The Fox Valley conference lost a large number of college players in the 2020 class, leaving a lot of teams with new-look rotations this year. As a result, there are plenty of under-the-radar small college prospects who showed their skill this season.
Burlington Central went undefeated in conference play in large part because of the two-way impacts from their juniors. 6-foot-2 Gavin Sarvis was the best player in the FVC, showing improved shot-making, ball-handling, and power. Also a promising football recruit, he is too explosive and agile for most defenders to keep in front. He projects as a wing that can defend multiple spots and provide offense off the dribble. Like Sarvis, combo guard Carson Seyller also doubled his scoring from last year as the primary ball-handler. With length and good lateral quickness, he can harass guards defensively. On offense, he takes care of the ball and thrives on dribble pull-ups from mid-range or deep where his leaping ability gives him an advantage. Seyller is a versatile guard that should be a defensive asset and potential shot-maker at the Division-3 level.
6-foot-3 guard Zac Schmidt has 3-and-D appeal as a rangy individual defender who can connect from deep. When teams run him off the line, he can make plays for others or use his high release to score in traffic. Lanky 2023 guard Drew Scharnowski may have the most long-term upside in the conference. At 6-foot-5 (and still growing), he is a switchable defender that has a very high-IQ. He was primarily a shooter this year, but he can handle it in space, make passes on the move, and cut for finishes. As he gets stronger and more assertive, the combination of length and skill will catch the eyes of coaches. 2022 forward Nick Carpenter lacks height at 6-foot-3, but he had a terrific season as an efficient, high-motor big that may be useful to a smaller school. 2023 point guard Matthew Lemon is also in the pipeline as a hard-nosed facilitator.
Huntley and Cary Grove were hit hard by senior departures last year but still managed to finish in the top 3. For Huntley, 2022 Aiden Wieczorek was really productive as a scorer from three levels. He is a strong, physical guard that competes on the defensive end. The 6-foot-1 guard should gather D3 looks over the next few months with his footwork, shot mechanics, and energy standing out. 2022 guard Ben Ahmer was excellent during some games this season. He is a wired shooter that has range to the volleyball line. Though he is effective running off away screens, he will draw interest with his comfort shooting off the bounce and getting to the rim. A high-academic guard like Ahmer should have no problem finding suitors, whether that be at the NAIA or D3 level.
A trio of 2023s, Noah Only (6-2), Ian Ravagnie (6-3), and Wilfred Kamukama (6-10) all have talent. Only is a long-armed guard that has strength, shooting range, and promising creativity that he didn’t show as much this year. Ravagnie is very skilled offensively, possessing a smooth outside shot and downhill driving ability. Kamukama is a bit of a wildcard. He has superior size, athleticism, and unique shooting touch at 6-foot-10. The tools to be a Division-1 prospect are there. But it will come down to maturing, getting stronger, and having the right energy. An AAU season with Wisconsin PGC should help.
For Cary Grove, Mike Clarke is one of the more underrated guard prospects in the area. He shoots over 40 percent from three, sets up teammates on time, and has a knack for making winning plays. His length and upper body strength allow him to play through contact and make shots against size. An excellent student who is only getting better, Clarke is an ideal point guard for Division-3 programs. 2021 big Drew Talkington gained valuable experience practicing against Frank Jakubicek and it showed. He was the best post scorer in the conference and has really good patience on the block. For a senior, his level of interior play at 6-foot-4 matched with his expanded shooting range would be worth a look for schools in need of size. And while Ryan Weaver is going to Illinois State for baseball, it’s worth noting that his leadership, inside-out scoring, and wing passing would have translated to a small college program.
2023 point guard Cooper LePage was one of the best passers and finishers in the conference for Crystal Lake South. Over the offseason, he got stronger and quicker, and it showed on dribble penetration. He fills up the stat sheet, shoots it well from three, and is a disruptive on-ball defender as well. Division 2 and Division 3 programs should keep tabs on LePage’s development. 2022 wing Isaiah Kirkeeng has plus size at 6-foot-5 and a fluid stroke from the perimeter that coaches target. Arnav Jain is another 2022 guard that can really shoot it from three and showed some flashes of creating his own shot.
Jacobs is losing three guards who are all capable of playing at the next level. Physical point guard James Hayes is a prime JUCO candidate. Built like a strong safety, he has toughness on his drives and when guarding the ball. His vision is above average and he showed nice improvements as a jump shooter. Zach Leahy and Robbie Pennel are both undersized two guards who can shoot the lights out. Leahy has some craftiness off the bounce as well. In the next few years, look for 2023 shooter Jackson Martucci to show more playmaking ability and 6-foot-6, 220-pound freshman Grant Stec to blossom. Once the game slows down for Stec, his athleticism will show consistently and he should be one of the premier bigs in the FVC.
At Hampshire, 6-foot-1 senior Zach Bailey has some D3 options to consider after a solid winter. 2023 guard Bailey Woods has a chance to open some eyes as a lengthy scorer. The big loss for Hampshire was dynamic 2022 scorer Keynan Davis, who had to sit out from transfer rules. He is one of the most gifted players in the conference and could get Division 2 and low-major looks with a good summer.
Kennon Cook was a breakout player for Dundee, becoming the focal point and showing more comfort as a shooter. His creative ball-handling and size create constant mismatches. College coaches will continue to be intrigued with his versatility and strong frame. 2023 wing James Muse was the only underclassman other than LePage to make all-conference and for good reason. By the end of the year, he was initiating offense and taking the tougher defensive matchups. He has great hands defensively and moves well to cover space. At 6-foot-3, he has range on his jumper and touch when scoring inside. Muse is a wing to watch for in the 2023 class.