11 breakout juniors for the 2022-23 high school basketball season

As the physical development continues with these juniors, their individual games will progress and their confidence will grow.

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Kenwood’s Calvin Robins (1) blocks a shot.

Kenwood’s Calvin Robins (1) blocks a shot.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

The jump players make from their sophomore to junior year is often significant, especially for those with a little varsity seasoning under their belt.

As the physical development continues with these juniors, their individual games will progress and their confidence will grow. 

Their trajectory as prospects may differ –– some may end up as Division I players while others become small college recruiting priorities a year from now –– but this list of a dozen players are set to put their name on the map this high school basketball season. 

Jack Stanton, Downers Grove North

This team’s arrow for the next two years is pointing straight up, thanks in large part to the emerging Stanton in the backcourt. 

The 6-1 junior combo guard is a shot-making threat who plays with outstanding pace with the ball in his hands. He gained experience a year ago and blossomed over the summer with added confidence. 

Stanton will put up numbers and garner Division I offers before it’s all said and done. 

Calvin Robins, Kenwood

While it remains to be seen just how –– and how much –– Robins will be used on a loaded Kenwood roster this winter, he showed enough this past spring and summer to warrant being on this list. 

A dynamic athlete who explodes off the floor, Robins is a coach’s dream come true: he plays extremely hard, competes and is outstanding in the classroom. He plays with a physicality that’s difficult to match up against at the high school level. As the 6-5 Robins smooths out his skill package, the results and recruiting will pick up immensely. 

Josh Pickett, West Aurora

A familiar name as he was part of the loaded and hyped St. Rita Class of 2024 as a freshman. Then he transferred to West Aurora and put up numbers last year as a sophomore: 14 points and five rebounds a game, a school record 73 three-pointers, and a terrific GPA in the classroom. 

But a year older, with a ton of experience, and the confidence of adding a number of scholarship offers, Pickett is poised to become one of the high-profile names in the class. 

He’s a shooter with size and strength, a coveted combination in recruiting circles. 

Miles Boland, Loyola

An absolute no-namer in the class but a player who wasn’t exactly a low-usage piece as a sophomore. He put together a rock solid sophomore campaign, which included scoring over 300 points and knocking down an impressive 70 three-pointers. That alone makes him a serious weapon for the Ramblers. 

But the 6-2 combo guard is a complete guard. He can handle it and see the floor with terrific vision. A mix of talent and more opportunity will lead to a Boland breakout as he sees an even larger role in the offense. 

Josh Fridman, Glenbrook North

Although senior Ryan Cohen is the biggest name and leading returning scorer, Fridman is an absolute sparkplug of a point guard for a team with high expectations.

The 5-9 Fridman is a true facilitator who puts pressure on opposing defenses with his shooting and scoring ability. He’s a workhorse who led the team in minutes while averaging 12 points, four assists and three steals. 

Fridman went down with a dislocated shoulder and torn labrum in March and missed a large chunk of the offseason. But he’s ready to go as the catalyst for a GBN team that should compete for the top spot in the Central Suburban League South. 

Kelton McEwen, Bartlett

Last year it was Bartlett’s big man, 7-2 center Conrad Luczynski, who grabbed headlines with his monster statistical line. But over the past two years McEwen, a 6-1 guard who can play on and off the ball, has quietly put up impressive numbers. 

As a freshman, with little to no fanfare, he was as productive as any freshman, averaging 14 points. Last year as a sophomore he filled the stat sheet, putting up 13 points, three rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting 40 percent from three. 

Now it’s McEwen’s turn to become the focal point and gain some name recognition outside the Upstate Eight Conference as the production increases. 

Meyoh Swansey, Romeoville

Put together a productive sophomore campaign, averaging 13.5 points, but the 6-1 guard played in basic anonymity. Now he is a mainstay at the top of any breakout list generated this offseason. 

After a summer in which he continued to do what he does best –– put the ball in the basket in a variety of ways –– the 6-1 scoring guard is poised to be one of the most impactful players in the Class of 2024. Swansey is capable of operating with or without the ball and a player you love to have in the backcourt because of it. 

Tim Handy, Perspectives-Leadership

What a better combination for a breakout category than an emerging young talent on an up-and-coming team. Handy and Perspectives will gain some attention this season. 

Last year as a sophomore, Handy averaged 10 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals. His coming-out party came in a win over Maine South when he poured in 23 points, including seven three-pointers and a game-winning layup in overtime. 

The 6-3 guard, who plays with some flash and flare, will have a presence in the Public League this season with his scoring potential. 

Davee Flowers, Niles West

As his sophomore season played out and he became more acclimated to varsity basketball, the game slowed down for Flowers. He was thrown into the fire and became a bonafide weapon as his confidence soared.

The skilled 6-2 guard led the team in scoring with 13 points while chipping in nearly five rebounds, three assists and two steals each game. 

With that type of impact under his belt, Flowers will be one of the top players in one of the state’s toughest conferences (Central Suburban League South) –– and earn some name recognition along the way. 

Angelo Ciaravino, Mount Carmel

While this remains DeAndre Craig’s team, and the ball will be in the senior guard’s hands quite a bit, Ciaravino is going to be a dangerous sidekick as a junior. 

Steady progression as a sophomore is going to lead to a breakout junior season as he becomes more of a potent, all-around scorer. He’s grown to 6-6 and brings a versatility that coach Phil Segroves can use creatively. 

Jason Jakstys, Yorkville 

His name is on the radar of college basketball coaches as they evaluated the 6-8 junior this offseason and stopped in for some Yorkville open gyms this fall. But the high school basketball world, at least outside the Southwest Prairie Conference, is still a little oblivious to the potential and upside of Jakstys. 

The long, mobile big man is still physically developing, but he managed to put up some significant numbers as a sophomore: 15.2 points and 7.5 rebounds a game. 

The anticipation is a blossoming junior year from the high upside Jakstys, who can out run you to the rim and shoot it from three. 

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