What’s been learned and confirmed?

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By Joe Henricksen

We are past the midway point of the season and plenty has been learned — and confirmed — as we begin to head

down the stretch of the regular season. Here are just a few random thoughts….

Batavia in the conversation

When discussing the top teams in Class 4A, the Bulldogs of Batavia need to be in the conversation. Coach Jim

Roberts’ club just wouldn’t go away against talented Marshall Saturday night at the Sears Centre in Hoffman

Estates, eventually falling in a close one. This team is fearless. The much-anticipated Batavia-Simeon matchup Feb.

2 at Batavia should be a fun one as the atmosphere should be as good as it gets in high school basketball.

The freshman did what?

It was just three weeks ago when I mentioned Limestone’s Donivine Stewart should be included with Curie’s

Wayne Blackshear and DeLaSalle’s Mike Shaw as one of the top freshmen in the state. The intangibles I mentioned,

which includes an uncanny feel and understanding of how to score for such a young player, must have been front

and center over the weekend. The 5-11 freshman guard scored 41 points in a win over Dunlap Saturday night.

While Stewart does not have the upside and ceiling of a Blackshear or Shaw, his ability alone puts him among the

top five freshmen in Illinois.

And yet another talented sophomore

It seems the list of top players in the Class of 2010 just grows and grows. Another player climbing the rankings

quickly is Mundelein’s Ben Brust. Like the aforementioned Stewart, I just tend to gravitate to players that can

actually put the ball in the basket on a consistent basis. The 6-2 guard can flat-out score. He can shoot it with

range, off the dribble and is more athletic than people think. He’s one of the top 15 players in the sophomore class.

Speaking of talented sophomores, one player I really anticipate making a huge jump between his sophomore and

junior year is New Trier big man Fred Heldring. His role is somewhat limited on a senior-dominated New Trier club,

but in this day where big men are impossible to find, Heldring has a chance to blossom into a high-major prospect

before it’s all said and done.

Class 3A State Tournament will be brutal

This coming week’s City/Suburban Hoops Report issue put together a Class 3A statewide ranking. After taking a

long, hard look at those rankings it’s easy to see why the Class 3A State Tournament this March will have less

drama than any state tournament in state history. As previously mentioned, after Simeon, Marshall and Decatur

Eisenhower there is a considerable drop in team talent. From a ranking team perspective, it was actually difficult to

feel good about putting some of the teams in the top 16 3A poll. Hopefully 3A’s “Big Three” will all make it to Peoria

and save the mess that is four classes.

The Super Six

Although this could possibly change before March rolls around, I believe six teams have separated themselves

from the rest of the pack. Simeon, Marshall, H-F, Farragut, Whitney Young and Decatur Eisenhower are six teams

that will likely be fighting it out for the 3A and 4A state titles. I have yet to see unbeaten Edwardsville, so it remains

to be seen how they fit into the mix.

If you would like to subscribe to the City/Suburban Hoops Report, which is in its 13th year of publication, or have any questions, call (630)-408-6709 or e-mail hoopsreport@yahoo.com

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