Wednesday, May 17, 2017


A new vibe, I’m changing my perception on my 30-60 viewing with this group. As I’ve combed through this list of prospects the last several weeks, there could be several prospects who develop into impact players after a couple of seasons of college hoops.

Toraze Babbs 6-5 SF MM Chicago Uplift Mac Irvin/Uplift
“We inadvertently left him out of the mix in our last issue; he’s considered an old-school power forward with enforcer capabilities. Good rebounder & reliable mid-range shooter. Incarnate word college offered recently. Toraze is a top 20 player in the class.

32. Ryan Davis 6-8 SF MM Conant Wisconsin Playground
“He’s certainly in this class a top 25-30 recruit. Agile big fellow with intriguing skill-set. Shoots it well on the perimeter-good around the rim with both hands. Plays below the rim but effectively; Western Michigan, Bucknell loves him!”

33. Isaiah Fuller 6-1 PG MM Oak-Park D. Rose
“Got game, he’s capable of being a terrific lead guard, can score & manage his team. Playing well.”

34. Vashawn Sims 6-1 G MM Rich-East Example Sports
“Jumps out of the gym, really starting to score at a high-clip. Passes the ball well & he’s excellent defender. Bursting-up the recruiting charts.”

Drew Peterson 6-5 G/F MM Libertyville Illinois Wolves
“Swingman clone, really good rebounder-has tools to be efficient in a really good system. We saw in Indy & he looks similar to several of his club mates. He’s a top 25-30 prospect.”

35. Naseer Turner 6-6 F MM Chicago Kenwood Chicago Demons
Primed and ready for a break-out summer; a versatile threat was huge in several outings at the terrific 24 event in Indy.”

36. Cameron Donatian 6-3 G MM-LM+ West Aurora ------------
“Free-agent, looking for new club environment after leaving Mean Streets, he plays on sheer toughness & athleticism, can make big shots!”

37. Dallas Bryson 6-6 WF MM-LM+ Peoria Richwoods Example Sports
“A promising prospect with offensive repertoire. Played well in Indy, needs to get quicker!”

38. Jake Wolfe 6-4 G/F LM+ Aurora Christian Illinois Wolves
“Versatile performer-has a good motor & defender strong body. Needs to work on his release. A player to watch.”

39. Brandon Whiteside 6-2 G MM-LM+ Glenbard South Chicago Demons
“Has been steady, Lethal attacking the rim, a rising prospect. Very efficient.”

40. Isa McGuire 6-9 F/C MM-LM+ Chicago Lindblom Young & Reckless
“Been hampered by injury most of the spring; big-time student has 4.5 Gpa competes at a high-level. Just landed an offer from North-Dakota.”

41. DeAndre Heckerd 6-1 G MM-LM+ Romeoville Hoops for Health
“Has lid-it-up this spring offensively; has talent now discipline will play a factor in his growth as a player.”

42. Justin Hardy 6-5 G/F LM+ St. Charles East Illinois Wolves
“Was subpar in Indy, but we know he can play; his game has similarities to his club mates.”

43. Jake Wolfe 6-4 G/F LM+ Aurora Christian Illinois Wolves
“Versatile performer-has a good motor & defender strong body. Needs to work on his release. A player to watch.”

44. Javion May 6-1 G LM+ Chicago Hope Academy Chicago Demons
“Has demonstrated some athleticism in recent events, dunking on defenders in transition. Good slasher, need consistency with his out-side shooting.”

45. Terrence Shannon 6-6 WF LM+ Lincoln Pk Full Package
“Pencil thin prospect with enormous wing-span; very skilled-we view him as one of the sleepers of this subpar class. May need a Juco route.”

46. Jalen Chavers 6-2 PG LM+ Bishop Mac Example Sports
“Enjoying a really good spring; skilled/efficient and knows how to play.”

47. Kenny Pittman 6-3 WG LM+ Chicago Simeon Young & Reckless
“Spot-up shooter who can drain open jumpers. Needs to improve other areas.”

48. Deonta Brown 6-3 F LM+ Peoria Manual Peoria Heat
“He’s a under the radar gem, good mid-range shooter & effective slasher.”

49. Paul O’Leary 6-8 C LM+ Lemont Illinois Stars
“Could become a hot commodity based on his over-all potential & the lack of bigs in the area. Still somewhat raw, but skills around the rim continue to shine.”

50. Maurice Commander 5-8 PG LM Marist Young & Reckless
“Right now, pegged as a tough-little scoring guard. This lefty needs to improve his over-all floor game & become a much better facilitator. Has some abilities.”

51. A.J. Nixon 6-2 G LM Fenwick ------------
“This combo doesn’t have the rep as some others, but has good size & the ability to make shots. In a few years schools & local observers will wonder where he rose from.”

52. Barlow Alleruzzo 6-8 SF LM Carl Sandburg Illinois Stars
“He’s likely better than where we have him rated. Just needs to impact a game more, by playing defense & rebounding. Tends to float on perimeter hoisting up 3’s.

53. Kenny Strawbridge 6-1 PG LM Rockford Christian Illinois Wolves
“Didn’t see much run-in Indy. For weeks, we’ve heard rumblings about him changing club teams. Does possess some talent, sort of allowed the recruiting process to bottle him up.”

54. Zee Johnson 6-2 G/F LM Elverdo Illinois Bears
“Former Chicago native; little known, but put-up interesting numbers, amassing high totals in points & rebounds. We will get a up close glance soon.”

55. Dontia Johnson 6-6 F LM Romeoville Hoop for Health
“Switched club teams, was with Wis.-Playground. This kid has to figure out if he wants it. Enough!”


DePaul right-off-the-heels of signing prep-school Coach Shane Heirman to a three-year pact, they landed a verbal from 2019 point-guard Tyger Campbell from LaPorte (IN) by the-way of La Lumier Prep. In some media out-lets Campbell is viewed as a highly touted 5 star recruit. “The word has surfaced that he will re-classify up to a 2018 prospect.

(Ok) now the Blue Demons are waiting in the wings for a so-called one & done forward Brian Bowen well talk of rolling the dice! I hope this does happen for them.”

Long-time Chicago Vocational Coach Chris Picket has moved on to Kankakee High. Picket, a good friend will inherit promising young Big Man T.J. Wicks a six foot nine 2019 prospect. I’m happy for Picket’s new journey.

St. Pat’s high-jumping Senior Alton Thompson has been impressive in several outings for the Mac Irvin 17-U B Group. He is rumored to be heading to a Prep-School, destination not known yet. Thompson a 6-5 (2017) grad, while Orr’s high-flying forward Raekwon Drake listed at 6-5 (2018) Massiah Jones 6-5 (2018) another electrifying leaper they all have one thing in common, the trio represent a reflective memory we hadn’t seen in the windy city in years. The area used to produce exceptional 6-4 – 6-6 athletes at a frequent rate. All three can contribute effectively in a good Mid-Major setting.

A (2017) grad, Former De LaSalle stand-out guard Karl Harris will head out West to Northern Arizona after spending a year at Indian Hills Jr. College. Remember he played a year at La Salle. Kenwood grad, Zion Morgan will clean-up his act next season at Wabash College after a year at U.N.L.V. . Also on the move is former St. Rita guard Kain Harris who spent 2 seasons at Tulane where he recorded 9 points an outing last season.

6-8 forward Justin Brown (2017) from Marist signed on to play at Tennessee-Chattanooga. Hmmm

The word has come down that East St. Louis Big-Man Jeremiah Tilmon has agreed to play next season at Mizzou.



We will identify the top 5 guys from our Spot-Lite grid. Two of them hail from the South Metro East area, while the other two reside in the Bloomington-Normal Region. Our Mile-high Chicago climate counters with the local Evanston native, rounding out our top 5.

1. Francis Okoro 6-10 C HM Normal West Bradley Beal (STL)
2. E.J. Liddle 6-7 F HM Bellville West Bradley Beal (STL)
3. Chris Payton 6-6 F HM Bloomington Bradley Beal (STL)
4. Terrence Hargrove 6-6 WF HM East St. Louis Hoopville
5. Lance Jones 6-1 G MM+ Evanston Mean Streets

Deng Reng 6-7 F MM+ Wheaton North --------
Bryce Hopkins 6-4 G MM+ Fremd Illinois Wolves
Aaron Strong 6-1 G MM Farragut D. Rose
Bryant Brown 6-5 F MM Waukegan Illinois Wolves
Kejuan Clements 5-11 PG MM Simeon Mean Streets
Adam Jones 6-3 WG MM Providence Catholic RWA
Taeyon Neal 6-10 C MM+ Providence St. Mel Chicago Select
Lamond Johnson 6-2 G MM+ Morgan Pk Mac Irvin
Fred Cleveland 5-8 PG MM Urban Prep Mac Irvin
Tyler Cochran 6-3 G/F MM Bolingbrook Hoopers
T.J. Wicks 6-9 F/C MM Kankakee Example Sports
Joseph Yesufu 5-10 PG MM Bolingbrook Mean Streets
Karl Wright 6-5 F MM Springfield Lanphier Illinois Irish
Martin Macenis 6-4 G/F MM Stagg ----------
Andre White Jr. 5-9 PG MM Harvest Christian Mac Irvin
Alex Raiford 6-3 G MM De LaSalle Young & Reckless
Nate Ferguson 6-6 F MM Lemont ----------
Traevon Brown 6-0 PG MM East Aurora Illinois Stars
Terrion Murdix 5-8 PG MM Springfield-Southeast Illinois Irish
Dashon Enoch 6-0 PG MM Oak Pk Made Men
Chase Robinson 6-1 G MM Marist Made Men
Jaheim Holden 5-9 PG ----- Evanston ----------
Tieon Nesbirt 6-1 WG ----- Butler Charter Chicago Demons

Sunday, May 7, 2017


Merely branching off of our last issue, Chi-Town Chronicles, where we listed the Spot-Liter’s Top 60-65 2018 prospects. After viewing many of our state’s highly acclaimed players we’ve come to foregone conclusion that the Chicago has now become a Mid-Major market (at least for now). The last couple of classes have sort of verified that fact.


1. Ayo Dosunmu 6-3 PG HM Morgan Pk/Mac Irvin – “A good player, has to improve his out-side shooting and a slick penetrator.”

2. Talen Horton-Tucker 6-4 2G HM Simeon/Mac Irvin – “Played well in Virginia, for some odd reason in Indy he seemed not in the mix much. He reminds me of super John Williamson, a former New Jersey Net’s scoring whiz.”

3. Javon Freeman 6-3 2G MM+-MM- Young/Mean Streets – “Explosive can get to the cup in a quick dash; excellent shot-blocker. Some people have him tagged as a Mid-Major recruit, I disagree.”

4. Tim Finke 6-7 F MM+-MM- Champaign Central/Mean Streets – “He is who he is; defensively challenged at times. He has to pick his game up!”

5. Darius Beane 6-3 PG MM+-MM- Carbondale/Gate Way (MO) – “The last 2 weekends demonstrated what his floor game can be a valuable asset to a program.”

6. Kezo Brown 6-2 G MM+-MM- Simeon/Mac Irvin – “A very good player, a gamer was missing in action in Indy.”

7. Raekwon Drake 6-5 SF MM Chicago Orr/D. Rose – “Received an offer from Cleveland State very smart on their part, a great fit for him. Flat-out athlete.”

8. Treavon Martin 6-8 SF MM Chicago Curie/D. Rose – “Competes with a force, has potential, still raw in many areas of his game.”

9. Xavier Castenada 5-11 PG MM Young/Mean Streets – “Looked okay out in Indy & Virginia running the show. Played under control.”

10. Tamell Pearson 6-9 F MM Morgan Pk/Mac Irvin – “Last 2 weekends he’s been intriguing. A raw talent, makes moves he can’t quite finish right now!”

11. Kendle Moore 6-0 G MM Danville/D. Rose – “Hasn’t performed the way he’s capable of. Needs to settle down & play under control more often.”

12. DeMaria Franklin 6-4 G/F MM Niles North/? – “A kid we need to see more of. Has a great motor and can score.”

13. Chase Adams 5-6 PG --- Marian Catholic/Wis-Play-Ground – “Starting & playing a significant role for the Wisconsin based program. Looks solid.”

14. Sam Schafer 6-4 WG MM Lincoln-Way East/Young & Reckless – “Just received an offer from SIU; jumps out of the gym & shoots-it well. His stock will continue to soar. He is truly a sleeper in the class. Conference USA is a great fit for him.”

15. Massiah Jones  6-5 SF MM Chicago Simeon/Caron Butler Elite (Wis)  - “Breath taking athlete, has moments where he dominates a game. Top 15.”

16. Kani Acre 6-6 F MM Carbondale/RWA Program – “A hidden gem, a talent just starting to reach his comfort level; all-around game flourishing now.”

17. Justin Boyd 6-3 G MM- Young/Mean Streets – “Should eventually learn to play on both-sides of the ball. Very good out-side shooter & defender.”

18. Orlando Allen 6-6 F MM Thornton/Mean Streets – “A cagey athlete has displayed the abilities to attack the rim off the bounce. Can use either hand.”

19. Cardell McGee 6-3 G MM Springfield Lanphier/Wis-Play-Ground – “Playing through some injuries; wasn’t crisp managing the PG slot in Indy. We’ll see soon.”

20. Xavier Pinson 6-3 PG MM St. Patrick/Mac Irvin B – “Captivated an audience in Minnesota & Dallas with his slithery game. His future looks awfully bright.”

21. George Conditt IV 6-9 F MM+MM Chicago Corliss/RWA Program – “This kid has enormous length. Now moving up the recruiting charts rapidly; needs to polish-up some basic fundamentals while he does possess superb passing skills with the uncanny ability to see over defenders. He is the most intriguing prospect in the class. Likely red-shirt candidate, Wisconsin, Purdue, & Illinois has started to show interest.”

22. Zion Griffin 6-5 F MM Hinsdale South/Hoopers – “A punishing offensive threat as he demonstrated in Indy with several monster flushes; he’s starting to taper into his own as a rising prospect; still needs polish and skill work.”

23. Armon Brummett 6-3 G MM Decatur MacArthur/Team Manimal – “Three sport stand-out, Junior College likely route. Has plenty of talent.”

24. Amir Brummett 6-2 PG MM Decatur MacArthur/Team Manimal – “Can often be described as self-inflicted; has a ton of talent, a path to Juco.”

25. Jalen Shaw 6-10 C MM Elgin-Larkin/Kessel Heat – “Has been progressing quite nicely playing in a less stressful climate, he was good in Minnesota.”

26. Quinlan Bennett 6-3 G MM- Proviso East/Kessel Heat – “Has jumped out on the recruiting charts with some high-scoring outings. Very good athlete & reliable shooter. Drew waves with strong play in Dallas recently.”

27. Kaleb Thornton 5-11 G MM Bolingbrook/Mean Streets – “Still finding his way in a deep back-court, a good ball-player with the capabilities of making big plays. Now he just needs to polish up his play making skills.”

28. Robert Harvey 6-4 WG MM Hillcrest/Young & Reckless – “Smooth wing player, has proven he can make big shots, now consistent outings would help his recruiting. He has had a quiet spring thus far.”

29. David Forrest 6-3 G MM North Lawndale/Chicago Ice-Men – “A physical combo who can score in variety of ways. Should excel as a defender.”

30. Dannie Smith 6-4 G/F MM Chicago Orr/Mac Irvin B – “Off to a pretty good spring. Swingman type was solid in Minnesota his last outing.”

31. Tyronn Mosley 6-6 WF MM Chicago Orr/Illinois Stars – “Has a world of ability, good athlete with a versatile skill set. Raw in areas but going to be a fine player one day as he continues to learn the game.”


Former DePaul Assistant Coach and my close friend, Bryan Tibaldi got a breath of freshness with his coaching career when he immediately bolted from the Blue Demon Program landing a spot-on Dennis Felton’s staff at Cleveland State where he’s already off and running with a wealth of knowledge of whom he should be recruiting in the Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Michigan regions. He will perform a fantastic job at CSU. Lou Dawkins formerly of NIU will also join Felton’s staff. He has strong ties in the Michigan area and we’re happy for the both of them.

After a sketchy ending to his school season, Uplift’s six foot four guard Demarius Jacobs has taken his game to new heights demonstrating during the Club season where he suits up with the Mac Irvin Fire, that he can knock down shots from long range or dashing to the rim using his wiry athletic frame to jump over defenders. Demarius, has even looked terrific defensively. Now the 2017 Grad often viewed as disengaged (we didn’t see it the last couple weekends) will head to Prep School environment in Arizona to focus on his grades. When he achieves that piece look-out High-Major schools such as U.N.L.V. will be positioned for his services.

Former SIU stand out Stetson Hairston, will take the East St. Louis job replacing favorite son Phil Gilbert. Stetson, will enter East-side with a wealth of experience having coached college ball at Southern Indiana, in the “boogie” the gig can be demanding seeming though it’s the only show in town, and the masses expect you to win every year. They are often dissatisfied and grumpy when it comes to their hoops. Gilbert, will land softly coaching somewhere again where it’s less of a headache.

Highland community college head Coach Tad Boyle will move on to Eastern Illinois joining Jay Spoonhour’s staff as an Assistant replacing the seasoned J.R. Reynolds who moved on to Miami-Ohio where he will join Jack Owen’s staff. We wish all of them well in their new journey.


“My local guys have a tough task recruiting some of the area kids, but tend to remain hopeful.”

1. Tracy Dildy King Chicago State/we won’t mention all his stops...
“Current Head Coach at the WAC School, spends his days trying to revive a program that seems to have a never-ending budget crisis. During his assistant days, he was the city’s darling and recognized as an ace recruiter. Now a day’s area coaches tend to want to send him their 3rd and 4th best players not realizing that he plays in a terrific league.”

2. Will Bailey Dunbar H.S. St. Louis University/LaSalle
“A key figure in SLU’s recruiting scheme, a rising star in the coaching landscape, with the potential to become a head coach one day. Will, has experience recruiting the Junior College ranks and haven’t expended a lot of energy recruiting the Chicago area kids in recent years. He knows that is could be a daunting task. Illinois Warrior Alum.”

3. Dennis Gates Whitney Young Florida State/Nevada/NIU/U.Cal
“Has hit the big-time scene these days but his low tolerance for the area’s shenanigans keeps him from recruiting in the area. In fact, we haven’t produced lately the kind of talent they are landing at FSU. Likely Head Coach in few years. Illinois Warrior Alum.”

4. Armon Gates Whitney Young/Lincoln Pk Northwestern/Loyola/Kent-State
“Spent one year at Hillcrest but noted as a PL product; a bright young star in the business and has become an ace recruiter on the national circuit. Now hails from the Coach K family tree. Illinois Warrior Alum.”

5. Issac Chew Wells Texas A&M/Virginia Tech/Marquette
“Not well known in local circles, but have made his mark on a national scale. Has proven to be a very good recruiter. Doesn’t work our area very much.”

6. Ronald “Chin” Coleman Carver/South-Shore Illinois/UIC/Bradley University
“Former High School Coach has moved-up the coaching ranks rapidly and has been successful recruiting in the Chicago area. Now expectations will rise significantly for him at Illinois, where a recruiter there should have a crime fighter’s mentality. It can be a tough gig if you don’t have the proper resources.”

7. Paris Parham Dunbar Illinois/Illinois State/Maryland E-Shore
“Spent a year coaching High School at Phillips before arriving back on the collegiate scene at ISU. It kind of would’ve benefited him if he stayed on mark with the Larry Brown/Bill Self family tree. The Illinois situation never served him well, out-side of fiscal stand point. He suffered behind a poor staff, never was able to utilize his abilities to coach as well as recruit efficiently. Spent a lot of time ‘babysitting’ troubled athletes during his tenure there. He’s available right now and will likely land a spot locally.”

8. Todd Townsend Morgan Pk/New Trier Wisconsin-Milwaukee/Drake/NIU
“He will always be viewed as a public league product. He teamed one season at the North-Suburban school with Club mate Matt Lottich. Very talented operational guy, savvy when it comes to breaking down transcripts and etc. Dynamite recruiter with over-seas ties. Head coach could be in his future. Illinois Warrior Alum.”

9. Emanuel Dildy King/Mount-Carmel Missouri/Loyola-Chicago
“Was caught in a coaching change at Mizzou, spent some time in the Juco ranks before landing a D1 gig at Loyola. While there he gained respect as a reliable recruiter with valuable resources. Currently available and we should see him surface in a 30-mile radius soon. One of my favorites, a rising star. Illinois Warrior Alum.”

10. Brandon Mason Morgan Park U.N.L.V./Highland New Mexico
“Relatively new to the D1-D2 collegiate scene. His charismatic personality will have him soaring up the coaching charts rather quickly. He’s working under Rob Jeter/Marvin/Andre LaFleur who will give him proper tutelage to excel in the industry. Illinois Warrior Alum.”


Illinois Mr. Basketball, Mark Smith who hails from Edwardsville will take his rising game to the state’s flag ship school-University of Illinois. Giving recently appointed head coach, Brad Underwood so much needed good news. Smith, thus far is their most significant posting we’ve seen from the darkness of Champaign. The 6-4 guard was being courted heavily by the likes of Michigan State, Ohio State, Missouri, Kentucky, and Duke. “Even U.C.L.A. made a late inquiry.” Smith will go into the 2017-18 season with lofty expectations.

Mr. Jeremiah Tilmon at 6-10 from “the boogie” (East St. Louis) has been lingering around the metro East pavement with a glow, while heavy surveillance has captured much of his movement. Now comes word DePaul may be a heavy player in his new found recruiting sweepstakes. Tilmon, has become one of the country’s most coveted un-signed prospects. Mizzou seemed to have pulled out; DePaul, St. Louis U., and Kansas are likely his pursuers.

DePaul has hired LaLumier Prep Coach Shane Heirman, he started his new post in recent days. Rumors continue to circulate that Brian Bowen a highly-sought McDonald all American should be signing soon, while Creighton, Michigan State, Arizona seem to be in the mix strong while, Oregon has become a late player for his services. Tyger Campbell 2019 PG has been rumored in recent weeks to commit to the Blue Demons Program. The duo would be joining Heirman. Stay tuned…