I was at the NY2LA Sports Swish N’ Dish tournament in Milwaukee this weekend to kick off the AAU season. There were a number of Illinois teams that I wasn’t able to see at this event, but here are the standouts from some of the teams that I was able to check out for 17U, 16U, and 15U.
Brayden Fagbemi (5’10 PG, Benet 2023)
Fagbemi was the go-to scorer and playmaker for the Attack. He was breaking down defenders, orchestrating the offense, and creating his own shot when they needed a bucket. Fagbemi has grown a bit, but he’s still very deceptive and crafty off the dribble. The Attack were down a few key players, so his three-point shooting and ability to knock down runners in the lane became crucial. Fagbemi should be a high-academic Division 3 point guard target.
Ryan Johnson (6’6 SG, Oswego East 2023)
In a larger offensive role than he had at Oswego East, Johnson looked good handling the ball and using his body to get to his spots. Johnson wasn’t hitting perimeter shots at the rate he normally does, but he has such a fluid shot from three that plays well with his size. The 6-foot-6 wing was effective on the glass and defensively, protecting the rim as the biggest Attack player and using his feet and length well on the perimeter. Johnson has the look of a solid 3-and-D prospect that should see exponential growth playing AAU.
Ethan Andre (6’1 PG, Belvidere North 2023)
I hadn’t seen Andre in person prior to this weekend, but he can really stroke it from three. He connected on multiple long-range shots and handled pressure well. Andre has a bit of shiftiness that helped him collapse the defense to set up teammates. Eventually, defenders started staying attached to him off the ball, but he still found ways to get the ball back. Andre made a great first impression.
Trevon Roots (6’6 PF, Marmion 2023)
Roots stayed at or above the rim with his rebounds, blocks, and dunks. There was never a dull moment with how hard he played on both ends. Roots elevates very well in the paint, with a quick first and second jump that leads to blocks that you wouldn’t expect a 6-foot-6 player to make. He tried to throw down a number of dunks and had putbacks in traffic. Roots is an excellent interior defender that should get plenty of looks from coaches in need of a rim protector and rim runner.
Bryce Coleman (6’5 SF, Notre Dame College Prep 2023)
Coleman hunted for mid-range shots early and often, working from the triple threat and using jabs to get defenders off balance. Playing on an undersized team, Coleman also welcomed the role of being a rebounder and interior presence. Once a highly-regarded underclassmen, Coleman looks to have found his game and comfort zone on the offensive end. He is still a scholarship-level prospect that projects as a mid-range/mid-post scorer at the next level.
Collin Wainscott (6’0 PG, Marmion 2023)
Some players just seem to have the ball on a string. Wainscott is one of those kids. He kept his dribble alive, surveyed the floor and delivered accurate passes against ball pressure, and was getting defenders off balance with his ability to start and stop. Wainscott wasn’t only distributing though, making threes and scoring off stop-and-pop jumpers as well. He is able to go on personal scoring runs with how proficient he is as an outside shooter and it’s difficult to get the ball out of his hands. Wainscott is going to give some program another coach on the floor.
Brock Harding (6’0 PG, Moline 2023)
For anyone still questioning how good Harding is, this weekend should have made it a big clearer. He was one of the best floor generals that I saw, probing the lane, staying on balance, and either whipping a pass to a teammate or finding a scoring angle that didn’t seem to exist at the time. Harding was on fire from three as well, running off screens and capitalizing on sagging defenders. Even at 6-foot, Harding has more than enough speed and athleticism (as he showed on a fastbreak dunk with a trailing defender) to make plays against elite competition. It’s starting to look like mid-major is the floor for him.
Owen Freeman (6’10 C, Bradley Bourbonnais 2023)
The Iowa commit was having his way all weekend. Freeman is a legit 6-foot-10 and used every bit of his frame to fight for positioning, catch the ball where he wanted, and score over either shoulder. He used baseline spin moves, hook shots, and drop steps to maneuver in the lane. His mobility when diving to the front of the rim off of ball screens was great to see as well, moving with a sense of urgency but still being in complete control of what he was trying to accomplish. Freeman had countless dunks, rebounds, and blocked shots that reminded spectators why he will be a Big 10 center. Freeman is the state’s best big in the 2023 class.
Ty Pence (6’6 SG, St. Joseph Ogden 2023)
Pence was on a scoring tear from all three tiers. His shooting range extended to the NBA line, showing no strain on a couple of bombs. Off ball movement allowed him to get free on a few occasions, but his threat as a downhill driver was important as well. Pence took flight numerous times once he got a step on defenders, going up with bad intentions. His short jumpers were falling as well. What Pence doesn’t often get credit for is how he uses his length to affect the game on the defensive end. I wouldn’t call him a lockdown defender at this stage, but he does a nice job baiting players into passes and recovers well. Pence brings a lot to the table and looks well-equipped to pull in some more high-major offers.
Danny Stephens (6’7 SF, Augusta Southeastern 2023)
Stephens was rock solid and versatile as usual. He scored when his number was called and used his size to see over defenders for high lows. With the size of the starting lineup, Stephens frequently had mismatches that allowed him to crash the offensive glass or dribble it deep before shooting over the top. Stephens was impactful as a help defender, coming over to block some shots and getting deflections. And that’s without mentioning how comfortable he is spreading the floor. He is often overlooked, but Stephens is going to have his share of Division 1 looks as both a wing and potential stretch four.
Ethan Kizer (6’7 SF, Metamora 2023)
Another Division-1 caliber player for MidPro, Kizer was a lob threat, transition finisher, and slasher more so than anything else this weekend. Even athletic wings were getting jumped over when Kizer had a runway to takeoff. His bounce is easy and showed up on the defensive end when he needed to rebound in traffic or alter shots at the rim. He’s more than a high-jumper, displaying his knockdown catch-and-shoot three-point ability as well.
Zack Hawkinson (6’5 SF, Sacred Heart Griffin 2023)
Hawkinson does so many little things at a high level. He came into the games bringing energy and a defensive focus, applying pressure on some of the better forwards that they faced. Even though he’s 6-foot-5, Hawkinson was able to play bigger with his physicality. Offensively, he caught a body and sealed well when he had defenders on his back. He was also a reliable decision maker for MidPro. Hawkinson has Division 2 offers already, but he is definitely a scholarship-level forward.
Miles Rubin (6’9 PF, Simeon 2023)
Constantly trying to protect the rim, Rubin’s long arms were a problem for any opponents trying to score in the paint. He blocked some, but made players think twice before going up with any shots in his areas. Rubin is so agile at 6-foot-9 and seems to get stronger and taller every few months. Teammates were able to just throw the ball around the rim and he would go up and get it to finish. He was equally as effective getting second chances. Rubin’s projectable body, activity, and promising big skills make him a mid-major target.
Rich Barron (6’5 SG, St. Ignatius 2023)
Barron leaned on his shooting ability to score this weekend. When playing off the ball, he spaced out looking to get catch-and-shoot opportunities off of penetration where he is a reliable option. Not a bad threat for a player of his size. Barron didn’t do a ton of one-on-one creating, but he has a tight enough handle to play around with it a bit. The 6-foot-5 two-guard will have a chance to pull in some more interest at the live period next week.
Dalen Davis (6’0 PG, Whitney Young 2023)
Davis is just smart. The way he read defenses and stayed within himself is what made him so impactful. Davis got his teammates where they needed to be and got them the ball in spots where they could make plays. And that wasn’t at the expense of his own offense. Davis shot pull-ups off of pick-and-rolls and held off defenders before getting into the lane to score. Davis is one of the premier 2023 point guard in Illinois.
Darrin Ames (6’1 PG, Kenwood 2023)
Ames was putting on a show with his handle and offensive arsenal. Incredibly skilled as a shot creator, Ames had a couple of moves that took defenders completely out of the picture. To top it off, his shot making is about as good as his shot taking. The lefty hit a barrage of jumpers from around the floor and dropped in some shots from 10 feet and in when he turned the corner. He is definitely one of the more dynamic guards in the entire Midwest.
Will Grudzinski (6’6 SG, Barrington 2022)
A Wash U commit coming off a great postseason run, Grudzinski picked right up where he left off hitting long threes and attacking closeouts. His ability to shoot the ball on the move makes him a matchup problem at 6-foot-6. Grudzinski sprayed in jumpers but got the ball up on the glass quickly on his drives too. He is a solid athlete and quality defender as he showed, rarely getting beat on initial moves. Grudzinski gave the Fire a much-needed scoring option.
Davius Loury (6’7 PF, Kenwood 2023)
If someone asks what Loury is able to do, the answer should be yes. The versatile forward looked like he was playing free on the perimeter when he could work in dribble handoffs or space the floor. Loury is a decent athlete, but his skill level was what made him successful this weekend. Particularly when he had bigs on him who couldn’t stay in front or didn’t want to chase him off the line. Loury has a number of Power 5 offers and may be in for additional suitors in the next month.
Jeremy Harrington (6’5 PF, Curie 2023)
Harrington was able to thrive as both a bruiser and shooting, connecting on multiple threes and rebounding well. At a thick 6-foot-5, Harrington was able to be a strong presence around the rim against taller post players, as he did while at Curie. But his shooting stroke looked terrific, which should help expand his college options as a potential undersized stretch four.
Sherod Dent (6’6 SF, Notre Dame College Prep 2023)
Dent is a scorer. And that’s what he did. When he got the ball rotated his way, he was looking to shoot it right away or put it on the ground. Both worked at times, utilizing his wide body to bump smaller defenders off of him before shooting short pull-ups. Dent also made some threes off the bounce and drew fouls on his drives. Another strong-bodied forward, Dent will be looked at as a potential hybrid four.
Michael Ratliff (6’0 PG, Simeon 2023)
A defensive point guard is always valued, especially when they bring the toughness that Ratliff has. There wasn’t a moment when he wasn’t trying to turn over ball-handlers and make their lives tough. Offensively, Ratliff changed speeds well and has wide shoulders that created space when he leaned in on penetration. Ratliff will be one of the top options at Simeon next year, but should come back in the fall with some college interest to boot.
Bobby Durkin (6’7 SG, Glenbard West 2022)
Bobby Buckets, Big Shot Bob, whatever other nickname you want to give him probably fit after his performance this weekend. Durkin controlled games and scored the ball about as well as any of the in-state players at the event. And it wasn’t just the point totals, it was the advanced way he got them. He got his feet set early so that any sliver of space led to three points, made pull-up jumpers after creating space with crossovers, and used his body and length to finish with extension near the rim. Add in the way he handled pressure, facilitated and dealt with schemes and it’s easy to see why Durkin is the top uncommitted senior in Illinois. He should have an eventful weekend coming up.
Nik Polonowski (6’7 SG, Lyons 2023)
Polonowski has taken his game to another level and it showed this weekend. He has a textbook jump shot and hit multiple threes in every game, shooting with confidence, range, and consistency. Polonowski’s ball skills looked tighter, able to get to his second and third move against defenders before exploding to the rim where he made a number of inside hand finishes. As good of a scorer as he is, the other stuff sets him apart. The way he led vocally, guarded with energy, and showed a willingness to make the right play as a passer translate to the next level. Polonowski is going to blow up in the next month.
Drew Scharnowski (6’8 SG, Burlington Central 2023)
Another wing with size for Breakaway, Scharnowski had a coming out party. At 6-foot-8, he was a menace on the defensive end as a shot blocker and rebounder. His lateral quickness and agility were also on display when he was showing on ball screens and recovering back to bigs in the lane. But Scharnowski’s offensive versatility caught so much attention. He made several threes in multiple games off the catch, attacked in space from the wing and mid-post, and showed good feel scoring off of post touches. Scharnowski is starting to realize his potential and should draw some eyes in Indy.
DJ Douglas (6’4 SG, Yorkville Christian 2023)
Douglas is a really good guard that doesn’t get the pub that he should. He shot the ball very well, even on tougher shots from distance with a hand up. Douglas has a quick trigger and always seems to be on balance. His shooting is his strength, but Douglas put the ball on the floor well and showed good body control on some layups around the lane. I like his defensive toughness as well, using his length well. I wouldn’t be shocked is Douglas hears from some scholarship programs before the AAU season is over.
Cam Christie (6’6 SG, Rolling Meadows 2023)
Christie was one of the most impressive players at the event, regardless of class or state. You can’t teach some of the shot-making that he showed throughout the weekend. Tough pull-ups falling away from the basket, transition threes off the bounce, and contact drives against length and athleticism. All shots that are a high level of difficulty but looked routine for Christie. He has become a lethal three-point shooter while still having that middle game that is difficult to stop at 6-foot-6. When games started to get away from them, Christie turned it on and took over. Expect to see courts packed with coaches next weekend to check him out in person.
Asa Thomas (6’7 SG, Lake Forest 2023)
Overall, Thomas struggled to find his rhythm offensively. He hit some threes and got good looks for the most part, but he didn’t get going like he normally does. Still, his evolution into an all-around player was evident. He found other ways to make a difference, rebounding effectively when the smaller lineup was in, drawing attention and finding teammates, and working to use his length on the defensive end. Thomas is an ideal big shooter that has multiple high-major offers for a reason.
Ryan Cohen (6’3 SG, Glenbrook North 2023)
Of all of the Illinois players, Cohen was one of the breakout stars. Even though he’s been terrific for Glenbrook North for a few years, he hadn’t been seen as much on a bigger stage. But he looked more than prepared. Cohen was lighting it up from three, making catch-and-shoot opportunities look easy. He has such a quick release and gets square quickly off of movement. Cohen is one of the top scoring options on the Wolves but also has a strong base and good upper body strength to get downhill when needed. After his showing this weekend, Cohen should have Division 2 schools in the hunt sooner rather than later.
Conrad Luczynski (7’3 C, Bartlett 2022)
It took Luczynski some time to adjust to playing against some of the high-caliber bigs at the tournament, but by today, he was looking like the imposing center that can change a game. The Wolves fed him on the block and he was backing down with purpose before choosing a shoulder to go over. His touch is promising, making hooks and push shots around the rim. He rebounded in volume all weekend, high pointing balls and throwing outlets. Luczynski’s passing still might be his best trait, with 4-out-1-in looks leading to open threes everywhere. He has the upside to warrant Division 1 looks. We will see if coaches realize that next weekend.
Sonny Williams (6’0 PG, Notre Dame College Prep)
Williams had a decent floor game running the offense and making shots when he had them. He played with a ton of energy on both ends, taking pride in harassing ball-handlers and fighting for loose balls and rebounds. Williams hit some threes, including a stepback, and drove it hard to the paint before finding open shooters. He was the most consistent play initiator, even against some tight ball pressure, getting the Wolves into their stuff. Williams is a natural floor general that is able to score, defend, and playmake.
Eoin Dillon (6’8 PF, Peoria Notre Dame 2024)
Dillon looked every bit like a long-term scholarship-level player. He’s 6-foot-8, showed his three-point range, had touch on hooks and push shots, and ran the floor like a wing. The skill level is there and he looked a lot more assertive putting the ball on the floor and rebounding than he was on an experienced PND team during the high school season. Dillon should be closely tracked and could be the next highly-regarded MidPro prospect.
Luke Hopp (6’5 SF, Metamora 2024)
Hopp showed some versatility for a bigger wing, shooting the ball well, rebounding, and running the floor. One of many taller, multi-faceted players for Metamora, Hopp was crashing hard and stepped out to fill it up from the perimeter when the opportunities were there. Hopp looks like he can be a reliable, steadying player that can play multiple roles.
Camden Brown (6’4 SG, Quincy 2024)
Freshly back from a knee injury, Brown didn’t look like he had missed the high school season. Brown has a compact shooting form and seems to glide on the court when he has the ball. At 6-foot-4 with long arms, Brown is a matchup problem that can score or create off the bounce for others. His impact should grow exponentially as he gets back into full game shape.
Morez Johnson (6’9 PF, St. Rita 2024)
Johnson is somehow more powerful and skilled than he was just a month ago when the high school year ended. It was like he set out to tear the rims down, attacking the paint with bad intentions all weekend. Johnson was causing problems from 15-feet and in, initiating the break, and altering or blocking any shot in his area. The Illinois commit is one of the premier fours in the Midwest and that shouldn’t change any time soon.
Nojus Indrusaitis (6’5 SG, Lemont 2024)
I don’t know if I’ve seen a game where Indrusaitis is lacking in the motor department. There was no letup in his game, excelling as a defender and scorer regardless of the game score. Indrusaitis did most of his work off the dribble, probing into the lane or completing strong straight-line drives. His body control in traffic and smoothness one his jump shot are a rare combination. But above all, he didn’t take plays off and continued to get downhill, look to make plays in space, and lock up defensively. Nojus is the best sophomore guard in the state.
Carlos Harris (6’2 SG, Curie 2024)
Harris was picking his spots in some of the games this weekend, running out in transition and finding his way into the lane in crafty ways. The strength that he showed on initial contact when he penetrated allowed him to stay on his path. Harris is another gifted Meanstreets player that will have a chance to play at the Division 1 level.
Luke Williams (6’1 PG, Naperville North 2024)
There were a lot of offensive standouts at this tournament. Williams was a defensive standout with how well he utilized his wingspan and quickness to create havoc. With that being said, he was also solid on the other end, moving the ball, knifing into the lane, and making the right play when he had the ball. Williams is an all-around guard who has worlds of potential.
Will Gonzales (6’5 SG, Riverside Brookfield 2024)
Gonzales is a high-potential two-guard. He has a crisp shot and got to the rim well in straight lines. Gonzales is a player that just moves fluidly and has a handle that allows him to get to his spot in a few dribbles. As he gets more consistent, he has the game and two-way upside to be a problem.
Malachi Johnson (6’2 SG, Rockford Guilford 2024)
Another Meanstreets guard that is coming off of a big sophomore season, Johnson made the most of his time by showing a mid-range game and some athletic ability in the open court to finish run outs. Look for Johnson to continue to grow physically and impact games with his scoring.
Jaheem Webber (6’9 C, Normal 2024)
Webber was an absolute load, getting deep seals and turning those touches into dunks, free throws, and easy layups. Blessed with serious size and strength, Webber used his wide frame to burry defenders under the rim. He had a couple of monster dunks in traffic off of dump off passes and really affected the game with his verticality on defense as well. Webber is emerging as one of the top centers in the sophomore class.
Angelo Ciaravino (6’6 SG, Mount Carmel 2024)
Coming off of a breakout sophomore year, Ciaravino looked in full control. His anticipation and lateral quickness defensively stood out, blocking the vision of offensive players and forcing them into poor decisions. He did a great job of turning turnovers and missed shots into two points in transition, often using his long strides to outpace the help. He had a nice dunk and displayed his half court skill as well, crossing up a defender before hitting a three and knocking in a few other jumpers. Ciaravino should be on the call-list for coaches this summer.
Cole Certa (6’3 SG, Bloomington Central Catholic 2024)
Certa is a certified bucket at this point. He was pouring in threes the first couple of days, but erupted for a 40-point performance today on seven makes from beyond the arc. There was little hesitation all weekend when he had space, catching looking to shoot or make a quick one or two dribble decision. Certa made threes off of movement nicely and got some looks in the paint once he was forced to look to drive. One of the best shooters in the class during the school year, Certa looks ready to test his explosive scoring ability against more top competition.
Kelton McEwen (6’0 PG, Bartlett 2024)
Known as a knockdown three-point shooter, McEwen was very active inside of the arc with his pull-up game and finishing ability. When threes weren’t falling, he dribbled into rhythm 15-foot jumpers and connected on some tough leaners in the mid-range area. Bartlett’s point guard also was effective at attacking angles to the rim and using his body to shield off defenders, finish plays, or get to the foul line. McEwen showed that he’s a lot more than a straight shooter.
Jehvion Starwood (6’3 SG, Yorkville Christian 2024)
Starwood put on a show around the rim, contorting his body and absorbing contact to find ways to finish at or above the rim. He had a nasty dunk earlier today and converted on some and-ones after breaking down defenders. Slashing is what he excels at offensively, but we shouldn’t overlook how much upside he has as a shutdown defender. Starwood has length and athleticism that he used well to make plays on that end. He continues to get better.
Jaylan McElroy (6’6 SF, DePaul College Prep 2024)
McElroy didn’t need to put up a ton of shots to show that he is a promising long-term prospect. His ranginess and anticipation on the defensive end was a few levels ahead of everyone else on the court. On top of that, he was relentless fighting through screens, sprinting back in transition, and contesting shots. McElroy flashed his bounce in transition a few times and ripped through from the wing to get to the rack well. There is a lot of talent here, but I think McElroy’s intangibles will really set him ahead of the back.
Jack Stanton (6’1 PG, Downers Grove North 2024)
When Breakaway needed a play made, Stanton stepped up. He didn’t force anything, but the 6-foot-1 point guard was getting to the lane and scoring amongst the trees. Stanton used his body control to complete plays through contact, taking direct bumps from defenders a number of times. The quick bursts to the rim were nice to see from a player who is such an efficient outside shooter. Stanton’s athleticism and competitiveness showed up on the defensive end, taking a charge and turning ball-handlers in the half court. Stanton just knows how to play.
Connor May (6’6 SF, Palatine 2024)
May had some promising stretches from the perimeter. In pick-and-pop situations, he slipped a screen and hit a three then made a short corner shot on a similar action. When he came off away screens or caught it on a kickout, the Palatine product was making the defense pay. It’s a nice option for Breakaway to have at 6-foot-6, able to score on cuts as he showed or space the defense.
Jake Riemer (6’7 PF, Downers Grove North 2024)
I think a lot of opposing teams would be in trouble if Riemer stayed in attack mode all game. There were a few possessions when he took defenders to the block, had a strong leg whip to clear them out, and just caught it and scored. He’s got the power, athleticism, and skill to do that at a high volume. Riemer was working hard on the glass to get his team extra possessions, set some solid screens in space, and stepped over to contest any shots around rim. He had a dunk and some putbacks as well. Riemer continues to flash a ton of upside and has the tools to dominate games.
Ryan Cox (6’3 SG, Fremd 2024)
The lefty shooter made the most of his opportunities. His one-motion form comes out well and even looks good when he missed. Cox finished off a drive as well when he was able to extend the defense. As the spring goes on, expect for more multi-three performances from the Fremd shooter.
Talen Pearson (6’5 SG, Nazareth 2024)
Pearson didn’t score a ton, but the way he defended, ran the floor, and moved in the flow of the offense said enough. With a long, projectable 6-foot-5 frame, Pearson showed defensive versatility when switched onto bigs or guarding in space. He also has a promising outside shot that he made at a good clip at Naz this year and delivered on this weekend. I can tell that Pearson has ability worth keeping tabs on.
Emmanuel Mosley (5’10 PG, St. Laurence 2025)
Mosley was on fire. He has a smooth jumper and a clean release that was falling in volume off the catch. Mosley looks to be still growing and has solid length for a combo guard that allowed him to get shots up in the paint after making crafty moves to get downhill. One of multiple talented Laurence guards on this team, Mosley was a standout freshman against quality competition.
Khalil Jones (5’10 PG, St. Laurence 2025)
Jones made plays off of the dribble and used his speed to collapse the defense on a regular basis. The lead guard wasn’t afraid to finish in traffic and showed good body control on his drives. Following a solid freshman season up on varsity, Jones looked in control.
Jacob Rice (6’3 SG, St. Laurence 2025)
Another St. Laurence freshman, Rice’s size and strength at his age stood out. He wasn’t overwhelming defenders with athleticism, but his understanding of angles and ability to score off of cuts, straight line drives, and jumpers was noteworthy.
Terrence Smith (6’4 SG, West Aurora 2025)
Smith has the makings of a special player. His easy athleticism and finishing instincts led to buckets in and around the paint. He has long strides and keeps the ball low on penetration before exploding up to finish. Smith showed that he can take over a game with or without the ball. I was impressed with his defensive upside, getting in passing lanes and shutting off dribble penetration with his length and quickness. He also possesses a nice jump shot that should continue to progress. Smith proved without a doubt that he is one of the top freshmen in Illinois.
Nate Marshall (6’4 PF, Fenwick 2025)
A power four man with some touch, Marshall had a good showing. He looks like he is still growing and has that inside-out game that is coveted for forwards. Marshall has a very strong build that aided him with his physical play style in the paint. I would expect for him to see a decent role for Fenwick next season.
Mac Irvin Fire
Bryce Heard (6’5 SG, Kenwood 2025)
There were times when the game seemed too easy for Heard. He moves so well with the ball and has figured out how to hit those short pull-ups and leaners on his downhill drives. At 6-foot-5, Heard’s athleticism was among the best of any freshmen at the tournament. Dunks came frequently and he seemed to float over defenders when he got to the mid-range. Heard was able to make quick, decisive moves, or size up with his handle to create space. A number of high-major schools have already offered the promising freshman.
Robert Walls (6’1 PG, Kenwood 2025)
Walls controlled the tempo and showcased terrific ball-handling ability this weekend. Even when he isn’t looking for his shot, he managed to set up teammates and apply pressure. Walls hit a three and adjusted his body to find different ways to finish.
Stefan Cicic (6’10 C, Notre Dame College Prep 2024)
Cicic’s size brought people into the gym, but his skill kept them there. He exposed some mismatches on the block with hook shots in the lane but was effective spacing the floor as well and popping off ball screens. He has a solid body that gave him an edge on the glass, on the block, and as a screener. That may ultimately be his bread and butter with his perimeter game acting as an added bonus.
Aleks Alston (6’7 SF, Kenwood 2025)
Outside shooting was the standout trait from Alston, especially given his size for a freshman. It’s a clean stroke that he brought out well past the three-point line. He was really good as a catch-and-shoot option, but looked capable of shooting off of pindowns with how well he gets his feet set.
Ian Miletic (6’5 SG, Rolling Meadows 2025)
A projectable lefty that brings a lot of skill to the table, Miletic got out in transition and cuts to open space to create scoring opportunities for himself. He handled the ball nicely and showed a herky-jerky pace that fits with his size well. Miletic is still just scratching the surface.
Trey McKenney (6’4 SG, Orchard Lake St. Mary’s [MI])
McKenney has some terrific physical gifts and an attacking mentality that made him a nightmare for opposing teams this weekend. He was living on downhill drives, where he effectively beat help defenders with eurosteps, hop steps, and contact layups. When games got tight, he was willing to take the big shots from the perimeter. Defensively, his physicality and activity frustrated ball-handlers and led to turnovers. McKenney dominated at times and should only become more lethal as his jumper improves.
Antonio Munoz (6’5 SF, Whitney Young 2025)
Munoz is the prototypical slasher. His agility and change of direction on his finishes created numerous opportunities around the rim. He threw done dunks in transition and outran other wings and bigs to get easy looks. Overall, Munoz has a good all-around game, from solid defensive instincts, to rebounding prowess, to unselfishness as a passer. There is a lot to like about his game.
Melvin Bell (6’3 SG, St. Rita 2025)
Above all else, Bell’s pace of play for a player as athletic as he is was great to see. He was able to blow by defenders, but picked his spots and made two foot decisions when he did drive. Whether it was his floater or a controlled pull-up, Bell made great decisions with the ball. With that being said, we still saw some of the showtime dunks and athleticism at the rim that have so many Division 1 coaches intrigued with his future.
Anestis Hadjistamoulou (5’11 PG, Glenbrook South 2025)
Anestis came into games and made an immediate impact as a floor general. He scored in the mid-range off off one-dribble pull-ups, snatchback moves, and off of ball screens. The Glenbrook South guard also facilitated well and was noticeably one of the best communicators on the floor on both ends. He has the physicality, athleticism, and creativity to be a nice sparkplug for this Meanstreets team.
Yaris Irby (5’8 PG, Evanston 2025)
Irby played with a lot more scoring aggression than he did at Evanston. The 5-foot-8 guard was driving looking to finish plays, rather than to be a playmaker. That led to some double clutch, crafty finishes around length. Irby hounded ball-handlers and took them out of rhythm regularly. As he gets older, his pitbull mentality will pay even more dividends.
Luca Carbonaro (6’0 PG, Wheaton Warrenville South 2025)
Carbonaro was terrific at creating his own shot from three levels. He got to his spots off of the dribble and scored from the elbows, baseline, and the three-point line. Carbonaro flashed plenty of ability as an isolation scorer and was effective at making tough shots when the offense stalled.
Seth Cheney (5’11 SG, Providence Catholic 2025)
Another scorer for Mercury Elite’s 15U team, Cheney made a couple of deep threes and worked to get his shot in space. With solid strength and handle at his size, Cheney can bump defenders and get a little bit of room before firing shots. He is going to be an impact player for Providence for years to come.
Dom Seaney (6’5 SF, Glenbard West 2025)
Seaney is a big, smooth wing that has showed the ability to play through contact and hit mid-range shots. His pull-up jumper is difficult to contest at 6-foot-5 and he has enough shake off the dribble right now to get to his spots. Seaney has a solid frame that should fill out well and allow him to get to the foul line even more. He has good upside for a freshman.
Jack Weigus (6’0 PG, Hinsdale South 2025)
Weigus plays off of his three-point shooting ability. He hit a handful of triples in one of the games in the flow of the offense. Weigus also had some crafty drives to the rim and delivered with finishes. He is still gaining strength, but Weigus has the feel for how to create driving angles with the ball and get steals and deflections defensively with his anticipation.
Athan Berchos (6’1 PG, Andrew 2025)
Another guard that can shoot it and create off the dribble, Berchos played with good tempo this weekend. His eyes are up and he can beat pressure with his deception. Berchos hit floaters, got to the foul line, and knocked down open threes.
Aiden Akkawi (6’4 PF, Downers Grove North 2025)
Akkawi was highly active in the paint, sealing hard, rebounding, and cutting for layups. He does a nice job of being physical on his seals, so once he starts giving a target with his hands and demanding the ball down there, he should be able to do even more damage. I was also impressed with some of his passing from the high post to find open teammates.
Daniel Sveiteris (6’6 SF, Downers Grove South 2025)
At 6-foot-6, Sveiteris was more than willing to step outside to stretch the floor. He got going with a few jumpers and looked good when he put it on the ground for a few dribbles. The more comfortable he gets attacking the paint and working inside-out, the more dangerous he will become with his shooting potential.
Derek Bishop (6’2 PG, Mundelein 2025)
Bishop was a problem on both ends for opposing teams. He’s a natural scorer that is cerebral when choosing when to attack. With his ball-handling ability, he consistently got a step on defenders and used a deep bag of finishes to score. He has the hang time to adjust mid-air but the balance the stop on a dime for a pull-up. When defenders backed off, he willingly knocked down threes. His defense, particularly off of the ball as a help defender, was stout. Bishop stayed active in the passing lanes, got deflections, and disrupted the flow of offenses with his athleticism. Bishop was a steady producer for the Wolves.
Marcos Gonzales (6’3 SG, Brother Rice 2025)
I hadn’t seen much of Gonzales before this weekend, but his game stood out. A lanky, aggressive driver, Gonzales was relentless when going to the rim while seeking out contact. He changes tempo and manipulates defenders with setup moves to gain an advantage. Penetration and transition were his go-to forms of production, using his speed in the open floor well. As he fills out, his strong takes will go from two foul shots to and-ones. Gonzales has a bright future.
Jackson Hupp (6’5 PF, Hersey 2025)
Hupp, a nice blend of a modern and old-school big, put his fingerprint on a number of games with his back-to-the-basket skill and willingness to run the floor. He’s got a wide base and soft hands to dictate his catch point in the post and possesses the touch to finish over either shoulder. He really worked on the block and made plays from the elbows for himself and teammates. Hupp also knocked down a three that looked good and dominated on the glass.
Sean Reynolds (6’1 SG, DeKalb 2025)
Once Reynolds saw one go in, the floodgates opened. The 6-foot-1 guard was getting quality looks off of flare screens and pindowns and made the correct reads to take the shot off the catch or attack closeouts. Floaters and long threes were common for Reynolds, a player who will only gain confidence as the spring progresses.
Jonas Johnson (6’5 SF, DePaul College Prep 2025)
Johnson created some mismatches with his shooting ability, especially when he had bigs on an island against him. A handful of jumpers gave the Wolves some life and his ability to cover ground stood out. Johnson can play and defend multiple positions and is going to continue to unlock aspects of his game as he physically develops.
Rocco Pagliocca (5’8 PG, 2026)
Pagliocca was completely fearless as an 8th grader playing up against some of the tougher competition in the Midwest. His IQ and feel for the game was evident in ball screen actions where he showed patience and an understanding of timing as a playmaker. Pagliocca hit a few threes and has good range on his shot as well. The toughness and scrappiness that he showed fighting for loose balls, grabbing rebounds, and pressuring the ball will prove beneficial as he ages.