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Seven seniors ready for breakout seasons

There are a whole bunch of impactful seniors who deserve more attention than they have received — and they will likely receive it this season. 

Hyde Park’s Davontae Hall (1) floats down the lane for a basket as Homewood-Flossmoor’s Jahlil Birchette (3) defends.
Hyde Park’s Davontae Hall (1) floats down the lane for a basket as Homewood-Flossmoor’s Jahlil Birchette (3) defends.
Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Enough talk about the senior stars headed to high-major programs.

There are a whole bunch of impactful seniors who deserve more attention than they have received –– and they will likely receive it this season.

Some may be breakout players in their final season of high school while some are stars in their own right already but might not be receiving the due they deserve.

Here is a portrait of high school seniors who will be stars for their respective teams this season with way more attention coming their way.

Cooper Noard, Glenbrook South

This is a Division I recruit headed to Cornell who put up significant numbers as a junior for a team that won. He’s not exactly flying under any radars. But it’s still a player who, nonetheless, is under-valued by most.

While it’s true that teammate Nick Martinelli receives a whole lot of attention –– and deservedly so –– Noard’s presence and production helps form one of the top duos in the state. He averaged 18.1 points a game and shot 42 percent from the three-point line last season.

The 6-1 guard is competitive and isn’t afraid of the moment, which should pay big dividends in what could be a monumental season for Glenbrook South.

Yogi Oliff, Niles North

The smooth point guard plays in a fun, stylish way with the pass and an improved perimeter shot.

Yogi has been a household name in the Central Suburban League while closing in on 1,000 career points and being a part of a lot of wins in three varsity seasons. But now it’s his team, his senior year and he’s playing with an even higher level of confidence as a point guard who can control a game with his feel, vision, upgraded scoring potential and approach to the game.

It’s also time for more college coaches to take notice in a true point guard who handles pressure, makes others better and brings big-time academics to the table.

Jeremiah Jones, Marian Catholic

The 6-3 guard is a different type of player. The defensive acumen and impact he provides at the lesser-talked-about end of the floor is where he hangs his hat on as a player. Jones is arguably the best defender you’ll see as he’s disruptive with tips, steals and is a heck of an on-the-ball defender.

It’s not as if Jones isn’t impactful as an offensive player –– he led the Spartans in scoring last season and continues to make strides as an effective overall scorer.

Will Grudzinski, Barrington

Despite being the Mid-Suburban League West Player of the Year last season, the 6-6 versatile perimeter player is relatively unknown outside the northwest suburbs. But having the returning POY in the league is always a good place to start.

Grudzinski, who led the Broncos in scoring as a junior, can beat you in a number of ways. He’s a threat from the three-point line, the skill to put it on the floor and get to the basket and length and size to impact defensively.

AJ Redd, St. Ignatius

Senior teammate Kolby Gilles signed with Air Force and junior Richard Barron garnered a whole bunch of Division I interest and offers this past offseason. But this 6-3 guard is a four-year varsity player and Mr. Reliable for one of the state’s top teams.

The overlooked Redd does a little of everything and is a numbers guy. He put up 11.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and over a steal a game last season as a junior. With another number-producing season, Redd has the chance to end up as the all-time leader in points, assists and steals in program history.

Davontae Hall, Hyde Park

An explosive scoring guard in the city who has the ability to take over a game. Last year he averaged 19 points and four assists a game. But in the Chicago Public League where the heavyweights and high-profile players tend to gobble up the headlines, it’s often hard to get noticed.

As a senior, however, for a team that has a chance to be dangerous over the course of a full season, Hall will have every opportunity to be noticed.

Ethan Marlowe, St. Charles North

We often don’t notice the late-developing big man until the final stages of their high school career. It’s time to take notice of the 6-8 Marlowe, who remains an intriguing prospect with his face-up shooting ability. But he also turned into a productive player a year ago as a junior after flashing so much promise and potential as a sophomore.

Marlowe arrives as a three-year starting senior with a better package of experience, skill and potential to dominate than he’s been given credit for up to this point. The numbers don’t lie as he’s coming off an abbreviated season where he averaged 14.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and almost two blocks a game while shooting 41 percent from the three-point line.