We had a run last night with some players in the 2021, 2022, and 2023 classes. Here are the writeups on the players in attendance.
Kai Evans (6-3 SG, Bolingbrook)
Evans is a very explosive, strong scoring guard that is hard to keep out of the paint. When he put his head down, he played through contact and finished well above the rim. While he took some tough outside shots, he knocked down a few long-range looks off the dribble. He wasn’t engaged as a defender during the run but has the tools to be a force on that end if he commits to it. Evans is back at Bolingbrook and holds offers from Chicago State, Western Michigan, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Steph Harris (6-0 PG, Buffalo Grove)
Steph was consistently creating open shots and forcing turnovers defensively. He showed good vision off his penetration and delivered passes with both hands. One of the more efficient point guard finishers in the area, Harris had no problem using his touch and toughness in traffic. There wasn’t anyone keeping him out of the lane, so he didn’t need to take jump shots during the run. His defense stood out throughout the night, getting deflections and picking pockets often. Harris is an underrated lead guard that is gets after it.
Ethan Roberts (6-5 PG, Hersey)
Defenders were trying to play him as a shooter and he still lit them up. Roberts knocked down three after three, using ball screens, away screens, and crossovers to get open space. At 6-foot-5 with a high release, it’s too difficult for most guards to affect his shot. Ethan’s passing ability shined with some no looks and skip passes that were well-timed. He was aggressive from the start and made defenders pay for lapses. Roberts has a lot of value on or off the ball and is a plus rebounder that can play multiple spots. His greatest assets may be his work ethic and communication. Roberts is a high-academic D1-caliber prospect that is going to impact winning wherever he ends up.
Jaden Terrell (6-7 SF, Wheeling)
Terrell is a unique 6-foot-7 wing that can shoot with range, take defenders off the dribble, or score in the post. He was doing most of his damage from beyond the arc during the run, spacing out in transition and knocking down threes. He has long arms that give him shot-blocking upside and defensive versatility. He can score with ease and put points on the board in a hurry once he gets going. Terrell looked stronger and taller than he was as a junior and should be a target for schools looking at 2021 wings. He was offered by Arkansas Little Rock and Detroit.
Kyonte Thomas (5-11 PG, Bolingbrook)
The Trinity International recruit was a playmaker during the run. His pace and speed in the open court was evident as he forced help and was looking to distribute the ball. When he did look for his shot, Thomas hit a few nice pull-up jumpers and showed springs at the rim for a 5-foot-11 guard. His game is well-suited for the college game with his quickness, ball-handling, and decision making in traffic. Thomas is set for a big senior year if the season goes on.
Jullian Acosta (6-2 SG, East Aurora)
Acosta brought much-needed energy. He was crashing the glass on both ends and shedding box out attempts to get put backs. Acosta skied for rebounds on multiple occasions despite giving up some height at 6-foot-2. His defense was on point, as you can expect from an East Aurora guard. Without trying to do too much with the ball, Jullian scored on cuts, straight-line drives, and transition opportunities. As consistent jumper is the only missing piece to an otherwise well-rounded game.
Darius Duff (6-3 SG, Lake Forest Academy)
This run showcased Duff in transition more than the previous ones. He had three powerful dunks on the break and a few acrobatic finishes as well. He drives with such force off the dribble that it can be difficult for even good defenders to knock him off his path. Even though he didn’t take many outside shots, Duff hit a couple of deep threes that he is accustomed to making. Duff’s ceiling is high with his athleticism, ability to play on or off the ball, shooting, and team-first play style. He is a guard who checks a lot of boxes.
Gabe Madej (6-6 SF, Fenwick)
Known as a great shooter, Madej hit some threes with confidence during the run. He’s a big wing with a solid build that should give him the flexibility to play both forward spots at the next level. Madej showed really good footwork on his drives and set his feet well on the move to get into his shot. When matched up in the post, he stood his ground and contested everything. He had a nice turnaround and mid-range pull-up as well. Gabe didn’t force anything, but he is a deadeye shooter that can make a high volume of threes. More schools should be in touch with the Fenwick wing who has already received Ivy League and mid-major interest.
Owen Schneider (5-10 PG, Prospect)
Schneider may be 5-foot-10, but he can jump out of the gym. He has great quickness off the dribble and a tight handle that gives him freedom to get where he wants. Schneider was effective in pick-and-rolls as a playmaker and scoring when needed. He’s almost too explosive to chase over screens, but he can hit threes if you sag off like he showed with a number of NBA-range threes. The Prospect guard is a strong athlete that can make it tough on opposing guards as he showed during the run. Schneider is a D2+ player that has the shot-creating ability coaches are looking for today.
Jabian Acosta (6-4 SF, East Aurora)
Acosta started off a little slow, but looked more comfortable as the run progressed. While his shots weren’t falling, he set up teammates, defended, and communicated. Acosta can get hot from long-range even though he didn’t get going. He looked comfortable taking a three from the logo and has very deep shooting range typically. Acosta is a switchable defender that has the strength and athleticism to be a shutdown wing player.
Alex Engro (6-0 SG, Loyola)
At a run with a lot of gifted shooters, Engro was one of the best. He was nearly automatic on open looks from three. His shot is repeatable and doesn’t have a lot of wasted motion. Engro understands spacing and moved without the ball to lose his defenders. When he had driving lanes, he played angles well and either finished or kicked out to shooters. Some kids just know how to play. Alex is one of those guys, showing a lot of natural feel for the game. Based on how long his arms are, I would expect Engro to continue to grow and become a tougher matchup.
Will Kamukama (6-9 PF, Huntley)
Will flashed some of his potential during the run. He started the day with a deep stepback three and hit a few more long-range shots throughout the run. He also got out for a few transition dunks and had a couple of solid put backs. Overall, he could have been more impactful on the interior as a rebounder, rim protector, and finisher with mostly guards in attendance. But Will has had a successful last few months and showed some of the agility, ball-handling, and shooting that is coveted at 6-foot-9. He needs the game to slow down a bit and to focus more energy on competing. If that happens, the potential begin to be realized.
James Muse (6-2 SG, Prairie Ridge)
Muse did a lot of the little things very well. He cut to open space and rebounded out of his area. The 6-foot-2 guard has good strength for a sophomore that he used to slash to the rim a couple of times. It’s clear that he can shoot. He made a contested corner three at one point that showed good form. Muse has the size and effort level to make an impact defensively as he showed moving his feet and contesting shots.
Dylan Schmidt (6-3 SG, Johnsburg)
Schmidt was definitely a bright spot at the run. The high-flying wing is a fluid athlete that threw down a pair of tough dunks in transition. He handles the ball well on the perimeter and stays low when he drives. Schmidt was able to hit multiple threes off the catch too, including a few from well behind the line. His shooting range opens up lanes to get to the basket where he is hard to contain once he gets up in the air. His hustle and activity as a defender gained attention too. He got in passing lanes and sprinted the floor in transition. Schmidt is going to be a big-time scorer for Johnsburg over the next three years.
Sonny Williams (6-0 PG, Notre Dame)
This was an inconsistent run for Sonny. He had more turnovers than he would like, going a dribble too deep a few times. It’s always good to see how players respond and by the second half of the run, he was creating open looks at will as usual. He never stopped communicating, competing, or leading. His end-to-end speed is a problem even for the quickest defenders, going coast-to-coast a few times. Williams had the ball on a string and put some spin on some finishes against length. He knocked down some pull-up threes as well. His passing, especially against pressure and on the move, was impressive. The poise for a sophomore is uncommon and his creativity finding angles to make passes stood out. Williams has leadership skills that you can’t teach and a bright future as a floor general.