Henricksen: Unsung recruits still possess plenty of talent

SHARE Henricksen: Unsung recruits still possess plenty of talent
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Maybe Jack Brody’s commitment to Indianapolis didn’t resonate with fans the way Jalen Brunson choosing Villanova over Illinois did, but on a much smaller scale there was a recruiting battle for the smooth 6-4 Providence senior, nonetheless.

Did these commitments grab your attention: Bogan’s Antonio Thomas to Ferris State? How about Lake Zurich’s Mike Travlos to Hillsdale or Oak Forest’s Kyle Flanagan to Wisconsin-Parkside?

Lewis University, a local Division II program, locked up a good one when combo guard Jake Reinhart of defending Class 2A state champ Bloomington Central committed to the Flyers with little or no fanfare.

There are a surplus of talented players around the Chicago area who are coveted — just maybe not by Big Ten schools or even mid-major conference programs.

While there may be some low-Division I schools still hanging around and evaluating, here is a short list of players who are prime targets of small college programs (Division II, NAIA, high-level Division III):

▪Cole Gentry, St. Charles East

Lewis has been constant and persistent in its recruitment of the overlooked Gentry while plenty of others are missing the boat. There have been a few Division I schools who have showed some interest in this pure point guard with terrific academics, including Liberty, while Division II schools Northern Kentucky and Saginaw Valley State have been involved. But Lewis remains the lone offer.

▪Pat McNamara, St. Viator

With Ore Arogundade off to Drake and Roosevelt Smart transferring to a prep school, the 6-3 McNamara becomes the go-to weapon on the perimeter for the Lions. Hartford offered in July, with additional Division II offers from Hillsdale, Lewis and Lindenwood. Navy has also expressed interest.

▪David Sachs, Highland Park

Calm, cool, always in control and a winner at the point guard position, Sachs turned in a solid summer. High-level Division III programs covet him, while Division II Barry in Miami has offered and Spring Hill College in Alabama is showing interest. Western Illinois, Furman, South Dakota and Marist are Division I schools who have shown varying degrees of interest.

▪Antoine Pike, Hyde Park

An undersized power forward at 6-5, Pike is a rugged, athletic workhorse who averaged 14 points and nine rebounds a game last season. Several Division II and NAIA schools are involved, with one college coach saying of Pike while watching an open gym, “He has the heart as big as this gym.” As Pike plays out his senior year, expect his recruitment to pick up.

▪Josh Ruggles, Wheaton Warrenville South

The combination of being one of the state’s top shooters and an elite student (31 ACT) should be very attractive. Division II Grace and Ferris State have offered, while Maine has shown recent interest for the 6-1 shooting guard.

▪Fred Sims, North Lawndale

The big, strong, physical wing who attacks the basket and has improved his jumper is a player Division II programs are hoping Division I schools stay away from long enough.

▪Brodric Thomas, Bolingbrook

This late blooming combo guard broke out this past summer. The skilled 6-1 senior, though, remains a sleeper. He has an offer from Truman State and a few Division I schools poking around.

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