I was out at M14 for their last week of open runs with another good group of 2023-2027 players. Here are some of the players who stood out this week.
CJ Savage (5’10 PG/SG, West Aurora 2024)
Savage has looked good the last couple of weeks as a perimeter scorer, shooting well off the dribble and finding his rhythm in drive-and-kick situations. When he stepped into threes, he showed improved arc and balance. Pull-ups came naturally off of his straight-line drives around the elbows and he was effective absorbing hits and finishing as usual. Savage should be an immediate-impact transfer at West Aiurora.
CJ Valente (6’5 SG/SF, Batavia 2024)
Valente played with energy and produced throughout the run. He’s got good size around 6-foot-5 that he used well to finish plays in traffic off of hard cuts and rebound in crowds. For a Sunday morning, Valente’s activity level was notable. From baseline to baseline, he ran for layups and showed some athleticism getting up around the rim. His shooting ability opened up some driving lanes, connecting on a few catch-and-shoot looks and showing some upside as a floor spacer. Valente should be a quality D3 prospect for coaches to look at next spring.
Dawson Charles (5’9 PG/SG, 2027)
Overall, Charles had one of the better days in the 2026 and 2027 group. There were a lot of flashes of potential with how smooth he was with the ball and the comfort he had created shots for himself. Charles made some tough contested stop-and-pop jumpers and hit a long three. I would expect for him to continue to develop into a creator and playmaker before he enters high school
Jacob Rice (6’3 SG, St. Laurence 2025)
Big, physical, and skilled for a guard, Rice was solid on both ends. He did a nice job of sliding his feet and using his strength and slow down ball-handlers and cause turnovers. Rice anticipates well and has active hands to get deflections. Offensively, he’s a multi-dimensional scorer that was doing a lot of damage from short range. Whether it was a turnaround or pull-up before help, Rice was able to decelerate, gather himself, and score under control. A returning varsity player for St. Laurence, Rice should have a chance to be in the all-conference discussion this year.
Jax Abalos (6’4 SF, Batavia 2025)
Similar to last week, Abalos was thriving from behind the arc. He buried threes in bulk without any hesitation. Abalos is the type of shooter who is a threat to hit multiple threes every game and already looks comfortable shooting with defenders closing out hard. His length was an asset on the defensive end against the other sophomores and he moved well from side to side. Abalos continues to look like one of the best wing shooters in the 2025 class.
Nate Nazos (5’10 PG, Batavia 2024)
Nazos was pushing the tempo and using his open court speed to make things happen. A reliable, low-turnover point guard, he used his quickness to get to the rack and make decisions off of two feet. He plays with a competitiveness that you like to see from a primary ball-handler and is a plus defender at the position. I wouldn’t be surprised if Nazos emerges as one of the top PGs in the Dukane.
OJ Powell (6’2 SG, Willowbrook 2026)
Powell may have shown the most long-term potential in the gym. Only a freshman, he has very long arms, quick-twitch athleticism, and a good feel for the game. He had an explosive dunk and added a number of other nimble and powerful moves in and around the paint. Powell also showed that burst on a few blocked shots and when elevating over defenders for mid-range shots. He should be a difference maker early on for Willowbrook.
Will Ashford (6’6 SG/SF, Metea Valley 2024)
Ashford was even better than last week, looking engaged and aggressive from the start. He got the gym going with some impressive dunks during the runs and was scoring effortlessly in transition with his long strides and soft touch. In the half court, Ashford’s ability to work out of the triple threat and create separation on one or two dribbles will serve him well. It would be hard to imagine Ashford not receiving interest from at least a couple of scholarship-level programs.