City/Suburban Hoops Report Three-Pointer: Chris Riddle’s breakout, live period woes, portal impact

Watch out for the rise of Kenwood’s Chris Riddle.

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Kenwood’s Chris Riddle (10) forces Simeon’s Sam Lewis (11) to adjust his shot.

Kenwood’s Chris Riddle (10) forces Simeon’s Sam Lewis (11) to adjust his shot.

Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

Watch out for the rise of Kenwood’s Chris Riddle.

The talent was never a question and the eye-popping physical attributes were obvious. But the 6-5 junior has been waiting to settle in and be comfortable after moving back and forth between Kenwood and a prep school while also battling some injuries during his junior campaign.

Riddle started his high school career at Kenwood but then spent his sophomore year at Compass Prep in Arizona. He returned to Chicago and played this past season for the Broncos. But he never did find his groove.

After watching Riddle in early spring, the early signs are that this physical specimen is set to blow up that “three-star prospect” rating.

An excellent at-the-rim finisher with his strength and athleticism, Riddle is showing he’s extended his range with a very workable jump shot. He’s smoothed out his mechanics which should lend itself to becoming a more efficient shooter if he continues to evolve with his shot selection.

A big, strong and athletic wing, Riddle is poised to show he’s among the top two or three prospects in the class and a high-major prospect.

Unalive period

The upcoming April “live” periods, which are set for the weekends of April 21-23 and April 28-30, are designed for college coaches to start attacking the junior class in recruiting.

Typically by this time in the recruiting process, coaches have been scouring the country, putting together a lengthy list of targeted prospects with the opportunity to evaluate those players in the coming weeks.

But that’s never been further from the truth. The lack of interest right now in the high school basketball prospect continues to be alarming.

With the transfer portal so vibrant, particularly since the extra Covid year student-athletes received is still omnipresent, college programs want to take advantage of the opportunity to keep their roster old and college-ready. The importance of the high school prospect right now — unless it’s a top 100 type national talent — is minimal.

Portal impact

College coaching staffs have been laser-focused on the transfer portal for over a month. The number of players entering the portal grows by the day and is fast approaching 1,500 player. Thus, the flurry of action in the portal — keeping track of who’s in the portal, who’s expected to go in the portal and where players are headed — is absolutely dizzying.

And the reverberations of the transfer portal will continue to hamper the upcoming “live” periods. The timing couldn’t be worse for an actual “live” period.

College coaches are still desperately trying to tidy up or, in some cases, completely rebuild their rosters while the portal is hot. And the portal will remain robust throughout the month of April. There will be campus visits and in-home meetings with players and families that coaches will be attending to in the coming weeks.

All that leads to far fewer coaches on the road evaluating high school talent. For those coaches who are in attendance over the next two “live” weekends, there will certainly be less focus with the distraction of the portal lingering.

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