M14 Open Runs: Week 3 Standouts

It was the third week of the M14 Open Runs and there were some new players from the one I attended last week. Here are some of the standout players from the run yesterday.

Bobby Vespa (6’5 SG/SF, Lyons 2025)

Acting as a primary ball-handler for most of the run that I saw, Vespa was dominating against the other sophomores. Particularly as a shooter, the 6-foot-5 wing was hitting consistently from the top of the key and the wing. He has clear length and height that played well defensively as he was able to switch onto bigs and guards. Vespa continues to progress and has looked good the last two weeks against his peers.

Bryce Welch (6’1 PG, Naperville North 2024)

Welch got to the rim whenever he wanted to, even with good defenders on him. The best way to describe his off-the-dribble game is slippery, always finding a way to lose defenders and counter second and third efforts to get free. He scores with either hand, has floaters and contact finishes that he can pull out, and knows how to operate off of ball screens to get downhill or shoot in space. Welch has plus speed, but his ability to change gears is what makes him so difficult to guard. He had a good sophomore year and should take another step forward for Naperville North this year.

Caden Anderson (6’1 PG, Marmion 2025)

As a defender, Anderson was active and engaged as he picked up in the backcourt and made ball-handlers work. He has a gritty play style on both ends and made layups off of tough takes to the paint. Anderson knows how to take bumps and score and often got deep on his drives to his right hand. The Marmion sophomore is part of a solid class for the Cadets and he could contribute this year.

Cam Morel (6’3 SG, Aurora Christian 2024)

One of the better shooters in the 2024 group, Morel drilled jumpers from three and off of pull-ups. He was able to stay under control and make a few stop-and-pop shots against tight defenders while adding a pull-up three as well. Morel was also able to turn defensive stops into runout layups. The two-guard has displayed some shot-making and leadership qualities that will be welcomed for a younger Aurora Christian team.

Cam Vine (6’3 PG/SG, St. Charles North 2025)

Vine’s size and athleticism were a notable advantage against the other sophomores. He handled some ball pressure in the open floor and was able to see over the defense well. Vine has speed that gives him an advantage in one-on-one situations where he can pick a direction and go. He is quick laterally with the intensity on the defensive end to become a plus on-ball defender at the varsity level with time.

Carlos Cueva (6’2 SG, Sandburg 2026)

Cueva already looks ready to play against upperclassmen. He’s got good size and length and jumped out with his slashing ability and fluidity on the offensive end. Cueva is an explosive athlete who got up around the rim on a few finishes. Plus, he has some creativity and a pull-up game on the move to keep defenses honest. As an outside shooter, his form was very promising with good rotation and a consistent release point. He should be up on varsity for Sandburg this year.

CJ Savage (5’10 PG/SG, West Aurora 2024)

Savage was barreling to the rim all morning and finishing plays through contact. Defenders were bouncing off of him and he got the ball up to the backboard quickly before help got there. Savage showed that he can hit threes in spot up situations and has a solid-looking release that he made with time and space. There’s a lot to like about how he defends, using his strong base and physicality to slow down other guards during the run. Now at West Aurora, his toughness and defensive mentality will fit in nicely as well.

Connor Speers (6’1 SG/SF, Wheaton North 2024)

Speers didn’t get a ton of shots during the run, but he had a good showing as a ball mover, defender, and energy giver. Even at 6-foot-1, Speers was able to make plays in crowds, grabbing contested rebounds and making timely kick outs. He is a well-built wing with broad shoulders who plays with good effort in all facets of the game.

Gavin Mueller (6’5 PF, St. Francis 2026)

Mueller was impressive last week but looked even more like a potential varsity-level forward as a freshman. He threw down a few forceful dunks in transition and the ball came out cleanly on his jump shot. Mueller stayed on the glass to use his size to control the paint and had little competition at the rim to match his size. The St. Francis forward is a well-rounded athlete that looks like he has a chance to become a mismatch problem.

Hayden Schroeder (6’2 SF, 2027)

For the second week in a row, Schroeder looked good playing against primarily older kids. He just knows how to play and has a very good motor. Schroeder ran from rim to rim for easy layups and got back in time to protect the rim. He’s a multi-faceted forward at this stage who can put the ball on the floor, shoot off of kickouts, and guard a couple of positions. You can tell by his frame and wingspan that he’s going to get taller and stronger over the next few years.

Jack Speers (6’2 SG, Wheaton North 2024)

Speers competed for the entirety of the run and showed some ability breaking guys down off of the dribble. While he’s not the type of player that dances with the ball, he played angles and leaned on his power to get into the paint and play off of two feet. Speers looked good on catch-and-go moves and balanced that with his threat as a shooter. Playing hard is a skill and Speers seems to do it naturally. It’s still early, but with his length, athleticism, shooting, and motor, I would expect plenty of Division 3 programs to add him to their list.

Jaden Cruez (6’5 SF/PF, Wheaton North 2024)

Similar to last weekend, Cruez looked the part and played like a prospect with a bright future. On numerous occasions, he made nice passes that led teammates to wide open shots. Many of them came while he was dribbling or off of cuts. He was at his best in transition or on isolated sides of the court where he could blow by defenders and use his bounce around the rim to finish. Cruez has a quick second jump and was the first one off the floor for many rebounds. He also was confident from behind the three-point line, knocking down a three and stepping into others without hesitation. He checks a lot of boxes.

Jax Abalos (6’4 SF, Batavia 2025)

A pure lefty shooter from Batavia, Abalos has a lot of tools that project well as he ages. At 6-foot-4, he played off of his shooting ability to attack off of one or two dribbles when lanes opened up. Abalos has some of the nicer mechanics in the sophomore class at his size and should become a top-level floor spacer down the line.

Logan Luxem (5’9 PG, Hersey 2026)

Seemingly always getting downhill, Luxem was running out in transition and quickly making moves to get around defenders. Only a freshman, he has good shiftiness to his game to go along with smooth footwork and confidence with the ball in his hands. He made floaters and had some tough finishes around the basket. As he grows, Luxem will become increasingly more of a problem.

Moses Wilson (6’2 SG/SF, Waubonsie Valley 2025)

Wilson is still raw, but he has terrific length, defensive instincts, and a developing perimeter game. He has soft touch inside the lane, hitting push shots around the front of the rim. When he stepped into threes, his rhythm and release looked good. His most projectable traits come defensively, as both a wing shot blocker and rangy perimeter defender who can play bigger than his height.

Nate Nazos (5’10 PG, Batavia 2024)

A reliable playmaker with good court sense, Nazos found teammates all over the floor off of the dribble. He has a deceptive change of pace dribble that consistently allowed him to gain an advantage. The 5-foot-10 Batavia guard can really move his feet defensively and should have no problem sticking with other guards in the area. While he didn’t look for his shot much, Nazos is a capable outside shooter that has the frame to score in crowds as a point guard. He should have a nice season for Batavia.

Ryan Walsh (6’2 SG, Benet 2026)

Walsh had a good day distributing the ball and delivering passes in tight spaces. He made good outlet passes to initiate the break and was one of the standout freshmen when it came to making reads. For a bigger guard at his age, Walsh was able to rebound on both ends and make an impact as a help side defender. He also showed his quick-twitch release from three and how comfortable he is pulling up from long distances.

Sean Rice (6’2 PF, 2027)

Rice may have been one of the stronger kids in the entire gym, and that’s including the upperclassmen. A bruiser with good feet, body control, and instincts, Rice was a menace on the offensive glass and competed well on both ends. He was able to carve out space to score on the interior. But Rice also showed some skill, stepping out to hit threes and taking guys to the rim from the wing. I can’t imagine how eight grade teams deal with him.

Tre Blissett (6’5 SG/SF, Waubonsie Valley 2024)

The growth that Blissett has shown over the last year is tremendous. He was the most consistent player at the run from start to finish. With his long strides, he covered a ton of ground with his first step and glided to the rim time and time again. Blissett scored it well in and around the lane with the reach and athleticism to finish over the top of any defenders who tried to come over. Blissett is a true wing that showed that he has a handle that could ultimately lead him to being more of a playmaker with the ball in his hands. Defensively, he has length and side-to-side quickness that coaches look for. Blissett is going to blow up sooner rather than later.

Will Ashford (6’6 SF, Metea Valley 2024)

Once Ashford got going, he was difference maker on both ends and really impressed with his long-term potential. His 6-foot-6 size plays well on the wing where he moves well, has good ball control, and shoots it well when he is on balance. He caught a body in transition, had a few other dunks, blocked shots, and was able to convert on drives where it didn’t look like he had an angle. Ashford is a next-level athlete that is just scratching the surface. He has scholarship-level upside and should be an impact player for Metea this year.

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