Henricksen: Run-N-Slam rewind from Fort Wayne

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There are few, if any, events on the high school club circuit that brings as many Illinois players and club teams together like the Bill Hensley Memorial Run-N-Slam All-Star Classic in Fort Wayne does.

While the City/Suburban Hoops Report focused on the star-like qualities and continued breakout of Peoria Manual sophomore DaMonte Williams earlier this week, here is a Run-N-Slam rewind from this past weekend.

Li’l Charlie playing big: When Morgan Park’s Charlie Moore is in a rhythm offensively, he’s an absolutely disruptive offensive force. There were moments this past weekend where he showed just that, using his speed and quickness in getting to the rim and finishing, while knocking down three-pointers with his terrific range. In addition, Moore has some flare in his game and brings competitiveness to the floor.

College coaches at the highest level continue to be concerned about his size –– maybe more so with his slight frame than his actual 5-10 height –– but it’s hard to believe more high-major programs won’t get on board between now and the end of July.

Another emerging prospect in 2017: There has been so much talk this spring about the promise and talent in the Class of 2017 in Illinois. The class is burgeoning with talent, which includes the blossoming Charles Payton of Bloomington.

The difference between the winter Charles Payton and the spring Charles Payton is pretty remarkable. Payton, who plays with the Illinois Wolves on the club circuit, showed promise and potential with a dangerous bounce in his step and great length this past winter, but he’s now making an impact in multiple ways and at both ends of the floor.

The 6-6 Payton is ultra-explosive off the floor as an above-the-rim finisher, rebounder and shot blocker, which makes him difficult to contain or predict. He has pushed himself into the top 10 in the sophomore class of college prospects, coming a long way in a short time and blessed with an enormous and exciting upside.

Forgotten man in 2016: For all the talk of the top-rated prospects in the Class of 2016 from the Chicago area –– St. Joseph’s Nick Rakocevic, Hinsdale South’s Barret Benson and Barrington’s Rapolos Ivanauskas –– we tend to forget the talents of Isaiah Roby of Dixon.

The versatile Roby is forgotten because of where he plays –– outside the Chicago area, both for his high school and club team (Quad City Elite). But he’s a bonafide top five player in the Class of 2016 and a nice pick-up for coach Tim Miles and Nebraska. If Nebraska had not secured an early commitment from the smooth 6-7 point-forward when it did –– he committed last October –- the recruiting battle would have been much more contested this summer.

True big man impresses: It’s impossible not to immediately discuss the size of Richmond-Burton’s Joey St. Pierre. He’s 6-9 and 265 pounds –– and just a sophomore.

But St. Pierre can play and is getting better. He showed a lot this past weekend as a true post presence.

The enormous St. Pierre is incredibly thick and strong at that size, weight and age, but he also moves very well up and down the floor. He takes up space in the lane, can establish deep, low-post position and can pass for a big man. That’s enough to grab any college coach’s attention.

Although his offensive game is not the most advanced right now, as St. Pierre gets more and more reps and action against higher-level competition, you will see continued progression.

Talented freshmen guards: There are some very talented Chicago Public League guards in the Class of 2018.

Simeon freshman Kezo Brown came into high school with some hype. He gained some notoriety this past season as a fixture off the bench for a high-profile, ranked team.

But the tandem of Marquan Williams of Perspectives-MSA and Ayo Dosunmu of Westinghouse have picked up right where they left off after impactful and productive freshmen seasons.

Both Williams and Dosunmu turned heads in Fort Wayne this past weekend. Williams is an electric scorer with the ball in his hands as a super shooter, both with an advanced pull-up, mid-range game and three-point range. Dosunmu, meanwhile, plays with creativity, relying on skill, feel and instincts, which are especially impressive for such a young player.

Doing it differently: When watching the current crop of Illinois Wolves in the Class of 2016, you’re not going to find the high-major prospects of the past.

The program that has featured the likes of Evan Turner, Demetri McCamey, Frank Kaminsky, Chasson Randle, Keita Bates-Diop, Glynn Watson and several other high-major players in recent years, doesn’t have any big-named seniors-to-be. In fact, the biggest name playing for its 17U team is a junior, 6-10 Barret Benson of Hinsdale South

But don’t discount the results this relatively no-named bunch has had this spring. In two weekends of play in the competitive Under Armour Association, the Wolves 17U team is in second place in their division with a 6-2 record. The Wolves then reached the championship game this past weekend at the Run-N-Slam All-Star Classic, where an impressive run ended with a loss in the final.

While the likes of Benson, current Deerfield senior Jack Lieb and juniors Nate Kennel of Metamora, Daniko Jackson of Riverside-Brookfield, Matty Smith of South Elgin, Tommy Lucca of Genoa-Kingston and Chris Harris of Lake Forest Academy all provided production this past weekend, the wins are a result of checking all selfishness at the door. That’s a credit to the players and the Illinois Wolves program.

There is some Division I talent on this team, but the reason for this spring success is team defense and patience offensively with few turnovers and quality shot-selection. Those aren’t your typical AAU descriptors.

Odds, ends and random thoughts

Simeon’s Evan Gilyard put in some work as the point guard for Meanstreets 16U this weekend, showing an offensive arsenal that few were able to see this past winter. Watch for Gilyard, a 5-9 sophomore, to move from role player to catalyst next season for coach Robert Smith and the Wolverines. … Brandon Johnson of T.F. South put together a solid, productive weekend for the Mac Irvin Fire 17U team. When he’s active and engaged as he was this past weekend, the 6-7 athletic 4-man remains an intriguing prospect in a thin Class of 2016. … Here’s a new name to keep an eye on in 2017: Demarius Jacobs of Uplift, a 6-3 wing who plays with All In Athletics. … St. Ignatius’ 6-6 Daniel Ogele isn’t talked about much in the Class of 2016, but he continues to show promise and why he could have a breakout season next winter. …Quad City Elite’s 17U team is a fun group to watch with how its star, Dixon’s Isaiah Roby, blends in so nicely with an unselfish group that plays so well together. … The Hoops Report doesn’t focus on out-of-state talent, but it certainly appreciates it. I continue to be enthralled with 6-7 Brian Bowen of Arthur Hill in Saginaw, Mich., every time I see this silky smooth sophomore play. There’s a reason why he’s among the top 10 players in the country in the Class of 2017.

Follow Joe Henricksen and the Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport

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