Standouts From Teams I Saw This Weekend

I tuned into some games on livestream and in person this weekend to catch some local teams in action. Here are the players who stood out from the games I was able to watch.

Chicago Lockdown 2022

Sebastian Miller (6’3 SG, St. Francis)

Miller got to his pull-up very well. He has a smooth shot from the perimeter with good range. He works best between the lane lines where he can use his ball-handling to attack the elbows or use long strides to quickly get to the rim. Miller has ideal size at 6-foot-3 to play either guard spot. He could be a high-level scorer at the D3 level.

Owen Schneider (5’10 PG, Prospect)

The explosive, 5-foot-10 point guard has grown from a pass-first, lockdown defensive point guard into a dynamic scoring point. He facilitated well off of his drives and snapped the ball around to open guys. He rose up over taller defenders when he got within 10-to-15 feet, showing a lot of hang time. Schneider also displayed his deep shooting range that extends beyond the college line. He is so quick and powerful with the ball that teams had to over help. Schneider is a strong option for D2 schools in need of playmaking.

Sergio Rivera (6’0 SG, St. Patrick)

I had not seen much of Rivera before this weekend, but his scoring instincts stood out. He is always on the attack, searching for any crease to get going offensively. Rivera scored from all three levels. He lacks a bit of height as a scoring guard but he makes up for it with toughness and solid burst. The ability to score will always be coveted at the college level.

Alex Brown (6’0 PG, Joliet Catholic)

Brown gave a nice spark with his scoring punch and energy. The 6-foot Joliet Catholic guard is athletic in transition, running the break for easy layups. He does a nice job of shielding off defenders with his body as well. He knocked down a few threes and has a projectable shot. Brown is a solid all-around guard.

Chicago Lockdown 2023

Matt Moore (6’7 PF, Hillcrest)

Moore’s length and fluidity caught my attention last week. This weekend his potential was even more apparent. Moore was snatching rebounds in traffic, intimidating any players trying to finish in the paint, and showing off a lot of promise facing up. Moore hit a jumper and has shown the ability to attack off one or two dribbles if he gets it in the mid-post. He changes ends effortlessly and plays with an edge in the paint. Moore is a four man that is just scratching the surface.

Jackson Niego (6’0 PG, Lyons)

It’s tough to put a value on good point guard play, but I always enjoy watching how Niego orchestrates the team. He handled pressure well and showed plus vision when he drew help. His timing, pace, and IQ make him a dangerous pick-and-roll playmaker. I knew about his passing skill, but his efficient scoring was impressive once again. He has terrific balance and a good finish on his jumper. Niego is reliable in catch-and-shoot situations and is a crafty finisher that made scoop layups and push shots against length. He can drop 15 to 20 without forcing anything. Niego is a rising point guard in the 2023 class.

Jarrod Gee Jr. (6’6 SG, Rich Township)

Gee has the prototypical length and speed of a college wing. Defenders struggled to keep him away from the rim, having to either foul him or watch him finish near the rim off drives. He shined in the open court where he turned steals and runouts into dunks and impressive finishes. Gee showed a decent outside stroke as well, an important asset for his future success. I like Gee’s defensive upside more than anything else, showing range to cover ground and get hands-on shots and passes.

Nick Niego (6’2 SG, Brother Rice)

Niego has a flamethrower. He is a proficient shooter that gets his shot off quickly. He went on scoring outbursts highlighted by his ability to stretch the floor. The 6-foot-2 guard scored in transition and as a cutter as well. He’s got some toughness to his game, not shying away from contact and going in for rebounds. Niego is primarily a straight shooter but showed some potential to grow into a multi-dimensional scorer.

Jimmy Navarrete (6’3 SG, Brother Rice)

Another Brother Rice wing, Navarrete slashed with a purpose. He is a downhill driver with good physicality. Navarrete looked solid shooting the three off kick-outs or attacking closeouts. Defensively, he was competitive guarding the ball. Navarrete already has good size at 6-foot-3 to play the two or three.

Fundamental U 2022 Black

Bryce Moore (6’4 SG, Carmel)

Moore was the best player I saw this weekend. Even against top competition, he stood out. Moore has the top-flight athleticism that you can’t teach, finishing a number of powerful dunks and showing speed and agility in transition. He has some shake off the dribble with a strong handle that allowed him to beat initial defenders. Moore hit multiple threes this weekend and was productive pulling up around 15 feet. When he gets in the paint, he has an advanced floater to complement his bounce to get above the rim. On the other end, he was consistently disruptive, using his 6-foot-4 frame, lateral quickness, and anticipation to cause problems. He has some interest, but after seeing this weekend, Moore looks like a clear-cut Division 1 talent that coaches should get familiar with heading into live periods.

Jackson Munro (6’8 PF, New Trier)

The versatility of Munro fits the mold of modern four men. He blocked shots rotating over from the weak side and showed good closing speed recovering on drives defensively. He stepped out on the perimeter where he looked very comfortable. Munro has an excellent shot fake that got defenders off the ground all weekend. He either drove in for finishes or dribbled into jumpers. His shot is clean and repeatable, popping or slipping screens a few times to make threes. He’s more than a face-up four though, scoring off putbacks and seals when he had position. Munro has an offer from Loyola (MD) and is one of those players those bigs that low-to-mid major coaches will be intrigued with this summer.

Yogi Oliff (6’1 PG, Niles North)

Oliff is a flashy point guard that is highly skilled with the ball in his hands. He weaves through defenses and can be a one-man press break with how fluid his handle is in space. This weekend he shined as a playmaker, driving deep into the lane and firing passes to shooters, and dropping off dimes to cutters. When he decided to look for his own shot, Oliff had creative finishes in traffic. He’s also a solid shooter when he has time. Oliff is a nice point guard prospect that could be a scholarship-level player.

Chase Bonder (6’7 PF, Libertyville)

Bonder struggled with his shot, but the rebounding and defense were still there. At 6-foot-7, his touch from mid-range and three makes him a tough matchup. He was able to clean the glass with rebounds out of his area and block some shots. Bonder played well out of the high post and on the inside, scoring off a right-hand drive and finishing a post up. His energy and perimeter skills make him a forward to track.

Paxton Warden (6’2 SG, Glenbard West)

Warden was instant offense this weekend, shooting it well from the outside. When left open, he made the most of his opportunities. He also showed some toughness getting downhill and creating for his teammates off straight-line drives. Warden is a shutdown perimeter defender that played aggressive on-ball defense and disciplined help defense. He has an uncanny ability to block shots as a guard, throwing away a few this weekend. Warden projects as a 3-and-D combo guard that has some D2 appeal.

David Gieser (6’3 SG, Fenwick)

Gieser heated up from the outside in the games today. The strong, 6-foot-3 guard shot it with range. He delivered in transition and when teammates found him in drive-and-kicks. Gieser is also a plus rebounder that will be a target for high-academic programs.

Fundamental U 2023 Black

Cole Bonder (6’5 PF, Libertyville)

Bonder is a strong, powerful post that looked good playing inside-out. He bullied smaller defenders to get offensive rebounds and putbacks. The physical lefty has a nice outside shot and made some long twos off the dribble. He is a skilled passer as well, making good outlet passes and finding teammates off face-ups. Bonder is a tough four that has a bright future.

Cooper LePage (6’1 PG, Crystal Lake South)

LePage made plays off the dribble, both as a primary ball-handler and attacking from the wing. Athletic and explosive, LePage was effective breaking down defenders with his hesitation and crossovers. When he got to the second level of the defense where he made quick passes and has some strong finishes. LePage is also a relentless on-ball defender that should be a plus defender in college.

H.I.T 2022

Ethan Ivan (6’7 PF, Batavia)

Ivan is quietly one of the most productive offensive forwards in the class. He was on point from beyond the arc, filling it up from the wings in particular. There is a lot to like about his pick-and-pop ability, especially whe you factor in his ability to put the ball on the floor. Ivan is much closer to a three than a five, showing some agility and bounce around the rim. He had a poster dunk that was called a charge but was worth the highlight. When needed, he got into the mid post and scored efficiently. Ivan is a well-rounded combo forward that will be a Division 2 target at the very least.

Max Love (6’4 SG, St. Charles North)

Tough shooters find a way to stick at the next level. Love was blistering from three in a few games while showing that he can create off the dribble too. At 6-foot-4, Love has a good build and length to use on his drives to the basket. He gets off the ground well on his pull-up, which is tough for other guards to defend at his height. I like to energy Love brings to the defensive end as well, making ball-handlers work. The next few months should lead to some recruiting uptick for Love if he plays like he did this weekend.

Austin Ambrose (6’9 PF, Batavia)

What stands out aside from Ambrose’s height is his potential as a floor-spacing big. He made threes with a fluid release this weekend. He gets his feet set well and doesn’t have any hesitation putting them up. When he either rolled or carved out space in the punch spot, Ambrose showed decent pop getting off the ground to finish. A 6-foot-9 player that can shoot it like Ambrose does is going to get deserved attention.

Illinois Bears 2022

Justin King (6’5 PG, Mascoutah)

King is considered one of the top point guards in the 2022 class and for good reason. He is a legit 6-foot-3 with length and smooth athleticism. He creates very well off the dribble, able to stop on a dime for a pull-up, knock down threes, or penetrate for acrobatic finishes. King made back-to-back pull-ups from the top of the key at one point, making a tough shot look routine. He has a wide range of interests with a number of low-to-mid majors in touch.

Brady Moore (6’4 SG, Breese Central)

The physical two-guard filled up the scoring column this weekend with production from all three levels. Moore thrives from the mid-range with short pull-ups after creating space with his body. He displayed some strength on drives to get to the paint through contact. One of the better scorers in Southern Illinois, Moore projects as a solid D3 wing.

Team RWA

Kamryn Thomas (6’8 SF, Hillcrest)

Thomas is lanky, skilled, and aggressive. The talent is obvious when watching how easily he moves defensively and handles the ball. He looked good attacking from the wing and using his length to finish over defenders. Thomas was just as good with his back to the basket on post ups and cuts. At one point he made a one-legged fall away. He has decent form on his jumper with some range, but really looks good in transition and knifing to the rim in the half-court. He is a legitimate wing at 6-foot-8 with a high upside. Once Division 1 coaches are available to watch live, expect more offers to roll in.

Wes Hunt (6’7 PF, Peoria Christian)

A little lesser known outside of Peoria, but Hunt is the real deal. He has pogo stick bounce around the rim, springing up effortlessly for rebounds and finishes. Hunt was terrific on the offensive glass beating defenders to misses with his quick second jump. The 6-foot-7 forward may be able to play two through four in college with his ability to defend and shoot. I was impressed with how well he shot off a variety of actions. He isn’t just a catch-and-shoot guy, able to use a dribble or two to get to his mid-range. Hunt’s best days are ahead of him, and that’s saying something given where he’s at now.

Fred Robinson (6’3 PG, Oak Forest)

I know Robinson is a tough penetrator, but I really liked how well he defended. He gives constant pressure on the ball, moves his feet, and keeps his hands active. At 6-foot-3, he can really guard all three spots on the perimeter at this stage. When he got downhill, he was looking to make the right plays either to finish or pass out. Robinson has that edge that you look for in a guard.

Wisconsin PGC 2023

Alex Engro (6’0 SG, Loyola)

Engro provides whatever is needed to a stacked Wisconsin PGC team. He had multiple steals to get out into transition and defended full court. Known as a knockdown shooter, he was usually spacing the floor offensively and attacking closeouts when necessary. Engro can score the ball in a variety of ways, with enough of a handle to create space to shoot over defenders. He makes winning plays and has the competitiveness that translates to both ends of the floor. Engro is a 2023 guard worth tracking.

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