July Awards: 2023 Prospects

Here are our July awards for the 2023 class. Similar to the 2022 awards, this is only for 2023 prospects who are currently at a school in Illinois.

Most Outstanding Player of July

JJ Taylor (6’7 SF, Mac Irvin Fire/Kenwood)

Taylor lived up to the billing of a top-5 prospect in the country. He led Mac Irvin deep into the 16U EYBL tournament as a versatile scorer that looked effortless at times. The hesitation pull-up three was productive and he finished well above the rim on his penetration. His shot blocking, vision, and handle separated him from other elite wings, able to help the Fire all over the court. Most of the top programs in the country are pursuing Taylor.

Top Defensive Player

Miles Rubin (6’8 PF, Meanstreets/Simeon)

Rubin’s mobility and size were highly impactful in and around the paint. He showed quickness on the perimeter when covering guards, cutting off straight line drives and recovering well. As a rim protector, Rubin excelled as a help side defender. He was elevated to the 17U team at the end of the month where he was solid in limited minutes.

Top Sixth Man

Sonny Williams (6’0 PG, Illinois Wolves/Notre Dame College Prep)

When Williams came off the bench, he was a nice spark on both ends. Quick with the ball and a smart playmaker, he got into the paint frequently to make things happen. Williams had a good month shooting the ball from distance, both off the dribble and spotting up. The defensive pressure stood out as well from the NDCP junior.

Honorable Mention: Jackson Kotecki (6’8 F, Mac Irvin Fire/St. Ignatius), Bryce Tillery (5’9 PG, Illinois Hoopstars/Hillcrest)

1st Team

JJ Taylor (6’7 SF, Mac Irvin Fire/Kenwood)

Darrin Ames (6’3 PG, Mac Irvin Fire/Kenwood)

The skilled, athletic lefty had defenders guessing all summer. His explosive first step and shooting off the bounce were on point. Outside of the flashy plays, Ames is a heady guard with really good feel. Ames is a high-major recruit that continues to pull-in offers

Owen Freeman (6’10 C, MidPro/Bradley Bourbonnais)

Freeman is the best center in the state and manned the paint for a dominant MidPro team. Whether it’s with his back to the basket or facing up, he has the skill and strength to fill it up offensively. Freeman is a sound passer that is terrific on the glass and disciplined defensively. A favorite among Big Ten schools.

Rich Barron (6’5 SG, Meanstreets/St. Ignatius)

Barron kept getting better throughout the summer, finishing as one of the top scorers in the EYBL events. There aren’t a lot of players that are built like Barron with his agility, handle, and shooting ability. Barron played through contact and nailed threes at a high rate. Mid-major offered have started to roll in.

Jake Fiegen (6’4 SG, Full Package/New Trier)

One of the premier shooters in the state, Fiegen looked like a Division 1 prospect in July highlighted by a 13-three, 51-point performance. He was a regular 20-point scorer for Full Package scoring on the move, off the catch, and at the rim. Don’t let the shooting fool you, Fiegen is a physical defender, solid athlete, and showed great leadership skills for Full Package.

2nd Team

Asa Thomas (6’7 SG, Illinois Wolves/Lake Forest Academy)

The big sniper for the Wolves continued showing his improved versatility. Thomas rebounded well and found teammates on the move in addition to raining in threes. Power 5 programs have started to lock in on Thomas over the last few months.

Ty Pence (6’6 SG, MidPro/St. Joseph Ogden)

Pence was steady, productive, and explosive for MidPro. He moved well off the ball and flashed a ton of bounce around the rim on lobs and cuts. The 6-foot-6 guard is a true three level scorer that was a knockdown catch-and-shoot option for MidPro. He’s a solid D1 prospect.

Brock Harding (6’0 PG, MidPro/Moline)

Harding is one of those players that makes everything click. He was an ideal floor general, showing advanced vision and playmaking instincts for MidPro. When needed, he could get his own shot with his handle or score with finesse around the paint. Another MidPro player that will have an impact at the Division 1 level.

Ahmad Henderson (5’10 PG, Young & Reckless/Brother Rice)

Henderson was the primary playmaker and a top scorer for a Y&R team that was tough all summer. Shifty, intelligent, and adept at operating ball screens, Henderson put on impressive displays all month. He’s been offered by a few low majors.

Macaleab Rich (6’6 SF, Brad Beal Elite/East St. Louis)

A man amongst boys, Rich played with a high-motor. He had highlight reel dunks and was really good from 15-feet and in. Rich’s jump shot has continued to develop and he was able to defend multiple positions. Rich is a high-major prospect with a ton of upside.

3rd Team

Dalen Davis (6’0 PG, Mokan Elite/Whitney Young)

Playing with Mokan, Davis shined as a decision maker and creator. He was able to use his speed to blow by defenders and probed inside before making a play. Davis does a lot of the little things well and should continue to be a target for power 5 programs looking for smart point guards.

Cam Christie (6’4 SG, Illinois Wolves/Rolling Meadows)

It was a big month for Christie as a scoring weapon. He went on a tear over the last few weeks utilizing his pull-up and ball skills. The improved athleticism is starting to show. Iowa State is the most recent offer.

Ethan Kizer (6’6 SF, MidPro/Metamora)

The high-flying wing had his own personal dunk contests some games. He thrived in transition but showed that he is an efficient outside shooter as well. Kizer gave MidPro another two-way weapon and projects as a mid-major wing.

Collin Wainscott (6’0 PG, Illinois Stars/Marmion)

Wainscott controlled games with his vision, shooting, and craftiness. A cerebral pick-and-roll player, he passed teammates open and pulled up when defenders backed off. Wainscott is a big-time shooter with a floater to use in the lane.

Davius Loury (6’7 SF, Mac Irvin Fire/Kenwood)

Loury was excellent as a complimentary piece for the Fire. When he had mismatches, he used his size or handle to get to the rim. Loury spaced the floor well and showcased the versatility that has made him a rising recruit.

Honorable Mention: Danny Stephens (MidPro/Augusta Southeastern), Miles Rubin (Meanstreets/Simeon), Daniel Johnson (Meanstreets/Whitney Young), Rokas Castillo (Full Package/Lemont), Matas Castillo (Full Package/Lemont), Mekhi Lowery (Illinois Attack/Oswego East), Sonny Williams (Illinois Wolves/NDCP), Nik Polonowski (Breakaway/Lyons), Graham Smith (Breakaway/Lyons), Arius Alijosius (Breakaway/Stagg), Grant Fridley (Illinois Bears/Wesclin), Sherod Dent (Hoops4Health/NDCP), Cooper LePage (Fundamental U/Crystal Lake South), Ian Ravagnie (Mercury Elite/Huntley), Jackson Niego (Chicago Lockdown/Lyons), Matt Moore (Chicago Lockdown/Hillcrest), Jake Hamilton (Illinois Predators/Sacred Heart Griffin), Kaiden Space (Y&R/St. Rita), Tyler Smith (Y&R/Leo), Kent Buchholz (M14/Glenbard West), Xavier Sulaiman (Illinois Stars/Marist), Bryce Coleman (Illinois Hoopstars/NDCP)

1st Team All-Defense

Miles Rubin (6’8 PF, Meanstreets/Simeon)

Matt Moore (6’7 PF, Chicago Lockdown/Hillcrest)

Moore patrolled the paint for Lockdown and blocked shots outside of his area. He had frequent chasedown blocks rotating from the help side.

Prince Adams (6’5 SF, Illinois Hoopstars/Evanston)

Adams was a defensive presence guarding multiple positions effectively. He can truly defend wings and bigs with his length and athleticism.

Mekhi Lowery (6’5 SF, Illinois Attack/Oswego East)

Lowery is just scratching his potential, but his activity on the defensive end is there. Lanky and aggressive at 6-foot-5, he made things difficult for any scorers who went at him.

Bryce Tillery (5’9 PG, Illinois Hoopstars/Hillcrest)

Tillery got under opposing guards and caused havoc with his hands and quickness. The lack of size wasn’t an issue for Tillery, but an asset.

2nd Team All-Defense

Kaiden Space (6’2 PG, Young & Reckless/St. Rita)

Smart and physical, Space showed discipline and tenacity as an on-ball defender. He rarely gave up easy drives to the lane.

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

LePage is athletic, competitive, and relentless when pressuring opposing guards. The Fundamental U lead guard played passing lanes well and harassed players in space.

Sonny Williams (6’0 PG, Illinois Wolves/Notre Dame College Prep)

Kent Buchholz (6’4 PG, M14/Glenbard West)

Buchholz is a mismatch on the defensive end with plus size, length, and anticipation as an on-ball and off-ball defender. He is an impressive shot blocker for a guard and is very rangy.

Owen Freeman (6’10 C, MidPro/Bradley Bourbonnais)

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