A month into the year and we are already on the fourth release of players of the week. The holiday tournaments coming up will lead to a number of candidates for the upcoming weeks. As always, feel free to continue to send
Brock Marino (Lakes)
Marino was on a mission this week, having two monster showings for Lakes. He had 29 points, 13 rebounds, and four blocks in a win over Waukegan before scoring 26 points in a big conference tilt with Wauconda. He was a force on the glass and added a few blocks in that game as well. Marino is a player who works hard on the inside but adds value playing out on the perimeter and shooting from deep. Still underrated across the state, Marino should be an impact piece if he ends up at the D3 level.
Daniel Johnson (Whitney Young)
What a huge week for the Whitney Young wing. Johnson led them against out of state competition with 31 points, 21 rebounds, five steals, and five blocks to start the week. He then followed that up with a 26 point/14 rebound performance and a 18 point/12 rebound game. He is now fully healthy and has solidified his status as one of the best available players in the 2023 class.
Grady Thompson (Princeton)
The bouncy senior wing went for 36 points and surpassed the 1,000-point mark this weekend. He has put together an impressive month for Princeton and remains as a high-priority recruit at the Division 3 level with his athleticism, slashing ability, and developing versatility off of the dribble.
Jack Stanton (Downers Grove North)
So far, Stanton is having a breakout junior campaign as a shot-creator and playmaker for DGN. He knocked down six threes and finished with 26 points against a physical Hersey team and finished the week with 17 points against crosstown rival Downers Grove South. His ability to fill it up from deep and elevate on shots on the move make him a tough cover for defenses. Division 1 schools are taking note.
Jaheim Savage (Phillips)
Savage put on a show against Hyde Park’s active backcourt, going for 33 points and 11 rebounds. Against Longwood, he added another 26 points and seven boards, including a few explosive finishes. The lefty scoring guard gets to the rim well and has ideal body control to score in traffic.
Josh Fridman (Glenbrook North)
Fridman is fearless and dynamic offensively and has been crucial to the 11-0 start for GBN. He had 26 points against Maine South and had 15 more against Maine East, both of which ended in blowout wins. A big shot-maker, Fridman controls pace and has been leading the Spartans in points.
Luke Kinkade (Neuqua Valley)
In a huge showing for the lefty sharpshooter, Kinkade had 44 points against Yorkville Christian, the second most of a Wildcats player ever. He showed grit on the glass, adding 11 rebounds as well. Kinkade took advantage of the scoring opportunities and has taken a significant jump from his productive sophomore season. Kinkade is one of the better guards in the area.
Luke Williams (Naperville North)
Williams had 30 points with a big fourth quarter against Marist to keep the momentum on what has been an all-state level start to the year. He’s a superb athlete that has been the driving force offensively for Naperville North. Williams also had a team-high 18 points against rival Naperville Central on Friday. He defends, scores, and gets shots for others at a high level.
Trevon Roots (Marmion)
Roots flirted with a 20-point triple-double with 22 points, eight rebounds, and nine blocks in a big win over Leo. Roots is a defensive stalwart that plays above the rim on both ends of the floor. In a game later in the week, Roots had 15 points and three more blocked shots. He’s a bit of a late bloomer, but the tools are there to be a great piece and switchable defender down the line for a college program.
Yaris Irby (Niles North)
Irby went off for 38 points against crosstown rival Niles West in his first game of the rivalry. It’s a career high for the transfer guard who has flashed a ton of scoring ability so far. Look for him to continue to put up big numbers in the promising young backcourt for the Vikings.
5 Things I Loved To See:
1. Suburban Teams Out West
Benet and New Trier are out in Arizona for some games. New Trier’s Jake Fiegen (MVP), Evan Kanellos, and Logan Feller were named all-tournament team.
2. Off the Backboard Lob
3. New Faces Emerging
A few freshmen had big weeks up on varsity to note. Glenbard East’s Mike Nee went for 20 points early in the week, Marshawn Cocroft (Aurora Christian) has emerged as one of the leading scorers for one of the top small schools in the area, and explosive DeKalb forward Davon Grant put some punishment on the rim (see below). Stevenson guard Rocco Pagliocca is coming into his own and Dunlap’s Mack Sutter (6-foot-5) has stepped up.
4. Curie Coming On
Curie has faced some strong competition to start the year, but they got a big win this weekend over a very good Oswego East team. They will continue to lean on Chikasi Ofoma and Jeremy Harrington in the frontcourt, having 15 each in that game. But guard Kros Barrett stepped up with 15 of his own while Carlos Harris was out. The talent is there and the Condors will continue to figure it out.
5. Ryan Cohen’s Commitment
One of the top two guards in the state, Ryan Cohen of Glenbrook North, decided to commit to Wash U. Commitments happen all of the time, so what’s the big deal? Well, the last Illinois Wolves product to make an impact at WashU happened to be Justin Hardy, who was (and continues to be) an inspiration to many throughout the country for the way he fought and played through cancer. The commitment also shows a pleasant trend towards recruits choosing fit over level.
The Bears have done an excellent job of keeping high-level talents from the Chicago area in the Midwest. Cohen is a player who could have probably played at the D2 or LM level. But he will instead go to a terrific academic institution with a great program who develops players and professionals alike at a high rate. Cohen should be a productive player for the Bears team that is consistently ranked at the D3 level with his shooting and strength, but he should also have the resources to excel off of the court. More and more kids are looking less at the level tag and more at the entire offering of schools that fit their vision. We love to see it.