Sunday, August 4, 2019


We’ve recently gotten an opportunity to size up some prized incoming talent.

• Javonte Taylor 6-7 G Simeon or Morgan Park“Slenderly built, already a dynamite shooter, arguably the #1 player in the Class.”

• Jaylen Griffith 5-9 PG Simeon “Already receiving rave reviews, big time distributor has natural PG skills. High IQ.”

• Dalen Davis 6-0 PG Whitney Young“Very poised young prospect, can make shots & plays. High academic kid.”

• Ty Pente 6-4 WG St. Joseph-Ogden“Very good athlete, has a scorer mentality, projected to be a four-year starter.”

• Davius Loury 6-7 F Simeon“Wiry cager who already possess the ability to shoot the ball at a high clip as well as rebound effectively.”

• Jeremy Fears Jr. 5-10 PG Joliet West“Has displayed leadership ability at an early stage of his career. Can score and distribute.”

• Ethan Kizer 6-5 F Metamora“Long arms with good length, has good bounce, highly regarded prospect in Central Illinois, we’ve only been hearing about him for 3 years. Offensive game is still work in progress.”


The start to what we believe will be a rapidly growing listing of talented youngsters surfacing throughout the class, in which already bolsters 10 players six- foot or seven or better. We will be fixated on the continuance growth & development of these highly notable under-classmen. We will do our best to accurately identify them.


• A.J. Casey 6-9 F 1 Tinley Park
“Talented lad, widely considered a top 15-20 national prospect. His highly publicized transfer out of Simeon this spring brought on some unwanted attention for him and his family. Trust that intuitive observers will watch closely at how his development will shape in his new environment.”

• Jaylen Drane 6-1 PG 2 Simeon
“Talented youngster, lately his development has looked sketchy. His play looks loose, but he’s expected to stabilize the back court this upcoming season.”

• Robby Avila 6-8 F 3 Oak Forest
“Love his game/play, very efficient. Has an un-orthodox style where he keeps defenders off balance. Robby has excellent foot work. Now expanding his skills/game.”

• Kyle Thomas 6-9 C 4 St. Joseph
“Big fella is starting to emerge as a reliable mid-range shot-maker, rebounder & rim protector. Most projections have Kyle slated to be at the top of class when it all shakes out.”

• Kameron Kraft 6-4 WG 5 Buffalo Grove
“Left-hander had an impressive freshman campaign already billed as one of the state’s top marksmen.”

• Jamauri Winfrey 6-3 F 6 Peoria Richwoods
“Sources down in Central Illinois has touted him as the next big-time player in the area. We saw him at the Spot-Lite MLK Classic. Smooth scorer with a strong physical frame.”

• Lane McVicar 6-3 G 7 South Elgin
“Has the physical attributes to be a terrific player. We saw him at the Morris Shoot-out recently. He can shoot, handle, & create for himself & mates.”

• Ben Vander 6-5 WG 8 Timothy Christian
“Slender wing who can get buckets in a flurry, capable of shooting off the catch or the dribble.”

• Bobby Durkin 6-3 G/F 9 Hinsdale South
“Has shown all-around ability to score huge but also share with his mates. Has had a strong summer.”

• Kanye Smith 6-5 WF 10 Whitney Young
“Potentially a future break-out stud, currently going through apprenticeship process, playing in the shadows of talented teammates, where he’s ever learning his strengths & weaknesses.”

• Nick Martinelli 6-5 WF 11 Glenbrook South
“A high-scoring wing, along with his brother Dom will form a serious scoring duel this season. A promising looking prospect.”

• Jaden Schutt 6-4 WG 12 Yorkville
“This kid is already heavily revered in his town. Hailed as a potential big-time scorer. Hooped with the Illinois Wolves.”

• Donovan Jones 6-0 PG 13 Solario
“Young cager put in some astounding outings his first season of varsity play. Some area folks feel he could develop into an elite prospect.”

• Mikqwon Jones 6-3 G 14 Farragut
“Has the play/craft of an upper-classmen, can make plays & shots. Also, he’s a match-up nightmare, capable of posting up smaller players in the paint.”

• Lance Rogers 6-7 PF 15 Simeon
“This kid is the traditional inside threat; rebounds extremely well, blocks shots at high rate. Right now, he has limited scoring capabilities nor does it affect his game/or play.”

• Kaleb Burton 6-0 G 16 O’Fallon
“Got game & poise, jet quick, can go up & down in a blur, & he can score.”

• Drew Cwik 6-1 G 17 South Elgin
“A smooth operator plays with good pace & precision. Good shooter.”

• Lindell Miller 6-7 PF 18 Morgan Park
“Has the potential & tools to be a nightly double/double performer. Inside sources reveal, he should see significant playing time this up-coming season.”

• Marcelius Cohen 6-7 F/C 19 De LaSalle
“High energy/mobile big fella, plays with emotion that sometimes impact his play which we witnessed at Riverside-Brookfield. Has the foreseeable potential to become top-notch prospect.”

• Mikel Jones 6-3 PG 20 Farragut
“More of a facilitator than his twin, strong physical frame, who rebounds well and can shoot with some long-range ability.”

• Tray Pettigrew 6-1 PG 21 Fenwick
“Gained a wealth of experience as the starting point-guard on the varsity where he admirably held his own against some stiff competition. He has a nice floor game.”

• Xavier Amos 6-4 WG 22 Whitney Young
“A good lookn’ prospect that has to wait his turn. Can be versatile scorer.”

• Jacob Gaither 6-3 WG 23 Dixon (IL)
“Excellent length on perimeter, really nice shooter who plays with poise & confidence. First saw him at Jacobs Holiday Event.”

• Dujuan Bates 6-0 G 24 De LaSalle
“Combo type with the abilities to become a high scorer. Has the necessary mentality to achieve that.”

• Kaden Cobb 6-3 F 25 Fenwick
“Dynamite motor, has intriguing game/play that could translate into productive 2-way threat.”

• Jaquan Adams 6-4 WF 26 Simeon
“Has the potential to be a big-time athlete. A bouncy cager who runs the floor, finishing plays in transition.”

• Jamil Wilson 6-6 F 27 De LaSalle
“Promising prospect, still has skill work to focus on, his current strength is rebounding.”

• Laquan Nelson 6-6 F 28 Bogan
“Promising prospect, he’s expected to see some playing time on the varsity, will have the opportunity to grow/develop on the fly.”

• Leontae Lilly 5-7 PG 29 Orr H.S.
“Highly touted a year ago, had some significant minutes in the back-court for 2A State Champs. A slashing, penetrating player.”


· Colin Schuler 6-6 WF Peoria Notre Dame

· Jalen Brown 5-9 PG De LaSalle

· Romel Walson 6-2 G Perspective

· Byron Hobbs 6-3 F Hyde Park Academy

· Kendis Wiley 6-4 F South Elgin

· A.J. Redd 6-1 G St. Ignatius

· Vernon Henry 5-9 PG Hyde Park Academy

· Nelson Reynolds6-1 PG Peoria Notre Dame

· Avyon Morris 5-9 PG Simeon

· Ty Banks 6-2 G Springfield Lanphier


Site: University Illinois Champaign Campus

Spent some time posted-up trying to get true read on this newly revitalized venue. For us it was also an opportunity to size-up our state’s guys hoopn’ in uncharted surroundings oppose to a school or club setting. Majority of our in-state guys reaffirmed my thoughts of where they are in terms of present development & level of recruitment. I dismantled all my previous thoughts of six-foot eight Loyola Academy twins Bennett & Jordan Kwiecinski. Jordan was absolutely terrific during the second session.


• Connor Kochera 6-4 G MM 2020 St. Viator
“Clever, played within his strength, made shots, compensates for his lack of athleticism with shrewd heady play. System guy, likely angling for academic setting.”

• Walt Mattingly 6-7 F MM+-MM 2021 Deerfield
“We love his up-side, made shots, ran the floor well, top 20 prospect in his class.”

• Martice Mitchell 6-10 F HM 2020 Bloom
“Arguably one of the top 3 players at the first session. Big fella was consistently canning threes Tuesday night & Wednesday morning. New Mexico, Minnesota, Notre Dame, and Rutgers looked to have serious interest.”

• Josh Holmes 6-1 G LM+ 2020 De LaSalle
(Played his way upward to top 35)

“Finally got an opportunity with some new found mates to demonstrate what his overall floor game entails to, made plays & shots consistently during the 2nd session. Has offers from Northern Arizona & Univ. Penn.”

• Jordan Kwiecinski 6-8 F MM 2020 Loyola Academy
“Demonstrated he was a smart, skilled player with excellent length & the ability to make shots on perimeter. Playing with a wealth of confidence. Has an offer from UIC & several others. We made a mistake sizing him up early. Top 20 in the 2020 Class.”

• Chris Conway 6-10 F LM 2020 Naperville Central
“An un-orthodox cager, the gangly fella spends the bulk of time on the perimeter. Not sure he helped himself there. Top 50-60 in Class.”

• Colin Crothers 6-8 PF LM 2020 Benet Academy
“This kid has been hampered by a nagging injury for weeks now, you can see it in his recent play. (He just hasn’t had his normal lift). Colin gets the courage of the summer award.”

• Tommie Williams 6-3 G MM 2021 Belleville West
“This hooper was his usual self, executed his assignments made plays & shots. We see growth & confidence developing in his over-all game.”

• Jabari Chiphe 6-4 F LM 2020 Walter Payton
“Hardnose competitor had a huge outing in one of the early sessions where he recorded close to 30 markers. He’s got an offer from Lewis University as well as significant interest from Washington U. Jabari helped himself.”

• Kyndall Davis 6-6 WF MM 2020 Chicago Bogan
“The Kangaroo kid”, continues to shine; Kyndall has probably increased his stock more than many in his class. When he’s knocking down mid-range shots & slashing in attack mode, his game is lethal. Was banged-up mostly in June and early July.”

• Bennett Kwiecinski 6-8 F MM 2020 Loyola Academy
“His game/play has been in full throttle, since the Riverside-Brookfield Tourney where he sparkled and received an offer from Illinois State. He & Jordan has begun to play with a ton of confidence. Sources have indicated Bennett has 7-10 offers.”

• Ramean Hinton 6-4 G MM 2020 Chicago Curie
“Was his usual fearless self. Showed observers once again he’s capable of being a lock-down defender & dynamite passer. Has to improve perimeter shooting consistently.”

• Jalen Houston 6-0 PG LM+-LM 2021 Hyde Park Academy
“Had his moments where he made shots and played well within a team concept. He attended the second session; we know he has talent but at times he tends to give you glimpses of what his game could look like.”

• John Ittounas 6-3 G LM 2020 Stevenson
“The more I watch him, the more in tuned I become. Show me more! System type.”


Mike Robinson’s, In The Paint Production honored former Chicago and NBA players Sonny Parker and Mitchell “JJ” Anderson over the weekend. It was a very special ceremony where open mike forum shared and discussed their individual feats from High School, College, and Pro. It was enlightening occasion with plenty of history regarding Chicago hoop circles.

When the announcement came across the wire that Cleveland State had hired former Whitney Young & Illinois Warrior stand-out Dennis Gates as the new Head Coach, it touched off an out-pour of love and excitement within the Chicago basketball circles. Nicknamed “The Sherriff”, Gates a 1998 graduate was recognized at a young age of being an avid hoop connoisseur who often visualized managing his own program one day. Now thrusted into a challenging role of building the blocks late stream with a program caught in the middle of some unforeseen chaos. Hopefully his administration will exhibit the necessary patience needed for him to see his mission/goals through in lieu of five-six-year window.

One of our state’s top young coaches/leaders Walter Payton’s Quinn Peterson has taken the graduate Assistant position at University of Missouri. We have witnessed up-close the rapid emergence of Peterson the last several years, so this news comes as no surprise. He will be missed and wish him the best as he climbs the coaching ranks. Q. Pete’s Assistant coach at Payton, Phil Gary Jr. will replace him. Gary is another rising star. Look for Lincoln Park’s Pat Gordon to be the next Public Leaguer to move up in the College ranks.

Our hearts around here are heavy upon hearing the passing of former Peoria Manual star, Howard Nathan. At 5 foot 11 Nathan was a stud, confident, & cocky with the uncanny ability to take-over a game. He was selected as a McDonald’s All American and Illinois Mr. Basketball in 1991 when he led Manual to the Class AA State Championship game where they were defeated by Proviso East 68-61. Nathan played his freshmen season at DePaul, he started eight games averaging 7.7 points, 4.2 assists. He played in five games for the Atlanta Hawks in 1995-96. Terrific talent!

Peoria’s favorite son and former Illinois Warrior, A.J. Guyton has returned to his roots, he was recently named Peoria Public School District 150 newly athletic director. A.J., a former star at Peoria High in the mid-1990s, played College hoops at Indiana University for legendary Hall of Fame Coach Bob Knight. Guyton was the recipient of the Big 10 player of the year his senior season. During the 2018-19 campaign, A.J. was Assistant at Loyola-Maryland working for former Providence Catholic & Northwestern stand-out Tavaras Hardy, prior to his stop-out East, he spent a season at Northwestern. I’m sure this was a tough decision for A.J.

Todd Gillespie replaces Townsend Orr at T.F. South, the transition should be smooth. Gillespie who prepped at Hillcrest H.S. had been Orr’s right-hand man the last several seasons, this decision helps continue the necessary tutelage for promising six foot six senior forward Elijah Watson, regarded as a top 75 prospect in the 2020 Class. Galesburg’s long-time head-coach Mike Reynolds departed for DeKalb High School in recent weeks. His decision likely surprised most of the locals.