We had a good group come out for the run this weekend. Here are the player writeups from this week’s run.
Steph Harris (6-0 PG, Buffalo Grove)
Harris had the most dominant night during the run. He was relentless attacking off the dribble and using all kinds of finishes in the paint. Even when it seemed like the defense cut him off, Steph found ways to score in traffic. Once defenders started to play him for the drive, he took advantage of his shooting ability and hit threes during the back half of the run. His vision in the open court was evident as well. Harris could not be stopped. He showed leadership and communicated well with his team during the run. The uncommitted floor general produces whenever he is on the court.
Ethan Roberts (6-5 PG, Hersey)
Ebo is a known shooter, but his ability to create shots shouldn’t be taken for granted. Roberts used his handle to get defenders off of him and pull-up from the perimeter. He was knocking down deep threes in waves, looking pure in catch-and-shoot situations. But his shot-making was just as effective inside the arc when defenders pressed up on him. He showed his athleticism with a few dunks and added some floaters and crafty finishes. He also used his length to get some steals and showed his usual passing prowess. In a typical year, a 6-foot-5 playmaker that is a proficient outside shooter would be off the board. Roberts currently has an offer from Southern Indiana and should have a number of options at the D1 and D2 level.
Alex Arango (6-2 SG, Saint Viator)
One thing that is hard to teach is effort and Arango excels in that area. He plays with a ton of energy on both ends, driving to the basket in straight lines and defending. He was staying in front of the ball on the defensive end and was opportunistic when creating turnovers. While he didn’t shoot it well during the run, Arango can make threes with time and space. His cutting and slashing made up for it though as the run went on. Arango’s high motor is going to give him substantial value at Viator and beyond.
Garrett Bolte (6-6 SF/PF, Hinsdale South)
Bolte wasn’t giving up anything easy around the rim. He probably blocked five shots off the backboard and threw away a few more. His activity, timing, and athleticism were very impressive, rotating well from the help side to protect the rim. Offensively, he was just as effective. Bolte stretched the floor on multiple occasions with his jump shot and showed a quick second jump on the offensive glass. At 6-foot-6, he is strong and mobile with the ball. He hit a turnaround out of the post and attacked a few closeouts well. Bolte looks like a modern stretch-four that has defensive versatility.
Darius Duff (6-3 SG, Lake Forest Academy)
Duff was on a scoring tear during the run. And he did it from all over the floor. He got going with a few pull-ups, then did a lot of attacking from the wing. Defenders struggled with his powerful takes to the rim and he was usually too quick for secondary help to do anything. We got a few of the expected highlight reel dunks from Duff, but his jump shooting was the real highlight of his performance. He was hitting three off handoffs, spot ups, and pick-and-rolls. The more consistent that part of his game gets, the more dominant he will be. His defense was solid, using his upper body strength to knock ball-handlers off of their paths. Duff is a really promising player that will blow up next spring/summer, if not sooner.
Owen Schneider (5-10 PG, Prospect)
Schneider had defenders shaking and stumbling all night. He has elite quickness and explosiveness that he uses well to beat defenders and score against size. His hesitation moves are very deceptive and effective because of his threat to shoot from deep or penetrate. Schneider stepped into a few long threes that looked easy both off the dribble and as a spot-up shooter. He showed good balance on a stepback as well. Shifty shot-makers like Schneider are becoming more sought after for space-and-pace offenses. His ability to lock up opposing guards defensively only adds to his value. Augastana has offered Schneider.
Alex Engro (6-0 SG, Loyola)
Engro didn’t make as many threes as prior weeks, but he was finding other ways to score. Matched up against some physical defenders, he was still able to get downhill and finish. He had a number of quick crossovers and drives off of hesitations that caught the defense off guard. I like how well he plays angles to get to the rim as quick as possible. Engro connected on a few threes and showed good footwork on a dribble pull-up. On the defensive end, he had some tough assignments but blocked a few shots. He will add strength and quickness that should help him on that side. Engro has already earned the label as “a bucket” after a few runs.
Nate Kwiecinski (6-6 SG/SF, Loyola)
Kwiecinski was very efficient during the run and showed a lot of potential on both ends. He is very fluid, especially defensively where he was excellent hedging out in ball screens and moving his feet. The long, lanky wing got out in transition for a few dunks. He made his presence felt on the offensive glass as well. When he got open looks from three, Kwiecinski’s shot looked smooth. His follow through produced consistent arc and he made most of his attempts. Nate flashed his ball-handling skills and passing instincts as well. It looks like he is starting to grow into his body which could be a scary sight for opposing teams. Loyola has a lot of young talent coming up for a program that lost a number of integral pieces.
Matthew Lemon (5-10 PG, Burlington Central)
Lemon was primarily spacing the floor and setting up teammates. He stayed shot ready and hit threes off rotations. When he wasn’t shooting, Lemon was looking to distribute and advance the ball in transition for easy looks. He also had a few nice passes in the half court to find cutters. A shooter that can handle the ball, Lemon is looking to have a solid sophomore season (if there is one).
Cooper LePage (6-1 PG, Crystal Lake South)
It looks like Cooper is getting better and more confident every week. He shot the ball well with a few threes and a tough pull-up. There were the usual strong drives to the basket and he added some acrobatic finishes around defenders. His first step is very quick and his willingness to finish through contact is not typical for point guards. An all-around good athlete, LePage defended with a purpose. He has lateral quickness, strength to take bumps, and is vocal. LePage was making life very difficult on ball-handlers, even when they ended up scoring. He made good decisions with the ball too and didn’t turn it over.
Nik Polonowski (6-6 SF, Lyons)
Polonowski is a knockdown shooter with size, strength, and athleticism on the wing. He was dribbling into threes and catching ready to shoot all night. He has good balance and elevation on his shot, especially when shooting on the move. Nik has an athletic build that should add strength well and allow him to be an effective rebounder and defender going forward. He is a good leaper as well, finishing a few times near the rim. The one thing that may separate Polonowski as he develops is his ability to create off the dribble. He showed good instincts making moves and has the tools to be a very good slasher. Only a sophomore, Polonowski’s shooting and size are advanced.
Dylan Schmidt (6-3 SG, Johnsburg)
Schmidt made more of a defensive impact during this run. I don’t know if I have seen a guard block as many shots above the rim as Schmidt did. He wasn’t giving up on plays and met players at the rim on multiple occasions. Schmidt was still doing work on the offensive end, hitting some threes and pushing in transition for easy looks. Even though he didn’t get the same amount of shots as he did in prior weeks, Schmidt had a good number of finishes. His shooting and defense stood out in this one.