Breakaway Get Better League Standouts

I was in Homer Glen today checking out the top group at the Breakaway Get Better League. There were a number of college coaches in the gym to check out a good crop of seniors. There were also a few 2023 and 2024 players who stood out.

2022 Players

Jake Quast (6’3 SG, Hinsdale Central)

Quast was terrific in both games scoring from all over the floor. I wouldn’t be shocked if he hit 10 threes on the day, but his toughness and athleticism as a finisher and rebounder were just as impressive. Help defenders bounced off of him on his drives and he looked stronger and more explosive than the last time I saw him. Quast was pulling the trigger with range as soon as defenders backed off. He bumped other guards off of their spots defensively and was able to cut off driving lane. I haven’t seen a player so far this fall that has improved as much since the summer as Quast. He should be a big target for any high-academic D3 school. I would expect a significant breakout year for him at Hinsdale Central.

Garrett Bolte (6’6 PF, Hinsdale South)

Bolte was in attack mode from the perimeter. He made decisive moves in space to get a step on defenders before using his frame to finish or make stop-and-pop jumpers around the lane. Posts ups led to points and fouls as well, getting deep position and welcoming contact. When the ball was kicked out, he made threes with a quicker release than I had seen in the past. Always an impactful defender, Bolte pressured ball-handlers around the volleyball line and was steady as rim protector and rebounder in traffic. I’ve seen enough from Bolte to confidently say that he could produce at the Division 2 level. NAIAs and D3s are also involved.

JP Hanley (6’4 SG, Riverside Brookfield)

The shooting ability of Hanley drew heavy defensive attention, but he was still able to get loose for a number of threes. His upper body strength allowed him to work his way through traffic without losing balance. Hanley rebounds well for his position and had some putbacks in the lane. He took on tough defensive matchups all summer for Breakaway and should be able to give some school shooting and energy on both ends. Hanley is another high-academic prospect for D3 coaches to contact.

Drew Cwik (6’2 PG, South Elgin)

Cwik fits the bill of a shooting point guard. He’s got the quick release and range to extend defenses and shoot behind ball screens if defenders go under. Any time he had a sliver of space, off the catch or on the move, he let it fly and went on some nice individual scoring runs mixing in some drives. He is well-built for a point guard and projects as a solid positional defender. Cwik can snap the ball up the floor as well, as he showed on a few occasions in both games. I think his handle and shooting should translate well to the D3 level.

Nick Hesch (6’6 PF, York)

The long, rangy four man sprinted the floor, rebounded, and made the most of his touches in the paint. Even though he doesn’t overwhelm defenders with athleticism or strength, he knows how to cut and use angles to get open looks. Hesch competed well on the defensive end and showed the versatility that you look for in bigs that are willing to guard in space. He didn’t take a lot of jumpers but Hesch is a solid spot-up shooter that will continue to be an asset as a stretch four. This is another Division 3 kid that has the academics you look for at any level.

Bobby Durkin (6’7 SG, Glenbard West)

The game looked easy for Durkin. He was the primary ball-handler and created open shots for his teammates. There was one left-handed full-court pass that he made through the transition defense that was next level. Big guards that can pass and shoot like Durkin are hard to find. He picked his spots as a scorer by making threes, foul-line pull-ups, and layups in the lane. A big senior season is coming up for the Army commit.

Pat Laurich (6’6 PF, Downers Grove South)

Laurich had good footwork in the post and did a solid job of protecting the rim. He has long arms and moves pretty well at 6-foot-6, covering ground and rotating over to contest shots. Laurich gave good energy on both backboards too, corralling misses at a good rate.

2023 Players

Tyler Swierczek (6’5 SF, Palatine)

Swierczek was one of the best performers of the day, regardless of class. He has a workhorse mentality and good versatility as a scorer. He connected on a bunch of threes using his compact stroke to make open looks off of the catch. The 6-foot-5 wing didn’t save any energy, getting out to deny the passing lanes and crashing hard for boards. He pulled in a couple of grown man rebounds amongst the trees and finished off offensive rebounds with layups. After a solid sophomore year, Swierczek looks ready to take a big step for Palatine.

Arius Alijosius (6’3 SG, Riverside Brookfield)

Alijosius is still a premier shooter that never disappoints as a microwave scorer. He wasn’t given many open looks, but showed off his pure stroke when he had time and space. Now a little taller and stronger, Alijosius provided more resistance defensively and was able to cover more ground on his straight-line drives to his strong hand. You don’t find shooters of his caliber often, but Alijosius will add an additional boost to an experienced, productive backcourt at Riverside Brookfield after transferring in this year.

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

Bozeman has continued to grow both physically and with his game. He looked confident off the dribble and got downhill to finish a few times. The ball never stuck when he touched it, moving it well and getting it to open teammates on time. Bozeman guarded the ball and shot it well from three with the attempts that he got. He plays a nice role and doesn’t seem to need the ball to make an impact.

Chase Collignon (6’5 PF, Hinsdale Central)

Collignon’s athleticism was on display. He was outrunning guards in transition to get layups and found ways to score with nifty spin moves and hop steps in the paint. Collignon doesn’t lack strength, imposing his will on the glass even on his own misses. The more refined Collignon becomes offensively, the better he will be in the long-term. But the intangibles are there and he brings the energy.

Max Niesman (6’0 PG, Oswego)

You can tell that Niesman understands how to create off the dribble for himself and others. The 6-foot point guard hit some outside shots and showed patience when he needed to break down defenders. He has natural passing instincts and can dribble into deep threes without losing much efficiency. Niesman returns as the point guard for an up-and-coming Oswego team.

Sam Millstone (5’10 PG, Palatine)

Millstone was scrapping and competing all day. He didn’t give an inch on the defensive end and used his quick hands to affect scorers. Even at 5-foot-10, Millstone has solid strength and playmaking prowess that work well in ball screens. When left in space, Millstone hit a three and had a few one-dribble pull-ups. Millstone is a steady point guard for Palatine.

Christian Lopez (5’11 PG, Leyden)

Lopez has good quickness and made a couple of jump shots throughout the games. He has a decent release with good range as well. Lopez had a long two-point shot in transition that showed good footwork. This was my first time seeing Lopez but he produced well overall.

2024 Players

Jack Stanton (5’9 PG, Downers Grove North)

Stanton is smart, creative, and efficient as a shooter. He played with great pace and excelled in drive-and-kick situations. The 5-foot-9 point guard has a good first step with the ball-handling ability that you look for in a floor general. He did a nice job of keeping his dribble alive as well, leading to a few open layups for himself. As a shooter, Stanton has a clean stroke and the potential to be an elite floor spacer. He made a tough turnaround shot around the free throw line and was comfortable stretching his shot out past the three-point line. I liked what I saw from Stanton and he is at a good starting point for a young point guard.

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

Riemer has legitimate size and athleticism. He has good end-to-end speed and gets off the ground effortlessly. There were a few rebounds that he snatched at the rim with a number of strong putbacks. I saw him spike a few shots at their apex this summer, so I know he’s a plus rim protector. Riemer is able to get to the basket off the dribble or knock down open threes as he showed. Riemer posted up hard on a couple of occasions as well, which was nice to see against some older players. I think his footwork, frame, and perimeter skills are going to develop nicely. The ceiling is high if Riemer continues to keep his motor running high.

Braden Richardson (6’6 SF, York)

As the day went on, Richardson looked more and more confident. He started to block shots, get deflections, and make perimeter shots. Richardson was contesting everything around the rim and had a couple of athletic blocks coming over from the help side. He is a fluid runner and jumper that looked good as a straight-line driver. Richardson should be able to play and defend multiple positions in the future. His shot needs some time to get off, but he showed that he can make them off the catch. Richardson is a good young piece for a York program that is always competitive.

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