When it comes to the majority of “breakout” players, the formula is fairly simple.
Show some talent and upside as a very young player. Put together some quality production as an underclassman during the high school season when opportunities present themselves. Then springboard yourself into the hearts of evaluators and college coaches during the spring and summer months prior to your junior year (for the early developers) or senior year (for the late bloomers).
The following breakout prospects will very likely have bigger opportunities on the horizon at all levels –– on the club scene this offseason, for their respective high school teams next winter and among college programs at the right level.
These players are proof there are quality prospects without the high-profile hype –– at least not yet. Here are several off-the-radar players headed for more notoriety this spring and summer.
■ Jameel Alausa, U-High (Class of 2017)
A true hidden talent due mostly to where he plays –– at a Class 2A school in the Independent School League. He’s a prospect who continues to make improvements in his game and one the Hoops Report, despite his lack of notoriety, believes has a super high ceiling.
A 4-man with size at 6-7, agility and pop off the floor, Alausa continues to improve his face-up game while becoming more comfortable around the basket using his body and quick feet to beat defenders. Alausa, a terrific student academically who averaged 16 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks a game this past season, will be a hot commodity before all is said and done. He should be a must-get Ivy League recruit.
■ Jimmy Sotos, Conant (Class of 2017)
A poised and polished lead guard who could play both guard spots going forward due to his 6-3 size and shooting ability. As a junior, he quietly put up 16 points and 4.5 assists a game while leading Conant to a sectional championship and 23 wins. Sotos, who is well-schooled and intelligent with the ball in his hands, should be attractive to Ivy and Patriot League schools with his academics and leadership qualities. And don’t be surprised if this overlooked guard plays himself up higher over the course of the spring and summer.
■ Marcus Garrett, Hillcrest (Class of 2017)
The most accomplished and productive player on the list after averaging 18.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3 steals and 2.7 assists a game as a junior. But the 6-1 guard is still overlooked when talking the top juniors in the state.
Garrett balances unselfishness and outstanding scoring ability, showing a take-over-a-game type ability during his junior season. His physicality in getting to the basket has always been a constant, but his perimeter jumper and three-point shooting progression has raised his offensive game. Best of all, Garrett defends and plays extremely hard.
■ Jake Wolfe, Aurora Christian (Class of 2018)
An unknown in the Class of 2018 but one who the Hoops Report believes will be one of the breakout players in the class this spring and summer. Wolfe has grown to 6-4, is ultra-skilled as a passer, shooter and overall scorer while being able to play both guard spots. He put together one heck of a season for a Class 2A sectional championship team, filling a stat sheet to the tune of 16 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals a game.
■ Drew Peterson, Libertyville (Class of 2018)
He continues to climb as a player and prospect. The 6-6 Peterson, who is still growing and developing physically, averaged 14 points and 5 rebounds a game on the year. But in the final month of the season he put up 19 points and 6 rebounds a game. Peterson can stretch the floor with his perimeter shot while showing versatility in his game with skill, size and length. A player who possesses outstanding upside.
■ Talen Horton-Tucker, Simeon (Class of 2018)
He turned some heads a time or two this past season as a sophomore, but with the departure of Zach Norvell and Josh Thomas the path has been cleared for Horton-Tucker to become one of Simeon’s cornerstones next season.
Although Horton-Tucker has been a fixture in the Hoops Report’s ranking of the top 10 prospects in the Class of 2018 for some time, he’s starting to be appreciated by more. In the meantime, watch for this versatile 6-4 wing’s unique skilled and crafty game to continue to expand.
■ Treavon Martin, Curie (Class of 2018)
When it comes to top players on the Curie state championship team, the 6-7 Martin was a little low on the Condor prospect pecking order. But with his size, upside and improving production –– he had 10 points and 14 rebounds in the state championship game win –– Martin’s stock should continue to rise.
Long, wiry, active and athletic, Martin will be looked at closely this spring and summer as college coaches are in desperate need of finding players with size, upside and talent.
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