New Year’s Eve Run at The Ranch Evaluations

I checked out a run that was organized at The Ranch this afternoon with a solid group of players in the 2021, 2022, and 2023 classes. There were a lot of talented prospects in the gym.

2022 Robbie Avila (6’9 PF, Oak Forest)

Avila was making quick work during the run. The highly skilled four-man was scoring in a variety of ways without having to force anything. He buried threes from all around the perimeter, including a few deep ones from the wing and a contested stepback. Pace and patience is almost a lost art for players his size, but Avila was using pass fakes and shot fakes to get defenders off balance. His range demands respect and he showed the ability to put the ball on the ground to get downhill as well. He finished a few straight-line drives with eurosteps and layups near the rim. Among the top passing big men in the state, Avila makes the correct reads when help overcommits. Avila’s size, versatility, and IQ make him one of the top forwards in the 2022 class. To this point, he has offers from Loyola Chicago, Southern Illinois, DePaul, Cleveland State, and Toledo.

2023 Ahmad Henderson (5’11 PG, Brother Rice)

It was a point guard clinic from Henderson. His quickness created problems for defenders all day, using his speed and shiftiness to get wherever he wanted off the dribble. Henderson got going early by outworking bigger players on the offensive glass for putbacks. When he was in pick-and-rolls, he attacked with a purpose to either finish or find teammates. Henderson showed excellent vision on a number of drives finding wide open shooters. His shooting range stood out, especially off the dribble. He’s got a consistent release from three and connected on catch-and-shoot looks throughout the run. Defensively, he applies pressure and stays active getting through screens. Only a sophomore, Henderson should be an impact player at Brother Rice over the next three years. He’s a point guard for college coaches to track in the 2023 class.

2022 Christian Meeks (6’6 SF, Homewood Flossmoor)

Meeks has definitely been putting in time on his jump shot. He probably made the most threes for the whole run, looking comfortable shooting off the catch with good arc and rotation. That’s a noteworthy development for a player that is a force in the paint. Meeks is strong and explosive in space, finishing with a few powerful dunks and tough layups in the lane. He is a plus rebounder that excels at 6-foot-6 because of his motor. While his height is probably more like a wing, he should be able to guard three positions with his athleticism and length. Meeks took some defenders off the dribble from the perimeter, absorbed contact in the post, and went on a few three-point barrages. His energy will separate him at the college level, and that’s before he even puts all of his tools together. Look for Meeks to have a number of Division-1 offers by the end of the summer.

2023 Khalil Ross (6’7 SF, Lincoln Way East)

The potential is obvious for the lanky, 6-foot-7 lefty. Ross has a smooth outside jump shot that is effortless from three. He made a few mid-range pull-ups and was reliable shooting off of rotations from three. Even though he is still thin, Ross had a few strong takes to the rim going to his left hand. He is a capable creator with the ball in his hands and looks like he should be able to grow into a one-on-one scorer with time. Ross is fluid from all three levels, doing most of his work from three. He is a legit 6-foot-7 with long arms that he uses well on the defensive end to block shots and get deflections. The young Lincoln-Way East star is one of the highest upside wings in the 2023 class.

2023 Collin Moran (6’6 SF, Providence)

Moran has a lot of talent at 6-foot-6 for only a sophomore. He can really shoot it from the outside with a quick, high release. During the run, he made numerous threes and a couple of tough mid-range shots. He wasn’t afraid to mix it up in the paint either. Moran is still filling out physically but looked comfortable handling the ball, moving his feet, and getting above the rim. He displayed some defensive versatility guarding in space and blocking a shot. Another promising 2023 player who showed well at the Ranch today.

2022 Tommy Zimmer (6’3 SG, Illinois Lutheran)

At 6-foot-3 with a wiry frame, Zimmer is an effective slasher that gets off the ground well. He was able to find creases in the defense and has the long strides to get to the basket before help comes. Zimmer showed off nice touch around the rim against shot blockers. He did make a three as well and has decent form from the outside. He plays with composure and didn’t look sped up at any point during the run. Defensively, he had an impressive block and should be able to use his size and bounce to his advantage on that end. Zimmer may not get a ton of college looks playing at a smaller high school, but he is the type of athletic, active guard that many D3 schools will covet, especially as he gets stronger.

2022 Nick Harrell (6’6 SF, Brother Rice)

Harrell is an active wing that has two-way impact. His jump shot has potential, hitting a three during the run even though he didn’t shoot many. During the run, he was most effective putting his head down and getting to the rack. Harrell went right through a couple of defenders for layups during the back half of the run. For a wing, he has long arms to complement his lateral quickness on the defensive end. He moves his feet well and covers ground when guarding the ball. He has heard from some Division-1 schools already.

2023 Tylon Toliver (6’2 SG, Lincoln Way East)

Toliver really found his stride as the run progressed. For a sophomore, he has good body control and athleticism on his drives to the rim. The scoring punch is there from the perimeter as well. Toliver hit a handful of threes off kick outs and made a mid-range shot as well. His strength right now is getting to the basket and finishing in transition. He has good size and skills right now to build on as he matures.

2021 Dane Boe (6’9 PF, Oak Forest)

Boe is a face-up big with good size at 6-foot-9. He scored on a drive to the rim and made jumpers from deep and the mid-range. At the college level, he could be a useful pick-and-pop option that can do some things in the high post. His frame should allow him to add strength as well. There are a number of JUCO and D3 programs that could use Boe. With his size and touch, the upside is there. Boe should complement Avila nicely if there is a season.

2021 Luke Denny (5’11 SG, Providence)

Denny is a shorter two-guard that has a decent jumper. He made a three and got to his mid-range a few times. Denny plays hard and was competing during the run. Even though he gives up some size, he had a few nice finishes in the lane as well.

2021 Eli Lipsett (6’1 G, Oak Forest)

A combo guard from Oak Forest, Lipsett showed off a nice outside shot and good court sense. He is a solid athlete that can make some plays off the dribble when needed. He made some nice passes in the flow of the offense as well. His release from three was consistent. Lipsett has some toughness to his game that will give him an edge.

2022 Luis Acevedo (6’2 SG, Homewood Flossmoor)

Acevedo was productive shooting pull-ups and scoring in the paint. Out of pick-and-rolls, he was aggressive and knocked down a mid-range shot off the dribble. He made another pull-up during the run, elevating over the defender to get his shot off. Acevedo has a strong build and good leaping ability that allowed him to get some points from layups.

2022 Keon Richardson (5’10 PG, Tinley Park)

Richardson is a strong lead guard that plays hard. He didn’t shoot it much, but his physicality showed on the defensive end. With his upper body strength and quickness, he should be able to be a shutdown perimeter defender for both guard spots. Offensively, he was mostly setting up teammates and moving the ball. He can get into the teeth of the defense to create as well.

2022 Quinton Villa (6’3 SF, Lincoln Way West)

One of the bigger wings at the run, Villa was moving defenders out of the way on his drives. For most of the run, he was assertive on the glass and looking for his shots offensively. He had a couple of finishes through contact, made mid-range looks, and had a good day shooting the ball from distance. Villa’s game is tough and physical, but he has touch as well. Overall, he was one of the more consistent players during the run. I could see him getting time on the wing or playing some four at the college level.

2023 Josh Boers (6’0 SG, Lincoln Way East)

Boers didn’t get going during the run, but he gave some promising signs during the shooting and finishing drills. He cuts well and has decent footwork getting into his shot. He has plenty of time to grow with a solid young group at Lincoln Way East.

2023 Kaiden Ross (5’6 PG, Lincoln Way East)

The shortest player at the run, Ross was a steady ball-handler while he was playing. His jump shot was not falling so he didn’t score too much, but he did have some impact on the defensive end. He created some steals and picked off some loose balls.

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