Weekend Standouts from Teams That I Saw

I tuned in to the UAA Finals and a few games this weekend from a couple of events. Here are the players I saw that stood out.

Player rankings will be updated in the next few days with most teams wrapping up their AAU seasons.

Breakaway 17U

Ben VanderWal (6’7 SF, Timothy Christian)

VanderWal never shortchanges you with his effort. He controlled the glass with rebounds in traffic and was effective walling up around the rim defensively. Offensively, he hit his usual threes and went to work attacking the basket. He made decisive moves off of the dribble, driving closeouts before finishing with stepthroughs, dunks, and contact layups. Teams were trying to run him off the line, but VanderWal cut hard and found different ways to score. Now up to 15 Division 1 offers, VanderWal has earned the reputation as one of the top prospects in the state.

Bobby Durkin (6’7 SG, Glenbard West)

Fresh off of receiving an offer from Army, Durkin came out firing with three long-range bombs to start. He showed well as a playmaker and ball-handler, initiating offense against pressure and delivering timely passes. The 6-foot-7 frame allows him to see over defenses well. Durkin exposed switches, drawing out bigs before hitting hesitation threes. Look for some more Division 1 programs to focus in on him.

Garrett Bolte (6’6 SF, Hinsdale South)

Bolte had one of the best plays of the weekend with a poster dunk in transition after taking a steal coast to coast. A true combo forward, he has the athleticism to defend in space or battle on the inside. He hit a bunch of threes throughout the weekend, including one from NBA range at the end of the shotclock. Bolte pushed the break well off of defensive boards and took it strong to the rim. He’s a player that should see his stock continue to rise as more coaches see his versatility.

Illinois Hoopstars 17U

Donovan Jones (6’2 PG, Solorio)

Jones was tough this weekend taking contact on drives and finishing. Once he got by defenders, he made good decisions on when to kick out to shooters. He made a wing three off the catch and another off the bounce. He was a crucial floor general in their run to the Rise Final Four.

Zach Cleveland (6’7 SF, Normal)

Cleveland plays so hard on both ends. His defense was solid across all five positions, using that explosiveness and strength to his advantage. He blocked some shots, created turnovers, and rebounded in volume. Cleveland showed some of his perimeter skill with a snatchback move to create a three and made another three in space. Liberty got a good one.

Jeremiah Jones (6’4 SG, Marian Catholic)

Jones continues to impress with his two-way potential. He delivered on a couple of threes from the wing and brought the usual excellent defensive pressure. Jones pickpocketed guards on multiple occasions leading to layups and dunks. He’s only been offered by Eastern Illinois so far.

KJ Debrick (6’10 C, BigTyme Prep)

Debrick did a lot of damage on the offensive glass playing volleyball with missed shots. He uses his shoulders well to shield off defenders when he gets low post touches. Debrick blocked a dunk and threw a number of other shots away in the paint. He has shown tremendous strides over the last few months and should be a safe bet as a Division 1 big.

Nick Harrell (6’6 SF, Tinley Park)

Harrell was locked in on the defensive end, showing tremendous effort and versatility. He made life very difficult on whoever he covered. That perimeter defense is what will translate best to the next level, but he attacked the basket well for some finishes as well. Harrell remains a prospect that low majors should contact.

Fundamental U 17U Black

Jackson Munro (6’8 PF, New Trier)

Every time I watch Munro, I come away more impressed with his skillset. The offense ran through the 6-foot-8 big for portions of this weekend, utilizing his passing ability and face-up shot out of the high post. He has mastered the mid-range fallaway and stretched out for a couple of threes off of pick-and-pop actions. With his back to the basket, Munro has the footwork to get to his hook shots efficiently. Offers are starting to roll in for a big that can play inside and out, make good decisions, and play hard consistently on both ends.

Bryce Moore (6’4 SG, Carmel)

The development in Moore’s jump shot is evident. He was looking confident on a number of looks from deep and made a couple of long pull-ups. There’s immense value in a guard that can rebound and play in crowds the way Moore can, able to elevate above bigs in the paint. He had some huge putbacks and finishes this weekend. Moore is a shutdown wing defender that showed some layers offensively. He received a couple of additional low-major offers over the last few weeks.

Yogi Oliff (6’1 PG, Niles North)

Oliff passed the ball at a high level out of pick-and-rolls. The vision opened up shots for all of the weapons on Fundamental U. He played along the baseline well to score with reverse layups or drop off passes to teammates. Oliff is a solid Division 2 PG prospect.

Chase Bonder (6’7 PF, Libertyville)

Bonder ran the floor hard and got rewarded with free throws and finishes. He made tough straight line drives from the perimeter. The high-energy four showed some range on his jumper as a screener. It was a solid weekend for Bonder.

Paxton Warden (6’3 SG, Glenbard West)

Warden gave great minutes off of the bench. He hit open threes, had some creative finishes in traffic, and defended well. Warden is an efficient three-point shooter that can frustrate opposing ball-handlers. He was really good for the second unit.

Illinois Wolves 17U

Jaden Schutt (6’5 SG, Yorkville Christian)

Schutt looked like the top player in the state and one of the best shooters in the country. He had three-point outbursts where he made multiple pull-ups in a row. Coming off handoffs, he’s able to score from three levels with his shot or athleticism. The help defense usually wasn’t enough with Schutt finishing over defenders consistently. Whether it’s off a BLOB, wing isolation, and ball-screen, Schutt was a dangerous scorer. I was impressed with his defensive intensity throughout the weekend as well on the ball. Schutt is a serious high-major prospect that should be a consensus top-100 recruit.

Braden Huff (6’10 PF, Glenbard West)

I started to feel bad for the opposing bigs that were stuck on an island against Huff. His handle is advanced and he changes speeds well to get defenders off balance. He brought the ball up to initiate offense frequently this weekend. He was automatic from three, shooting from all over the floor and hitting five in one of the games. His skill set is rare and was showcased this weekend. Huff moved well without the ball to create passing angles and finished strong with dunks. Defensively, he moved well and blocked shots in his area. Even as one of the top prospects in the state, it still seems like Huff is underappreciated.

Jalen Quinn (6’3 PG, Tuscola)

Quinn was productive once again for the Wolves. He’s been a steady penetrator that finished as well as any lead guard I saw this weekend. The lefty hit floaters with his off hand and made acrobatic layups look routine. He passed the ball well on his drives, especially when kicking to shooters. Northwestern is the newest offer for the rising Tuscola point guard.

Cade Pierce (6’6 SG, Glenbard West)

There’s a reason why Pierce was almost always on the floor for the Wolves. His defense, rebounding, passing, and timely shot making gave them a huge boost. He was all over the offensive glass, getting multiple second chances each game. The toughness and physicality that he showed on his drives led to a bunch of free throws and buckets around the rim. He shot it well on corner threes and continued to lead the team in assists. His defense can go unnoticed at times, but Pierce is an elite wing defender with length and athleticism that is continuing to improve. He is a desired mid-major target that should be in line for some more looks after this weekend.

Cooper Noard (6’2 PG, Glenbrook South)

I feel like I say this in every writeup on Noard, but it’s crazy to me that he doesn’t have offers yet. All he did this weekend was shoot the lights out, lead the Wolves in scoring a few games, and provide a spark when the offense stalled. He has proved to be a competitive guard that can be an effective floor spacer. Noard fed off of kick outs this weekend, getting most of his points from behind the arc. He’s an adept ball-handler as well that finished in transition a few times. A big part of the Wolves success this summer, Noard was productive on the big stage. A high-academic student, he should have plenty of scholarship options.

Al Peculius (6’6 SF, Baylor [TN])

I love watching Peculius play. He brings constant energy, doesn’t need the ball to make an impact, and is fearless attacking the rim. Throughout the weekend, he was one of their best offensive rebounders, crashing hard for putbacks. In the half court, he cut to open space to get layups, dunks, and free throws. Peculius is a strong, athletic wing that excels at running his lane in transition. But defensively is where he is going to have an immediate impact in college with his ability to defend on the perimeter or in the paint. Peculius was a high-impact sixth man.

Meanstreets 17U

Kam Craft (6’6 SG, Buffalo Grove)

One of the top scorers in the country, Craft put on a show for Meanstreets at Peach Jam. He hit off balance threes regularly, running off of screens or dribbling into pull-ups. Craft is a three-level scorer that got into the paint for push shots, dunks, and hanging layups. The Xavier commit is a special offensive talent.

Nick Martinelli (6’7 SF, Glenbrook South)

Martinelli came off of the bench but was the second-leading scorer for Meanstreets at Peach Jam. He’s always in the right spot, whether it be for cuts, post ups, or offensive rebounds. His footwork and feel in the paint led to hooks and spin moves. Martinelli is so creative and crafty off the dribble finding ways to get his shot off. Elon is getting a player that should have an immediate impact.

AJ Casey (6’8 SF, Whitney Young)

Offensively, Casey picked his spots and wasn’t typically a high scorer for Meanstreets. But he was really good on the offensive glass and excelled in transition. The physical tools are hard to miss as a fluid, 6-foot-8 combo forward that can jump out of the gym. His defense is what stood out, impacting the game with his activity and versatility as a perimeter defender and shot blocker. As he gets more refined offensively, Casey has the talent to be a dynamic college wing.

Ty Rodgers (6’6 SF, Grand Blanc [MI])

Rodgers did everything that was needed for Meanstreets. His defense was lockdown, he made plays off of the bounce, and his energy was off the charts. In the semifinal, he was the best player on the floor. Even without scoring a lot, Rodgers was a crucial two-way player at Peach Jam. He’s a top-50 recruit for good reason.

Jalen Washington (6’9 PF, West Side [IN])

Washington is a modern face-up four that was going to work from the mid-post. His shot is smooth and extends out to the three-point line. There were a number of times where Washington used his sized to finish at the rim in traffic too. He’s going to be an even better college player than he is in high school with his skillset, size, and IQ. North Carolina’s first frontcourt commit under Coach Davis is going to produce.

Kareem Rozier (5’9 PG, St. Mary’s [MI])

Rozier is one of the toughest floor generals I’ve seen on any of the circuits this year. He’s a tremendous leader that gave energy to the whole team with his voice and play. Rozier made sound passes on the move in traffic to create for others and had a number of tough finishes. At 5-foot-9, he hounded guards defensively. Rozier is a winner that will bring a mature approach to a college program.

RJ Taylor (5’11 PG, Grand Blanc [MI])

A prototypical point guard with plus vision, Taylor is a scrappy and intelligent point guard. The 2023 prospect never looked out of place, throwing pinpoint lobs, dropping off passes on his penetration, and mixing in jumpers. He made short pull-ups around the elbow and was one of the higher percentage three shooters at Peach Jam. A number of Division 1 programs are involved with Taylor.

Breakaway 16U

Arius Alijosius (6’2 SG, Stagg)

More of the same for Stagg’s shooter. He scored over 20 points multiple times this weekend with threes as his weapon of choice. Whenever the offense slowed down, Alijosius hit a three to give them life. He’s a volume shooter that always finds ways to get open and step into shots. You know what you’re getting with Alijosius and the scoring is expected at this point. One of the best 2023 shooters in Illinois.

Graham Smith (6’5 SG, Lyons)

Smith had a solid weekend for Breakaway. He put a kid on a poster with a one-handed dunk on a backdoor cut and showed that athletic punch in other ways. He elevated in traffic for jumpers and layups inside of the paint. His mid-range was falling and he bulldozed smaller defenders. As Smith gets more consistent with his release and handle, he has the potential to be a dominant wing.

Tyler Swierczek (6’5 SF, Palatine)

Swierczek didn’t miss a beat, giving much-needed scoring to Breakaway. He was aggressive looking for shots, hitting threes and pull-ups early on. The physical 6-foot-5 wing can really score in bunches, able to create his own offense by attacking closeouts or stretching the floor. He rebounded the ball well too. Swierczek is a nice wing prospect.

Jacob Bozeman (6’4 SG, Downers Grove North)

Bozeman was excellent defensively getting out into passing lanes and rotating to get deflections. He’s a long-armed wing with athleticism to turn steals into points like he did this weekend. When spacing the floor in the half court, he showed off his outside stroke hitting a couple of threes.

Chicago Lockdown 16U

Jackson Niego (6’0 PG, Lyons)

Always steady and on point, Niego was diming up teammates. His crisp, timely passes led to a ton of open shots, reaching double digit assists in one game. He knows how to balance scoring and playmaking, hitting threes, getting out in transition, and making runners off pick-and-rolls. Niego’s spot-up jumper came out clean with good rotation, leading to a high percentage of makes. He’s a high-quality floor general that plays the right way.

Matt Moore (6’7 PF, Hillcrest)

Moore is a prototypical rim runner with a developing offensive game. He tapped balls to himself on the offensive glass before eventually finishing. Moore had a big dunk in the punch spot and scored off of dump offs. The lanky four man blocked and altered shots defensively before cleaning the glass. He’s shown an improved outside shot as well. Moore is a bundle of potential.

Nick Niego (6’2 SG, Brother Rice)

Niego is a certified marksman from three at this point. When he was left open, it was almost always going in. He did a nice job of squaring up off of deep curls from behind the arc to hit threes. Niego is crafty inside of the arc, making deliberate moves to the rim. He had a nice baseline reverse. Niego opens up everything as a 3-point specialist.

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

Gee Jr. was aggressive getting to his spots. He had a few athletic finishes in traffic and knocked down a three. Gee Jr. brings length to the defensive end as well. He is an intriguing wing prospect.

Luke Newhall (6’4 SF, St. Paul’s School [NH])

Newhall brought his physicality and craftiness to the game finding different ways to get to the rim and play through bumps. He’s a strong-bodied wing that has a handle and passing instincts. The Walter Payton transfer hit some threes and gave some defensive punch as well playing the passing lanes. Newhall still has some untapped athleticism that will add more to his already skilled game.

Illinois Bears 16U

Grant Fridley (6’2 PG, Wesclin)

Fridley is an excellent playmaker with a good sense for where his teammates are at during the game. He made passes on time to set up open looks. Fridley also shot it well off the bounce using his handle to create space. The length for a point guard and passing skills combined with his scoring make him an intriguing D2 prospect.

Cade Altadonna (6’0 PG, Highland)

Altadonna made strong moves to the rim going to his left hand. He drew fouls on his penetration and got to the line well. Altadonna plays hard and is a capable spot-up shooter. Defensively, he moved his feet well and stayed active on the ball. He’s going to be a solid prospect to track.

Caden Hawkins (5’11 PG, Carterville)

A good shooter at the point guard spot, Hawkins scored the ball well with his outside shot. He plays with toughness at 5-foot-11 and has a crisp jump shot from distance. Hawkins was also able to score in transition.

Meanstreets 15U

Morez Johnson (6’8 PF, St. Rita)

Johnson was a double-double machine. He went out of his area for rebounds and showed tenacity on both backboards. The blossoming face-up game showed, making strong moves from the perimeter and taking some mid-range looks. When he got deep post position, Johnson made quick work for a few and-ones and dunks. He is a next-level forward prospect for high-majors to track.

Nojus Indrusaitis (6’4 SG, Lemont)

An ultra-skilled guard, Indrusaitis handled the ball in space to create shots from three levels. He probed on the baseline for a short jumper, hit floaters, knocked down mid-range shots, and showed NBA range on his three. His game is smooth and efficient, able to score or make passes on the move. The 6-foot-4 combo guard is also a smart defender with good length and athleticism. He is another high-major prospect who recently received an offer from Illinois.

Lathan Sommerville (6’9 C, Peoria Notre Dame)

The big man has good feet and touch. Sommerville caught passes from various angles and finished in traffic. He ate up space to get rebounds and early post ups. I was impressed with his touch on hooks and short jumpers. The talent is clear for the 6-foot-9 big who is fresh off an offer from Rutgers.

Carlos Harris (6’2 SG, Curie)

Harris got downhill on command and took defenders with him. Even at 6-foot-2, Harris has good upper body strength that creates fouls and adds gravity to his drives. He can shoot it with time, but his penetration skill is what makes him so tough to contain. Harris changed speeds and exploded in straight lines multiple times. He’s is a solid guard prospect that already produced on varsity.

Antoine Glasper (6’0 PG, Collins)

Quick as a cat, Glasper blew past defenders all week. His combo moves were tight and he stayed balance as he got to the rim. Glasper poured in some threes as well and showed why he is one of the more dynamic lead guards in the 2024 class. He has an offer from DePaul.

Breakaway 2024

Jake Riemer (6’7 PF, Downers Grove North)

Riemer was excellent on the defensive end protecting the rim. He plays textbook post defense, keeping his feet active and walling up. The 6-foot-7 forward had a couple of volleyball spike blocks into the stands, showing timing and athleticism. Riemer’s offensive game is promising, showing a nice outside shot and skill on the block. He was constantly attacking the offensive glass and had putbacks throughout the game. Riemer is a productive forward prospect in the 2024 class.

Luke Williams (6’0 PG, Naperville North)

Williams is a difference maker on both ends. With elite athleticism, he was a blur in transition, running up the backs of defenders and scoring with eurosteps and layups at the rim. He was disruptive defensively creating steals and blocking shots. When he had the ball in the half court, he was good attacking off of wing ball screens, hitting threes, slashing to the rim, and drawing the kicking. Williams has a nice outside stroke and good balance on his pull-up. He’s already an impressive two-way prospect, but he still has a lot of upside.

Jack Stanton (5’10 PG, Downers Grove North)

Stanton stood out finding various ways to score for Breakaway. He got up well for mid-range pull-ups, got to the rim off of a tight curl and step through move, and knocked down threes. I thought his feel for the game stood out, understanding how to evade defenders and get shots off in traffic. Stanton is set to be an impact player at Downers Grove as a sophomore.

Nathan Scearce (5’11 SG, Bartlett)

Scearce is a good shooter that plays with pace. He scored at the rim off of a pick-and-roll and made some good passes on the move. Scearce spaced the floor well used his length defensively. He should have a larger role this winter as a returning varsity player for Bartlett.

Liam Taylor (6’5 SF, Lyons)

Taylor has the length and size that you look for in a wing. He used his body well to score on a straight line drive and a spin move. Taylor also hit a three and showed good strength battling on the glass. The 6-foot-5 Lyons forward is on our radar.

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