This week’s City/Suburban Hoops Report’s Three-Pointer highlight’s Farragut senior Dulan Scott, the rise of Bloom and Jamal Parks, along with a look at the two best teams in Illinois: Belleville Althoff and Morgan Park.
There are always mysteries in recruiting. Dulan Scott’s recruiting is a big one.
The rugged, 6-4, 208-pound Farragut senior guard has been terrific all season, averaging 16 points and 6 assists a game. More importantly, as a college prospect he projects.
Scott has been forced to play point guard for the Admirals out of desperation, which has added to his versatility. He’s big, strong, can turn the corner and get to the basket with his physicality and is a brute force in the open court. Plus, he shoots it just well enough to make his living on the perimeter.
Yet veteran Farragut coach Wolf Nelson says his qualified senior doesn’t have a single offer, though more schools have been poking around of late.
“I’ve been doing this for 32 years and I know talent,” says Nelson. “I look at all that he does and he’s a Division I player. He’s a good kid with no baggage, no attitude, no issues at all, and he’s a qualifier.”
It’s pretty amazing, but hardly surprising, that Scott’s recruitment is so tranquil. That’s because so few have seen Scott play. He teamed up with the relatively unknown Illinois Admirals on the AAU circuit, which is coached by former Farragut icon Ronnie Fields.
“The biggest thing is how college coaches recruit now,” says Nelson of the recruiting process. “It’s a shame it has come to this, and I’m not a huge fan of AAU, but the transition has been made to using AAU to recruit and evaluate. And I think some college coaches think if a kid isn’t playing with a big AAU team, then maybe he’s not very good.”
A few weeks ago, following a Jan. 15 loss to Crete-Monee, Bloom was a middling 7-9. Since then the Blazing Trojans have won six in a row, including an eye-opening 65-47 win over Southwest Suburban Blue leader Homewood-Flossmoor.
There is no secret behind the Bloom resurgence: Jamal Parks.
The 6-5 senior has emerged as a productive monster in the south suburbs. Parks hit five three-pointers and went for 25 points and 12 rebounds in the win over H-F. During the six-game streak he’s averaged 24.6 points and 9.8 rebounds a game to push coach Dante Maddox’s team to 13-9 on the year.
“Jamal is starting to realize how good he can be when he really pushes himself,” says Maddox, the first-year head coach at Bloom. “I’ve put him at all different positions on the floor, and he’s scoring it from three, at the basket, at the line, pull-ups … It’s all coming together.”
Maddox, Parks and the Blazing Trojans will find out how far they’ve come next week with a road date at Thornton and a home rematch with Southland Conference leader Crete-Monee.
This may be the best and deepest crop of Class 3A teams we’ve had in Illinois since the four-class system began in 2008. While Fenwick and the red-hot Mike Smith will get their shot to prove otherwise in March, along with a host of others –– Peoria Manual, Bogan, Centralia, Rockford Boyland, Galesburg and St. Joseph to name a few –– right now both Morgan Park and Belleville Althoff are a notch above everyone else.
When these two teams put their collective minds to it, which like all great teams do, is most of the time, they won’t lose in March unless it’s to one another.
You can also argue pretty easily right now that Morgan Park’s Charlie Moore and Belleville Althoff’s Jordan Goodwin are currently the two best high school basketball players in the state. That goes a long way at crunch time of big games in March.
Morgan Park’s collection of wins over ranked foes now includes Bogan (twice), Vocational (twice), Proviso East, Simeon, St. Joseph, Evanston and Fenwick by 26 points. And Althoff’s convincing 80-64 win over Kenwood this past weekend sent a a clear message.
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