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Simeon’s Jeremiah Williams, St. Viator’s Connor Kochera and other top seniors set college visits

While six players in the Class of 2020 have already committed, the remaining top prospects are trimming down their lists and setting up visits. 

Loyola’s Bennett Kwiecinski (15) shoots over St. Ignatius’s Kolby Gilles (13) during their 56-46 win at Northwestern University in Evanston, Friday, February 8, 2019. | Kevin Tanaka/For the Sun Times
Loyola’s Bennett Kwiecinski (15) shoots over St. Ignatius’s Kolby Gilles (13)
Kevin Tanaka/For the Sun-Times

A busy couple of months await the top senior basketball players throughout the state.

While six players in the Class of 2020 have already committed, the remaining top prospects are trimming down their lists and setting up visits.

Morgan Park’s Marcus Watson and Marian Catholic’s Ahron Ulis are the two highest ranked players committed in the class. Watson is headed to Wake Forest and Ulis to Iowa.

Cary-Grove’s Frank Jakubicek committed to Belmont this past summer, while Loyola’s Jordan Kwiecinski, Naperville Central’s Chris Conway and Marian Catholic’s Elijah Jones recently committed to Drake, Oakland and Western Illinois, respectively.

St. Viator’s Connor Kochera lines up visits

The Division I interest and the recruitment of St. Viator’s Connor Kochera developed a little late.

He played out his junior year while teaming up with a pair of Division I players in Jeremiah Hernandez, who begins his first year at Kent State, and Trey Calvin, who is a freshman at Wright State.

Kochera opened eyes in the spring and gained some recruiting traction, picking up interest and offers from Cleveland State, Lafayette and Western Illinois.

And then the floodgates opened with a monster month of June while playing with St. Viator at the Riverside-Brookfield and Ridgewood Shootouts during the high school live periods.

But even as he waited for the interest to heat up, the 6-4 senior believed he would ultimately be in the position he currently sits in with a surplus of Division I offers.

“To be honest, I knew the time and work I have put in to live out my dream of playing Division I basketball would pay off,” says Kochera. “It’s pretty great to see that dream come true.”

Kochera has locked in three official visits in the coming weeks as he will head to William & Mary the first weekend in September. He will follow that up with a rare double weekend visit to both Wofford and Furman in September, a pair of South Carolina schools that sit just 37 miles apart.

In addition to those three programs, Kochera says he may take another official visit as Holy Cross, Utah State, UC-Davis and Lipscomb all remain involved. Kochera spent this past weekend on an unofficial visit to Holy Cross.

Kochera knows what he’s looking for in a school, basketball program and on the upcoming visits.

“The relationship with the players there will be be one of the things I will be looking at and how comfortable I am with them,” says Kochera. “You just spend so much time with them, so seeing a real team atmosphere is important.

“The academic piece is also another key piece. All these schools are obviously strong academically and that degree is what can provide for me after I’m done playing basketball.”

Jeremiah Williams visits Valpo, SIU

Jeremiah Williams, who recently transferred from St. Laurence to Simeon, took an official visit to Valparaiso this past weekend.

“I’ve been over there a couple of times, so I knew what to expect a little,” says Williams. “Everything went as expected. I had a great time and have a great feel for the players and a relationship with the coaches there.”

Williams, who has an official visit set up at Akron the weekend of Sept. 6-8, took an unofficial visit to Southern Illinois on Tuesday. As a result, the Salukis and first-year coach Bryan Mullins have made inroads with one of the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top 10 prospects in the Class of 2020.

“I’m glad I made the trip there,” Williams said of the visit to the Carbondale campus. “It was better than I expected, and I really enjoyed it.”

The versatile 6-3 guard says he has a visit lined up at Northern Iowa for late September.

Bloom boys will be busy

It’s going to be a busy fall in Chicago Heights for Bloom’s senior group.

Martice Mitchell, the long, agile 6-9 big who saw his stock soar in June and July, has a long list of nearly double figure schools who still remain involved, including Xavier, Minnesota, New Mexico, Maryland, Rutgers, Oregon, Iowa, Mississippi and Notre Dame. Mitchell is in the process of setting up in-home visits this fall but currently doesn’t have any official visits set up.

Keshawn Williams, the athletic 6-2 combo guard, has an official visit set up to Colorado for Sept. 12-14. This will be the second official visit to Colorado. Under new recruiting rules a prospect can now take five official visits as a junior and five more as a senior. Williams visited Boulder last year as a junior.

Colorado State has been heavily involved with Williams for quite some time and is among the leaders for Williams. Kansas State, West Virginia and Loyola are all currently trying to set up official visits, while UAB and Tulsa remain in the mix.

Dante Maddox, Jr., the 6-2 shooting guard and son of coach Dante Maddox, has three official visits set up. He will visit Kent State Sept. 6-8, Toledo Oct. 4-6 and Cal-State Fullerton Oct. 11-13. UW-Milwaukee, UIC and Missouri State all remain involved with Maddox.

Donovan Newby continues to be under-appreciated among college coaches. The steady, rock solid point guard has already visited SIUE while a visit to Albany is in the works. Utah State and Lipscomb have shown continued interest.

One Kwiecinski down, one to go

Both Jordan and Bennett Kwiecinski of Loyola are among the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top 15 prospects in the Class of 2020. The 6-8 twins continue to emerge and develop as versatile 4-men.

Jordan Kwiecinski recently committed to Drake, while Bennett Kwiecinski will officially visit Siena, Lipscomb and Yale the first three weeks of September. William & Mary, Colgate and Dartmouth all remain involved.