Youngsters stand out at Joy of the Game

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By Joe Henricksen

With such a surplus of fall leagues around the Chicagoland area and throughout the state, it’s a tribute to the Joy of the Game Fall League to have assembled as much talent as it has with players spread out around the various leagues.

And once again it’s the Class of 2013 — yes, this year’s freshman class — that again has impressed the City/Suburban Hoops Report. The class continues to add prospect after prospect to a growing list that starts with the trio of Whitney Young’s Tommy Hamilton, De La Salle’s Alex Foster and Simeon’s Jabari Parker.

The Class of 2013 has established talent and some burgeoning size, with 6-6 Andrew McAuliffe of Glenbrook North included in that mix. He’s a big-bodied kid for his age with an impressive skill level and is already a true back-to-the-basket player. Remarkably, he has a better feel and a more developed post game than some high school players that are two and three years older. McAuliffe, who appears as if he’s not done growing and could get to 6-8 or 6-9, already uses both hands around the basket, including a slow-developing but effective lefthand hook. It’s uncanny how effective he is around the basket for his age.

Mundelein freshman guard Robert Knar is an absolute eye-opener. Knar is about as explosive of a scorer as you will find for a kid his age. He will knock down shots with range, mid-range or put it on the floor and create for himself. The 5-11 guard just puts the ball in the hole time and time again and knows how to play.

With Ben Brust, Leavon Head, Hoops Report favorite Ryan Sawvell and Knar, the Mustangs will not have any problems putting points on the board as they contend in the North Suburban Lake this winter. The Hoops Report really can’t say anything more than it’s already said about the 6-7 Sawvell, who climbed into the Hoops Report’s top 30 prospects in the Class of 2011 with his play this past spring and summer.

The Hoops Report gives a lot of credit to Mundelein’s Ben Brust, one of the top five seniors in the state. Brust went on his official visit to Iowa over the weekend, which included Iowa’s big football win over Michigan Saturday night, and still made a point to get back and play with his team in Deerfield on Sunday. There aren’t a whole lot of players anywhere that would have made that a priority on the weekend of an official visit.

Also, keep an eye on 6-1 guard David McCoy of Loyola Academy. Coach Tom Livatino, now in his first year at Loyola Academy, may have a player to build around in the future. McCoy’s sister, 5-10 Brittany McCoy, is the starting point guard for the Minnesota women’s basketball team after an all-state career at Loyola Academy in high school.

Coach’s son a prospect

The Hoops Report is extremely impressed with Austin Weber of Glenbrook North. The son of Spartans coach Dave Weber just never truly found the right fit on the AAU circuit or flourished in that environment. However, the 6-5 wing is poised for a breakout year on the high school scene. Weber had the look of a late-bloomer last year as he progressively got better throughout the season. Now he has grown into his body, looks more comfortable and confident on the floor, and is shooting the heck out of the basketball. He adds some length and versatility out on the perimeter and has picked up Division II interest.

Waukegan and …. Maine South?

The biggest threat in the Central Suburban League South for Waukegan may not be from perennial contenders New Trier and Evanston. That’s because Maine South appears to have the make-up, cohesiveness and experience to be the biggest challenger.

Look for coach Tony Lavorato’s team to be better than last year’s 17-win team, which finished second in the CSL South a year ago with a 6-4 record. A couple of CSL South All-Conference performers return in 6-7 Kevin Schlitter and 6-3 P.J. Killean, but the most improved player looks to be Justin Wasik. The 6-3 guard has played well this summer and fall and improved in almost every area.

Mr. Intangibles

The Hoops Report will take Fremd’s 6-4 senior Chris Klimek any day. He may not wow anyone in any one single area of his game, but he does a whole lot of things well. Most of all you win with players like Klimek, who is tough, strong, will defend, finish around the rim and is showing a capable 15-17 foot jumper. He does the little things. Klimek, who sports nearly a 4.0 GPA and scored a 29 on his ACT, is still being observed by Ivy League and Patriot League schools.

Making his mark

The Joy of the Game Fall League has allowed an opportunity for Rockford Christian’s Brayden Teuscher to open the eyes of some people in the Chicago area. The 6-1 junior guard is a tough, strong-bodied perimeter threat who is one to watch in the Class of 2011. Teuscher, who can shoot and, with his strength, get to the basket off the dribble, averaged over 14 points a game, 3 assists and 3 rebounds last season as a sophomore. He teams with another 2011 prospect, 6-7 Drew Anderson, who averaged 10.5 points and 5.3 rebounds a game last season, to give Rockford Christian a pretty strong 1-2 punch this season.

The City/Suburban Hoops Report’s first issue of the season is due out in mid-November. For more information or to subscribe to the Hoops Report, now in its 15th year of publication, email hoopsreport@yahoo.com or call (630)-408-6709.

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