There were a handful of teams that I was able to watch at the UAA’s first session featuring the UAA and Rise teams. Here are some of the standouts from the 17U teams that I saw.
Jaden Schutt (6’5 SG, Yorkville Christian)
The shot-making ability of Schutt never fails to impress. He created shots from every level using his improved handle and quick first step to get defenders off balance. Schutt hit threes in transition, made a corner three, and was very effective playing off the ball as well. A next-level athlete, Schutt moved with a purpose and got layups and a dunk off of his hard cuts. He did a nice job of finding teammates when help defenders took their eyes off of their guys. The advancement in his playmaking and defensive anticipation is going to make him that much more valuable in college. Schutt spearheaded the 7-0 finish in Atlanta for the Wolves and is a special talent. Duke just offered tonight.
Jalen Quinn (6’3 PG, Tuscola)
Quinn’s dribble penetration was crucial for opening up things for the Wolves. He never seemed to be forcing the issue, doing a nice job of scoring off of timely drives and getting to the line. His finishing prowess was on display in traffic where he made some contact finishes, had a putback, and made a couple of running layups in the paint. He made a wing three and is generally streaky from deep, but his stroke isn’t bad. Quinn is a projectable defender as well with his athleticism and size at 6-foot-3. He showed flashes by jumping passing lanes and clogging up gaps with his length. Quinn added an offer from Rice and is a solid mid-major scoring PG prospect.
Braden Huff (6’10 PF, Glenbard West)
Huff is a true face-up four that handled it better than a lot of guards at the UAA event. There were stretches where he brought it up against pressure without being affected. He has a good release on his jumper, knocking down threes off of kick outs and pick-and-pop actions. A lot of his offense came from behind the arc this weekend, but he possesses good footwork and feel as a passer out of the post. At 6-foot-10, Huff moves well defensively, has good timing as a shot blocker, and has added strength to rebound in crowds. While it wasn’t his most impressive performance, Huff still showed plenty of reasons why schools like Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, and Illinois have offered him.
Cade Pierce (6’6 SG, Glenbard West)
The little things go a long way towards affecting winning. Pierce got going with his extra effort plays, sprinting back in transition to get a steal and being the first to the ground for a loose ball. That energy was contagious and coincided with a good individual performance from the 6-foot-6 guard. He was locked in offensively, hitting multiple threes off of spots ups and in transition. There was no indecision off of the dribble either, throwing multiple nice passes on the move. Pierce is always a plus rebounder and multi-purpose defender as he showcased this weekend versus some excellent guards and wings. He has a long list of interested mid-major and Ivy League programs.
Cooper Noard (6’2 PG, Glenbrook South)
On the UAA circuit, Noard’s shooting is going to give the Wolves much-needed offensive production. He put nine points in the blink of an eye this weekend with his outside shot, making long threes look routine. Noard does a nice job of squaring himself as he turns the corner, allowing him to rise up into shots efficiently. He played primarily off of the ball this weekend, running off screens and spacing the floor. He’s scrappy, tough, and really smart with or without the ball to find his shot. It’s still a shock to me that schools are not pulling the trigger on Noard with how productive he has been this year against top competition.
Al Peciulis (6’6 SF, Baylor [TN])
Peculius was very impressive on both ends utilizing his frame and athleticism. He’s a legit 6-foot-6 and gives maximum effort all game. Peciulis was relentless on the boards, snatching rebounds in traffic and creating a bunch of second chances offensively. When he put his head down, he went strong above the rim to finish, leading to fouls and highlight plays. He also made a corner three and has a decent set shot with time and space. I thought his defense was a difference maker for the Wolves, applying ball pressure and causing havoc with his length and size. Peciulis holds an offer from UIC but I wouldn’t be surprised if more schools reached out following this weekend.
Zach Cleveland (6’7 SF, Normal)
The Liberty commit is as steady as they come. He made athletic moves to the rim, had some blocks, made good passes, and was a terror in transition. Cleveland has a lot of ways to hurt a defense, but he really knows how to use his size and explosiveness to get to the rim either off or his own drives or from dump off passes. The growth in his outside shot has made him that much more dangerous, showing the range this weekend. Cleveland moves fluidly in space and could be a defender that takes the toughest forward assignment in college. He is a problem.
KJ Debrick (6’10 C, Springfield Lanphier)
Heading to prep school next year, Debrick looks like a college big man already. He patrolled the paint with his long arms and shot blocking ability. As a senior, he was one of the top rim protectors in the state and projects as the best one in the 2022 class. He’s not afraid to play big, rim running and cleaning the glass without trying to do too much. Mid-major programs should already be looking into Debrick’s plans past next year.
Jeremiah Jones (6’4 SG, Marian Catholic)
Jones always looks the part of a shutdown defender. His lateral quickness was noticeable this weekend as he pressured the ball and switched in the half court. Jones remains active with his hands to get a ton of deflections and steals. There is no question that he is a Division 1 defender. But his offensive game has taken nice strides, drawing contact well and cutting to score with some flare. He also made an elbow pull-up and slashed to the rim well. Eastern Illinois is the first of what should be a number of D1 offers.
Kolby Gilles (6’6 SF, St. Ignatius)
It wasn’t so much about the stats as it was the physicality and energy from Gilles. He is a bruising wing at 6-foot-6 that didn’t shy away from mixing it up in the paint. Gilles had a solid June and looked to be carrying the momentum with his power takes to the rim and rebounding. Don’t let the size fool you because Gilles is a true combo forward that has enough ball skills and athleticism to play on the perimeter when needed. When given space, he can hit a three as well. He is a scholarship-level forward.
Donovan Jones (6’2 PG, Solorio)
Jones was a good floor general for the Hoopstars, making plays as needed. I have seen him look a little more aggressive offensively, but he was tough on the defensive end and got into the lane to set up others. He doesn’t get a ton of hype, but Jones is one of the more well-rounded point guards in the 2022 class with the body and IQ to translate to the Division 1 level.
Nick Harrell (6’6 SG, Tinley Park)
Harrell asserted himself early on and kept the efficiency going. He shot the ball well from the outside, hitting a couple of threes in one of the games and attacking the rim well. When he is shooting it like he did this weekend, he is a tough cover with how well he can knife to the lane. Harrell is really long and active on the defensive end, the area where he will probably be best in college. He probably projects best as a low major or D2 prospect at this point.
Fundamental U Black
Will Shank (6’4 SG, Western Reserve Academy [IN])
Shank made aggressive moves to the rim and scored well with his left hand. He set up defenders with sizeup moves before finding creative ways to get downhill. An above-average athlete, Shank showed off his explosiveness and body control with some and-ones and contact finishes. When he came off screens, he made a nice pocket pass to a big for a layup and found a cutter off the dribble. Shank also connected on pull-ups at the elbow. He’s a promising combo guard with size, athleticism, toughness, and scoring ability.
Bryce Moore (6’4 SG, Carmel)
The potential is being realized with the highly-athletic Carmel guard. Moore was all over the glass using his quick jumps to beat bigs to rebounds. He showed that elevation on a transition dunk and a block off of the backboard. Moore is a special defensive prospect with how well he anticipates. He can legitimately defend all of the spots on the perimeter at a high level. I saw noticeable progress in his jump shooting form, looking more fluid on a catch-and-shoot 3. That will be key for a player that can rip-and-go with the best of them. Moore is still a Division 1 prospect.
Jackson Munro (6’8 PF, New Trier)
Munro showed well this weekend, displaying parts of his game that are often overlooked. He knocked down some face-up jumpers and threes this weekend, along with the usual post work. His perimeter touch is a nice complement to his package of hooks and scoop shots. Munro did a really nice job controlling the backboard by carving out space for rebounds. He keeps the ball high, has good awareness, and can make passes out to shooters after securing offensive boards. Munro has continued to be a bright spot over the last few months and should have some more contacts after showing the outside game.
Chase Bonder (6’7 PF, Libertyville)
It was all about activity for Bonder this weekend. They say the ball finds energy and Bonder was sprinting hard and being rewarded. He finished off a few passes in the punch spot, had an and-one as a roll man, and had an impressive tip in. When he faced up, Bonder put it on the deck well and looked comfortable attacking from the high post. He’s a good weapon in dribble handoff actions. Bonder has soft hands, range to the three-point line, and can run the floor better than most posts. He could attract some scholarship level interest if he continues this level of play.
Yogi Oliff (6’1 PG, Niles North)
Always under control, Oliff threaded some needles this weekend as he is accustomed to doing for Fundamental U. He has the ball on a string and can create offense when he wants, often making plays for others. When he did look for his shot, he scored on a cut off the ball, had a nice double-clutch reverse layup, and scored in transition. He has a reliable floater and showed off good footwork getting to his pull-up. Oliff’s vision and handle are definitely what differentiate him and should make him a D2-level prospect.
Ben VanderWal (6’7 SF, Timothy Christian)
There has to be a value placed on consistency, and VanderWal has been as reliable as any prospect in the state since the spring. Through the weekend, he averaged over 25 points on over 60 percent shooting. He did it in a variety of ways, slashing to the rim for dunks and layups, shooting the three, and getting to the foul line. The elevation on his jump shot is hard to teach and replicate at such a high rate, making 50 percent of his threes at a high volume. For a 6-foot-7 wing, he handled the ball low to the ground and regularly attacked closeouts successfully. It’s not often that you see a player with Division-1 offers taking charges every game, but VanderWal puts his body on the line and defends. I recently released rankings, but I think VanderWal is securely a top 10 prospect in the state after this weekend.
Bobby Durkin (6’6 SG, Glenbard West)
Durkin did what he does best: stretch the floor. He was pouring in threes for Breakaway any time he was given space. Durkin shot it well from the corner, slipped screens to get behind the line, and made some from the top of the key. He is capable of driving open gaps as he showed a few times this weekend. When a player can shoot it like Durkin, you want him letting it fly. There is a lot more to his game than shooting, looking at his movement off the ball, rebounding ability, and IQ. Durkin is a big-bodied 6-foot-6 guard that has will continue to become an advantage. He had a great weekend and is an elite shooter with size and high-academics. The offers should be coming.