I was in Waukegan to watch some fall league games. Some of the top programs in the suburbs were in attendance. Here are some of the players who looked good for their respective teams.
Nick Martinelli (6’7 SF, 2022)
Martinelli was filling it up from all over the floor. He got to the rim whenever he wanted, highlighted by a windmill dunk in transition. His release looked quicker and he shot his usual high percentage from three but on a high volume. Martinelli took on the toughest defensive matchups and showed quickness and anticipation while using his length to impact that end. The Elon commit will be a threat to score 30 points on any night, but his all-around game leads to winning.
RJ Davis (6’1 SG, 2023)
Davis was impressive both as a penetrator and shooter. His jump shot is clean and consistent, burying a few threes off of the catch. Davis also has a quick first step and was able to attack closeouts effectively. He is a returning rotation player that should be an even bigger threat as a junior.
Spencer Brown (6’5 SF, 2022)
Brown ran the floor in transition and scored on some straight line drives. At 6-foot-5, Brown has good size and solid athleticism to make an impact defensively. He rebounded at a high rate and will be a nice rotation piece for the Titans this year.
Eli Aldana (6’0 PG, 2023)
The playmaking ability and creativity that Aldana has off of the dribble stood out. When he got by his initial defender, he drew help and used fakes to deceive defenders. Aldana has touch around the lane and made a few threes as well. He is an underrated point guard with a ton of varsity experience.
Hunter Duncan (6’1 PG, 2023)
Duncan is always one of the most explosive players on the floor. He broke down defenders well and applied pressure defensively. Duncan did struggle a bit with decision making, but he knows how to set up teammates. After transferring from La Lumiere, Duncan should step into a deep backcourt.
Alex Arango (6’2 SG, 2022)
Arango knifed into the lane and got the ball on the backboard quickly for finishes. At 6-foot-2, he does a lot of the dirty work and guarded some size on the inside. He has a number of Division 3 suitors and is a plus defender and energy player to add to a program.
RJ Gamble (6’0 PG, 2023)
When defenders tried to bump him off his spot, Gamble took the hits and finished. He’s a very strong point guard with good body control on his drives. Another returning player for the Lions, Gamble should bring energy to both ends.
Ben Rygiel (6’7 PF, 2022)
Rygiel was the only legitimate size that they have and he played his role well. When smaller defenders were on him, he was able to go over his left shoulder after getting deep post position. He is able to make moves within 10 feet and has some athleticism around the lane.
Josiah Calvin (5’10 SG, 2025)
Calvin has good ball-handling skills and can shoot it off the dribble. There were some good flashes for the freshman who will be competing on a team full of strong guards. The future is bright for Calvin.
Mikqwon Jones (6’3 SG, 2022)
Jones was a freight train with a little bit of shake. He drove through defenders and played volleyball on the offensive glass before finishing off putbacks. Mikqwon also got some space off of the bounce with his ball-handling ability. He is a tough matchup, especially in Clark’s up-tempo system, with his size, strength, and skill.
Mikell Jones (6’3 SF, 2022)
The other Jones twin was strictly playing bully ball effectively. His length and activity led to steals and he had defenders moving out of the way to avoid his downhill drives. Jones is also a scholarship-level player for Clark.
Evan Porto (6’2 PG, Stevenson)
Porto was cooking in the games that I saw. He handled pressure very well, getting defenders on their heels, using his body, and staying under control. Any time he got space from three, it was all net. Porto made quick decisions off the catch to either pull the trigger or attack the basket where he found different ways to finish. Porto is set to be a leader and primary playmaker for Stevenson.
Josh Thomas (6’5 SF, 2023)
It’s easy to see all of the tools that make Thomas an intriguing college prospect. The lanky wing shot the ball well and utilized his length on the defensive end to affect shots. He has a projectable frame with very long arms and good leaping ability. Thomas may be in for a big junior year.
Jaden Evans (5’10 PG, 2022)
Evans got after it defensively and caused turnovers all day. He’s only about 5-foot-10, but Evans elevates well in the paint and with his pull-up. On kick outs, he shot the ball with confidence. Evans should be a sparkplug for Stevenson.
Christian Uremovich (6’6 SF, 2024)
Uremovich wasn’t making perimeter shots, but he ran the floor well and grabbed rebounds at their apex. An active, long-armed forward, Uremovich was showcasing his ability to defend on the wing or in the paint. He’s still putting it all together but the upside is evident.
Bryce Moore (6’4 SG, 2022)
The Niagara commit made quick work in transition. Moore weaved in and out of traffic before scoring with force or kicking to teammates. He was solid on the defensive end as usual, getting steals, deflections, and blocked shots. The improved shooting form was apparent and should lead to more makes going forward. Moore is going to be one of the top players in the area once again.
Asher Jackson (6’5 SG, 2022)
Jackson’s day was highlighted with a few showtime dunks. He gets off of the ground so well off of one foot that athletic defenders struggled to meet him above the rim. Jackson connected on a number of threes as well during the day from long-range. He is a promising combo guard for Carmel.
Cooper Stacey (6’4 SF, 2022)
Whether it was slashing or spotting up, Stacey showed the ability to score. He moves fluidly off the dribble, with long strides and good athleticism. Stacey made a three as well and returns as an all-conference player for Warren.
Yogi Oliff (6’2 PG, 2022)
Oliff played the role of a distributor for much of the day, having to absorb help and pass players open. When going against a packed zone, he still found ways to attack the gaps to score with floaters and a three. Oliff’s best gift is how he makes the game easier for everyone around him better, but he is able to be a volume scorer when needed. He will be one of the best point guards in the state this year.
Reid Olsen (5’9 PG, 2025)
Olsen was one of the top performers at the entire league. He made six threes in the first game and followed that up with seven or eight in the second game. It takes players years to develop the consistency and range that Olsen possesses. A freshman with this much confidence and poise is rare, but that has to be a product of preparation. Olsen welcomed the tight defense once he got hot and still set up teammates off the dribble. He will have an immediate impact for the Vikings.
DaJour Stephens (5’11 SG, 2022)
A physical combo guard with good defensive instincts, Stephens made some acrobatic finishes look easy. Stephens made shots from the perimeter when he had time and space. His presence as an on-ball defender was evident too.
St. Charles North
Ethan Marlowe (6’8 PF, 2022)
Marlowe played out of the mid-post well to create open looks for himself and teammates. He showed good footwork and balance on turnaround jump shots and put the ball on the ground when he had chances to get downhill. Marlowe has an effortless outside shot that forced defenders to play him tight. He is a Division 1 talent that returns after an All-State year for North.
Max Love (6’5 SF, 2022)
Love brought intensity and it led to good results for the team. He sprinted the floor in transition, had and-ones, and made life difficult on opposing guards with his length. Love can space the floor with his jumper, but he was doing a lot of downhill driving today. Love projects as the top perimeter option this year.
Justin Hughes (6’4 PG, 2022)
The point guard skill was apparent for Hughes with a couple of pinpoint passes and good rhythm with the ball. His shooting is still his differentiating trait, making long threes with no hesitation. Hughes has grown a bit and was able to run the wings when other ball-handlers grabbed defensive rebounds. He will be an important piece to the North Stars this year.
Mike Vuckovic (6’0 PG, 2022)
Vuckovic made plays but didn’t force anything. His acceleration off of the dribble allowed him to get a step on defenders before deciding whether to look for his own shot or dish to teammates. He made athletic, acrobatic finishes around the rim and showed his pull-up. Vuckovic is one of a few returning all-conference players in the MSL and will be a problem for opposing teams.
Darien Irvin (6’5 SF, 2022)
Irvin stood out with his athleticism and size. He made powerful moves in the paint and operated well in crowds. Irvin will be a nice frontcourt complement to the Vuckovic twins.
Chase Bonder (6’7 PF, 2022)
Bonder came out aggressive and was activated once the game got a little chippy. He sprayed in multiple shots from beyond the arc, put his head down to get to the rim, and snatched rebounds on both ends. Bonder is a nice athlete that did a good job of finishing plays once he get defenders on his hip. While he fits the profile of a stretch four, Bonder looks stronger and even more assertive. He returns for another year as the top weapon for Libertyvillle.
Cole Bonder (6’5 PF, 2023)
Cole has a unique combination of ruggedness and skill. He was willing to mix it up in traffic, carve out space, and grab boards. Once he got in the half court, he set defenders up before getting to the basket off of the dribble and finishing with his left hand. Bonder is quicker than he was a year ago and still has that ability to step outside to shoot or be a high-post passer. His improvement will only add to the best frontcourt in the NSC.
Jack Huber (6’3 PG, 2023)
A big, lanky playmaker, Huber showed good vision in the face of tight pressure. He can see over defenses and is able to pass with either hand in rhythm. Huber didn’t score a bunch, but he is a good outside shooter with a pull-up game and creative layups. He did make a floater off the glass. Huber’s threat as a scorer or playmaker should be crucial over the next few years.
Andrew Sorenson (6’2 SG, 2022)
Sorenson hit a couple of threes and moved well without the ball. He looked to be well conditioned, setting up cuts and running the floor. Sorenson is another perimeter shooting threat who can make teams pay for sinking in on the Bonder brothers.