GPA Elite 20 Evaluations

I was out in Schaumburg for the GPA Elite 20 camp that included a number of promising juniors and seniors throughout the area. We have evaluations on the 20 players who were in attendance.

Andrew Soenksen (6’8 PF, Plainfield East 2023)

Soeknsen is an athletic forward with the ability to space the floor. When rebounds were secured, he sprinted the floor and looked mobile from end to end. He both rolls and pops as a screener, making a couple of threes and getting to the front of the rim for layups as a big target. His leaping ability was clear when he had empty fast breaks and easily bounced up for two-handed dunks. Soenksen is a volume rebounder and long-armed rim protector who is one of the better long-term bigs available.

Brandon Watson (5’8 PG, Evanston 2024)

Evanston always seems to produce undersized point guards who are just warriors. Watson was harassing taller players all night and recovered well when guys got a step. As a playmaker, he’s got a quick handle to get by his man and looks to get good shots for others. Watson made a couple of mid-range shots and knocked in a three as well. He was constantly in the lane after blowing by defenders, a skill that is required to be good at 5-foot-8. Look for Watson to provide a spark to a new-look Evanston team.

Brock Marino (6’7 SF/PF, Lakes 2023)

Transition and cuts were the areas where Marino was most productive during the 5-on-5 portion. Big and agile at 6-foot-7, Marino looked good running the floor and getting up to the rim on finishes. He flexes between the wing and post with some passing feel from both spots. Look for Marino to have another All-Conference year for Lakes this year. High-end D3 prospect.

Cam Cerese (6’3 PG, Lake Park 2024)

Cerese continued his standout fall with a well-balanced display on Sunday. He scored out of the mid-post with a couple of turnarounds against smaller defenders. When he was isolated in space, he created separation with aggressive in-and-out moves and crossovers to get all the way to the rim or pull-up around the elbows. Cerese also knocked down a variety of threes off of stepbacks and catch-and-shoots. His pace and comfort passing on the move was evident as well. Cerese’s competitiveness, work ethic and skill as a taller lead guard will be coveted by college coaches.

Connor May (6’6 SG/SF, Palatine 2024)

May had an impressive showing on both ends. As the low man on defense, he rotated over and blocked a couple of shots and showed sound defensive principles on the perimeter. He is very comfortable putting the ball on the ground, driving multiple closeouts throughout the night and showing his strength and balance in traffic with double-clutch and contact layups. May’s best trait may be his shooting, drilling shots at a high rate from three. With ideal size, ball-handling, and shooting, I wouldn’t be surprised if some scholarship-level programs added May to their radars.

Darshan Thomas (6’5 SF, Fenwick 2024)

Nothing seems to speed Thomas up. He gets to his spots, keeps his composure, and delivers. His defensive impact was felt guarding a few different players and using his size to affect their vision. Thomas knocked down a handful of threes and added a difficult mid-range pull-up with a hand in his face. He shoots set shots off the catch but is more than capable of lifting up over defenders as needed. Thomas should be one of the top options for a young Fenwick team. He has a chance to be really good.

David Sulnius (6’5 SG, Stevenson 2023)

On a few occasions, Sulnius tried to put a couple defenders on a poster. His athleticism has advanced nicely since last season and he has grown a bit to around 6-foot-5. He converted a couple of acrobatic layups and made a handful of threes with time and space. Sulnius possesses the length and plus quickness to be a versatile wing defender for an always-stout Stevenson defense. A quality D3 guard.

DJ Wallace (6’9 SF/PF, Hoffman Estates 2023)

Wallace is a gifted combo forward who showed well off of the dribble. He has pretty good shiftiness off of the dribble at 6-foot-9 and used his length and strides to step around primary defenders. Once he was in the lane, he had some floaters and finger rolls to finish. As a screener, he rolled hard and showed good hands on a few deep rolls that led to dunks and layups. There’s no question that he will be able to guard both forward spots, but his shot-blocking ability will allow him to anchor Hoffman’s defense. Over the last few weeks, Wallace has compiled a number of D3 offers. He should receive more and get NAIA/D2 attention.

Dylan Schmidt (6’4 SG, Johnsburg 2023)

Explosiveness is still the name of the game for Schmidt when he puts the ball on the ground. He skies above the rim when he has a lane and showed the ability to make hook layups and tough leaners when he didn’t have a direct line right-hand drive. Cuts, putbacks, and transition run outs were his main sources of production as he didn’t shoot it like he normally does. But Schmidt is a volume scorer with projectable size and athleticism who is being pursued by some of the top ranked D3 programs.

Edvin Bosnjak (6’8 PF, Schaumburg 2023)

As Bosnjak showed, he has flashes on being a skilled rim-runner. He gets up and down the floor very well and elevates off of one or two feet. A good dunker spot outlet, Bosnjak scored off of a step through and a couple of drop off passes. There is evident catch-and-shoot potential when receiving kick outs, especially from the corner where he shoots comfortably. Bosnjak has D3 looks so far.

Jeezy White (5’11 PG, St. Rita 2024)

Throughout the night, White was the top playmaker in attendance. His vision and creativity as a passer was remarkable, particularly in ball screen actions where he varied his tempo and deliveries without sacrificing accuracy. The new St. Rita point guard threw a couple of pinpoint lobs and used his eye fakes to open up cutters. When he wanted to score, he hit a couple threes off of size ups, used his length to finish around defenders, and made a very difficult one-legged jumper from the corner. White is going to be a difference maker with his passing and defense. He has Division 1 playmaking ability.

JJ Hernandez (6’5 SG/SF, Glenbard North 2024)

Hernandez has noticeable length and athleticism that stand out. A terrific defensive player, he was solid at clogging up passing lanes and contesting shots around the rim. He pulled in a bunch of rebounds and was able to initiate the fastbreak with his ball-handling skill. Hernandez ran the floor for layups as well during the scrimmages. He’s got a lot of tools that you look for in a versatile wing. Hernandez already has a D2 offer from Lewis.

Liam Taylor (6’7 SF, Lyons 2024)

There’s a lot to like about what Taylor could be down the line. He’s a wiry wing/forward that has great timing as a shot blocker. Both on the ball and as a help guy, he had a few emphatic rejections in the paint. The length served him well in transition when he ran his lanes for layups and athletic dunks. He didn’t seek out his own shot much, but Taylor did make quality passes in the half court and showed some range. Lyons is loaded with seniors, but Taylor has a two-way game to track.

Luke Kinkade (6’1 SG, Neuqua Valley 2024)

Kinkade was proficient scoring the ball all night. Once he got his feet set, he cashed in on multiple threes from varying ranges. Noticeably stronger from last year, Kinkade delivered contact on his drives to either get to the rim going left or to create separation off bumps for mid-range stepbacks. He is a smart and precise operator out of the triple threat, using jab steps and shot fakes to get guys off balance. Kinkade played with a ton of energy that serves his play style well as an in-motion shooter. Kinkade is a consistently production scorer and decision maker who should have plenty of options by next summer.

Malachi Johnson (6’3 SG, Rockford Guilford 2024)

Johnson is a strong-bodied scoring guard that has good athleticism in the open floor. He took it coast to coast a few times and had dunks off of a lob and in transition. In the half court, Johnson loves to pull-up off of the dribble where he was able to hit a three on a stepback. When he put his head down, he looked good fending off help defenders and getting finishing angles. I was also impressed with a few of his passes out of ball screens. He’s capable of drawing help, anticipating cuts, and finding teammates for shots. Johnson is another kid who will get some looks from scholarship programs.

Marcus Everhart (6’5 PF, Marian Catholic 2024)

Everhart plays with a joy and intensity that you have to appreciate. Whether it was a blocked shot, tipped pass, or vocal direction on the back line of the defense, Everhart made sure no one got anything easy. In terms of positioning and activity, he is one of the better undersized interior defenders that I’ve seen in the class. Offensively, he grabbed rebounds and made strong, agile moves to score. Everhart is a presence defensively and an ideal teammate to have.

Maurice Thomas (6’0 PG, DePaul Prep 2023)

I really like the toughness and chip that Thomas plays with. Although he’s not the tallest guard, he was getting above the rim and driving against size successfully. Thomas used his athleticism and IQ to pressure the ball and get ball-handlers out of rhythm. He shot the ball with confidence as well, hitting a couple threes off of the catch and making elbow pull-up and long two off a few dribbles. Thomas is the type of lead guard that will stay composed in big moments. He’s a very under-discussed senior.

Mitch Humphrey (6’5 SG/SF, St. Viator 2024)

The lanky floor spacer didn’t have a ton of looks, but he did connect on a few of them during the live segments. Humphrey has improved as a shooter off of the bounce and dribbled into a couple of threes in rhythm. His fast release and footwork pre-shot allow him to get off clean looks even when defenders stunt. A new face at Viator, Humphrey should be instant offense.

Nate Kasher (6’0 PG, Glenbrook South 2024)

Among the best long-range shooters in Illinois, Kasher stepped into a three from the coach’s box and made a few more during the day. But he did most of his damage creating off of the bounce by using change of pace moves to get into the teeth of the defense where he had multiple tough finishes with both hands against size. For a point guard, Kasher has a strong build that helps him take contact and maintain his angles to score and find teammates. Defensively, he stood out with active hands and footwork fighting through screens and getting steals. He’s an impactful guard with scholarship-level ability.

Richard Lindsey (6’5 SF, De La Salle 2024)

One of the most impressive players of the night, Lindsey was having his way on dribble penetration. Blessed with powerful athleticism and a great frame, he converted forceful takes to the rim and outsprinted guys for layups and dunks in transition. He’s an effortless athlete on the defensive end as well, keeping a low and wide base while staying active with his hands. Lindsey didn’t take many jumpers, but he did make a three as well. De La Salle will welcome his two-way presence with open arms.

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