I was out at Supreme Courts to watch the 15U and 17U Illinois Attack teams. The teams had a lot of chemistry and talent that showed throughout the night. Here are some of the evaluations from the practices.
Brayden Fagbemi (6’0 PG, Benet)
Fagbemi is a shifty, high-IQ point guard that plays with great tempo. He’s got the ball on a string and regularly created separation with in-and-out moves and crossovers. A natural passer with vision, Fagbemi found shooters on drives and pick-and-roll action all night. He rarely took a dribble too far on his drives and showed off a quick stop-and-pop game from the mid-range. On the other end, he was active on the ball and was the most vocal communicator. In the midst of a breakout spring, Fagbemi will be targeted by more high-academic programs.
Sam Driscoll (6’2 SG, Benet)
The slashing lefty was aggressive getting downhill to his strong hand and shot it well from the perimeter. Driscoll has a good outside stroke when he gets his feet set, sinking a number of threes off of rotations. He has a solid first step and understands angles as both a ball-handler and finisher. When help came over, he was able to use his body control to score around defenders. Driscoll should have D3 programs interested.
Simon Weisserman (6’7 PF, Lake Forest Academy)
The biggest player in the 17U group, Weisserman did a nice job of anchoring down in the paint in transition and off away screens. A solidly built 6-foot-7, he took his time on the block and used his pivot to shield off defenders. During drills, he ran the floor well and finished above the rim off of one foot. His shooting ability is intriguing at his size, very comfortable making set shots threes and knocking down jumpers in pick-and-pops. Weisserman already has offers from two of the better D3 programs in Yeshiva and Illinois Wesleyan.
Christian Srbinov (6’3 SG, Neuqua Valley)
Srbinov is a wired scorer that is capable of being a shot creator in space. His pull-up looked good off of a variety of dribbling moves and he elevates well enough to get it off against bigger defenders. When he got in the half court, Srbinov broke guys down to win one-on-one matchups. He’s instant offense as a scorer but I was impressed with some of his passing instincts to throw quick passes to cutters to layups. He’s got a projectable iso game for the next level.
Mason Blanco (6’4 SG, Oswego East)
Blanco did a little bit of everything during scrimmages and was fundamentally on point during drill work. At 6-foot-4, he’s got good size and can play multiple spots with his ability to act as a secondary playmaker or run the wing. He got to the rim off of a fake handoff, hit a floater, and made some nice interior passes. As he showed for Oswego East this year, he can hit some catch-and-shoot threes as well. Blanco has a quality all-around impact.
Brady Kunka (6’3 SG, Benet)
Kunka is a very good athlete that excels as a floor spacer and finisher around the rim. He’s got a college-ready frame and plays with physicality on both ends, playing through contact on his drives and cuts while knocking ball-handlers off their line defensively. Once he got to the paint, he jumped over the top of defenders for putbacks and layups. As a shooter, he’s a knockdown catch-and-shoot player that also made a few tough one-dribble pull-ups. His athleticism allows him to play a lot bigger than 6-foot-3 on the defensive end as a shot-blocker and rebounder. He’s got the look of a high-level Division 3 player that could see some D2 and NAIA interest as a 3-and-D wing.
Max Niesman (6’1 PG, Oswego)
Another scoring guard, Niesman shot the ball well during drills and was making them with range. He has a quick, one-motion shot that he can fire off of the bounce. When the 5-on-5 started, he was determined to get to the rim and carved up the defense a few times to get layups. Niesman protects the ball in traffic and has floaters and scoops that he can use in crowds. He’s had two good years for Oswego and should is a high-academic point guard prospect
Andy Nash (6’4 SG/SF, Benet)
Nash moves really well without the ball and uses his size well to defend on the wing. He’s got good length at 6-foot-4 and was hustling for loose balls and rebounds during the scrimmages. His strides allow him to cover ground and take away driving lanes. Throughout the night, he was the most active cutter, leading to multiple layups. Nash had a couple of strong direct drives to the rim and was able to hit some threes when he had time and space. Nash’s size and energy alone should catch some attention.
Brock Wenzelman (6’5 SF/PF, Herscher)
Wenzelman is a long and mobile forward who is quick to the offensive glass and able to switch defensively. Working mainly along the baseline to either cut or catch dump off passes, he was staying active off the ball. The Herscher product changes ends of the floor and looks like he should be able to guard a couple of different positions as he adds strength. Wenzelman has a decent runway to grow and make the most of his athleticism.
Ryan Johnson (6’6 SG, Oswego East)
For a player of his size, Johnson has the type of run-and-jump athleticism and shooting ability that is highly coveted by college coaches. He has a great follow through and was making standstill threes at a high volume. During drills, he showed good footwork to gather and elevate on his pull-up. In transition, he’s smooth with the ball and has easy bounce around the paint to dunk or make layups near the rim. His defensive upside was evident, using his wingspan to affect shots and sliding out in space to stay in front of the ball. Johnson is a scholarship-level wing that has the shooting, explosiveness, and physical upside to pick up some offers this summer.
Sincere Martin (6’0 SF, Waubonsie Valley)
Martin was relentless getting to the rim. For a righty, he was living on hard left-hand takes where his physicality and hang time gave him an edge. The rebounding instincts and competitive nature he displayed should age well as he refines his perimeter game.
Vova Polishchuk (6’4 PF, Neuqua Valley)
A 6-foot-4 big with guard skills, Polishchuk made some really nice passes from the high post and used fakes to deceive the defense before delivering balls on time. Polishchuk has some handle and creativity, using his body well once he got a step. But it was his shooting that stood out. He’s got deep range and is a deadeye shooter when he has space. There was no hesitation in any of the live portions of practice. Polishchuk is a versatile big that should be tracked.
Moses Wilson (6’0 SG, Waubonsie Valley)
Wilson has great length and moves well for his age. Even though he’s a little wiry, he handles the ball well in space and is a fluid athlete that knows how to use his length defensively. His jump shot was falling during drills, with good touch and arc on his shot. Wilson has some raw tools to work with and could be a problem if he gets as tall as his limbs suggest.
Tyreek Coleman (5’11 PG, Waubonsie Valley)
Coleman was a standout for the 15U group with his creativity, body control, and shooting ability. He’s capable of manufacturing offense for himself by sizing up defenders or making quick decisions to get to the rim where he’s a crafty scorer. Coleman has great shooting form with an easy release and feel for how to get space for it. I would expect him to develop into a quality pick-and-roll player based on his ability to change speeds and score from multiple levels. Coleman can go.
Bryce Turner (5’8 PG, Lockport)
For a freshman guard, Turner has a strong build and plays with toughness. He is quick with the ball and can stop on a dime to change direction. Turner got to the lane off the dribble and did a nice job of communicating and encouraging teammates. With his build, he should be able to effectively guard the ball and speed guys up while being a playmaker and penetrator on offense.
Whitman Charboneau (6’2 SG, Neuqua Valley)
Charboneau may have been the most impressive freshman of the group, scoring at will from all over the floor. Skilled, long, and athletic, he handles the ball well and looked comfortable shooting on the move during drill work. In the scrimmages, he was aggressive off the dribble and got to the rim for some acrobatic layups. His footwork and shooting are advanced for his age, making fallaway jumpers, contested pull-ups off handoffs, and threes. He’s athletic and smart enough to be a quality defender as well. Charboneau is promising.
Tyrell Mays (5’8 PG, Oswego)
Despite giving up some size, Mays is a dynamic point guard that knows how to change speeds and get to where he wants. The best ball-handler of the group, he plays low to the ground and has a quick first step to beat initial defenders. When he wasn’t looking to score, Mays was effective in the drive-and-kick game and played through bumps on his drives. He really got after it on the defensive end as well, which will be important for him if he can shut down opposing points.
Donovan Neal (5’10 PG/SG, Waubonsie Valley)
Neal played both on and off the ball. The Waubonsie Valley combo guard has good burst off the bounce and made a couple of difficult layups in traffic. He also had a pinpoint pass off of a ball screen. Neal uses his quickness as a pest defensively to apply pressure on the ball. During drills, he showed that he can knock down some jumpers with space. I like the energy Neal brings to the table.
Dillon Bagley (6’0 SG, Montini)
Some players are just solid all-around. Bagley is one of them. He shoots the three well when he’s in rhythm, hitting some throughout the night. But he’s also able to put the ball on the ground in straight lines or work off the ball to score on cuts or away screens. At 6-foot, he’s got good size for a guard which helps him make timely passes over the top of the defense. More often than not, Bagley was making the right play.
Cade Valek (6’4 SF, Waubonsie Valley)
Valek is an athletic wing with a lot of upside on both ends. He sprints rim to rim and gets by defenders with his long strides. When he was in the half court, he was patient but still active, scoring on straight-line drives, cutting, or crashing the glass. Valek showed soft touch and a projectable perimeter shot during drills that should allow him to stretch the floor. I think he’s got a chance to be a top-level defender with how well he moves his feet, anticipates, and keeps his arms out. Valek could be really good if he continues to growth and develop.
Josh Gutierrez (5’10 SG, Lyons)
It’s nice to see kids who take pride in playing defense. Gutierrez was one of the top on-ball defenders during a continuous defensive drill, turning ball-handlers and recovering quickly when he got beat. That type of effort and commitment to guarding will always leave an impression.
Danny Podpora (6’0 SG, Neuqua Valley)
Podpora is a solid shooter that has a repeatable shot from the outside. He did most of his damage from three when he got catch-and-shoot opportunities. When he didn’t have open looks, Podpora drove into a couple nice shots inside the arc. He’s got some size for a freshman guard that should benefit him as he grows.