Sunday, February 16, 2020


We’ll talk about these guys in the next issue.
• Jaylin Gibson 6-3 G MM 20 Evanston

• Ismail Habib 6-0 PG MM 18 Lincoln Park

• Blake Peters 6-2 WG MM 23 Evanston

• Amar Augillard 6-4 WG MM-LM+ 26 Zion-Benton

• Tommy Williams 6-2 G MM-LM+ 24 Belleville West

• Julius Rollins 6-5 G/F MM 30 Hillcrest

• Josh Smith 6-3 G MM 27 Oak Park

• Jalen Houston 6-1 G MM 26 Hyde Park Academy

• Noah Reynolds 6-1 PG LM+ 36 Peoria Notre Dame

• Isaiah Holden 5-10 PG LM 38 Evanston

• James Dent 6-3 G MM 31 Springfield Southeast

• Julio Montes 5-9 PG LM 40 Lincoln Park

• Jaehshon Thomas 6-2 G MM 25 Whitney Young

• Phillip Holmes Jr. 6-7 PF LM+ 45 Chicago Simeon


This could be a very good Class collectively. It will be clear to many of us within a year as to where we are in terms of the overall potential of this group.


• Max Christie 6-6 HM 1 Rolling Meadows“We had a stout bird’s eye view of his performance at Buffalo Grove, 42 markers, 17 rebounds, 4 assists & some clutch free-throw shooting. Northwestern, Duke, North Carolina closing in…”

• Anthony Sayles 6-3 MM+-MM 9 Niles Notre Dame
“Dynamite prospect on the grid iron as well. Talented general/leader on the hard wood. Has his team in contention for a State Title run. Has scoring ability, would like to see him dishing a tad more.”

• Darrion “D.J.” Jones 5-11 MM 12 Chicago Bogan
“Tough throw-back general, fuels the relentless suffocating style Bogan throttles opponents with. Slasher who sees the floor extremely well; finds his mates in timely fashion.”

• Kimarhi Wilson 6-0 MM 17 Carmel
“A quiet junior campaign has led to many observations regarding his play. The spring club season should provide many of us with a clearer view of what level his game entails.”

• Connor Enright 6-2 MM 13 Mundelein
“Clever play-maker, very astute at managing his team while understanding situations. Connor has already committed to Drake University. Knock-down shooter on the perimeter.”

• Ty Johnson 6-2 MM 14 DePaul Prep
“Pure winner has the abilities to control of a game for stretches especially with leadership & knack for making plays at both ends of the floor. Considered one of the best players in the Catholic League. This kid has un-limited range.”

• Bryce Hopkins 6-6 HM 2 Fenwick
“His status has soared to one of the top juniors nationally in the Class and he’s recognized as the No. 1 player in the Catholic League. Big body scorer has already pledged to attend Louisville. Best player out of Fenwick since Corey Maggette ’98.”

• Louis Lesmond 6-5 HM 7 Niles Notre Dame
“Has a wealth of talent, elevates well on his jumper, mechanics look superb and the range makes him ideal out-side threat. Surprises defenders with his athleticism attacking the rim. Still learning how to package it all.”

• John Poulakidas 6-5 HM 5 Neuqua Valley
“Saw the left-hander spray Bolingbrook for 49 in an upset victory early last month. J.P.’s unorthodox style keeps defenders off balance. He has array of clever moves which enables him to operate effectively to his sweet spots.”

• Isaiah Barnes 6-6 HM 6 Oak Park
“Continues to draw interest from Big 10 & Pack 12 Conferences. Excellent length on perimeter where he handles effectively & makes good decisions, sees the floor and can make shots at a high rate. A prized prospect in the class with a huge ceiling.”

• Ahmad Bynum 6-2 HM 4 Chicago Simeon
“’Black-Cat’ had been in a tail-spin in recent weeks, but the DePaul recruit got out of his slump at the right time. His performance during the City playoffs illustrated the kind of player that elevates his play in any big game setting. He can be a deadly outside shooter reminding many long-time hoop fans what elite guys look like with the jumper. He’s been on a torrid stretch of late. He made six threes in the City Final.”

• Tevin Smith 6-5 MM+-MM 9 Danville
“Missouri Valley Conference Schools have begun to pursue him heavily. Smith has put in some really good numbers in the last 4 weeks. He can score the ball with ease creating opportunities for himself, certainly has the ability to get off a good look with the shot clock waning down.”

• Jakobi Heady 6-6 MM+-MM 15 Hillcrest
“Slender shooter has emerged as the go to guy on his talented junior Laden squad. Capable of knocking down shots in a flurry. Jakobi certainly has played himself into one of the premiere players in the class.”

• Grant Newell 6-7 MM+-MM 10 Whitney Young
“Cagey fella will flourish after the departure of some of his much-acclaimed mates. Versatile can play inside or out, future landing spot could be a situation such as Stanford, Notre Dame, Rice, or Northwestern.”

• Ben Schwieger 6-5 MM 23 Waubonsie Valley
“Swingman clone, currently shelved with injury. Climbing the charts as bona-fide mid-major recruit. After a superb showing in June where he created some steam going into the season. Very athletic and an innovative dunker, averages 16.7. Reliable out-side marksmen, should return before state.”

• Devon Ellis 6-5 MM 21 Conant
“Not notably recognized in City circles but North Suburban foes are quite familiar with his silky-smooth game. Once College Coaches get a more active glance of him, they’ll become even more fond of his play. Ellis averages 17 points and 7 rebounds. Good outside shooter.”

• Ola Ajiboye 6-8 MM 28 Von Stueben
“Had been out for significant period with an injury. Ola boasts a really nice skill set and the length necessary to defend multi positions. We will get a better viewing of him in upcoming weeks.”

• Jaiden Lee 6-5 MM 19 Joliet West
“Rapidly rising prospect had impressive showing at the Pontiac Holiday Classic. Drew the attention of many area hoop fans. The wiry wing has been the glue for his team during their recent string of injuries. Lee is one of the top shooters in the Class, he’s even shown improvement in his ball-handling to where he gets in the lane and elevates over defenders. He’s actually a pretty good rebounder. Conference USA, Missouri Valley, & American should pursue him.”

• Chris Hodges 6-8 HM 3 Schaumburg
“Wisconsin recruit has had a banner season, All-State caliber. Fits the Badger profile with his work ethic and ability to compete at high-level. He’s a monster at times along the backlines. Perimeter skills starting to show signs of improvement.”

• Troy D’Amico 6-7 MM+-MM 8 Niles Notre Dame
“System guy, versatile with unique skill set, clever passer finds the open-man regularly, can drag defenders out on the perimeter where he can consistently make shots. Does possess some range. Critics will say he’s not athletic, we would counter, he compensates by being tough/hardnose & playing with a high bball IQ.”

• Scotty Ebube 6-8 MM 16 Mundelein
“Big fella handles himself well on the hardwood, has excellent composure. He’s always carried those characteristics even as a younger player. Scotty can play inside or out, finds open man effectively. Averages 15 points & 10 rebounds for one of the North Suburbs best teams.”

• Quani Rudd 6-7 MM 29 Mount Vernon
“The good ole folks down in Southern Illinois have been treated to aerial show regularly from this electrifying leaper. We caught a glimpse of Quani over the summer and due to see him soon. Southern Illinois-Carbondale and Murray State have been following him closely.”

• Walt Mattingly 6-8 MM 32 Deerfield
“Slender fella certainly is a promising prospect, his mates at times make him and fellow Big Man Brandon Lieb look as if they are on “life support”. At DePaul Prep last month, he couldn’t get into any flow, his guards acted as if they were auditioning for G League team. We likely can get a clearer evaluation of Mr. Mattingly after the season.”

• Julian Campbell 6-7 MM-LM+ 35 Palatine
“A wide body frame that could drop a few pounders and will as he conditions at a more frequent rate. ‘Big Fella’ has talent and can score on the block & rebound, so that exhibits opportunity for him to garner a ton of D1 interest at his size.”

• Brian Matthews 6-9 LM+ 43 DePaul Prep
“Promising prospect competes whether hard, doesn’t back down from any scrapes. Skills are still in the developmental stages. Had a big game vs Fenwick Friday night so he’s starting to show signs. He out-played the Deerfield ‘Big Men’ last month.”


• Aquan Smart 6-4 G MM Niles North
“Has performed like an All-Stater all season. Averages well over 20.”

• Brandon Weston 6-5 WF MM Morgan Park
“City hoop fans got an opportunity to see his game on display during the city finals. A leaper with a penchant for rebounding. Huge upside.”

• Jeremiah Williams 6-2 G MM Simeon
“Starting to look like a hooper we always knew he was. He guided his team to the city title.”

• Christian Shumate 6-5 F MM Bloom
“This extraordinary athlete has plenty of offers and interest. He’s exciting to watch.”

• Jayson Kent 6-7 G MM Oak Forest
“Has played in several big game settings in recent weeks and has walked away with scholarship offers. Namely Bradley and Loyola-Maryland.”

• Micah Schnyder 6-4 PG MM Yorkville Christian
“Saw him get 25 against Fenwick yesterday. On Thursday with Fairfield in the house, he connected on 35 markers. Silver smooth floor game while ball handling skills are strong. Loyola-Maryland will be in to see him soon.”

• Saiveon Williams 6-6 F MM-LM+ Curie
“Hardnose competitor hits the glass with authority. An Elite shot-blocker. Has 17 points in the loss to Simeon on Friday night. Good student.”

• Dom Martinelli 6-5 G/F LM+ Glenbrook South
“He’s enjoying a marvelous season where he’s averaging close to a cool 30 per outing and he’s grabbing a significant number of rebounds, double digits. Another big test coming at Evanston this week.”


A mellow vibe filled the air at this North Suburban contest, once the jump ball was tossed, the atmosphere turned electric. A large crowd at Buffalo Grove witnessed a double overtime thriller where highly touted junior prospect Max Christie recorded 42 points, 17 rebounds, and four assists. Christie’s performance was clutch, he dropped two free-throws with nine seconds left to send the game into to the first overtime. While 6-5 sophomore Kam Craft turned in an impressive outing, he mesmerized the audience with 46 points while nailing seven treys. He was equally as impressive as Christie and showed he was a high-level shooter and could rise to the occasion in a big game setting. He solidified his status as one of the top 5 players in the sophomore class. This was worth the track.

In the last issue I had a bad unforced turnover, we shared some ungodly information without properly confirming the facts. I’ve been around long enough to know that I should always check my sources especially when it comes to providing information on players from downstate. It was mentioned that top 10 senior prospect Ray’Sean Taylor had de-committed from SIU Edwardsville. It was not factual, and I certainly didn’t intend on creating any issues with Brian Barone’s Program which we know he and his staff is working diligently to build long-term success. My apologies to Coach Barone and the Taylor family.


This was a knee/jerk experience. Our City Finals held at The Jones Armory on 52nd and Cottage Grove in the Washington Park neighborhood (gotta love it!). An official organized hoop game hadn’t been played here since 1960’s or 70’s. This was a spruced-up Venue headed by the Nike/Jordan brand. Sort of a cathedral/theater type setting on a misty surface. Simeon pretty much ran out on the Condors from the onset with leads up to 20. Curie was again without long time Head Coach, Mike Oliver due to his bizarre suspension. His troops were clearly distracted from all the unfamiliar fixtures. They struggled getting back on defense all night, seemed a step slow, and relied too much on gambling and hoisting way too many outside shots while trying to get back in the game with the homerun approach. That strategy was ineffective. Curie’s inspirational leader & scorer Ramean Hinton was held in check with 9 points, he managed 12 rebounds, mostly offensive. Junior point guard Nick Owens was the lone bright spot with 18 points and 9 dishes. Senior forward Saiveon Williams finished with 18 points. Simeon received dynamite performance from junior guard Ahamad Bynum with 25 points. The Wolverines deemed to be playing well at the right time of the year. Their junior front court tandem of 6-6 Dylan Ingram and 6-7 Philip Holmes Jr. have started to come into their own in the last month.

In the night capper at this Theater Venue Morgan Park got off to a rousing start against their Red South rivals and led at intermission 39-20. This contest was a yarner, Bogan just couldn’t get shots to fall and it wasn’t like they were taking bad shots either, it seemed as though the basket had a lid on it, so you could say the Bengals were snake bitten. Coach Goody had such a calm presence throughout, knowing he will get another crack at the Mustangs in weeks to come on a more traditional setting and surface. There would be more to this rivalry in a few weeks. Adam Miller led Morgan Park with 25 points, 14 coming in the first quarter. Talented senior and New York native Brandon Weston racked up 16 points and 15 boards. Wake Forest recruit Marcus Watson had 16 points. For the Bengals Antoine Bloxton finished with 16, Kyndall Davis and D.J. Jones recorded 14 points apiece.

Sunday, February 2, 2020



• A.J. Casey 6-8 F 1 Tinley Park
“A consensus Top 20 national prospect. We saw him again Friday night out at Oak Forest, I came away with scathing observation, “young fella” just out hoopn’ like he’s at the rec. A.J. seems to be out there playing on sheer athletic ability but does not maximize his total package as a young player. We need to see more versatility from him where he’s posting up more attempting to score on the block and rebounding more at a much higher clip. This will allow him to impact the game more frequently instead of spending most of his time on the perimeter. He’s talented and does erase some shots. It takes a stout leader to get him on board.”

• Kyle Thomas 6-9 C 2 St. Joseph
“Rising big man with traditional back to the basket skills. Potential ceiling resembles a high-major recruit. Looked terrific a few weeks ago at the Bob Hambric Classic.”

• Branden Huff 6-8 F 3 Glenbard West
“Yep, I’m on his bandwagon, this southpaw can play. Has a really good feel for the game. He’s versatile where he uses his length to post-up smaller defenders & he strokes it on the perimeter at a high efficiency. Averages 18 points & 8 rebounds.”

• Jaden Schutt 6-4 WG 4 Yorkville Christian
“Averages 24 points per outing, he’s already set a state record with 17 three-pointers in one game. Revered already as one of the best shooters in our state. A modern-day Jay Shidler, known as the blond bomber from Lawrenceville in ‘76. Nebraska, Iowa, and Wisconsin have been in to see him. This kid has a long range.”

• Kam Craft 6-4 WG 5 Buffalo Grove
“Lefty has a torch, he’s already a massed over 1,000 career points. This young cager will have an illustrious four years while on-track to break some scoring records. This young lad is one of the top attractions in the North Suburb along with Dom and Max Christie.”

• Trey Pettigrew 6-2 PG 6 Fenwick
“Poised beyond his years; has arsenal of offensive weapons that he showcases during periods of a game. Possesses the abilities of understanding situations while managing/leading his team. It certainly helps his game playing with the talented Bryce Hopkins.”

• Robby Avila 6-8 F/C 7 Oak Forest
“Unique skill-set, pretty clever kid, not going to woo you with athleticism, but he’ll counter with some slithery & slippery foot work that forces defenders off-balance most times. Ambidextrous around the rim. Probably will tap out as mid-major recruit and land in a League like Patriot, Ivy, Missouri Valley, or American Conference.”

• Mikell Jones 6-4 G 8 Chicago Farragut
“Big time potential, has the physical frame and a mentality to be a fine offensive player. His coaches refer to him as a modern-day Quinn Buckner. A true leader.”


No. 5 Bloom 74 – No. 3 Thornton 57
Made the track to the Heights Tuesday night (Jan. 28th) to this prime-time game of the week. Arrived on the scene to see a packed house. Standing room only, illustrated what kind of environment we might be destined to witness. With all the pre-game skinning & grinning, the only obvious piece missing from this buzzing gymnasium was some sizzling tracks from the likes of Jay Rock (Win), DaBaby, and Travis Scott (Heavy Camp) just to name a few. Blah, blah, blah… Bloom which as a rich basketball tradition, but has often been snake-bitten, unable to pull out the big one, this trend expands to over thirty-forty years. They’ve produced ton notable players through the years, including NBA exec Jerry Colangelo, Audie Mathews (Illinois), Claude White (averaged over 40 pts a game in College), Raymond McCoy- one-time phenom Class of 1979, McDonald All-American (San Francisco), Robert McCoy, Brandon Cole (DePaul). I couldn’t hold back standing on the side-line corner reminiscing about some of the history of this storied Program, mindfully both schools have such famed alumni. Thornton entered the game with an unblemished (21-0) record and got out the gate fast scoring the first couple baskets of the contest displaying why they are recognized as one of the top teams in the state. They’re trademark tough gritty/tenacious defensive style can discombobulate many opponents. Ball movement and outside shooting has been the fruit of their recent success. Bloom finally weathered the intense pressure and finished the opening quarter down one 13-12. Bloom (20-5) trots out five Division One players, finally took control after intermission going on a 14-5 run to close the third quarter. Tulsa recruit Keshawn Williams was just too lethal in the second half, he finished with 23 points and array of acrobatic finishes including several dunks. Cal-State Fullerton signee Dante Maddox Jr. registered 20. Christian Shumate, one of the top un-signed seniors in the state, tallied 13 points & 14 rebounds. Senior guard Ari Brown led Thornton with 23 points. “What a great hoop environment…”

Glenbrook South’s six-foot five senior guard Dom Martinelli is a bad dude; dynamite high school player who impacts games on nightly basis. All he does is win, in which he demonstrated Thursday night in a victory over No. 2 Evanston where he dialed up 34 points, 10 rebounds and dished out four assists. We’ve spoken to many locals about him in recent weeks and the masses tend to brand him as an old-school/throw-back type or noon baller, totally dismissing his impressive accomplishments. They claim D2/Small College. “We ain’t buying the fluff!” Martinelli scored 99 points in four games at the hardwood classic over the Xmas break, GB South won it. Dom averages nearly 30 points an outing. Patriot League should be watching closely, we will be visiting him this week.

Whitney Young’s senior guard Tyler Beard made a startling revelation this week, he committed to Georgetown. “Congrats to the young fella.”

Reportedly, one of the state’s top 10 players Collinsville’s silk-smooth guard Ray’Sean Taylor de-committed from his pledge to Southern Illinois Edwardsville. He’s enjoying an outstanding season and has his Collinsville squad ranked among the top 4A teams in the state. He certainly will be heavily coveted, anticipate some interest from some of our state schools and just across the river St. Louis U.

The whole Lincoln Park fiasco has been a horrendous stiff-upper-lip. One of the Chicago Public League’s gold standard Programs marred in a messy misconduct allegation steaming from a trip last month to Detroit where a student/player incident put a cloud over their remarkable season. The Lions are currently 19-3 and ranked 9th or 10th in the Chicago Sun Times weekly casting. Pat Gordon, highly regarded among his peers, has been suspended since early January but has managed to keep his program/system in place where the team is still successful despite some ugly allegations. This Program and the student body at LP doesn’t deserve this.