A flurry of thoughts from the first live weekend …
➤ There was a nudge up the national rankings for Belleville Althoff’s Jordan Goodwin following the spring club circuit. He had a big spring following a sensational high school season in which he led Althoff to a Class 3A state championship. But the bump wasn’t nearly as much as I thought it would be.
Maybe after this July he will receive the national recognition and appreciation the Hoops Report has had for this kid since last summer. That’s when he was elevated to the top of the class following the departure of Jeremiah Tilmon to La Lumiere.
In five games at the Peach Jam this past weekend Goodwin averaged 21.8 points, 11 rebounds and 2.8 assists a game. In 16 EYBL games prior to the Peach Jam, the stat-sheet-stuffing Goodwin averaged 16.4 points, 9.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists.
There is no question the 6-3 guard should be a consensus top 50 player nationally rather than a player on the outside looking in of the top 50.
➤ Speaking of the former No. 1 prospect in Illinois, Jeremiah Tilmon of La Lumiere via East St. Louis, the 6-10 senior made headlines this past weekend –– and he wasn’t even playing. Word began to spread the injured big man is prepared to make an announcement, sooner than later (as soon as today?), though those words have been spoken and written before. But this time it seems to be legit. And at this point, with all the information gathered, if an announcement actually does occur the Hoops Report would put it as “shocking” if Tilmon wasn’t an Illinois commitment.
➤ The Class of 2017 may not be elite in Illinois, but it’s loaded with low-Division I and Division II prospects. Now it’s a matter for a lot of these prospects to realize they’re that level.
➤ Hoops Report favorite Elijah Joiner of Curie, who sports a surplus of mid-major offers, picked up a high-major offer from Iowa State on Sunday. Joiner, who has been a Hoops Report top 10 prospect in the Class of 2017 for the past year, plays with Team Rose on the club circuit.
➤ The City/Suburban Hoops Report threw out the “keep an eye on Butler College Prep’s Marvin Nesbitt” this past spring after one head-turning game at the All-Illinois Invitational. But that’s actually no easy task as he plays his high school ball for Butler College Prep on Chicago’s South Side and the Chicago Demons on the club circuit.
Nesbitt, an ultra-athletic 6-3 senior, is about as little known as the nondescript school he attends. More eyes should be on him as he plays out July.
While he’s still a work in progress in terms of his overall offensive game, there were moments this past weekend at the Chicago Summer Challenge where he dazzled with his athleticism and ability to score the basketball. With his length, quickness and explosive jumping ability, Nesbitt has a chance to be an impactful defensive player as well.
A streaky shooter from beyond the arc and an electric finisher on the break, Nesbitt will make yet another big jump in the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s post-July rankings. Right now he’s a rather unknown player in the Class of 2017 to Division II and lower Division I programs. But Nesbitt is a tantalizing prospect at that level.
➤ Following his performance at the All-Illinois Invite back in May, the City/Suburban Hoops Report tabbed Logan Windeler of Manteno as one of the most intriguing prospects in the Class of 2017.
While playing with Example Sports in that May event, Windeler, who is an easy 6-8 with length, showed an ability to put it on the floor, range out to the three-point line and some spring off the floor. As a result, he skyrocketed up the Hoops Report player rankings and vaulted ahead of several more hyped prospects in the class.
Windeler showed that all again throughout the Chicago Summer Challenge this past weekend during the first of three July evaluation periods for college coaches.
While not a traditional on-the-block 6-8 big man, Windeler is wiry, skilled and versatile for his size. Plus, he’s just starting to come into his own after missing nearly his entire junior season due to injury as a result of playing hockey.
The long and very slender Windeler hasn’t been seen much, but the prospect who solidified himself as a scholarship player at the Division II/low-major Division I level with his play in May continues to be the intriguing prospect.
Division II Lewis University was first to offer earlier this summer, while American, out of the Patriot League, offered after watching him this past weekend. There will be more to come.
➤ The Hoops Report has raved about U-High’s Jameel Alausa for the past year. And Alausa continues to get better and better and better. Ditto for Teyvion Kirk of Joliet West. Their continued improvement, upside, high character and strong academics make them such recruitable players. Both play with All-In’s Young & Reckless team on the club circuit.
The 6-6 Alausa is an absolute must-get for any Ivy League program. These types of players only come around every so often for an Ivy League coaching staff. He’s athletic at a position of need and will likely head to the Ivy League despite the fact he projects higher than the Ivy League. That’s how important the academic piece is for Alausa and his family, and it’s also why he is so coveted by the Ivy League.
Kirk, meanwhile, remains this glue guy at the point guard position who brings a calm and presence to the floor. The 6-2 lead guard has a way about him and an easy feel for the game. He’s become more dangerous off the dribble while his jumper is a work in progress. But he’s established himself as a good mid-major prospect.
➤ The shooting of Keondre Schumacher, a 5-10 guard from Normal U-High, netted him an offer from North Dakota. Schumacher has been terrific with Young & Reckless this spring and summer.
➤ There’s a reason Demarius Jacobs of Uplift has been a top 15 lock in the Hoops Report Class of 2017 player rankings for the past 18 months. He’s showing it.
➤ Lemont’s P.J. Pipes, a high volume scoring lead guard, put together some solid performances at NY2LA’s Next Level Invite while playing with the Illinois Stars. When he’s in the gym, Pipes is going to find a way to score the basketball. A projected Division II/low-Division I player, the 6-0 senior is now beginning to get some interest and offers at that level, including offers from Division II schools Lewis, Missouri-St. Louis, Minnesota State and Winona State.
➤ Denis Alibegovic of Downers Grove South has played with multiple club teams on the circuit, but he again showed at the Chicago Summer Challenge he remains one of the elite shooters in the state. He can get his shot off on the perimeter and has the same, smooth, quick release every time. The 6-3 senior had a couple of lights-out offensive performances.
➤ The Illinois Wolves swept through the Chicago Summer Challenge with Isaiah Coleman-Lands as the catalyst. The point guard isn’t an Illinois product –– he’s from Indiana and attends La Lumiere School –– but he is a terrific prospect who is a mid-major/mid-major plus prospect.
While his stock rises as a point guard prospect, the perimeter shot has come a long way, to the point where in time you can see it’s going to become a weapon for him at the college level. If Coleman-Lands were in Illinois, the 5-11 point guard would be among the top 10 prospects in the Class of 2017.
➤ Downers Grove South’s T.J. Clifford, a well built, physical 6-6 senior 4-man who plays with the Illinois Wolves, committed to Western Michigan on Sunday.
➤ Both Lewis and Winona State offered Niles Notre Dame’s Jeameril Wilson, a long, lanky and versatile 6-6 perimeter player.
➤ A couple of players who impressed at the NY2LA Next Level Invite and continue to be prime small college prospects are Brandon McCombs of Jacksonville and Justin Bottorff of Quincy Notre Dame.
McCombs, who plays with the Illinois Irish, is an active 4-man who at 6-7 brings some versatility to the position. McCombs can play with his back to the basket and stick a mid-range jumper pretty consistently. He’s also the No. 1 ranked student academically in his senior class.
Bottorff showed promise with the Illinois Irish this past spring before changing teams and playing well for Quad City Elite this past weekend. Another 4-man at 6-7, Bottorff
➤ While the respected Illinois Irish program has a bevy of players for Division II, Division III and NAIA prospects this year, there is one rising above the rest in the eyes of the Hoops Report as a college prospect: Taylor Bruninga of Illini Bluffs.
The 6-7 Bruninga doesn’t have a Division II or Division I offer yet, but he has a terrific upside as he’s just beginning to tap into the player he’s going to be. Bruninga is a no-brainer scholarship player who can find his way to the Division I level.
A high level shooter with size, Bruninga is capable of spreading a defense and spacing the floor with range and efficiency. He’s also going to surprise you with a surprisingly quick first step when he puts it on the floor. Physically, he’s going to need some time to add strength as he’s just starting to grow into his slender body. But as a college prospect, Bruninga has so much more upside than many others who are being talked about in Illinois.
➤ After watching Romeoville play a few times this past winter, it was easy to see the young talent in place. The Hoops Report has talked about sophomore guard Mike Salter in the past. But junior guard DeAndre Heckard is coming along nicely and is one to watch in the Class of 2018 as he plays out the summer with Hoops4Health.
➤ Add Bucknell to what will be a growing list of offers for Conant guard Jimmy Sotos, who is playing out the month of July with Fundamental U’s Young Legends.
➤ Every year or two there is that club basketball team you appreciate more than others and enjoy watching play. And it’s generally the less heralded team without the shoe sponsorship, without the high-majors and hardly any scholarship players.
Teams like the Illinois Defenders five years ago, Illinois Pryme Tyme four years ago and, more recently, the Chicago Lockdown and Central Illinois Net Gain teams in 2013 and 2014, played with cohesion, terrific ball movement and spacing, three-point shooting and the sum-is-greater-than-its-parts mantra.
This year the Hoops Report’s most appreciated team comes from down south: the Illinois Bears. Overall, they play with the characteristics the aforementioned teams all played with.
There is some talent, starting with Okawville’s Noah Frederking, a 6-3 wing who has put up monster numbers in high school, and 6-3 wing Preston English out of Kentucky.
Frederking already has over 1,900 career points heading into his senior year. I don’t care how small of a school a kid plays at –– Okawville has just 160 students –– when you have a shot at 3,000 career points, that’s saying an awful lot. Frederking may not initially pass the look test, but he’s strong, has great hands, can really shoot it and finds ways to score.
But I love watching the guard tandem of Grant Wolfe of Effingham and Justin Shadowens of Marion play. They’re tough, competitive and smart. If I’m a Division III program, these are two I must haves.
Follow Joe Henricksen and the Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport