The first games start next week and we are looking at some of the top frontcourts to keep an eye on early in the year.
Davius Loury (6’7 PF, 2023), Jalen Smith (6’10 PF/C, 2024), Solomon Mosley (6’7 PF/C, 2023), Calvin Robbins (6’4 SF, 2024), Aleks Alston (6’7 SF, 2025)
Loury is the returning starter who added a number of high-major offers after showing his versatility and strength over the summer. Smith just transferred in a few weeks ago, but he should fit in nicely as a tremendously talented big that can run the floor and control the paint. Mosley, another transfer, will do a lot of the dirty work while the freshman Alston is an intriguing long-term prospect with his smooth shooting stroke at 6-foot-7. Robbins is a rim-rocking wing that is athletic enough to play either forward spot.
James Brown (6’9 C, 2024), Morez Johnson Jr. (6’8 PF, 2024)
The most gifted frontcourt tandem in the state, Brown and Johnson are the top two players in the sophomore class. Brown’s footwork, feel, and motor continue to impress. He’s a constant 20 and 15 threat. Johnson, an Illinois commit, brings a vertical rim running threat and the ability to push the break or stretch the floor. Both are plus defenders and passers as well.
AJ Casey (6’8 SF/PF, 2022), Xavier Amos (6’8 SF/PF, 2022), Matt Sommerville (6’6 SF, 2022), Marcus Overstreet (6’9 C, 2022), Daniel Johnson (6’6 SF, 2023)
Anchored by two multi-faceted forwards in Casey (Miami commit) and Xavier Amos (NIU), Whitney Young has depth, size, and versatility on the front line. Sommerville is another switchable defender that thrives in transition while Overstreet provides some rim protection. Johnson is a junior to keep an eye on as an athletic wing with a pure outside shot. He’s going to be another Division 1 player.
Braden Huff (6’10 PF, 2022), Ryan Renfro (6’8 PF, 2022)
Huff (Gonzaga) is the best big man in the state. His game continues to add layers and he is much stronger and explosive than he was even in the spring. He’s a serious Mr. Basketball candidate. Renfro, an Army recruit, is all energy all of the time. Rebounding and rim running is where he thrives, but he can also pop or attack closeouts in straight lines. They have a number of big guards that aid the efforts of Huff and Renfro.
Zach Cleveland (6’7 SF/PF, 2022), Jaheem Webber (6’9 C, 2024), Noah Cleveland (6’6 PF, 2022)
Zach Cleveland (Liberty) was one of the most productive juniors in the state last year. He can jump out of the gym but really showed his all-around game as a playmaker and shooter. Webber starred on the interior for the Illinois Wolves this summer and looks like he will be a problem for opposing bigs. He is a load on the block with touch and activity. Noah, the younger Cleveland, is talented in his own right as a face-up four with good skill.
Jackson Munro (6’9 PF, 2022), Tyler Van Gorp (6’10 C, 2023)
Munro is the best uncommitted senior in the state and primed for a big year for New Trier. He is an excellent passer with range to the three-point line and a refined post game. Van Gorp is more of a long-term prospect that has a promising set of tools with his size and agility. As the game slows down for him and he continues to add strength, he should be able to show his face-up ability more.
Kyle Thomas (6’10 C, 2022), Luke Tarnow (6’10 C, Benet), Parker Sulaver (6’6 PF, 2024)
Former St. Joe’s star Thomas is an above-the-rim finisher that swats shots at a high rate. He is a perfect backline defender for what is always one of the most disciplined teams in the state. Thomas has a ton of talent and can dominate a game when he is fully engaged. Tarnow is another 6-foot-10 big that provides rebounding and length on the interior. Keep an eye on Sulaver, a 6-foot-6 stretch four that has a solid all-around game and good feel. He should take a big step after playing on varsity as a freshman.
Ethan Ivan (6’7 SF/PF, 2022), Austin Ambrose (6’9 PF, 2022)
The duo of Wisconsin-Parkside signees plays well with eachother. Ivan returns as the top scorer for Batavia, able to get it done in a number of ways on the offensive end. Ambrose provides a little bit more size, but he is also a capable shooter with a finesse game at 6-foot-9. They can work the high-low game and get out in transition.
Kolby Gilles (6’6 SF, 2022), Jackson Kotecki (6’9 PF, 2023)
Gilles is built like a linebacker, but the Air Force commit is a force on the court. Since the spring, he has looked more confident using his body and expanding his game. He can play in the post or out on the perimeter effectively. Kotecki is going to open some eyes this season with his athleticism, floor spacing ability, and improved body. He should have his share of offers by this time next year.
Peoria Notre Dame
Colin Schuler (6’8 PF, 2022), Cooper Koch (6’8 SF, 2024)
It’s Schuler’s time to lead the post players after a few years as a nice complementary piece. He looked good playing for MidPro in the summer and possesses the length and mobility that D2 programs will covet. Koch is a difference maker on both ends. He is a solid positional defender that defends in space or in the post. Offensively, he has caught the attention of high-major programs around the country with his natural feel, ranginess, and perimeter skills.
Miles Rubin (6’8 PF, 2023), Wes Rubin (6’8 PF, 2023), Lance Rodgers (6’6 PF, 2022), Steven Turner (6’8 C, 2023)
The Rubin twins are welcome additions to a new-look Simeon team. Both bring high-level energy and activity that leads to putbaks, blocked shots, and outrunning defenders. Rodgers is another athletic forward that gives Simeon depth and defense. The big body of the group is Turner, a bruising center with a developing low-post game. He is a space eater that has very long arms and shot-blocking instincts.
Chase Bonder (6’7 PF, 2022), Cole Bonder (6’5 PF, 2023)
Chase will be one of the top forwards in the area once again. He is an improved isolation player that will be able to go coast to coast, spot-up, or demand the ball in the post. Cole is a matchup problem with his ability to handle the ball and pass on the move with his strong frame. When he gets defenders on his back, he is tough to cover when going over his right shoulder and he’s a threat to knock down threes as well.
Marcus Glover (6’7 PF, 2022), Matt Moore (6’7 PF, 2023)
Glover is a rim-running four man that loves to crash the glass. He will be a nice college player that can play a role. Moore is starting to put it all together, looking like a serious scholarship prospect. Long, bouncy, and hard-working, Moore should be a high-volume shot blocker this season. The potential is evident.