I watched some of the Illinois teams this weekend who were in Texas for the PrepHoops Exclusive. Here are some of the standouts.
Full Package 2023
Jake Fiegen (6’4 SG, New Trier)
One of the elite sharpshooters in the state, Fiegen poured in multiple deep threes. He had a couple of standstill threes, made a deep one off of a kickout, and hit an and-one three coming off of a pindown. Fiegen has a great stroke with textbook balance. He did a nice job playing through contact in the paint, getting to the foul line and scoring on a putback. Defensively, he is strong and fundamentally sound. An underrated athlete that elevates well, Fiegen had a couple of blocks, including one that he pinned off of the glass. There will he plenty of D2s and low-majors that reach out to Fiegen. He holds an offer from Northwood already.
Rokas Castillo (5’11 PG, Lemont)
Rokas was excellent for Full Package as a shot maker and playmaker. He has good range out to the arc, making three corner triples. Castillo has a quick handle with good speed to get to the rim. He was a blur in transition, finishing with craft and finesse. Rokas made a tough and-one as well, shielding off the defender with his body. The penetration allowed him to live at the free throw line and dish to teammates after collapsing the defense. Rokas is a smart, quick guard that has an edge on both ends. I like the way he plays.
Matas Castillo (5’11 PG, Lemont)
Matas is a heady creator that did most of his damage as a distributor. Castillo has a great change of pace dribble that he used to set up drives and crossover moves. He fed shooters all game with his court vision and passing feel. Matas is typically a solid shooter and finisher as well. He applies ball pressure defensively in the full court and half court to frustrate opposing guards. He showed toughness and fearlessness when he took the ball end to end for the game-winning layup. Matas is another gifted guard for Lemont.
Niko Abusara (6’5 SF, Benet)
Abusara shot the ball well, making a few threes and showing off a solid release. The 6-foot-5 wing slashed to the rim for a couple of finishes as well. He shoots it well as a floor spacer and has ideal length for a wing. Abusara is a nice prospect from Benet to track.
Young and Reckless (Authentic) 2022
Tavari Johnson (5’11 PG, Lyons)
There’s never a dull moment when Johnson is on the floor. He was dynamic as both a scorer and passer for Y&R. His vision coming off of ball screens and dribble drives was next level. As a scorer, he made a driving floater, had an and-one in transition, and lit up the scoreboard from three. He hit a three behind a screen, had a hesitation pull-up from distance, and knocked down a bunch of other threes. Johnson has good pace, feel, and athleticism. His production has been consistently elite for Y&R and he should continue receiving D1 offers
Damari Wheeler-Thomas (6’0 PG, Larkin)
Wheeler-Thomas played off of his drives well. He had an and-one drive and used his burst to blow by defenders for easy layups. When he didn’t take the layups, he dimed up shooters and bigs well. Wheeler-Thomas is an underrated point guard that has the speed, defensive prowess, and pull-up game to translate well to college.
Justin Mullins (6’4 SG, Oak Park River Forest)
Mullins showed his upside as a multi-level scorer. He backed in a floater and made a couple of threes. The length and low handle allow Mullins to beat wing defenders on the perimeter when he slashes to the rim. His efficiency as a jump shooter opens everything up and he’s been good from deep so far. Mount St. Mary’s offers him this weekend.
Xavier Lewis (6’7 PF, TF South)
The constant activity from Lewis is always noteworthy. He defended well on the inside and moved his feet well on the perimeter against guards. Lewis recovers well to block and contest shots. He finished off a faceup drive and completed a lob in traffic. Lewis is a scholarship level forward.
Will Grudzinski (6’6 SG, Barrington)
The All-State guard was lighting it up from three. He was nearly automatic, hitting threes off of handoffs, elevator screens, and spot ups. Grudzinski had a nice combo move to set up a drive to the rim and made a floater in traffic later in the game. His combination 6-foot-6 size, shooting, and fluid athleticism is hard to find. Grudzinski is a gem at the Division 1 level and would be a high-impact D2 prospect.
Fundamental U Gray 2022
Evan Porto (6’2 PG, Stevenson)
Porto is a tough guard that can really shoot it. He changed gears well in transition to finish multiple times and showed off his jumper in space. Porto can hurt you from the perimeter from a few feet behind the line, but has shown an improved ability to put it on the deck to attack closeouts. He is a solid D3 guard prospect.
Ben Ahmer (6’1 PG, Huntley)
Ahmer scored the ball from all over the court. Early on, he made a deep three from the top of the key and got into the lane for a short leaner. Ahmer plays hard and has a solid build that allows him take those bumps on drives. He elevated well from 15-feet on his pull-up and made a few on-time passes for assists. Ahmer was one of the better players for Fundamental U and has the look of a successful high-academic D3 guard.
Orlando Thomas (6’3 SG, Rolling Meadows)
The scoring two-guard was efficient and productive. He made a crisp crossover move to finish with his left hand and ran out on the break for an easy one. In the half court, he made a pull-up off of a handoff and connected on a wing 3. Thomas is a microwave scorer that had a huge June to attract some scholarship interest. He has an offer from Illinois College.
Ryan Renfro (6’8 PF, Glenbard West)
Renfro has an elite motor. He was excellent on both ends using his athleticism and energy to impact the game. I counted four blocks in one of the games, timing shots perfectly and swatting them away. Renfro sealed hard in the middle of the lane for a few easy layups. It’s hard to find bigs who are willing to do their work early. The active 6-foot-8 big also had a bunch of putbacks, offensive boards, and a dunk in the lane. The area in his game that is still slightly untapped is his face-up skill. He attacked from the high post to score and showed some handle in the open floor. Renfro received an offer from Wayne State and should have a number of D2 and low-major suitors.
Daniel Hong (6’2 PG, Barrington)
Hong spaced the floor at a high level. He is a knockdown shooter off of the bounce, dribbling into long-range shots and mid-range looks. Hong made a three behind a handoff and drilled in a few other ones. He is a guard that can get going quickly.
Nathan Boldt (6’9 PF, Barrington)
Boldt was blocking shots at a high rate using his length to protect the rim. He high pointed shots and went vertical well. When he didn’t reject shots, he altered them and cleaned the defensive glass. Boldt scored on putbacks offensively and has the ability to step out and hit threes. He has intriguing two-way upside.
Max Love (6’5 SF, St. Charles North)
Love hit the ground running, making a corner three on an out of bounds play and attacking a closeout for an and-one. The 6-foot-5 guard shot it well, hitting a few more threes throughout the game. His long arms and athleticism allow him to be an impact defender. Love had a block off of the backboard and affected scores with his length. He can score in bunches and has become a dangerous three-point threat. Division 3 schools would be wise to reach out.
Ethan Ivan (6’7 PF, Batavia)
Ivan is always solid. He did a lot of his work around the rim, scoring with reverses and hard cuts to the rim. With range out to the three-point line, Ivan creates a lot of problems. He was great putting his head down and getting to the rim. The offensive skillset is deep, showing good passing instincts and off-ball movement. Ivan is at the point where he may hear from some low majors, though the Division 2 level is where his offers stand.
Trey Keizer (6’2 SG, Timothy Christian)
This is the best I have seen Keizer play, shooting at a high clip and making plays. He his a couple of deep threes and looked comfortable creating going to the paint. With solid strength and size for a combo guard, Keizer looked good playing a lot of point for HIT. He had a nice transition assist and drew contact on his drives. Keizer is a Division 3 shooter that should get some looks.
Billy Bach (6’5 SF, Lyons)
Bach is a legit 6-foot-5 wing that has a pure stroke. He made a handful of threes, including one from NBA range coming off of a handoff. Bach added a layup on a cut as well. His length created steals and he showed some promise defending multiple spots on the wing. Bach is a a knockdown shooter with size that shouldn’t be overlooked. He is another nice D3 wing.
Team Swish 15U
Tavariyuan Williams (6’4 SG, De La Salle)
Williams was active getting to the cup and scoring in a variety of ways. He made a couple of lefty layups in traffic, scored on an inbounds lob, and had a double-clutch reverse finish. His handle and length is impressive for a rising sophomore. Defensively, Williams added a couple of blocks. He is definitely a prospect to watch.
Nolan Sexton (5’11 PG, Evergreen Park)
Sexton showed his outside shot knocking down a three and showing a good release. He’s a tremendous shooter that has range off the catch or on the move. Sexton had a putback and was able to knife into the lane. He played solid defense on the ball and has a projectable frame that should add strength well. Sexton is going to be one of the better guards in the 2024 class.
Richard Lindsey (6’4 SF, Simeon)
Lindsey flashed his athleticism with a finish above the rim and a few contact takes to the basket. He has a powerful build at 6-foot-4 that allows him to drag defenders with him when he puts his head down. Lindsey made a face-up elbow jumper when defenders backed off. He is a gifted prospect that Simeon can look forward to over the next few years.
JJ Hernandez (6’5 SG, Glenbard North)
Hernandez had an impressive defensive performance as a shot blocker and perimeter stopper. He rejected a couple of shots at their apex and got into the passing lanes. The plus wingspan at 6-foot-5 is a key asset for Hernandez, able to play bigger than his size on both ends. He scored in traffic by keeping the ball high and got fouled on slick drives to the rim. As his jumper progresses, Hernandez has a chance to be one of the top two-way wings in the class.
Reeise Remmer (6’5 SF, Latin)
Remmer used all of his size and length to score over defenders. He had a couple of tip ins and got near the rim on a finish. Remmer has the ideal wiry frame of a wing with good athletic punch. He was all over the offensive glass. Remmer is another solid long-term prospect.