Another week with standout performances at the individual and team level to note this week. Here are the week 3 players of the week and a few other notes.
Players of the Week
Braeden Carlsen (Wauconda)
The 6-foot-4 junior guard has been putting on a clinic on three-level scoring so far this year. He had a game of 34 points and eight rebounds and followed that up with another 30-point game where he snatched 14 rebounds. It’s clear at this point that he is one of the better players in the area but it shouldn’t be long before college coaches start to take notice.
Cam Cerese (Lake Park)
It’s been nearly 50 years since a Lake Park player scored 40 points, but Cerese brought that accolade to the 21st century yesterday with an impressive 40-point performance. Only a junior, Cerese has stepped into a lead role for a Lancers team that lost a number of impactful 2022 grads. He’s a workhorse who has the conditioning and talent to put up points in bunches from tip to the final buzzer.
Darrion Baker (Hillcrest)
Baker (Akron commit) continued what has been an All-State caliber start to the year. He had games of 31, 23, and 20 points this week against quality opponents, going blow for blow with a talented East St. Louis group this weekend. At 6-foot-8, his face-up ability has been a constant puzzle that defenses haven’t been able to solve.
George Bellevue (Lincoln-Way East)
With an elite motor and plus athleticism, Bellevue had a few nice double-doubles with 21 points/11 rebounds and 23 points/14 rebounds later in the week. Bellevue’s ability to shed boxouts and outjump players around the rim for offensive rebounds separates him from other forwards in the class. He was a critical piece in LWE’s win over Oswego East earlier as well.
Gianni Cobb (Perspectives)
Cobb hasn’t wasted time making his mark on Perspectives. The junior point guard has the ball on a string and has a knack for getting paint touches and hitting tough shots around defenders. Cobb had 25 points and 11 assists yesterday after having a hot start to the week. He had 29 points, six assists, and four steals in one game and added another 22 points and seven dimes in the second game of the week. He has Perspectives looking promising in the present and future.
Ian Brown (New Trier)
Brown couldn’t miss in a big win over Rolling Meadows where his 12 made threes broke the New Trier school record and marked the most of the season so far. Brown scored all of his points from deep, putting up a career-high 36 points and shooting New Trier back into a game where they trailed by double-digits. His quick release and footwork are notable, along with a strong 6-foot-5 frame that should appeal to coaches at the next level.
Jonah Funk (El-Paso Gridley)
Only a sophomore, Funk will become a well-known player around the state by the time his high-school career is over. He’s an excellent shot blocker and rim runner who moves more like a wing than a 6-foot-9 four man. Funk had 26 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks on Friday and turned around to record a near triple-double yesterday with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and eight blocks. If you haven’t already, add Funk to your watch list of projectable forwards outside of the Chicago area.
Mekhi Lowery (Oswego East)
Lowery was integral in helping the Wolves pull out a win against Yorkville, scoring 20 points and grabbing 16 rebounds. His defensive impact was felt as well around the rim against a Foxes team with good size and strength across the frontcourt. He then went for 12 points and 10 rebounds to overcome crosstown rival Oswego. The Towson commit has been a special player so far.
Meyoh Swansey (Romeoville)
Swansey has made statements numerous times already in the early part of the season. In a win, he scored 29 points and had five boards. To start the week, Swansey contributed 18 points and a game high seven assists. His explosiveness and pull-up shooting is at a Division 1 level, but his ability to impact the game in multiple areas has continued to progress. The arrow is quickly pointing up for the junior guard.
Ross Robertson (South Beloit)
A man-child of a sophomore, Robertson is on pace to once again finish among the top rebounders in Illinois. He had a few 20/20 games a year ago, but he leveled up and went for 33 points and 21 rebounds in a game this week. Relentless might not even do his effort on the glass justice. Robertson is 6-foot-8, strong, athletic, and has really nice touch around the rim while playing with attitude as a rim protector. He remains one of the top posts in the 2025 class.
5 Things I Loved To See:
1. Ian Brown’s 3-Point Show
2. St. Rita Putting It Together
Rita has faced a grueling early season schedule and has ample talent to justify it. But we have to remember that there are still a ton of new pieces, particularly in the backcourt with transfers Nojus Indrusaitis, who had 19 in a win over Brother Rice, Nashawn Holmes, and Jeezy White. All three will be crucial in the long-term success of the team and made nice strides this past week.
I understand that they have a number of blue-blood level players like Morez Johnson and James Brown, but at the end of the day, they are a high school team figuring it out like many other teams. Yes, their ceiling is still a state championship, but that doesn’t mean that they will peak in early December. The Brother Rice win was a nice step in the right direction.
3. Glenbrook North’s Balance
On any given night, the Spartans can send you home with blows from a number of different sources. Against a very good Evanston team, their balance stood out. Steady point guard Josh Fridman never gets sped up and creates quality shots in the flow of the offense. He went for 21 points against an aggressive Wildkit backcourt. Senior stalwart Ryan Cohen had 15 in that game and is capable of scoring 30, but doesn’t force anything either. He’s deliberate, efficient, and tough as nails on both ends. Northwestern football commit Pat Schaller had 16 points and seven rebounds of his own in that game, providing an interior presence and promising low post scorer and outlet on dump off passes.
Add in two more tough junior guards in Owen Giannoulias and Sam Lappin, both who can score double-digits as well, and there is no easy way to guard this team. They are so unselfish and move the ball with no separate agenda other than finding the best shot they can. Even without a ton of size outside of Schaller, they already look like a team who should be a difficult matchup for anyone on their schedule.
4. Battle In Springfield
Lanphier and Southeast went at it in a game that turned into a back and forth between two of the better players in the Springfield area. Exciting sophomore guard JaiQuan Holman had an efficient 31 points and seven rebounds on 50 percent shooting from the field. Southeast senior forward Seth Doss wasn’t to be outdone easily, scoring 31 of his own and adding 16 rebounds with half of his points coming at the foul line.
In the end, Lanphier was able to pull it out, but it’s always good to hear about heated rivalries that live up to the hype in terms of the competition level. Holman is a legitimate Division 1 guard prospect who more people should know about while Doss is a highly-coveted D3 recruit to this point.
5. DePaul Prep’s Competitive Fire
We don’t usually highlight teams in this section after a loss and I know there are no consolation trophies, but the way that DePaul Prep has remained competitive despite missing a number of their top players is notable. They nearly knocked off an excellent Mount Carmel team while playing without a Division 1 duo in Jaylan McElroy and Payton Kamin.
Senior point guard Maurice Thomas had 13 in that game and is the quintessential, hard-nosed floor general that sets the tone on both ends. His presence has been critical for an otherwise young team. Sophomore Jonas Johnson is a difference maker already with his ranginess, face-up game, and length. His upside is crazy at 6-foot-6 with how well he moves, shoots it, and handles the ball. Robert Walls has been thrust into a larger role early on with the injuries and has provided key energy and playmaking, adding 11 against Carmel. Junior PJ Chambers has also stepped up with more minutes, helping scrap and compete effectively. Coach Kleinschmidt’s group hasn’t quit and the younger guys are gaining some valuable experience and confidence. They are going to be a problem once their star juniors are back.