It was all 2022 and 2023 players yesterday for the run.
Darius Duff (6’3 SG, Lake Forest Academy)
This wasn’t Duff’s best day as a finisher. He made strong moves to get downhill but didn’t complete the plays like he normally does. When he didn’t get all the way to the rim, his pull-up jump shot was falling for the majority of the run. He hit three jumpers around the elbow that would be tough for anyone to defend. Duff may have struggled scoring the ball to his normal standards, but he had a great day as an on-ball and help side defender. He intercepted skip passes and was recovering well. A clear Division-1 talent, the promising, athletic guard should be a hot commodity once college coaches are able to see him this spring.
Daniel Hong (6’1 PG, Barrington)
Hong was at his best during the run when he was moving off the ball. As a cutter, he got some easy layups with timely dives to the basket. He also scored on a slipped screen. Hong didn’t connect on threes, but he did make a turnaround inside the foul line. When he is handling the ball in pick-and-rolls, cutting and spacing off the ball, or pushing in transition, Hong is most effective.
Bryce Moore (6’4 SG, Carmel)
While Moore wasn’t as explosive as a scorer this week, he showed well defensively and around the basket. He continued to create second chances, usually finishing in traffic off of the rebounds. Moore’s defense is going to be a plus trait in college based on his athleticism, length, and activity. He can guard all over the perimeter and is able to press up on guards without getting beat. He didn’t shoot as many threes as last week, but he knocked down a couple of tough 15-foot jumpers off of sidesteps and pump fakes. Moore is an all-around wing player that continues to show his versatility.
Orlando Thomas (6’2 SG, Rolling Meadows)
Thomas had stretches where he couldn’t miss from three. He has a quick release with good balance when driving to his left hand. Thomas has long range on his jumper out past the college line. In the second game, he caught fire. Thomas got to the basket a few times and finished with eurosteps around the help. also showed some potential defensively using his long arms to create turnovers, block shots, and make life difficult. If there is a season, Thomas will be a key returning piece to complement Max and Cam Christie.
Aiden Wieczorek (6’1 SG, Huntley)
In his first appearance at a run, Wieczorek left a very good impression. The strong, 6-foot-1 guard shot the ball well from all three levels, looking very comfortable shooting off the dribble. He didn’t waste any dribbles and efficiently got to his pull-up throughout the run. Off the catch, Wieczorek was able to show consistent form that produced results from three.
He stays active off the ball as well, rarely standing around. That energy showed on the offensive glass and in transition where his frame allows him to play to contact. Defensively, he was reliable guarding the ball and contesting shots. Entering his first varsity season, Wieczorek is one of the standouts for a deep junior class at Huntley.
Ryan Camblin (6’5 SF, Saint Viator)
Camblin was one of the only frontcourt players at a run that was predominantly guards. Offensively, he took a few threes, but was mostly setting screens and crashing the glass. He showed best as a defender, blocking some shots and showing that he can defend multiple spots. Only a sophomore, Camblin has the size and athletic potential to continue to progress as Viator.
Alex Engro (6’0 SG, Loyola)
Engro was not missing from three. He hit a couple of catch-and-shoot looks but also drilled a stepback and some pull-ups behind screens. I have yet to see a defender affect his shot and he continues to use his shiftiness to manufacture good looks. Engro was one of the top rebounders of the day, something that has become common despite giving up some inches. It was a combination of grit, length, and timing that allowed him to be so effective yesterday.
He also had a good two-man game working with Kwiecinski, finding him on rolls and using screens to get favorable switches. Engro was patient in pick-and-rolls, using his body to create and keep advantages. Engro had a strong day overall.
Jabe Haith (6’3 PG, Elgin Academy)
Haith was not as efficient as he was last week, struggling to find rhythm during this run. He made a three and had a couple of on-point passes in transition. There were a lot of scorers on his team, so he didn’t have as many opportunities as prior weeks. Still, Haith got his usual deflections and steals on the defensive end and had some smooth takes to the rim.
Armani Ivy (6’3 SG, Larkin)
Ivy got off to a hot start with his outside shot. In the first game, he made a long three and was able to get going with a few acrobatic drives. Ivy is a multi-level scorer that can really shoot it with his feet set. He also has good size and strength for a guard, as he showed on a few contact finishes. A returning varsity player, Ivy is set for three more productive seasons at Larkin.
Yann Koutou (6’4 SF, Notre Dame College Prep)
Koutou stretched the floor for most of the run. He thrives shooting the ball off the catch off rotations. At 6-foot-4, he has the size you look for in a wing. Koutou made a strong move in transition to scorer over the front of the rim. His rebounding and defense are aided by his length. Koutou has the frame that will develop well and he may not be done growing. He should play a role on a talented team at NDCP.
Nate Kwiecinski (6’6 SG/SF, Loyola)
From the jump, Kwiecinski was in attack mode. He made a three early and got out in transition for some finishes. As the run progressed, he didn’t get as many looks, but he showed a lot in the touches he got. His jump shot looked good both off the catch where he made a wing three and off the dribble where he hit a three driving left. When his release is on point, he gets great results. Expect his form to continue to become more consistent and allow him to become an excellent shooter with time.
Nate’s length and skill give him the flexibility to score off penetration, post ups, or cuts as well. He finished off a roll after setting a screen and was able to lead the break off the dribble. The versatility is there defensively as well, where he should be able to guard four spots for Loyola as he gets stronger. His rebounding may be his most underappreciated skill, showing soft hands pulling in misses in traffic. Kwiecinski and Engro are part of a great young core for the Ramblers.
Cooper LePage (6’1 PG, Crystal Lake South)
The ball moved better and the team got better shots when LePage was on the floor. He’s a very unselfish playmaker that doesn’t need to score to be impactful. During the run, LePage passed up a few good shots but typically drew a secondary defender and found a better shot. He was a consistent rebounder and disruptive defender as well. He took one coast to coast and adjusted mid-air to finish over length. As he gets more aggressive looking for his shot, LePage is going to be a tough two-way point guard.
Jackson Niego (5’11 PG, Lyons Township)
It took Niego a game to get going, but once he did, he was making great decisions for his team. A traditional point guard, Niego has a natural pace and feel for the game that leads to easy scoring opportunities. When he got the ball in the backcourt, he advanced the ball up the court through the air with timely, accurate passes. He was driving, drawing help, and kicking out for open threes regularly. When help defenders started to stay home on shooters, he showed good touch finishing in the paint.
Niego is a capable shooter that made a few corner threes and a short corner jumper. For a sophomore point guard, he has a physical build that he uses to get low and drive by defenders. He moves his feet well and holds his ground when guarding the ball. Jackson is next up in the long line of talented Niego to come through Lyons.
Sonny Williams (6’0 PG, Notre Dame College Prep)
Williams was in full control of the game on both ends of the court. He got a couple of steals, but was really effective turning defensive stops into open shots on the other end with his breakaway speed in transition. Sonny showed his whole offensive arsenal, starting with his passing ability. He understands how to collapse a defense, throwing passes off of baseline drives and penetration from the top of the key. Help is often required to stop Williams from getting to the rim since his quickness usually gets him by his primary defenders. When help was late, he finished.
When his defenders tried to give him space, he hit a few pull-up threes. Williams even showed some impressive post skill, scoring on a hook with his back to the basket and a spin move out of the mid-post. This was what you can expect from Sonny. He is a big part of the present and future of the NDCP program.