Here are the evaluations for the private run we held over the weekend.
Evan Ambrose (5-10 PG, Stevenson)
Fresh out of Details training, Ambrose was back to shaking defenders. He had a couple of quick crossovers and finishes at the rim. There was one snatchback crossover in particular where he sent the defender flying and hit a three. Even though he’s not overly explosive, Evan keeps his dribble low and reads defenders well. He hit some threes and got to the rim, but his passing ability stood out. Ambrose advances the ball up the court without hesitation and can make plays out of the pick-and-roll. He is definitely a small college guard to consider.
Cam Nicks (6-0 SG, Schaumburg)
Nicks is a pitbull. Strong bodied and aggressive, he bullied defenders all run. At 6-foot, he finishes around the rim like a bigger player. He was taking defenders in the post and hitting turnarounds regularly. Nicks has a relentless mentality as a penetrator, putting his head down and seeking contact. He added a few jump shots as well. It was a good run for the Schaumburg senior.
Gabe Wright (6-5 SG, Proviso East)
Wright has a lot of tools to work with offensively. He is long and athletic and can handle the ball in space. With the ball, he hit tough shots from three and got to his mid-range often. Wright also got out in transition for a few dunks and layups. He just committed to NAIA Governor’s State on Monday.
Ben Ahmer (6-1 PG, Huntley)
Ahmer put on a shooting clinic during parts of the run. Any time defenders went under screens, he pulled up and knocked down a ton of threes. Ben has deep range on his jumper and is comfortable shooting on the move. He throws crisp passes and makes quick, strong moves to beat defenders. He will lead Huntley over the next two years and should be a solid college guard.
Mike Clarke (6-0 PG, Cary Grove)
It was an all-around impressive run for Clarke. He plays with toughness and discipline on both ends and showed some finesse as a finisher and playmaker. Mike had a number of well-timed assists to find teammates. His outside shot was consistent, taking advantage of any times the defense lost him. Mike can really shoot it off the catch. With change-of-speed moves, he got around defenders where he read the secondary help well. Defensively, he was active and contested everything. D3 schools should be reaching out.
Kam Craft (6-5 SG, Buffalo Grove)
There were some really good individual defenders at the run, but Craft was making it look easy. A true three level scorer, Kam has terrific footwork and a feel for how to create space. When he was isolated on the perimeter, he either got to the rim, shook his defender to get a pull-up, or shot right over outstretched hands. Only a junior, Craft makes some pro level shots already. Some kids who score at high volumes will dance with the ball or take a break when they’re off the ball. Kam is always moving, setting up cuts, and scoring as efficiently as possible. He continues to be a solid defender with his length, bounce, and competitiveness. With offers from Xavier, Nebraska, and DePaul among others, Craft should see growing interest.
Darius Duff (6-3 SG, Lake Forest Academy)
Duff was getting into the paint at will. He has speed and power when he is getting downhill, still maintaining the body control to avoid help defenders. When driving lanes weren’t there, Duff sprayed in a few NBA threes and some pull-ups. His passing ability did not go unnoticed, giving up some good shots for great ones in transition. Defensively, Duff has all of the tools and defensive IQ to be a lockdown defender. As he refines his creativity off the dribble, Duff will be even more dangerous as a scorer. He has heard from a number of schools including Purdue, Air Force, and Holy Cross.
Daniel Hong (6-1 PG, Barrington)
Hong showed off his vision and passing creativity during the run. Showing great chemistry with Craft, he found him on cuts and in transition. Hong has a solid build that gives him the ability to drive against contact to create openings. Daniel has some shake off the dribble with a pull-up three that looked easy. Now at Barrington, Hong should have an immediate impact.
Arnav Jain (6-1 SG, Crystal Lake South)
He picked up where he left off from the last run with his outside shot. Jain has a quick trigger from three and was encouraged to let if fly whenever he had an opening. He didn’t handle the ball as much this run, but still got some floaters in when defenders ran him off the line. Jain’s shooting will be a valuable asset moving forward.
Ethan Marlowe (6-8 SF/PF, St. Charles North)
Marlowe’s guard skills are so rare for a 6-foot-8 player. And that is why college coaches will be intrigued with his upside. Ethan crossed up multiple defenders before using his size to finisher or pull-up. Marlowe was very effective as a screener, popping out for countless threes. His shooting range demands attention. But his development as a ball-handler will allow Marlowe to take his scoring ability to the next level. During the run, he showed end-to-end agility and had multiple blocks around the rim. It’s only up from here for Marlowe.
Lane McVicar (6-5 SG, DeKalb)
At this point, players should know not to leave him open. Lane was filling it up from deep once again, off the catch and after dribbling into looks. He had no issues using his ball-handling ability to get all the way to the rim. McVicar is proving that he is a complete player, showing that he sees the floor well and can really guard. He may have been the most engaged defender at the run, blocking shots, getting steals, and disrupting offense all while staying in front of the ball. Lane has made statements and gotten better in each run.
Charlie Nosek (6-4 SG/SF, Metea Valley)
Nosek continues to impress with his upside on both ends. There were some tough wings at this run and Nosek went at all of them. He is very long and wiry, but knows how to use his size and athleticism on the defensive end. He blocked a number of shots and altered a lot more. Offensively, he displayed some more versatility off the dribble than the first run. He hit a tough between the legs stepback three and slashed to the rim for finishes in traffic. I know he can shoot off the catch, so adding more of an in between game should open things up. Charlie is a competitor that is still growing physically and with his skill set. Coaches will be taking notice soon.
Fernando Perez (6-3 SG, Larkin)
Perez didn’t get going during this run but he still gave good energy on the glass and defensively. He hit a few spot ups from the wing and mixed in some drives. As a help defender, he had a nice block and got deflections. He has shown athleticism at slashing ability at prior runs.
Cade Pierce (6-5 PG, Glenbard West)
Pierce leaves his mark on every part of the game. It wasn’t his best shooting day, but Cade regularly made the right decisions with the ball. He hit threes in rhythm, attacked closeouts, cut with a purpose, and moved the ball. Being 6-foot-5 with a plus wingspan, Pierce creates mismatches with his combination of skill and size. He looked quicker and more explosive, moving his feet well on the defensive end. His impact goes beyond stats. For example, Cade was clearly the best screener at the run, forcing switches and creating open looks despite being a guard. The talent is there and he has ideal intangibles. He is a safe prospect with plenty of upside. UIC and Wisconsin-Milwaukee have offered.
Zack Thompson (6-11 C, Naperville North)
The Naperville North big man had to defend out of position all run. But he competed and used his size to manage the paint. Thompson has decent touch as a shooter even though he wasn’t hitting during the run. His passing ability is advanced, throwing accurate passes with some heat on it. As he matures, he should be a solid high post option. Most of his damage came off dump off passes where he kept the ball high and finished. Thompson is still growing into his body and should blossom sooner rather than later.
Paxton Warden (6-3 SG, Glenbard West)
Paxton was solid once again. He showed more flashes of his ability to create off the dribble, connecting on some tough jumpers on the move. Warden is a disruptive defender that has very active hands. He’s going to be a high-percentage three-point shooter at the college level, but his finishing will open things up if he continues to show improvement. Paxton still looks like a rock solid D2/D3 prospect that is on the rise.
Josh Farmer (5-8 PG, Metea Valley)
Farmer is a stocky point guard that does most of his damage getting to the rim. He had a few finishes through contact at the run and rebounded well on the offensive end. The next step will be adding more pace and a consistent jump shot to his game.
Noah Only (6-2 SG, Huntley)
Only came out of the gate firing. He probably made seven or eight shots in the first 10 minutes. Noah plays off of his hesitation well and has the upper body strength to go through contact. With his handling ability, he was taking defenders off of the dribble early and often. On a team with some good playmakers, he cashed in on spot up three opportunities when he was open. Only has scoring upside.
Sonny Williams (6-0 PG, Notre Dame College Prep)
Sonny’s quickness created problems all day. He showed a good first step to beat defenders and top-level speed in transition. Once he gets into the lane, he has a variety of finishes to score against length. Williams looked poised in the pick-and-roll, working a two-man game with Marlowe that allowed him to show off his passing prowess. On the break, Williams hit multiple pull-up threes from way outside. If he continues to shoot at a high clip with his speed and playmaking, guards will struggle deciding how to defend him. He has all of the leadership qualities you want to run a team. In a deep class of floor generals, Sonny is one of the premier point guards in the state.
Jakob Blakley (5-10 PG, Marmion)
The only freshman at the run didn’t play like it. Blakley showed a tight handle, good pace, and skill creating his shot off the dribble. He hit a few tough stepbacks and sidesteps as well as a couple of runners at full speed in transition. The 5-foot-10 guard has a smooth jump shot that should complement his ability to get to the rim as he adds strength. Marmion is going to have a talented, young backcourt over the next few years.