I went out to Glen Ellyn to check out Glenbard West’s first open gym of the recruiting period. This should be the biggest starting five in the state, ranging from 6-foot-4 to 6-foot 10. They will enter the year as a consensus top-5 team in the state and for good reason. Here are some of the players who stood out.
2022 Braden Huff (6’10 PF)
The entire Virginia Tech staff was in the gym to check out the top post player in the state. Huff handled and passed the ball as well as anyone, bringing it up floor and looking fluid when he made moves in transition. His mobility and shot-making is always impressive. He’s a legit 6-foot-10, but his shot is consistent and smooth in one-dribble and spot-up situations. Huff has added strength to a frame that should have no problem bulking up in college. A number of schools like VA Tech, Gonzaga, Iowa, Michigan State, and Wisconsin have offered the highly skilled four man who should be a Mr. Basketball contender.
2022 Bobby Durkin (6’7 SG)
Durkin looks taller, leaner, and more explosive than he was even a few months ago. The Army commit has a burner from three, hitting all net on a number of long-range shots. He has a quick release that is difficult for bigs to affect, let alone guards. Durkin also got above the rim for a few dunks when he was out in space. His strength and improved quickness should make him even more effective as a rebounder and defender. The Hinsdale South transfer will be a big-time scoring weapon for the Hilltoppers.
2022 Ryan Renfro (6’8 PF)
This kid never stopped talking. He was constantly communicating and encouraging his teammates. Renfro had a big summer and looks like he is ready to have an impactful senior year. Defensively, he was generally solid in space when Huff was sizing up on the perimeter. Renfro is physical and athletic enough to make it tough on guards and push opposing bigs off of their spots. He made a three as well, an area that will be icing on the cake for GBW this year. Renfro thrives at doing the dirty work and has received offers from Army, Wayne State, and Governor’s State so far.
2022 Paxton Warden (6’4 SG)
Warden didn’t play much in the 5-on-5, but he should have another efficient year in his third season as a starter. He was getting off the ground well in the paint and showed a little more burst off the dribble. A tough, knockdown shooter that can defend the best guards on opposing teams, Warden provides value in a variety of ways. He has an offer from Governor’s State and should be receiving some D2, D3, and NAIA interest.
2022 Jack Caldwell (5’11 PG)
The only thing Caldwell really did wrong was wearing a Clemson shirt while the Hokies coaches were in attendance. He probably scored more than anyone else throughout the open gym, shooting a high rate from three and making crafty moves to get into the paint. The 5-foot-11 guard plays with good pace and has range past the arc that he showed on multiple occasions. I can see why D3 programs are targeting him. Buena Vista and Lakeland have offered Caldwell so far and he should be a nice spark plug this season.
2023 Michael Glover (6’4 SF)
I hadn’t seen much of Glover but he showed some upside. Throughout the open gym, he drove well to his left hand and made some tough shots in the lane. He also made most of his open three-point looks and showed good bounce. There are projectable physical tools and raw ability that could progress well on a team with so many talented seniors.
2023 Logan Brown (6’5 SF)
Another lefty with some size, Brown is a strong slasher that was the most physical junior that I saw. He rebounded well and did a solid job defending Durkin. Brown is another 2023 player that could continue to learn and refine his skill as the year goes on. Brown has the size and motor to bring good energy off the bench this year.
2023 Benji Zander (5’9 PG)
Zander changed gears well and made the most of his open outside shots. He connected on a few threes from the top of the key and used his quickness to create angles for layups. Zander has active hands on the defensive end that will help him overcome a lack of height.
Notables players not in attendance:
2022 Cade Pierce (6’6 SG)
While the Hilltoppers are a serious threat to make a run in March, Pierce is trying to make it down state for golf. Another Division 1 prospect, the do-it-all 6-foot-6 guard is a high-floor prospect that has All-State type talent.
2023 Kent Buchholz (6’4 PG)
The top junior in the class, Buchholz is the perfect long-armed, multi-faceted defender to complement any of the rotation players. Still probably fairly unknown, he is a lanky point guard that was dominant at times this summer for M14.