We held our showcase camp that featured shooting and finishing drills, 3-on-3, and scrimmages. Here are the evaluations from the 2023/2024 group.
Andy Nash (6’3 SG, Benet 2023)
Nash showed his ability to space the floor on a consistent basis while providing an impact on the defensive end. He was stepping into wing threes during the scrimmages off the catch with comfort. Nash relocated off of drives to give himself open looks and capitalized.
During drills, he was effective creating some separation off the dribble, which is an area he has improved since last season. His length and ability to slide defensively led to a number of steals, blocks, and solid possessions on that end. Nash has some Division 3 offers and projects well as a 3-and-D option.
Anthony Davis (6’0 PG, De La Salle 2023)
Being able to play with speed while limiting mistakes is always sought after for point guards. Davis made things happen with the ball in his hands, going coast-to-coast a few times, threading the needle on lead passes, and making under-control decisions around the rim. Even at 6-foot, Davis has long arms that allow him to make layups over or around taller defenders inside.
His tempo coming off ball screens during the 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 portions was deliberate and allowed him to pick his spots to explode to the rim. He also has a high-arching jumper that looked good on a few pull-ups and a deep three. Davis just picked up his first D3 offer last week and should be a senior point guard set to breakout.
Armani Ivy (6’3 SG, Larkin 2023)
A four-year varsity player for Larkin, Ivy has strength and shooting ability that is noteworthy. Especially during the drills, Ivy was connecting on long threes off the dribble with a straight, but accurate shot. He gets good lift and has a number of ways to get to his pull-up off of two or three bounces.
Ivy cut for a couple of easy buckets but did most of his work behind the arc. Entering into a year where he should have a huge role for a new-look Larkin team, Ivy will be able to show his improvements as a top-two option.
Brady Kunka (6’3 SG, Benet 2023)
Kunka was one of the most effective players from start to finish. He put his head down and attacked the rim off rip throughs and in transition. At 6-foot-3, Kunka is a plus athlete that plays with physicality on his drives, creating angles with his body. When he had size advantages, he went to the mid post and scored off of quick moves and delivered a couple of pinpoint passes to cutters for layups with his back to the basket.
Kunka is a reliable catch-and-shoot guard as he showed, but he was drilling threes off the dribble in transition and off of sizeups with defenders in his grill. Kunka has a great motor and nose for the ball, rebounding out of his area and being the first to loose balls. He is a coveted Division 3 recruit who could hear from D2 and NAIA programs.
Braeden Carlsen (6’4 SG, Wauconda 2024)
Carlsen’s combination of strength and skill separate him as a 6-foot-4 guard. He is a high-end shooter who was on target when he caught the ball off of motion. During drills, he showed the ability to work in ball screens at his pace, break down defenders in space, and get to his spots where he has excellent elevation and balance on his pull-up.
He has smooth, textbook footwork that allowed him to get space for tough stepbacks and close-range turnarounds. Also a volume rebounder and solid wing defender, Carlsen looks to have added a good amount of muscle since the summer. Division 2, low-major D1, and Ivy League programs should be tracking Carlsen.
Bryce Tillery (5’10 PG, Hillcrest 2023)
Tillery was the most impactful two-way player at the camp. His handle allowed him to dictate tempo and operate in spaces where he was comfortable, keeping defenders off balance all night. He had a number of high-level passes off the dribble to get cutters, rim runners, and shooters open shots. But he showed that he can get his own shot at times too, hitting a three, making a couple of long jumpers inside the arc, and converting crafty floaters in traffic.
On the defensive end, Tillery showed why he is one of the best defensive point guards in Illinois. He made it uncomfortable for ball-handlers and picked a handful of pockets during the scrimmages. Tillery is an underrecruited, scholarship-level senior who is a high-academic student. He wins.
Colin Gerrity (6’2 SG, Neuqua Valley 2024)
Gerrity showed well throughout the camp, particularly offensively. As a shooter, Gerrity fed off of kick outs and attacking closeouts to get to mid-range shots. He had one of the best days as a shooter during the drills and kept that momentum into the scrimmages where he was nearly automatic.
Possessing a believable shot fake and solid quick-twitch athleticism, Gerrity was able to get defenders up in the air and cover ground quickly to either score at the rim or shoot from the second level. He has some toughness and grit to him that you have to like, recovering well defensively and competing on the glass. Gerrity will be a varsity newcomer to watch in the DuPage.
Cooper Balensiefen (5’10 PG, Bureau Valley 2023)
Balensiefen got to the rim a few times during the scrimmages and facilitated in the half court. During drills, his shot was solid and he collapsed the defense with his penetration to create for others. When he did look to finish, Balensiefen was quick to get the ball up to the backboard and scored against length a few times. He was decent on the defensive end in isolations as well.
Danny Monahan (6’1 SG, Glenbard West 2024)
Monahan was one of the recipients of Tillery’s playmaking prowess, cutting at the right time for layups and driving against rotating defenders for shots. He has a score-first mentality and caught the ball looking to be aggressive throughout the scrimmages.
Monahan has some touch around the rim, making push shots from a couple of different angles. He also made a three and looked to have range out to the three-point line while doing shooting drills. Monahan will look to compete on a senior-led Glenbard West team.
Darshan Thomas (6’5 SF, Fenwick 2024)
Thomas has a chance to be a difference maker on both ends. Rangy, explosive, and active, Thomas projects as a high-level defender who can block shots and switch across a few positions like he did during the scrimmages. His side-to-side quickness is above-average for a 6-foot-5 junior and he crashes the glass hard.
I was impressed with his shooting, making a number of threes from the corner after drifting and also added a long shot from the top of the key. In the open floor, Thomas moved fluidly, has some handle, and got near the rim on his finishes. Thomas plays out of the triple threat well and scored off of a few sweeps to the rim. He looks like a prospect with scholarship-level upside.
Donovan Collins (6’0 PG/SG, Plainfield North 2023)
Collins was manufacturing shots for himself at a good clip. Often setting up defenders with crossovers, Collins had players leaning and used that step to create an advantage. The drill portion allowed him to really show his one-on-one ability, attacking switches and shooting threes off the bounce.
Projecting as an instant-offense type of scorer at the next level, Collins has developed his creativity off of pick-and-rolls and was making quality reads. He has Division 3 looks right now and should continue to garner more interest. Collins will be one of the top weapons for Plainfield North this year.
Donovan Nichols (6’0 PG/SG, Barrington 2023)
Being able to stretch the floor is always a plus. Nichols has range past the college line and was making his rounds from the wings to the top of the key. He has a low release point that allows him to go straight from his shooting pocket up into his shot without much wasted motion.
Most of his impact during the scrimmages was as a shooter, but he also did a nice job converting scoop shots around the paint during 5-on-5 and 3-on-3. With Barrington graduating a majority of their offense, Nichols will be one of the lone returning contributors.
Ethan De La Navarre (6’1 SG, Maine South 2024)
De La Navarre has a nose for the ball and good instincts on both ends. He played solid positional defense, stayed in front of the ball, and rebounded well for a 6-foot-1 guard. There weren’t many times that he was beat off of the dribble and he has the athleticism and upper body strength to stand his ground on most guards.
Given time and space, he was able to make a couple of threes on the move. Offensively, driving the ball to get paint touches was his strength, either finishing or making the right pass out. De La Navarre was up as a sophomore and returns as an improved two-way player.
Jack Speers (6’2 SG, Wheaton North 2024)
One of the standout performances of juniors at the camp, Speers was lights out from three. When the ball was rotated over to him, Speers was shot-ready and cashed in on most of his opportunities from three. He’s got an effortless one-motion shot and found ways to get square off of curls and ball screens. And the majority of his makes were all net.
His shooting ability is already at an advanced level, but he complements it well with his size and developing ability to attack off the dribble. Speers is a well-built two-guard who drove through contact and scored on face cuts. He checks a lot of boxes that D3 coaches look for, especially as a junior.
Jayvyn Marion (6’2 SG, West Aurora 2024)
Marion provided energy for his team during the scrimmages. He stayed active off of the ball to make timely cuts and outsprinted other players on the break to get some layups. Marion handled the ball with confidence during group work and looked capable of slashing in straight lines to get shots or dancing a bit with the ball. He has a fluid shot and is a sound passer off the dribble. With his length and anticipation, Marion should be able to serve as a defender for all three perimeter spots. He’s a new face for West Aurora’s young nucleus this year.
Jimmy Tarjan (6’4 SG/SF, Loyola 2024)
Tarjan is just scratching the surface of how good he will be. He was a steady shooter all night and converted on crafty and athletic takes. Probably closer to 6-foot-5, he used that size to take bumps and use his reach to extend to the rim. His outside shooting really stood out. Tarjan was pulling up from a few feet behind the arc off the dribble and drilled a couple of threes off of hesitations.
As a spot-up shooter, he was equally effective, showing a high release and a nice follow through. Tarjan is a good athlete, has ideal length for a wing, and can score in a number of ways. He’s got the tools to be an impactful wing defender as well and should get on some college coach radars this season.
Jory Boley (6’2 SF, Yorkville 2024)
A big wing that moves well, Boley has a good frame and a downhill game on offense that fits his size. Boley knocked down a few threes with a set shot that was falling more during drills. But his strength is his ability to take and initiate contact on penetration and in the paint. During the season, he should see plenty of free throw attempts.
Boley had some nice moments defensively as well, including a couple of big blocks coming over from the weak side. He transferred in from state champion Yorkville Christian and should provide an immediate impact to an up-and-coming Yorkville team.
Levi Goad (6’1 SG, Prairie Central 2024)
Goad was finding his way into the lane one way or another during the drills and scrimmages. For a guard, he has some bulk and attacks with intent. When Goad’s initial moves got cut off, he had counters to respond to the defense and had a few acrobatic layups to score around the help. Off of his paint touches, he sprayed it out to shooters on some occasions as well. Goad has very good interior footwork and knows how to use his pivot to get shots off. He’s a solid attacking point guard.
Lorenzo Aquino (5’10 PG, Lane Tech 2023)
Aquino is a high-motor point guard that gets up and guards. His quickness and speed gave him an extra step to get out ahead of the pack when changing ends. He’s a good passer that drove looking to make plays for others. Aquino has a decent stop-and-pop shot from 15 feet and had some high-arching threes during drills. The Lane Tech senior rebounded and scrapped well at his size and should be appeal to some D3 and JUCO programs.
Mitch Humphrey (6’5 SG/SF, St. Viator 2024)
Humphrey is a straight shooter that is very good at that niche. One of the quicker releases that I’ve seen in that class, Humphrey let it fly and shot a good percentage at a high volume. It doesn’t hurt that he is 6-foot-5 and is rarely impacted by closing out defenders once he’s locked and loaded.
Known as a three-point marksman, Humphrey showed some improvements defensively, giving some resistance and being able to use his reach more. Humphrey visited Denison earlier in the week and has an elite, translatable skill in his shooting that coaches seek.
Nick Gouriotis (6’4 SF/PF, Burlington Central 2023)
A combo forward with a clean outside shot, Gouriotis worked well out of the mid-post and showed touch on his jumper. He was connecting on pick-and-pop shots during the drills and hit a few catch-and-shoot threes during scrimmages. But a lot of his production came from 10-to-15 feet, making one-foot fadeaways and turnarounds off of pivots.
Gouriotis also used his body control to absorb contact and finish off drives from the wing. He rebounded on both ends and used the inside-out scoring that has a number of Division 3 programs interested.
Nolan Milas (5’10 SG, Burlington Central 2023)
Milas had stretches where he couldn’t miss, stepping out beyond the college line with a looping three-point shot. He hit stepbacks during the drills when going left and got to the basket in straight lines with his speed. Milas spaced out on the perimeter and stepped into shots off of drive and kicks. A track star entering his third varsity season, Milas should have a larger impact.
Ryan Johnson (6’7 SG/SF, Oswego East 2023)
It’s not hard to see why Johnson has multiple D2 offers. Cutting is an undervalued skill, but Johnson did a great job of making aggressive basket cuts and finishing in traffic. For a 6-foot-7 wing, he has good vertical athleticism and polished shooting mechanics that led to threes in bulk off curls and standstills.
He also showed comfort putting it on the ground to get to his mid-range or get all of the way to the rim. As an interior defender, he held his ground and blocked some shots. He’s got the ranginess and frame that should allow him to guard two through four at the next level. More scholarship-level and D3 programs will look to add Johnson, who will breakout this year.