Friday, March 31, 2017


Observation Notes

“Watch out for the Made Men Program, they are about to glow.” They had impressive showing with their 16’s & 15-U Groups. Q Peterson’s 16-U squad is assembled with prospects such as highly thought of Oak Park Soph guard Dashon Enoch and OP forward Charlie Koehne. While, rapidly improving 6 foot Marist guard Chase Robinson has shown the ability to score, Young’s Solomon Oraegbu showed he was someone to watch. This Iman Shumpert sponsored program has the perfect pipe-line to Oak-Park River-Forest talent pool, as well as having the luxury of developing up and coming youngsters at Walter Payton Prep which, should make a splash this upcoming season. The 15 Made Men had some promising players, most notable were, Liam Dillion 6-6 Freshman at Payton H.S. & Justin Cross 6-6 Frosh from OPRF and 6-2 guard Jabari Chiphe from Payton H.S.” Watch-out for these guys in a few years. Dave Pygon’s Windy City Magic showed-up on the premises with a 17 & 15-U Group. The 17’s took a shellacking opening game from a talented Chicago Demon’s Squad. The Magic returned an hour later to forge a quality showing versus Young & Reckless Group. Jake Pygon (Sandburg) Jack McNulty (Sandburg) Jack Halversm (Peotone) played well in stretches. Once their team establish some chemistry, they should beat some good teams this Summer. Chris Kusper’s coaches Mark Serdar 15-U squad; they displayed a balanced attack, led by the trio of Tommy Ferriter (Lockport) Leo Serdar (Sandburg) Noah O’Connor (Andrew) all three shot the ball well, the kid for them who turned some heads was 6-1 skilled/athletic guard Atharva Atreya from Sandburg. Next up was Bolingbrook/Romeoville based Illinois Hooper Program, who is quietly starting to make its mark building its program on levels 14-17 and securing some of the better talent in their area. They participated with their 17’s, 16’s, and 15’s. Their 17’s was head-lined by six foot six lefty Zion Griffin out of Hinsdale South; he arguably was one of the Top 5 players at The Jamboree. 6’1 guard Tyler Cochran from Bolingbrook showed he was a player to watch.

We will follow up with Jason Kent’s upstart Next Level Elite 24 Program which brought in a promising 16-U group and a talented 14-U squad.

We will also identify top performers at our un-signed senior workout, some talented players were on hand at the recent event.


We are going to add 5 more potentially sought after guys to our heavy surveillance posting. The class will be charted closely this Spring. Majority of our area scouts feel there is huge lacking for division one recruits. In fact, at the Spot-Liter we don’t see much differential from the 2017 crop.

1.    Dannie Smith                6-3          G/F                         Chicago Orr
Suits-up for the Mac Irvin Fire B Team; coming off a break-out season where he displayed the ability to score attacking the rim or launching his feathery touch on the perimeter. Likely low-major recruit.
2.    George Conditt IV       6-11        F                              Chicago Corliss
“Hoops with RWA Program; the big fella has an enormous wing-span and some perimeter tools that could develop him into a special kind of talent down the road. The area hasn’t produced too many players in recent memory with his physical stature. Hopefully all the attention looming doesn’t suffocate him mentally.”
3.    Sam Schafer                  6-4          WG                         Lincoln-Way East
“Good looking lad, can shoot the peel-off-the ball and he’s a very good athlete. Schafer, plays on the circuit with Young & Reckless clan, and has the necessary tools to blossom into sought-after mid-major recruit.”

4.    Isa McGuire                  6-9          F/C                          Chicago Lindblom
“Un-assuming looking Hooper, but has some game to his repertoire, suits-up with the Young & Reckless crew. Good looking athlete who competes & has the ability to finish plays around the rim once he gains some strength, he likely could contribute in some mid-major situations; good student.”
5.    Jalen Washington        6-5          G                             Chicago Al Raby

“Runs with the Illinois YBU; I’m keeping his name in the conversation because he has a wealth of potential, we envision him the lanky combo guard putting it all together one day. He’s not a true point yet, where his plays most of the time in his club & school setting. I’m looking for him to flourish after a couple of stops.”

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


(Held March 25th-26th)

We have simply continued to host this event because it has become a valuable tool for Club Programs to size up their roster & honestly evaluate their strength & weakness! Our Illinois Warrior’s out-fit actually used this event every year as a tune-up for the rigors of our national circuit. In 1994 we started the Jamboree at Blue Island rec center with a bunch from the famed 1998 Class, head-lined by: Quentin Richardson, Brian Wardle, Corey Maggette, Cordell Henry, Dennis Gates, Bobby Simmons, and Rod Thompson. Yada, yada, yada… Anyways my young guys descended into Plainfield over the week-end armed and ready. Most of them as of now aren’t affiliated with a shoe company, but they are passionate and filled with hope and optimism while building and developing their brand the right way. As a gate keeper in my State, I feel honored to have the opportunity to empower them and cast my younger coaches in a good light, despite any negative challenges they encounter. “Now we will give a short observation on each program.”

The Chicago Demons arrived with the 17’s, 16’s, and 15’s program founder Vince Carter, a longtime friend, has the longest tenure of any programs in the area and has the Demons on an up-start, establishing itself as one of the premier & prouder organizations in the Chicagoland. The father & son tandem of Mike Horton Sr & Jr (who I envy) coaches & manages the 17 group. Their contingent of Naseer Turner (Kenwood) Javion May (Hope Academy) Antwone Lampkin (Wells) Brandon Whiteside (Glenbard South) Zion Fortune (St. Laurence) and Kobe Mapp turned some heads during their 2-game outing. We envision the talent they assembled, should give them the opportunity to have a quality Summer. Patrick Steward manages the 16-U Chicago Demons they received strong performances from Lincoln Park duel: Terrance Shannon a 6-6 Soph and flashy point-guard Tujantae Williams. Their 15-U team went 2-0 coached by Vince Carter.

The RWA Program has a nice mix prospects comprised from around the state, which is the correct way to build a travel club. The architects behind the operation are Antoine Jennings & Walt Fisher. Their collaboration just may be the right ingredient for a success run. RWA’s 17’s need consistent guard play each outing & Kani Acree a six foot six wing from Carbondale made the track, he opened some eyes with his perimeter shooting; George Conditt IV, a 6-11 Junior forward from Corliss looked silky-smooth, some signs point to him having a break-out summer as he continues to work on his game. Speedy guard Tristian Jass of Kenosha’s Tremper High hand some moments where he shined. They have talent (Walt & A.J) now they have blend the mix together and coach them up.

RWA’s 16’s filled a squad of under-rated prospects and performed like their Spring/Summer could be promising. St. Viator’s 6-5-Soph Antonio Harvey and sharp shooter Adam Taylor from Providence Catholic, were good looking prospects. 6-9-Frosh Nate Seputis from Lincoln Way East could develop into one best front-court players we’ve seen in the South Suburbs in years. A.J. Palmer out of Romeoville was hobbled by injury. Young & Reckless Program veered in with a wealth of talent at the 17-U level and the two 15-U teams on hand had a collection of youngsters ready to illustrate what kind of game they could orchestrate. Stan & Jay seem to have their program in full steam now, forging closer to shoe company programs The Fire, Mean Streets, and The Wolves especially with plucking talented prospects. The 17’s rode in with Hillcrest’s Bobby Harvey a 6-4 wing, who shot-it-well. Maurice Cammander (Marist) 6-9 Isa McGuire (Lindblom) looked sleek. The guy who caught most observers’ attention was Mather’s 2017 forward Dolapo Olayinka. The six foot seven lefty could just be the late bloomer we’ve often pegged him to become. His game is rapidly improving, especially on the perimeter. Prep-school seems to be his route. Sam Schafer a 6 foot 4 wing guard was impressive during his Spot-Lite debut. Lincoln-Way East Jr. should climb into the Top 25 casting in the 2018 Class.



Brad Underwood hiring at Illinois, caught many of us long-time observers by surprise “but then again, we should never have been floored by any decisions the University of Illinois makes…”. The program has not really been sturdy since the Lon Kruger, Bill Self days, and we don’t envision it changing anytime soon! As I stated after Self departed, years ago, in this Spot-Lite Issue, the Illinois gig is a different animal to tangle. It’s the astonishing arrogance we see from newly appointed coaches who stroll in here on a high clip of optimism, but never fully understand the landscape. Brad Underwood has a stark contrast to some others that rode in gleefully & peeled away pondering. The Illini job isn’t far off from the Indiana Hoosier’s animated but knowledgeable fan base. Stay tuned…

Kudos to our area High School programs, Whitney Young (4A State Champion, who out-lasted Simeon in the title game), Morgan Pk beat Fenwick to win the 3A State crown and Chicago Orr put on an aerial display cruising to a 2A State title. The Young-Simeon love fest gave us a chuckle, watching good pals Robert Smith and Ty Slaughter match-up. Those two have worked closed together on several projects in recent years, while both programs captivated city viewers who did not anticipate their late March to Peoria. No loser in the 4A, my hat goes off to both of those gentlemen and their respective programs.

The emergence of Club/AAU has transitioned into season swiftly. The culprits who revolutionized grass-roots hoops in the area many years ago, should brandish a huge smile.


Northern Illinois added a quality player to their roster over the weekend when Zion-Benton’s promising guard Rod Henry Hayes, one of our better un-signed seniors & regarded as a top 25 prospect in the 2017 Class, gave Mark Montgomery a verbal. The slithery six foot three versatile performer will bring a much needed dimension to The Huskies Program, especially with his out-side shooting.

Rend-Lake College officially named Assistant Coach Tommy Holder it’s new Head Coach, replacing SIU Alum Randy House, who stepped down after seven successful seasons. Holder, a revered young up-coming coach has already made a splash recruiting in the Chicago area, landing several notable players in recent years.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017



611 West Fort Beggs

5:00pm – CRT 2 – AGE: 14-U – NBU vs Next Level 24 Elite

5:00pm – CRT 3 - AGE: 16-U – Hooper’s vs Next Level 24 Elite

6:00pm – CRT 2 – AGE: 15-U – NBU vs Hooper’s

6:00pm – CRT 3 – AGE: 14-U – Old-Gold vs Team Prodigy

7:00pm – CRT 2 – AGE: 14-U – NBU vs Total Response

7:00pm – CRT 3 – AGE: 14-U – Next Level 24 Elite vs Old-Gold

8:00pm – CRT 2 – AGE: 14/15-U – Team Prodigy vs NBU

8:00pm – CRT 3 – AGE: 16-U – Next Level 24 Elite vs RWA

· 18-minute halves’
· 3-time outs per game
· High School Regulation Rules


9:45 am
AGE: 16-U
RWA vs Made Men
AGE: 17-U
Chicago Demon’s vs Windy City Magic
AGE: 15-U
Made Men vs Chicago Demon’s      

10:45 am
AGE: 16-U
Chicago Demon’s vs Hooper’s
AGE: 15-U
Hooper’s vs Windy City Magic
AGE: 17-U
Illinois YBU vs RWA

11:45 am
AGE: 17-U
Young & Reckless vs Windy City Magic                      
AGE: 17-U
Hooper’s vs Chicago Demon’s
AGE: 15-U
Young & Reckless (Boateng) vs Made Men

12:45 pm
AGE: 16-U
AGE: 16-U
Made Men vs Chicago Demon’s
AGE: 15-U
Young & Reckless (Brown) vs Chicago Demon’s

1:45 pm
AGE: 15-U
Young & Reckless vs Hooper’s
AGE: 17-U
Illinois YBU vs Hooper’s
AGE: 15-U
Windy City Magic vs
Young & Reckless (Boateng)
AGE: 17-U
Young & Reckless vs RWA
2:45 pm
AGE: 16/15-U Match-up
NBU vs Young & Reckless (Brown)

AGE: 16-U
Hooper’s vs Made Men

NOTE: Game subject to be moved - up to different court & time