Who says the month of October is dead for high school basketball?
There’s no doubt basketball junkies are anxiously awaiting the start of the high school basketball season –– practice starts in less than three weeks –– but there is some business to attend to this October.
Whether it’s a flurry of recent commitments, official visits or the Pangos All-Midwest Frosh/Soph Camp that was held this past weekend in LaGrange, which brought together some of the bright young talent in Illinois together, there is plenty to talk about in this City/Suburban Hoops Report notebook.
Tilmon at top of the class: The biggest name from the state of Illinois at the Pangos All-Midwest Frosh/Soph Camp was Jeremiah Tilmon of East St. Louis. When it comes to big men, especially young big men, you begin by preaching phrases like “still developing” and “a work in progress.”
While every sophomore is exactly that, Tilmon is pretty darn advanced for a player at his size, position and age. His ability to catch in traffic, advanced footwork and touch around the basket show why he’s the No. 1 college prospect in Illinois in the Class of 2017. There is still plenty of work to do, but the 6-9 sophomore provided enough flashes to get anyone who watched excited.
Isaiah Moss recruitment: He’s a top 10 prospect in the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s Class of 2015 player rankings and remains the best uncommitted prospect in Illinois this side of Marcus LoVett of Morgan Park. Simeon’s Isaiah Moss has a big few weeks ahead of him as he sorts out his suitors.
Moss took a recent official visit to DePaul and is scheduled to visit Pittsburgh this weekend. Iowa extended an offer to the 6-5 wing on Tuesday, while Iowa State looks as if it may be ready to get involved.
Next in line at Simeon: Senior D.J. Williams of Simeon is the Hoops Report’s No. 2 ranked prospect in the Class of 2015. Teammate Zach Norvell is a top five prospect in the Class of 2016. And Marquis “Kezo” Brown is certainly among the top three prospects in the freshman class –– and the best incoming freshman prospect in the Chicago area.
Brown is just a player who makes things happen and impacts possessions on a regular basis. Even with the early fanfare he’s received, you love his approach and mentality he shows. The 6-1 guard, who played so well in this event last year as an 8th grader, will find his way onto the floor for a loaded Simeon team this winter.
Speaking of Simeon freshmen, keep an eye on Messiah Jones, a very promising 6-4 lefty forward. He’s a young ’tweener right now but with some added size and/or improved skill development, Jones really has a chance to be one of the better players in the Class of 2018.
Big addition for Oswego East: One of the breakout performers at Pangos was Stephon Harris, a sophomore who has made the move from North Lawndale to Oswego East. Harris is a big, physical and terrific athlete on the wing and outstanding finisher. He’s going to be a big addition and an impact player for Oswego East sooner than later after transferring in from North Lawndale this year.
Young city guards: There is a surplus of guard talent in Tyrone Slaughter’s program at Young, but there were two freshmen that stood out at Pangos: Xavier Castaneda and Justin Boyd.
Castaneda first opened the Hoops Report’s eye a year ago at Pangos –– as an 8th grader. He is a heady point guard who just seems to be a player built to run a team. Castaneda is poised and strong for such a young player and is arguably one of the top half dozen prospects in the Class of 2018. Boyd, who impressed with Meanstreets this past spring and summer, is a 6-2 shooting guard with a smooth jumper. He can really fill it up from the perimeter and shoot with range. Both Castaneda and Boyd were highly impressive.
Curie guard one to watch: Coach Mike Oliver is going to have some firepower with the return of junior Devin Gage and senior Joshua Stamps on the perimeter. But keep an eye on Elijah Joiner, a young, talented sophomore guard. Joiner is blessed with a feel and scoring ability that will give the Condors another weapon this season.
More Pangos thoughts:
• With a quick release, sound mechanics and range, Downers Grove South guard Denis Alibegovic is one of the better shooters in the Class of 2017. The 6-2 sophomore showcased a solid offensive arsenal at Pangos, including a smooth jumper from the three-point line. It will be interesting to see how Alibegovic’s overall game develops over the next few years.
• Keep an eye on the development of Westinghouse’s Coreyon Rushin, a 6-5 forward in the sophomore class with a bunch of upside.
• When Romelo Burrell gets off the football field and is back playing basketball, the 6-5 sophomore is going to be a heck of an addition and a big key to Morgan Park’s fortunes down the road. There was a little rust on Burrell, who played in the Pangos event in the midst of finishing up his high school football season, but he’s blessed with some serious potential.
• Anthony Cameron out of little-known Tilden turned a few heads. Though still very raw at this point, the sophomore big man is massive at 6-8, 235-plus pounds. Cameron showed a flash or two on the AAU circuit with the Illinois Crush and again showed how well he moves at his size this weekend at Pangos.
Nebraska strikes again in Illinois: When it comes to Nebraska basketball, a combination of recent success, beautiful new facilities and head coach Tim Miles has obviously resonated with Illinois prospects. Dixon’s Isaiah Roby, a still blossoming 6-7 wing in the junior class, was the third Illinois prospect to commit to Miles and the Huskers in the last past two months.
Roby, a City/Suburban Hoops Report top 10 prospect in the Class of 2016 in Illinois, will join current 2015 commits Glynn Watson of St. Joseph and Ed Morrow of Simeon in Lincoln. The multi-skilled Roby is ideal for what Miles and Nebraska look for in a perimeter prospect. He’s a versatile talent who can really handle and pass the basketball as a point-forward type player with a developing game and body.
Ohio lands Lincoln star: Gavin Block, who led Lincoln to a state runner-up finish in March and put together a terrific summer with Central Illinois Net Gain on the club circuit, committed to Ohio and coach Saul Phillips on Monday.
Block, a versatile wing who is a stat sheet stuffer, took his official visit to Ohio this past weekend, was offered while on the visit and ended his recruitment soon after. He’s easily among the top 25 prospects in this year’s senior class. Last season he averaged 16 points, 6 rebounds and 2.5 assists a game while shooting 42 percent from the three-point line for a team that won 34 games.
When it comes to talent level, fit and system, there aren’t many recruitments in the Class of 2015 that go better together than Block and Ohio.
De La Salle wing to La Salle: Karl Harris, a 6-4 wiry and active wing, committed to La Salle after taking an official visit to the Philadelphia campus last weekend. Harris is the second Division I commitment from coach Tom White’s De La Salle program, with Brandon Hutton having already committed to Iowa.
Follow Joe Henricksen and the Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport