Week 1 Notebook (Players of the Week, 5 Things I Like, Stock Risers)

Players of the Week:

Jaden Schutt (6’5 SG, Yorkville Christian 2022)

Schutt dominated at the Washington tournament averaging 28.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists. The Duke recruit was hitting tough shots off the bounce and reminding people of what type of athlete he is with a couple of impressive dunks.

Ahmad Hendedson (5’11 PG, Brother Rice 2023)

Making an early case for the best point guard in Chicago, Henderson put together a number of impressive games for BR. In a tight battle with OPRF, Henderson had 33 points, 10 assists, and three steals. He continues to prove why so many Division 1 programs have shown interest.

Jackson Munro (6’9 PF, New Trier 2022)

After a breakout junior year, the Dartmouth recruit looks ready for another jump. He is a high-IQ defensive anchor and a serious high-post weapon for New Trier. He went off for 19 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks in the championship game before being named MVP.

Matthew Volkening (6’6 SG, Marengo 2022)

With games of 27, 33, and 34, Volkening is off to a blistering start for Marengo. He is able to score in a variety of ways with his size and shooting range. Volkening is also a valued shot blocker that rebounded in bulk during the week. He is one of the best versatile shooters available and should have more weeks like this.

Ty Rodgers (6’7 SF, Thornton 2022)

With a triple-double and another near one, the Illinois commit started his Thornton career with a bang. He’s also as versatile and elite defensively as any wing in the state. Rodgers is going to be a feared sight going forward.

Nick Martinelli (6’7 SG/SF, Glenbrook South)

A true threat to play one through five, Martinelli won Tournament MVP at Palatine with his usual array of efficient, volume scoring. He had 26 points in the title game and projects as a 25-plus point per game scorer this year. Elon is getting a difference maker.

Justin Mullins (6’5 SG, Oak Park-River Forest 2022)

Mullins had a 38-point outburst and then had 42 points and 13 rebounds a few nights later. With an expanded role and confidence that carried over from a strong summer, the Denver commit has OPRF headed in the right direction.

Conrad Luczynski (7’2 C, Bartlett 2022)

Lucyzinski flirted with a quadruple-double in the first game with 18 points, 20 rebounds, eight assists, and nine blocks. He later had a 33 point game in the tournament and impressed with his passing feel and positioning. Luczynski is not only the best 7-footee in the state, but he is the top big without an official offer. I wouldn’t expect that to be the case for much longer.

Robbie Avila (6’9 PF, Oak Forest 2022)

Avila is often overlooked among the top players in the senior class. His 40-point, 11 rebound season opener was a nice start. He was the top performer at the tournament and led Oak Forest throughout.

Marquel Saleek (6’1 PG, Willowbrook)

Saleek had a huge triple-double with 29 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists. He controlled everything for Willowbrook and led them during the week. Winning MVP of the St. Charles East tournament, he averaged 27 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists.

Stock Risers:

It’s still early, but the first few games allowed some players to show improvements that should elevate their projection for the next level.

Garrett Bolte (6’7 PF, Hinsdale South 2022)

Bolte averaged 22 points and 10 rebounds over the week. He’s showing the ability to create in isolation situations either out of the mid-post or from the perimeter. His jump shot is more fluid as well. He is a rock solid D2 prospect at this point.

Paxton Warden (6’4 SG, Glenbard West 2022)

Warden is stronger, taller, and noticeably more springy. He had 22 points early in the week and is easily elevating above the rim. I still think he has the two-way package to be a Division-2 3-and-D guard.

Ryan Cohen (6’4 SG, Glenbrook North 2023)

A well-built guard with a nice outside stroke, Cohen has the look of a seasoned bucket getter. He went a perfect 7-of-7 from three in a 31-point game. The size, feel, and three-level scoring potential are worth tracking.

Conrad Luczynski (7’2 C, Bartlett 2022)

Marquel Saleek (6’1 PG, Willowbrook 2022)

Gavin Sarvis (6’3 SG, Burlington Central 2022)

An honorable mention All-State selection as a junior, Sarvis has added a consistent three-point shot to his game. He has next-level athleticism with an uncanny ability to finish from tough angles. Defenders now have to pay for giving him cushion. He could be a high-level D3 player, but the shooting progress could give him more Division 2 appeal.

Michael Morawski (6’5 SF, Andrew 2022)

Morawski, an athletic, lanky wing, ignited a high-powered attack for Andrew. With multiple 20-point double-doubles, highlighted by a 28 point, 10 rebound, six assist, and six steal performance, Morawski offered an early glimpse at a breakout year.

Lane McVicar (6’5 PG/SG, DeKalb)

McVicar is on a tear to start the year with a couple of 30-point performances. He’s a polished mid-range scorer that is adept at making plays for himself and others. DeKalb has a tough schedule that should get more eyes on him. He’s a definite scholarship player that has Division 1 upside.

Alex Krejci (6’2 SG, Somonauk 2022)

Krejci is a bit of a hidden gem out in Somonauk. He has a college-ready build with good upper body strength to go along with a proficient perimeter game. With over 26 points a game so far, he looks the part of an impact Division 3 player. His high GPA will open up options as well. Coaches who see him will be fans of how hard he plays as well.

Mike Vuckovic (6’0 PG, Hoffman Estates)

In each game, Vuckovic scored 20-plus points. His offensive game is effortless due to his skill. Layups, pull-ups, catch-and-shoot, it doesn’t matter. Vuckovic knows how to fill it up and his lack of superior size is the primary reason he doesn’t have more looks. He’s the real deal as a scoring point guard for D3 programs.

Mantas Zilys (6’5 SG, Naperville Central 2023)

Zilys has the length and toughness that you look for in a scholarship wing. He also has the dynamic two-way upside that helps. The 6-foot-5 two-guard was around 25 points a game using a slick handle, reliable shooting, and footwork to score. He has the floor of a D2 prospect.

5 Things I Liked:

  1. Loyola’s Charge Chain

The Ramblers have a hard-hat/lunch pail style that is evident. The Charge Chain that is given to the players with the most charges each game is a fun touch for the hard-nosed group.

Johnny Daguinsin and Connor Casper controlled the chains this week. Both players, along with junior point guard Alex Engro, made the All-Tournament team by displaying that grit on a consistent basis. Expect more grind-it-out games from LA this year.

  1. Fearless Freshmen
    What a week for freshmen making their varsity debuts. St. Rita’s Melvin Bell had a 33-point game, star point guard Jeremiah Fears had a few double-digit outputs for Joliet West, and Mundelein’s Derek Bishop scored 17 in his debut.

Yasir Irby had a game-winner for Evanston, Reid Olsen drew rave reviews for Niles North, and St. Viator guards Josiah Calvin and Joey Hernandez made their presence felt on both ends.

  1. Glenbard West’s Stingy Defense

With the size of a high-major college program and discipline throughout the lineup, Glenbard West showcased a dangerous defense. There isn’t an weak spot in their starting lineup to attack and if you beat 6-foot-6, you have 6’7, 6’8, and 6’11 waiting for you.

The activity, athleticism, and trust really amplifies the Hiltoppers on that end. This is exactly what we saw in the summer as impressive offensive teams struggled to get a clean look against GBW.

  1. Power Dunks
Video: ASAP Hoops – Matthew Moore (Hillcrest) with a poster dunk
Video: @NewTrierBBB – Karlo Colak with the baseline dunk
Video: @NathanBoldt3 – Nate Boldt (Barrington) finishes an alley-oop

5. The Season Is Back!

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