Becar    6-6    LM    Niles Notre Dame – “Plays tough in the paint even though undersized.”
Rashawn Epting    6-6    LM    Immaculate Conception – “He thinks the game is all about scoring.”
Alonzo Chatman    6-6    LM    Chicago Morgan Park – “The last 2 games, he’s shown signs of confidence.”
Mark Smith    6-7    LM    Riverside-Brookfield – “Bourdreaux was a nightmare for him at Wheeling.”
Austin Trice    6-5    LM    Chicago Morgan Park – “Still raw skill wise; work in progress.”


  1. Barret Benson    6-9    MM+    Hinsdale South – “The big fella has a feathery touch around the rim; clogs up space inside, but we’d like to see him rebound the ball more and protect the rim defensively.”
  2. Tawong King    6-8    -------    Chicago Orr – “A big strapping young player; has to continue working on his post-game; he competes well; last season he was at Marshall H.S.; he’s currently sitting out this season; promising prospect.”
  3. Meshach Obafemi    6-8    -------    St. Rita – “Weighs about 260, but manages to anchor the paint effectively; he does not back down from anyone; he’s physical and rebounds well; the work he does on his body will determine what level he can suit-up at collegiately.”

Monday, January 5, 2015

Other Division One Hopeful to Watch

Other Division One Hopeful to Watch

  • Joe Mooney, 6-3, WG, LM+-LM, Niles Notre Dame – “Sharp Shooter having terrific season.”
  • Alex Peacock, 6-7, SF, LM, Normal Community – “Southpaw can be an effective system type, may opt for a prep.”
  • Fred Sims Jr., 6-1, G, LM+-LM, North-Lawndale – “Combo, potential high-scorer made all-tournament at State Farm.”
  • Cole Gentry, 5-8, PG, LM+-LM, St. Charles East – “Shrewd general, could fit in the Summit League.”
  • Nick Coleman, 6-2, PG, LM, St. Patrick – “Steady floor general, under-valued, a gamer.”
  • Joe Borcia, 6-10, C, LM+-LM, Libertyville – “The fact is he can score, body needs work; worth a look.”
  • Dedrick Shannon, 6-0, PG, LM+-LM, Rich-South – “27 ACT, had a nice showing at the Dipper; intriguing.”

Top Available 2015 Prospects

Top Available 2015 Prospects

“The Holiday Tournaments were a great opportunity for some of our states top unsigned seniors to show that their play has been overlooked.”  Let’s take a look at the Spot-Liter’s top seniors still on-the-board!

  1. Marcus LoVett    6-2    PG    HM    Chicago Morgan Park
    “He’s a stud; LoVett averaged 26 points in four games and was named MVP at the Carbondale Holiday Tourney, where he was the main attraction.”  Kansas, Georgetown, Illinois remain in the hunt.
  2. Josh Stamps    6-5    G/F    MM+-MM    Chicago Curie
    “He looked snake-bitten when his Curie squad got smacked around by Benet in Pontiac.  This slithery scorer needs to assert himself a tad more on the court & classroom.  Grades will be the tale of the tape for him.”  Texas El-Paso, UIC, Memphis may be the pursuers watching his academics closely.
  3. Harrison Niego    6-1    PG    MM    Lyon’s Township
    “Helped himself with a strong showing at York, losing the title game to Lake Forest, this heady general has the Missouri Valley schools taken close notice.”
  4. Brodric Thomas    6-3    G    MM    Bolingbrook
    “Thomas is legit as he often displayed at the McDipper and his earlier outings.  He’s skilled with the ability to create scoring for himself of his mates.  He’s going to be a steal for the right program.”
  5. Matt Rafferty    6-7    SF    MM    Hinsdale  Central
    “Proviso this year was the stage for him to showcase what his game was all about.  Raff had a few bumps along the way.”  A system type who would fit in well in a program housed in leagues such as the sun-belt, horizon or MAC.
  6. Johnny Fox    6-6    SF    MM    Hales Franciscan
    “His value continues to soar, he brings winning intangibles to the floor.  A true interior banger, has an assortment of post moves including a jump hook.  Superb rebounder & shot-blocker.”  OVC, Sun-Belt, Horizon leagues should view him immediately.
  7. James Claar    6-9    F/C    MM    Plainfield East
    “This kid is going to be a player one day, especially when he adds some strength to his frame.  He’s not the traditional back to the basket type, but Claar might be more of a stretch 4 type; he’s effective perimeter shooter; he’s a prospect that needs the right fit to develop his game.  I’m high on his potential.  He wants to major in engineering.  Texas El Paso, Old Dominion and Sam Houston State has shown interest.
  8. Donovan Franklin    6-4    G    MM-LM+    O’Fallon
    “Combo type out to prove to critics that he’s for real, as he demonstrated to the Chicago Bogan clan when O’Fallon upset the Bengals at Centralia.  Slick floor general with length.”  Jacksonville State may offer now.
  9. Allen Billinger    6-0    PG    MM-LM+    CarbondaleA smooth general, plays at a good pace; had a quality showing versus Morgan Park last week in the semi-final contest in C’Dale.  “He had a couple of errant passes late in the game, but he’s legit!”  OVC and Sun-Belt should pursue.
  10. Myles Carter    6-8    C    MM-LM+    St. Rita“He plugs-up the interior well with shot-blocking and rebounding.  He had visit to Seton Hall not long ago which may be a stretch for him.  He could be an effective player in the right environment.” 

Illinois Spot-Lite's Top Chicagoland Teams: 1/4/2015

Illinois Spot-Lite's Top Chicagoland Teams
How our Top 20 Faired

  1. Stevenson (12-1) – Won its second consecutive Proviso West Title; they lost to Chaminade out of St. Louis Friday, Brunson scored 48.  They beat Gonzaga (DC) on Saturday at the Cancer Research Classic.
  2. Simeon (8-1) – Defeated Benet 46-26 in the title game at Pontiac; crushed Bishop Gorman (NV) at the Cancer Research Classic.
  3. St. Joseph (11-2) – Lost to Stevenson 69-60 in the title game at Proviso; Rakocevic was a factor.
  4. Lake Forest (14-0) – Boudreaux dominated opponents while leading his team to their 2nd consecutive Jack Tosh Title; senior guard Noah Karras was terrific as well; 6-8 sophomore Lorenzo Edward is a player to watch.
  5. Morgan Park (7-3) – Defeated New Madrid 85-75 in the championship game in Carbondale, LoVett was the MVP of the event; will host Normal U. High on Sat at 6:30 pm.
  6. St. Rita (7-2) – Played well at Proviso, but dropped a hard fought contest against St. Joes in the semis; they grabbed 3rd place; Chaney Matthews & Harris were terrific.
  7. Hales (11-1) – Impressive while capturing the McDipper – defeated Rich-South in the title game 68-51; they are the early favorites for the state crown in 2A.
  8. Maine South (10-2) – 5th place finish at Proviso; had Stevenson on the ropes during the quarters.  A well-coached team.
  9. Bogan (10-2) – Got tripped up in a quarter-final game versus O’Fallon after running-up the score against Salem the day before; 5th place finish.
  10. Lake Zurich (10-1) – Beat Plainfield East in the championship 62-59; “they are for real.”
  11. Riverside-Brookfield (13-1) – Tom McCloskey’s squad had a strong showing at Jack Tosh dropping the title game to a contending Lake Forest team 69-42; another surprising team.
  12. Kenwood (9-3) – Wrapped-up Proviso with a surprising 4th place finish; lost to Stevenson and St. Rita.
  13. Hinsdale Central (8-3) – Stumbled early at Proviso, then proceeded to play inconsistent in the consolation round; guard play and some other areas need polish.
  14. Curie (8-3) – Benet caught them by surprise at Pontiac in a quarter final contest 67-46; they recovered to finish 5th.
  15. Lyon’s Township (12-3) – Came up short at Jack Tosh losing to Lake Forest 59-47 in the semis.
  16. Neuqua Valley (14-1) – Defeated East Aurora in the championship game at Aurora.
  17. Lake Park (13-4) – A surging team; played well beating Notre Dame 62-52 in the title game at Wheeling.
  18. Elgin-Larkin (13-4) – Out-lasted Barrington 69-66 in the championship game at Jacobs; they are a potential dark-horse team.
  19. Niles Notre Dame (10-2) – Lost in the title game at Wheeling to a surprising Lake Park team.
  20. Bradley-Bourbonnais (10-1) – Beat Kankakee in the final 82-70; “Micah Bradford might be the top PG in the class.”



Former St. Viator guard Roosevelt Smart now at Sunrise Prep just might still be on the available board.  Smart did not send back his letter of intent which should have been earmarked for Loyola-Chicago.  The Ramblers expended a lot of hours trying to help his transition ino their program go smoothly.  It’s disappointing that the kid and his circle of trust couldn’t visualize the big picture.

Six foot ten center Lamous Brown has packed his bags again, leaving the prep-school in Arizona, he will transfer to John A. Logan College immediately to begin the second semester.  Remember last season he was a little used reserve on Morgan Park 3A State Title Team.

Proviso East scoring guard Kalin Fisher de-committed from his agreement with Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.  “I’m wondering what he’s thinking.

Nebraska-Omaha departed ways with six foot nine senior center Alex O’Neal from Peoria Christian.  Rumors were flying around what the Summit League School had a change of heart of what they needed to fill at that position, seeming though O’Neal’s summer showing didn’t help his cause.  University Illinois at Springfield has widely indicated they have strong interest in his services.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Holiday Tournament Wrap-Ups - At Jacobs

Holiday Tournament Wrap-Ups - At Jacobs
2014 Hinkle Holiday Classic
Elgin Larkin 69 – Barrington 66    *Title
Zion Benton 64 – Jacobs 61    *3rd Place

After 2 consecutive years of strong individual performances and an array of D1 prospects on-hand, the 2014 event wasn’t as entertaining a band of bad teams filled the first game match-ups, but the semi-final contest between Barrington and Zion-Benton gave the crowd some hoop conversation to discuss for years to come.  “I mean ain’t much happening in a sleepy town like Algonquin.”  Junior forward Rapolas Ivanauskas went for 37 points in an over-time victory against (Tennessee recruit) Admiral Schofield and his Zion-Benton squad.  Rapolas at six foot nine is a throw-back type he has excellent feel for the game and he’s a very skilled scorer, he and Rakocevic are neck & neck on who might be the no. 1 player in the 2016 class.  Top 5 sophomore Christian Negron’s Larkin squad defeated Ivanauskas’ Barrington team in the title, Rapolas went for 30 and they still came up short.  The game featured two of our states best young players.  South-Elgin’s Matty Smith demonstrated he’s moving up the charts at the PG slot in an ever dwindling 2016 crop.  Carmel’s junior scoring guard C.J. Duff broke the tournament scoring record held by Mundelein’s Ben Brust.  Duff eclipsed the mark of 136 points in 5 games at a 27.8 clip, his Carmel team finished in 7th place, so scoring isn’t everything and besides his team did not play well together.  “A very selfish group.”  Jordan Anderson a 6-2 senior swingman is a player to watch, the lefty is explosive and he showed he can shoot from distance, so he will be added to the must watch list in coming games.  Hospitality room gets a low grade, not even relevant to mention.

Holiday Tournament Wrap-Ups - At Carbondale

Holiday Tournament Wrap-Ups - At Carbondale
Morgan Park 85 – New Madrid 75    *Title

Carbondale 83 – Manassas 62    *3rd Place

Chicago’s favorite team took their show in the road to the southern part of the state and came home victorious.  4 star point-guard Marcus LoVett popped for 40 points in one outing.  Little used Lincoln Park transfer Sam Mack made 2nd team all-tournament, his performance added some punch to a thin Morgan Park bench.  Chicago being a tough sport town will be quick to point out the competition in C’Dale wasn’t so stiff, those were the soft whispers over-heard at the Pontiac venue.  Carbondale’s 6-3 freshman guard Darius Beane had a strong showing versus Morgan Park in the semi-final contest.  Senior point-guard Allen Billinger considered to be one of the top 10 seniors available was superb despite of a few miscues late in the game versus Morgan Park in the semi-final, where the Terriers lost by nine 67-58.

Holiday Tournament Wrap-Ups - At Proviso West

Holiday Tournament Wrap-Ups - At Proviso West
Stevenson 69 – St. Joseph 60   *Title

St. Rita 71 – Kenwood 55    *3rd Place

Stevenson survived some heavy bouts in capturing its second consecutive championship at West, which was arguably the top holiday tournament in the state. Some of the area’s top teams went head to head but none could neutralize the play of Stevenson’s senior trio of Jalen Brunson, Connor Cashaw and Matt Johnson, but the recent play of 6-6 sophomore wiz Justin Smith makes them even more dangerous in their quest for a 4A state title.  In fact Brunson who was the tournament MVP has seemed to put more emphasis on distributing the ball to his mates more this year.  In the title game Brunson had 27 points, six assists and three steals while Cashaw notched 18 points and nine boards and Smith tallied 16.  St. Joe’s guard Glynn Watson is still hampered by ankle injury, wasn’t his productive self, registering only six points to go with five assists, but Northwestern recruit Jordan Ash went for 17 & junior forward Nick Rakocevic played well inside recording 18 points with 13 coming in the first quarter, Joffery Brown added 10 for St. Joes.  Stevenson (11-0) will head to West Virginia to take on Gonzaga (DC) on Saturday in the Cancer Research Classic.  Kenwood was the surprise final four team, but right now they have a tendency to struggle manufacturing offense.  Junior’s Zion Morgan and Nick Robinson will need to step-up their play with consistent performances nightly, particularly with sophomore stud Manny Patterson possibly out for the season with a shoulder injury.  Senior guard Rahman Katumbusi has upped his value with strong play during the tourney.  No hospitality room, tournament officials here never heard of being hospitable.

Holiday Tournament Wrap-Ups - At McDipper

Holiday Tournament Wrap-Ups - At McDipper
(Rich South High School)
Hales 68 – Rich South 51    *Title

Thornton 58 – Bolingbrook 56    *3rd Place

A good event, certainly not the slew of division one talent the south-suburban locals were so accustom to critiquing nightly.  Standing room only crowds no longer exist, but what makes “The Dipper” so authentic is its cast of colorful characters on-hand, a dynamite atmosphere fills the place with a resonating aura.  The hospitality room has a strong spread, it grades out at a 5 star, the room is often the happening spot between sessions for tourney officials, college coaches, participating coaches, scouts and just the plain old miscellaneous Joe Blows.  Hales Franciscan was the marque attraction this year a team assembled with athleticism, perimeter shooting and a physical style in the paint anchored by shot-blockers; their collection of athletes attempt to dunk everything in transition which makes them entertaining to watch.  Hales seems to be the early favorite to win a 2A Title, they are an exciting group led by rising senior forward Johnny Fox, a rugged athletic banger with an effective offensive game, he’s also a punishing rebounder.  The OVC and Horizon Leagues have started to notice his play while junior forward Ansar Muhammad has started to create some buzz for himself with several electric dunks in traffic within the last few weeks.  Bolingbrook six foot three combo guard Brodric Thomas demonstrated once again he is legit. He is one of the top 10 seniors available, his value continues to climb.  Another senior who’s operating under-the-radar is 6-2 swingman Jesse Young a high-jumping lefty who scores in bundles along the baseline, he too could be a late division one signee, this kid is a potential game changer.  Leo’s Darias Oliver was 1 or 2 in tournament scoring, Oliver a junior forward will amass several scoring records before he’s done at the south-side school.  Rich-South’s duel of point-guard Dedrick Shannon and six foot four banger Jeremy Ruffin surprised everyone by pushing their way to the title game.  Shannon’s play earned him some interest from D1 schools while Ruffin draws small college looks.  Seton Academy’s wiry scoring guard RaShaad Williams had observers excited about the sophomore’s upside potential.  “The astounding fact to this over-all venue is the talented core of young players Marion Catholic has in their stable for the next several years.  Freshman guards Chase Adams and Brandon Hurt will spearhead the back-court for the next 4 years, they have plenty of depth on the back-line with promising six foot seven junior Myles Howard who was selected to the all-tournament team, six foot five sophomore Austin Richie has shown the ability to score in double figures consistently.  Warren Allen another 6-5 sophomore plays strong in the paint, provides some inside muscle with scoring and rebounding.  6-7 sophomore forward T.J. Smith considered by many the best prospect on Marian’s roster will return to action late February after injuring his knee late in the summer.  Count Marion Catholic in with Whitney Young, Belleville Althoff and Curie as having some of the finest young talent in the state.  “The Dipper” will be a strong event in-terms of talent on-hand the next few years.

Holiday Tournament Wrap-Ups - At Collinsville

At Collinsville
Lincoln (IL) 47 – Collinsville 24    *Title

Belleville 76 – McCluer North 64    *3rd Place

The host team got off to a heck of a start in the title game leading 19-11 at the end of the first quarter; but the tide soon twisted, Lincoln rattled off the first 16 points of the second quarter.  Lincoln’s sharp shooter Gavin Block led all scorers with 27 points and was named tournament MVP.  This is an event I’ve been attending since the mid 90’s and I still enjoy the atmosphere every year.  The fan base remains strong, regardless of team records or subpar talent on display.  East St. Louis 1:00 pm face-up against McCluer North out of St. Louis drew a packed house on a Monday afternoon a tribute to my point.  The Flyers had their six game winning streak snapped when they couldn’t close out McCLuer North in a quarter final match-up, losing 65-61.  The Flyer’s 6-11 sophomore Jeremiah Tilmon did not disappoint spectators, he grabbed 12 rebounds, scored 24 points and anchored the paint as a big-man should.  “Tilmon, the no. 1 player in the 2017 class is skilled & competes at both ends, I like his upside.”  Belleville Althoff carries a bus load of young talent, beat the breaks off of Decatur Eisenhower 87-62.  Jordan Goodwin a six foot three guard and arguably the 2nd best player in the 2017 class finished with 21, he and his mates were high-fiving & jiving the entire night, 6-6 junior Brendon Gooch finished with 19 points and seven rebounds.  I was impressed with sophomore Marvin Bateman a 6-4 skilled wing who can really stroke-it and Edwyn Brown a smooth ball-handling guard who makes good decisions.  Althoff has a date February 7th against St. Joseph at the O’Fallon Shoot-Out, then we can assess them accordingly.  The next night Althoff got derailed by the host team Collinsville in the semi-final round. Hospitality room graded out at a 3 star.

All-tournament selection
Gavin Block 6-5 SR Lincoln (MVP)
Kenny Berry 6-1 JR Granite City
Demonte Morris 6-2 SR McCluer North      
Brendon Gooch 6-6 JR Althoff
Keymonta Johnson 6-3 JR MacArthur  
Emondre Rickman 6-8 SR Collinsville
Jeremiah Tilmon 6-11 SO East St. Louis  
Anfirnee Wilkerson 5-10 SR Collinsville
Will Cook 5-10 SR Lincoln          
Jordan Goodwin 6-3 SO Althoff

Holiday Tournament Wrap-Ups - At Pontiac

At Pontiac
Simeon 45 – Benet 26   *Title

West Aurora 62 – St. Charles North 55    *3rd Place

Long, long time observers at this event are quick to mention how watered down this tournament has become in recent years, often reminiscing of the glory days when powerhouse programs such as Quincy  Lockport Peoria Manuel  Bloom  West Aurora would descend into this small farming community with its array of colorful coaches.  Now days Simeon serves as the main attraction and long-time tournament director Jim Drengwitz needs to make sure he continues to massage this relationship with the Wolverine clan.  Chicago Curie disappointed observers when they came out to an 11:00 o’clock tilt and got tripped-up in a quarter final match-up versus a disciplined Benet team, losing 67-46.  The Redwings from Lisle, Illinois ran a clinic in resemblance to the famed movie Hoosiers, Curie’s stand-out senior guard Josh Stamps managed four points and shot a cool 1 for 10 from the field, junior guard Devon Gage looked like he was the only one who looked awake ready to play.  West Aurora forward Roland Griffin named to the all-tourney first team, played with a high-motor while guiding his team to a 3rd place finish.  Jake Ludwig’s 24 points helped St. Charles North upset Plainfield North 78-76 in another quarter finals contest, despite a 30 point barrage from North’s Trevor Stumpe.  We continue to be impressed by North’s 6-5 wing Kevin Krieger, the junior notched 19 points in the ball game.  Peoria Manuel’s talented sophomore guard Da’Monte Williams was on-hand also, Monday night he looked terrific, and then Tuesday evening he showed-up low on fuel with a spotty performance against a depleted Lockport roster, Da’Monte needs to keep his motor energized regularly.  Joliet West six foot five sophomore Trevian Bell looked awfully tentative versus Simeon, but to his defense, the Nebraska bound Ed Morrow can make most opponents feel unsafe in the paint area, he often demonstrates a Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets) impression at both ends of the floor majority of the time, Simeon received all tournament performances from D.J. Williams, Zach Norvell, Isaiah Moss and obviously Ed Morrow.  Saturday, January 3rd the Wolverines will take on Bishop Gorman (Nev.) at the Cancer Research Classic in West Virginia.  Hospitality room at Pontiac’s Xmas event lands a 2 star out of 5.