With conference tournaments underway in this last week of the high school season, I am looking at some conferences in Illinois with a number of players who show promise for the next level. We are highlighting the CSL today.
Evanston sits atop of the conference standings so far, with a deep group of players who could make an impact on the next level. Starting with their leader and Princeton commit Blake Peters, who recently became the all-time leader scorer for the Wildkits. Peters has shined on or off the ball, scoring efficiently despite being the focus of every opposing scouting report. They boast a pair of lanky defensive presences in 6-foot-8 power forward Ola Ajiboye and blossoming 2023 wing Prince Adams. Ajiboye’s rim protection and potential have attracted low-major interest. Adams is an athletic, versatile player that should take off over the next six months.
Rock-solid point guard Isaiah Holden is going to be a productive player at the small college level, while 2021 Elijah Bull and 2022 Rashawn Bost are quick, aggressive guards that have provided a spark for Evanston. For Maine West, senior stalwart Jared Pearson is a high-academic guard that can really score the ball from three levels. He is a strong candidate for D3 schools looking for a late addition.
Glenbrook South has been dominant behind a hard-nosed style and the offensive firepower of 2022s Nick Martinelli (6’7 SF) and Cooper Noard (6’2 PG). Martinelli is a sure-fire Division 1 prospect at this point. He looks more like a big guard than a traditional forward with his creative ball-handling, finishing prowess, and consistent outside shooting. Noard, another player with Division-1 appeal, is a long-range marksman who thinks the game at a high level and scores in traffic. The high-academic juniors check all of the boxes on and off the court. Senior Justin Leszynski (MIT commit) is an important complementary piece that rebounds, runs the floor, and brings energy on the defensive end.
Maine South has played a packed schedule, receiving steady scoring from 2021 Sean Gallery (6’4 SG) and Illinois Wesleyan commit Marko Anderson. Gallery’s ability to knife into the paint and score off penetration has been a good source of offense for the Hawks. He isn’t much of a threat outside of 15-feet, but his playmaking off the dribble will stand out to coaches. Anderson, averaging nearly a double-double, is a load in the post with his strong build and touch. Wesleyan is getting a player with a mature interior game and relentless energy on the glass.
At New Trier, the absence of Michigan preferred walk-on Ian Burns has not debilitated their progress. 2022 forward Jackson Munro (6’8) has been a revelation using his size, mobility, and skills to man the paint and impact the game from the perimeter. He has nice timing as a shot-blocker defensively but his shooting is a difference-maker at 6-foot-8. As his body continues to fill out, Munro should be able to open some eyes this summer. Their 2023 class is worth tracking as well with 6-foot-4 shooter Jake Fiegen and high-upside 6-foot-10 big Tyler Van Gorp. It is uncommon for bigs to move as well as Van Gorp, let alone have the face-up game that he brings. There is a good chance that New Trier enters next season with sky-high expectations with their young core.
Niles North wing Jalen Butler is a powerful scorer that regular gets into the paint and shows why he is a coveted football recruit. The senior has been a double-figure scorer more often than not. 2022 guard Yogi Oliff has flashed his ability to score off the bounce as well. With good length for his height, Oliff is able to create space and get shots over defenders in a number of ways.