Michael O’Brien’s notebook: Nov. 23, 2015

SHARE Michael O’Brien’s notebook: Nov. 23, 2015

Tonight I watched DePaul Prep knock off Taft and Evanston beat Mount Carmel. DePaul Prep freshman Perry Cowan could be the real deal, he was calm and composed and looks like an excellent scorer. But the Rams are going to need a lot of work to be competitive this season.

Evanston looked pretty loaded. Nojel Eastern never really got into the flow of the game. He didn’t start, then was in foul trouble. But it didn’t matter. Elijah Williams, Malik Jenkins, Jerome Bynum and Trevon Marshall all did some nice things. The Wildkits are deep and fast and have a ton of guys that can handle the ball, always a good thing.

Mount Carmel was hard to judge. They were missing some guys due to football and senior Henry Hudson was held out for unspecified reasons. Senior Jake Rhode was everywhere. He scored 23 and just wreaked havoc all over the court. Nick Chambers flashed a very nice shot, scored 25.


East Aurora’s hyped freshman Traevon Brown had a big debut. He scored 15 points in the Tomcats’ loss to St. Charles East. I’ll be in St. Charles to check out Brown on Tuesday.


There could be a team everyone overlooked in the preseason rankings: TF South. The Rebels beat Homewood-Flossmoor 63-58 on Monday. Brandon Johnson has received a lot of hype on the summer circuit. He had 17 points and seven boards. But the story was junior Bron Hill. I’ve never heard of him before but he poured in 21 points and 21 rebounds. I’ll check TF South out on Wednesday.


Someone that can be trusted about these things told me that Stevenson’s Justin Smith just might be the best player in the state. That’s how good he looked tonight. Smith had 19 points in the Patriots’ win over Lyons. Smith flashed some amazing athleticism last season. I wouldn’t be shocked if he does turn out to be the top player in the junior class.


Some other notable performances:

-Hinsdale South’s Barret Benson: 22 points, 11 rebounds in a win over Longwood.

-Joliet West’s Trevian Bell: 24 points, five rebounds in a win over Tinley Park.

-Larkin’s Christian Negron: 25 points, 13 rebounds in a win over Freeport.

-Glenbard West’s Justin Pierce scored 36 points and grabbed 15 boards in a win over Glenbard North.

Darnell Latham, a total unknown, scored 35 points and grabbed nine boards for Prosser in a loss to Libertyville. He’s now on the list of guys to check out.


There were some upsets, always are on the first day:

Lincoln Park 49, Loyola 40: Most of us considered the Ramblers to be a top 30-35 team this season. Not a great start. But Lincoln Park has been solid the past few years.

Lincoln-Way East 55, No. 12 Lincoln-Way West 52: Maybe can write this off as a numbers thing. Warriors have a small team to begin with and losing some football players hurts.

Benet 59, No. 20 St. Ignatius 43: Benet does it again. St. Ignatius is young and replacing Riley Doody was always going to be tough. But this was a surprise.

Bartlett 66, Downers Grove North 56: The Downers North hype train dies before it even gets going.


There was some confusion about the Sun-Times and basketball scores tonight. We no longer have a staff accepting calls and faxes and emails in the newsroom. A victim of cutbacks (but hey, you are reading this for free, aren’t you?). We will have the Scorestream scoreboard on the site. To submit scores you need to download an application for your smartphone. You can find that here. Feel free to email me scores and highlights at mobrien@suntimes.com. Text them, DM them, tweet them at me, whatever. You might wind up in the notebook, you might not. I’ll do my best. Occasionally the Associated Press emails a big list of scores over. I’ll post it when I get it. They didn’t send anything tonight.


I’ll be in St. Charles on Tuesday for at least two games: Downers Grove South vs. Metea Valley and St. Joseph vs. East Aurora. Might stick around for Plainfield East vs. St. Charles North as well.

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