As always, there are several high-profile transfers who will undoubtedly impact the high school basketball landscape this season. But a two out of state transfers will also be significant when this season tips off in two months.
Benet won 27 games a year ago and put together a solid summer behind junior big man Colin Crothers and senior Will Engels, a vastly improved 6-5 perimeter player with versatility. While promising 6-7 Noah Ferrell left Benet and is now at Romeoville, an exciting talent and prospect landed on coach Gene Heidkamp’s doorstep when the school year began.
After getting a close look at Kendrick Tchoua, a talented move-in from Maryland who provides a presence with his size and athleticism, Benet is primed and ready to challenge defending champ St. Viator in the East Suburban Catholic Conference.
The athletic 6-6, 220-pound Tchoua is a physical specimen and a Division I prospect. He’s already among the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top 15 prospects in the Class of 2019 and boasts mid-major potential.
For his size and position, Tchoua uses a mixture of athleticism, pure strength and aggressiveness to get to the rim off the dribble where he punishes overmatched defenders. He’s a presence around the basket and a potential matchup nightmare at the high school level.
With the solid trio of Crothers, Engels and Tchoua to lean on, Benet figures to extend its streak of 20-plus wins to 10 straight seasons.
Evanston adds young French star
Evanston coach Mike Ellis returns four starters from last year’s 27-win team that finished third in the state, including Southern Illinois recruit Lance Jones, senior Jaheim Holden and the sophomore tandem of Blake Peters and Jaylin Gibson.
The Wildkits, however, will receive an added boost from an incoming transfer from France –– 6-5 sophomore Louis Lesmond.
While the immediate impact may be a bit more mild than what Benet will immediately receive from Tchoua because of their age and class, the wing is considered one of the better players in France for his age group, was part of the French National Team this past summer and is a Division I prospect.
Lesmond is a skilled 6-5 perimeter threat with outstanding shooting ability.
Lesmond’s sister, Lola, is a freshman at Evanston and also a highly-regarded girls basketball prospect.
The Lesmond family moved from France to the United States when their father, David Lesmond, was relocated to the Chicago area for his job in the wine industry.
David Lesmond played at Purdue for three years, playing in 43 games in the mid-1990s. While at Purdue, current Boilermakers assistant coach Brandon Brantley was David Lesmond’s teammate. Brantley, ironically, was the lead recruiter when Purdue landed former Evanston star Nojel Eastern a couple of years ago.
When the Lesmond family was in the process of checking into possible landing spots in the Chicago area, David Lesmond checked in with his former teammate. Brantley suggested taking a look at Evanston.
The recommendation led the Lesmond family to Evanston and has provided Ellis another weapon for a loaded team expected to be ranked among the top 10 teams in the state this winter.
Follow Joe Henricksen and the City/Suburban Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport