July AAU Awards: 2022 Prospects

It’s been an eventful month of July for Illinois basketball. A lot of teams wrapped up last week with a few tournaments going on this weekend. But hear are our awards for the month for 2022 prospects who will be seniors this year.

Most Outstanding Player of July

Jaden Schutt (6’5 SG, Illinois Wolves/Yorkville Christian)

Schutt led the charge for the UAA Champion Illinois Wolves with his dynamic shooting ability and athleticism around the rim. He excelled at hitting tough pull-ups from all over the perimeter and was a constant scoring threat at all three levels. Coaches around the country also took notice of the athleticism, defensive upside, and ball-handling skills of Schutt. The offer list is long with Michigan State, Duke, Iowa, Florida, Illinois, and others involved. He’s a sure-fire top 100 national recruit.

Top Defensive Player

Jeremiah Jones (6’4 SG, Illinois Hoopstars/Marian Catholic)

The lanky, athletic guard was a menace creating turnovers and shutting down all of the spots on the perimeter. Jones covers ground as well as anyone and has terrific hands. He was always locked in defensively and set the tone for the UAA Rise champions.

Top Sixth Man

Nick Martinelli (6’7 SF, Meanstreets/Glenbrook South)

Martinelli was instant offense. He averaged double digits off of the bench in EYBL play and was a steady rebounder. His footwork, craftiness, and touch around the rim created problems for defenses. There were a number of games where Martinelli averaged more than a point a minute. Lehigh got a steal.

Honorable Mention: Garrett Bolte (6’6 SF, Breakaway/Hinsdale South), AJ Redd (6’4 PG, Illinois Hoopstars/St. Ignatius), Will Grudzinski (6’6 SG, Young & Reckless/Barrington)

1st Team

Jaden Schutt (6’5 SG, Illinois Wolves/Yorkville Christian)

Kam Craft (6’6 SG, Meanstreets/Buffalo Grove)

Craft carried the momentum from a dominant spring to the EYBL where he was one of the top scorers in July. The 6-foot-6 Xavier commit opened a lot of eyes and should be moving up national rankings.

Braden Huff (6’10 PF, Illinois Wolves/Glenbard West)

Huff’s inside-out game and shot-blocking prowess anchored the Wolves. He shot over 40% from three, scored in the paint, and facilitated off the dribble. Michigan State is the newest offer for the promising stretch four.

Ben VanderWal (6’7 SF, Breakaway/Timothy Christian)

The model of consistency, VanderWal was excellent for Breakaway and mid-major coaches finally took notice. VanderWal proved to be an efficient shooter and athletic slasher capable of putting defenders on posters or finishing creatively in traffic.

Tavari Johnson (5’11 PG, Young & Reckless/Lyons)

Johnson was a master in the pick-and-roll and a three-level scorer for Y&R. He rarely had an off game and found ways to contribute in different ways. The explosive lead guard is now up to ten Division-1 offers.

2nd Team

NJ Benson (6’7 PF, Southwest Jets/Mt. Vernon)

Benson was of the breakout players of the last few months, punishing defenders in the post and on the offensive glass. He played with a high motor on both ends and was a difference maker even against other top bigs.

Jackson Munro (6’8 PF, Fundamental U Black/New Trier)

Munro continued to show different layers of his game, shooting the three and hitting mid-range turnarounds on command. A high-IQ passer with post skill, the Fundamental U offense flowed through Munro. The rising post prospect was a solid defensive anchor and rebounder as well.

Nick Martinelli (6’7 SF, Meanstreets/Glenbrook South)

Zach Cleveland (6’7 SF, Illinois Hoopstars/Normal)

The Liberty commit played with an edge and versatility that shined for the Hoopstars. He improved his shooting range, dominated the glass, and made plays on drives to the rim.

Jalen Quinn (6’3 PG, Illinois Wolves/Tuscola)

Quinn got to the rim seemingly at will for the Wolves. The tough finishes and timely shot creating got better as the summer progressed. High majors are starting to take notice.

3rd Team

AJ Casey (6’8 SF, Meanstreets/Whitney Young)

Battling a broken finger, one of the states top prospects made his mark defensively and on the glass. The 6-foot-8 forward still had some big scoring outputs, but he showed difference ways that he could affect the game.

Justin Mullins (6’4 SG, Young & Reckless/Oak Park River Forest)

Mullins had a great summer scoring the ball against solid competition. His length and shooting ability posed a tough matchup for most defenders. His play opened the door for a number of offers.

Ethan Ivan (6’7 PF, H.I.T./Batavia)

A highly productive combo forward with touch, Ivan was a standout for H.I.T. He was a double-double threat that put it on the floor and hit open threes. Ivan is a high-level D2 prospect that is still under the radar.

Trey Pettigrew (6’3 PG, Mac Irvin Fire/Kenwood)

Pettigrew was tremendous for portions of July as a shot-making lead guard with some vision. His ability to heat up quickly was showcased at multiple events.

Patrick Robinson (6’5 SG, M14/Oswego East)

Robinson, a powerful downhill wing, had some of his best stretches with July. He’s starting to put it all together and use his strength to get to the rim while knocking down perimeter looks. He has a Lewis offer and is a solidified scholarship prospect.

Honorable Mention: Xavier Amos (Team Rose/Whitney Young), Ryan Duncan (All-In, Chicago U-High), Bobby Durkin (Breakaway/Glenbard West), Davontae Hall (Team Rose/Hyde Park), Jonah Hinton (M14/Naperville Central), Donovan Jones (Illinois Hoopstars/Solorio), Jeremiah Jones (Illinois Hoopstars/Marian Catholic), Bryce Moore (Fundamental U Black/Carmel), Cooper Noard (Illinois Wolves/Glenbrook South), Cade Pierce (Illinois Wolves/Glenbard West), Owen Schneider (Chicago Lockdown/Prospect), Matthew Volkening (Kessel Heat/Marengo), Damari Wheeler-Thomas (Young & Reckless/Larkin)

All-Defensive 1st Team

Jeremiah Jones (6’4 SG, Illinois Hoopstars/Marian Catholic)

Cade Pierce (6’6 SG, Illinois Wolves/Glenbard West)

Pierce took on the toughest defensive assignments and used his length to be an elite multi-purpose defender. He also finished possessions with physical defensive boards in traffic.

Emondrek Ford (6’9 PF, Young & Reckless Brim/Bloom)

Ford showed next-level length and timing as a shot blocker. Anything he didn’t block, he drastically affected.

AJ Casey (6’8 SF, Meanstreets/Whitney Young)

Nick Harrell (6’6 SF, Illinois Hoopstars/Tinley Park)

Harrell took pride in his defensive impact. It wasn’t often that Harrell was out of position or off balance. He shut down a lot of talented scorers.

All-Defensive 2nd Team

Bryce Moore (6’4 SG, Fundamental U Black/Carmel)

Long, athletic, and aggressive, Moore was one of the better wing defenders at UA Rise.

Damari Wheeler-Thomas (6’0 PG, Young & Reckless/Larkin)

Wheeler-Thomas is a defensive hound that caused problems for opposing guards with his extended ball pressure.

Aiden Wieczorek (6’2 SG, Mercury Elite/Huntley)

A driving force for a scrappy defensive unit, Wieczorek used his strength and lateral quickness to stand up ball-handlers

Jullian Acosta (6’2 PG, Illinois Attack/East Aurora)

Acosta is a relentless defender that picked up full court and gave constant effort on the ball for the Attack.

Jeremiah Talton (6’6 SF, MPJ Elite/Quincy)

Talton has a big wingspan and high-IQ defensively that he used to be a top-notch helpside and gap defender.

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